Apple ProRAW camera feature was announced at October iPhone 12 event for Pro and Pro Max models and now the company has released it with iOS 14.3. The feature is designed to give users greater creative control when editing photos. Professional photographer Austin Mann tested ProRAW on iPhone 12 Pro Max in various lightings and elements and here are the results.
Apple ProRAW combines the information of a standard RAW format along with iPhone image processing, which gives you more flexibility when editing the exposure, color, and white balance in your photo. With iOS 14.3 or later, your iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max can capture images in ProRAW format using any of its cameras, including when also using the Smart HDR, Deep Fusion, or Night mode features.
Apple ProRAW tested on iPhone 12 Pro Max
Austin explained that professional photographers prefer to shoot in RAW because it offers more data which can be controlled to create a more profound image. Now Apple offers that professional ability in the iPhone 12 Pro models’ native camera app and third-party apps.
Honestly, I never thought we’d see a RAW format from Apple on iPhone, because I understood how important the computational aspects of iPhone photography are and I didn’t imagine a world where we could utilize that computational power AND still get the control we’ve wanted and needed.
Good news: the team at Apple is much smarter than me and figured out how to do both!
Mann took pictures on iPhone 12 Pro Max in ProRAW and edited them in Adobe Lightroom. The results were impressive.
Night Mood + ProRAW
Using a flashlight to create shadow, Mann captured a Geminid meteor shower in a 30-second Night mode exposure.
When editing the ProRAW image of the night sky, the photographer was able to process it and was able to reduce noise and maintain the clarity of the Milky Way.
Remember, these images are shot on the exact same device (iPhone 12 Pro Max) with the exact same settings. The only change is I shot the right image in the new ProRAW format.
Apple ProRAW to Capture trickly Lighting
Using ProRAW format, Apple has boasted 14 stops of dynamic range which is helpful for outdoor photography like in sunlight and shadows.
It helps to maintain detail instead of blown out highlights and crushed shadows.
Capturing Colors in ProRAW
Mann explained that Apple ProRAW uses 12-bit, which offers a diverse range of 4,096 shades of red, blue, and green, to distinct shades of each color.
Pay attention particularly to the shades of pink in the deli meat, and the shades of yellow in that delicious wedge of Dutch cheese.
With 12-bit color, 14 stops of dynamic range, and dramatically more creative control, Apple ProRAW is a massive leap forward in professional imaging with iPhone. I’m now comfortable relying on my iPhone 12 Pro to capture a strong photograph in virtually any light conditions because I know I’m able to custom tailor the processing to my taste, instead of relying on computational generalizations designed for most users.
With each of these upgrades, we’re seeing the iPhone continually evolve into a device capable of delivering what the pros need in their most demanding creative workflows, and it’s exciting to consider what’s next with ProRAW at the center of photography on iPhone.