RAW iPhone Photo Apps

With iOS 10, newer model iPhones can shoot RAW images (DNG format), but they cannot do this from the native camera app. Which means you have to rely on third party apps, so I set out to find which would be the best to use.

Photogene

Doesn’t work properly on device, as it appears not updated for either iOS 10 or the Plus model iPhones.

App link.

Focus

Only the wide angle camera can be used. Otherwise the controls are most excellent.

App link.

Lightroom

Editing only, no noise reduction (still) like on the Mac for RAW photos which is a deal breaker because Apple applies no noise reduction to RAW images.

Update: I was completely wrong here and you can shoot RAW with Lightroom. I need to test this more, but this is now a strong contender.

App link.

ProCamera

Crazy weird UI which I still don’t fully understand and certainly don’t care for. Not sure what is going on with this app, but it has all the features you could want, it’s just a convoluted mess trying to use them.

App link.

VSCO

Edits RAW, doesn’t shoot RAW which is stupid and lame. (I’m also not convinced it is editing the RAW images and not just a JPG preview it builds.)

App link.

ProCam

Both cameras can easily be switched between and shot in RAW, easy UI and controls which remember your past setting (meaning you can always launch with the tele lens if you want). Editing leaves something to be desired but it is the best pure shooting experience I’ve found.

App link.

Obscura

Only wide angle and a mess of an interface.

App link.

Manual

Wide angle only, still the best product video for a camera app.

App link.

Reuk

Wide angle only, terrible name and confusing UI. (As in I don’t think there is a way to shoot auto with this app, but I couldn’t tell you because it’s not easy enough to understand.)

App link.

Result

If you want to shoot RAW images on your iPhone, and you should, use ProCam.


Why RAW?

Let’s forget about all the reasons people normally espouse for shooting RAW, there’s one important reason why you may want to do this on your iPhone: there’s no noise reduction. While the iPhone generally does a decent job reducing noise in images, skin tones tend to not fare well. Often skin will look overly smoothed when the iPhone is really trying to rid noise from an image.

RAW images have no noise reduction, so while they look noisier in general you have no side effect of bad looking skin. It’s a trade off, but one you might want depending on how you shoot. Processing in Lightroom on a Mac will yield great results with a RAW file, and reduction of noise in a sane manner. So if you’ve ever been annoyed by the skin smoothing, shoot RAW.

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Article Details

Published
by Ben Brooks
2 minutes to read.


tl;dr

I wish the native app just allowed for shooting in RAW.