Phones adding raw image support

Exciting news for all of us who love wringing maximum dynamic range & quality out of our images:

  • “For the better image quality and flexibility of raw photos,” writes CNET’s Stephen Shankland,
    “Nokia’s Lumia 1520 will shoot with Adobe’s DNG format. Similar raw support will come to the Lumia 1020 in early 2014.” Check out the Nokia blog for more details. Nokia’s head of imaging Juha Alakarhu notes, “If you shoot with RAW, you can take benefit of the continuously developing algorithms in the future. Who knows what these tools will offer in 10 years!”
  • Meanwhile Google is working on a new Android camera API that features raw support. (And sorry, I’m not going to call it “RAW,” as it’s neither a proper name nor an acronym. I can’t read it without hearing “RAW is WAR!!” ;-))

At what point will it seem silly & archaic to call these things “phones,” instead of highly programmable cameras that just happen to make phone calls?

7 thoughts on “Phones adding raw image support

  1. RAW is an “un-processed” or “un-cooked” file. when I work with a PressWise customer to integrate a storefront ( to send orders throught our API ) , when they send in XML ( either via FTP or SOAP ) we name the incoming XML “RAW_.xml” and then process that into PressWise XML ( which we name – wait for it – “procesed.xml” )- I think this is quite common to save the new / incoming file with the moniker RAW.

  2. Hear, hear! Thank you for not giving in to the overabundant groupthink that produces such bastardizations as “RAW.”

  3. Never mind the protocols of of RAW/raw. I found the companion CNET review of this product (a “phabletamera” …?) and then things got really tough. Teminologically. When did an app that produces a image composition or some specific image enhancement become a “lens”? And, why or when does digital resampling deserve to be called “lossless cropping”?
    I also struggled with figuring-out the innovations here, from both photographic and commercial standpoints. Maybe cameras and software like those incorporated into both the Nokia 1020 and 1520 products are just supposed to be technology demonstrators. What else? Because for the newer of the two: it’s too big to fit into your pocket, it can take one image every 4 seconds (if you select a raw capture) and the reviewer didn’t even bother to record a video …

  4. I would be willing to call it a camera that also makes phone calls when A) it is in an easily handheld form, B) has a tripod mount in the bottom and accepts remote releases and C) when it can take interchangeable lenses.

  5. OMG, this is amazing. When the liquid lenses are reality and affordable 🙂 the bulky pro cameras will be completely obsolete. Or will they? What are then the things that differentiate a professional photographer from a guy with the camera? The delineation is so blurred, it is no surprise so many photography shops are closing their doors. Let me reply to my question: the way we feel the light, the posing and the ability to inject emotion in the photos are photographers’ only sustainable competitive advantage. The barriers to entry in this overcompetitive industry are so low, even a kid can buy a decent camera these days.

    1. Calin, Don’t want to squash your enthusiasm (?), but liquid lenses face some major hurdles (in anything other than a really micro-lens configuration) – for example, see here: – it’s not sure that anyone would want to plug their mobile phone or camera directly into the AC mains … But, heck, at least they are real lenses!
      What might help first in cameras like those in the two new Nokia products is some voice recognition – “start burst”, “start zoom”, “stop zoom”, etc.

      1. Hi John,
        You actually gave me good news! I am a full time photographer and I always look for techniques that differentiate me from the average person…the more accessible the technology becomes, the more endangered species photography is…:-(…but as I mentioned in my first posing, lighting and posing are not things technology can do …yet!!! Thank you for the link!!!
        Cheers, Calin

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