What most of us expect– based upon that rough mix of guesses, rumors, and the obvious– is that Apple will put an even better camera into iPhone 7. Hints of exactly that, as well as more photo features, came after this week’s WWDC keynote presentation. Macs can handle RAW photos. What about iPhone?
More Hidden Gems
One of the iOS 10 gems found earlier this week indicates iOS 10 Photos app will be able to edit RAW files. This will add value to iPhone photo editing apps, yes, but becomes even more important for photographers who want to use the iPad Pro models as their traveling editing companion.
That means, at a basic level, photographers will be able to take photos and get both a .JPG and a .DNG file, which is Adobe’s proprietary RAW format. Regardless of which you prefer, having a camera that can deliver even better photos than iPhone 6s, and an option to store files as RAW will help photographers hone their craft on the road.
RAW images, also known as “digital negatives” are truly “raw”, meaning they are almost unprocessed data coming directly from the camera sensor. Unlike JPEG files that can be easily opened, viewed and printed by most image-viewing/editing programs, RAW is a proprietary format that is tied to the camera manufacturer and sensor, and therefore is not supported by all software products. RAW files preserve the most amount of information about an image and generally contain more colors and dynamic range than other formats.
For now, we don’t know why Apple has chosen Adobe’s .DNG format for RAW photo editing, but it’s possible that the format is in greater use by camera makers and photo editing apps than any other type of RAW.
DNG is also considered to be a RAW image file. It is Adobe’s proprietary image standard that was created to store image data in a generic, highly-compatible format, unlike RAW files that have specific formats based on manufacturer and camera type. Although DNG was invented by Adobe and is supported in all Adobe applications, there are other companies like Leica and Hasselblad that adopted this standard and use it in their cameras as their native RAW file format.
All of this RAW means RAW images need to come out of the iPhone’s camera as a captured RAW image (again, probably in .DNG) and editable as a RAW file. Say goodbye to all the workarounds iPhone photographers have implemented the past few years. Apple is moving forward quickly to make the iPhone produce photos that rival mid-range DSLRs.
Word on the streets also indicates that iPhone 7, perhaps in a Pro edition at the high end of the iPhone spectrum, will have advanced lenses and higher quality photos. That may include improved image stabilization, a better flash, and other controls typical of DSLR’s. In an iPhone.