One of the great new features that came with iOS 10 is full RAW support for any iPhone with a 12MP camera, i.e. the 6S, 6S Plus and the 7, 7 Plus. As a photographer, this is a welcome addition because of the increased latitude RAW files allow for during post-processing. After using it for a few days, I decided to head out this weekend and make a few photographs to see what the newly unearthed RAW access can do.
The issue with any iPhone till date — but really, not an “issue” in the true sense of the word — was that the photos made were jpg files, or, as some apps claimed, tiff files. Nothing better was even available. When you make a picture with any camera, the light data collected by the camera sensor is of incredible value to the photographer. Having this light data as-is means you have a RAW file. The problem with shooting jpg is that as soon as the data is collected by the sensor, the device itself makes the first calls regarding the best exposure and outputs a somewhat lossy jpg file while discarding any unwanted data in a bid to make file sizes more tolerable.
From a user experience perspective, this is great. First of all, RAW files are huge: a regular photograph on my iPhone occupies one to two megabytes of space while a RAW file is at least 10MB or more. Second, most people are not serious photographers and could not care less about handling RAW files, let alone spending time processing them to look and feel just right. Continue reading