Monday, May 6, 2013

RAW files from Smartphone

There is a new app in town called "Digital Negative" for iOS device and it looks pretty interesting. Cost about 3 bucks on the Appstore which is the same price of 645pro app. Both promise imaging quality "close" to RAW.

However both do not promise the same sort of RAW you'd expect from a digital camera RAW as iOS hardware does not have APIs to support true RAW output capture. But the file size itself should deter the happy snapper from using this. It saves a TIF size file of up to 28MB per image. Do the math and you'd realize that your paltry 64GB iPhone isn't going to hold that many pictures.

But the thing that surprised me most is that Android devices do have an API for RAW image capture. The API dubbed RAW image Callback can be examined here. The problem with this API is that it is never implemented even at the hardware stage, leaving it pretty much useless.

The latest Galaxy Camera doesn't support this API either, with no mention of future support for RAW files either.

But for this to take off, you just have to wait for it. Right now, there is no need for RAW files as users only use their image for social media.

What's more Nikon's own S800c doesn't have RAW support either, and we can only come to one conclusion.

Smartphones have already eaten into the compact camera market and the last thing you want is a camera like this that will compete with your digital compacts. This is true in the case of Nikon and Samsung, both manufacture digital compacts for the mass market and they are suffering badly from poor sales. Nikon and Samsung both have prosumer spec cameras which helps to differentiate the lower product lines from the higher ones.

Is there a Future for RAW in Android Devices?

There is, but it won't come from digital compact manufacturers who have a leg into the Android smartphone market. Think HTC or Asus, maybe even Lenovo. Nokia with its Window Mobile range of devices could jump into the camera market too if they weren't in the dumps.

Apple will have to do an about face to create an iCamera. This is wholly plausible though as Apple is badly in need of another innovative product. The iOS camera could be a breakthrough they are looking for. Presently, it just doesn't make sense for an Apple iPhone to capture RAW files as yet because of the limited storage.

The future remains bright for an Android camera with RAW capabilities. It will only be a matter of time before something like this would hit the market as all the firmware is in place for something like this to happen.


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