Should You Be Excited About RAW Image Capture On Android 5.0?
You may have heard about RAW image format, may have wondered what it was or not given the idea too much thought. However, Android 5.0 has made the decision for you and included it as an option for image capture. Thus, we are simply obliged to learn more about it or, at least, see what all the “photo people” are so excited about.
RAW image capture is an alternative format on Android Lollipop, together with the old and familiar JPEG format.
Let’s tackle the elephant in the room. What is the difference between RAW and JPEG?
A normal picture that you take with your mobile camera in JPEG format is optimized. That is, things like balanced whites, sharp edges, noise reduction are adjusted automatically to create the best image. In the majority of cases, this works really well and you will end up with a balanced picture and zero regrets.
RAW format, true to its name, lets you preserve the unprocessed version of the image and leaves it up to you to make extensive changes in the photo editor. This is a feature highly appreciated by photographers or when you are looking for a specific result in your photo.
The latest Android version comes with RAW + JPEG, meaning you will have your optimized image + a file containing the minimally processed data of the image.
What can I do with a RAW image?
Lots of things. For this, you will need to transfer the image in question onto your computer and work on it in a photo editor. A traditional choice would be something like Lightroom or Photoshop and these editors will offer lots of tools to work on your phone-taken image. With a RAW image, you will be in control of white balance, exposure, sharpening and lots more – all the while not risking to disturb the original.
What is the potential?
True, just by accepting RAW image format, Android 5.0 does not turn your mobile camera into a DSLR. Your mobile camera still has to live with the limitations if being a fixed local length camera, and for truly detailed quality imagery, there is no avoiding a DSLR.
It goes without saying that not every image needs to be taken in RAW and you may not want to spend hours on photo editing of mobile images.
What RAW on Android does offer is a great opportunity to explore the potential of mobile photography, learn photo editing, get specific results for your pictures and simply have fun playing around with the options in Lightroom and Photoshop.
Does Android 5.0 guarantee RAW capture for my phone?
No. Android 5.0 is a prerequisite for the option, but it’s not a given. For the option to be available, your phone needs to use Camera2 API – some do and some don’t.
However, if you are intent on exploring RAW on mobile, there are plenty of apps that can help you out, like Manual Camera or L Camera.
Try it out and let us know what you think!
For more on Apps and Software, click here.