Welcome to MobiTog - The Original Mobile Photography Community!
THE Original Global Community for Mobile Photographers - Everywhere...

You are currently viewing our community forums as a guest user. Sign up or
Having an account grants you additional privileges, such as creating and participating in discussions.

  1. PLEASE NOTE - The MobiApp has had to be removed from service - thanks GDPR! We sincerely apologise for having to take this step at short notice, but we have only just been made aware! Everyone should have received an e-mail detailing this earlier today with news about our Privacy Policy. Please try MobiTog.com via your Browser? You may be pleasantly surprised... > FULL NOTICE HERE <
    Dismiss Notice

Discussion: The current state of RAW photos and DNG development on iOS

Discussion in 'Apps Chat' started by FundyBrian, 24 January 2018.

  1. FundyBrian

    FundyBrian MobiStaff Site Staff MobiSupporter

    Joined:
    16 April 2013
    Messages:
    8,121
    Likes Received:
    24,422
    Location:
    Alma, New Brunswick
    Real Name:
    Brian Townsend
    Device:
    iPhone 7 Plus
    My 365:
    My MobiTog 365
    I’m interested to hear of your experiences photographing with DNG files and how you develop them.

    I wasn’t able to participate in the RAW photos revolution on iOS until I got my iPhone 7 Plus. Even then I only dabbled because because I didn’t just want to save DNG files for my computer. I wanted an all-mobile solution.
    We now have several apps able to shoot RAW or DNG photos but the development of them is still lagging. Camera+ has a good RAW files Lab, including luminance and colour noise settings. The Snapseed DNG development has a nicer layout but lacks and noise reduction function. There is also ProCamera. It also has noise reduction. The white balance lacks a white balance eye dropper tool which I find so handy in snow photos, even when I have used a white balance card at exposure time. Camera+ and Snapseed both have the eyedropper tool although I prefer Snapseed’s implementation.
    Making sure to always shoot at the lowest ISO helps eliminate the noise problem, except in lower light conditions.
    I’ve read that Affinity had a good DNG development suite but only on iPad and I have not yet bit the bullet to upgrade my iPad to run Affinity.
    Are there any other viable contenders for DNG development?

    Here’s one problem I’m currently having. Maybe you know the solution. Let’s say I have several DNG photos on my iPhone. Some are unedited while others have been “developed” in Camera+ or Snapseed. They look ready to go in my camera roll. However, when I import them into Lightroom on my computer (my normal back-up procedure) all the development work I did disappears. I’m back to square one with every picture. Quite a disincentive to develop on iOS, or is this just another of Adobe’s schemes to direct all our imaging efforts back to the computer.
     
    MsDee likes this.
  2. Carol

    Carol MobiLurver

    Joined:
    24 May 2012
    Messages:
    1,132
    Likes Received:
    1,467
    Don't know if I can be of real help as I'm a novice at this but for eg: if you edit in Snapseed and Save/Save Copy (so you can re-edit) it doesn't transfer all the work you've done. Though if you save it with Export, all the work is saved and transfers with it.
     
    ImageArt and FundyBrian like this.
  3. Mik

    Mik MobiLurver MobiSupporter

    Joined:
    26 December 2013
    Messages:
    2,202
    Likes Received:
    5,906
    Location:
    North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
    Real Name:
    Michael
    Device:
    iPhone X
    There is only one app I trust for being a capable RAW editor and that is Lightroom mobile. This is of course my personal preference. One thing should be fixed in Lightroom. Exported images are JPG (no HEIF) and in sRGB instead of P3.

    But when you look at the Darkroom app, this lacks color noise reduction. ProCamera has such settings but I cannot zoom into the image to check whether I have gone to far with them and just ruined my image.

    I want to use RAW but I find me missing portrait mode. I won’t use any tripod. RAW supports no image stabilisation. So the advantage of longer (hand shake free) exposure and thus lower ISO is not given using RAW. To compensate you need a tripod. Or live with more noise.

    So I find me using native camera again and it’s not bad at all. :)
     
    dscheff, ImageArt and FundyBrian like this.
  4. FundyBrian

    FundyBrian MobiStaff Site Staff MobiSupporter

    Joined:
    16 April 2013
    Messages:
    8,121
    Likes Received:
    24,422
    Location:
    Alma, New Brunswick
    Real Name:
    Brian Townsend
    Device:
    iPhone 7 Plus
    My 365:
    My MobiTog 365
    It saves all my edits if I export a copy as jpg but my dng reverts to zero when I import in Lightroom.
     
  5. FundyBrian

    FundyBrian MobiStaff Site Staff MobiSupporter

    Joined:
    16 April 2013
    Messages:
    8,121
    Likes Received:
    24,422
    Location:
    Alma, New Brunswick
    Real Name:
    Brian Townsend
    Device:
    iPhone 7 Plus
    My 365:
    My MobiTog 365
    I can relate to your experiences.
    Portrait mode is a big one for sure. I guess it’s a matter of time. RAW is still relatively new on mobile.
    Not enough zoom-in to properly evaluate the effects of noise reduction or sharpening makes adjustments risky. But shooting at the lowest ISO is a better solution. For the most part the shutter speeds are so high that you wouldn’t lose sharpness without a tripod except in lower light.
    Sometimes I wonder if dng is worth the trouble in a mobile environment.
    I have been thinking of deleting all my Adobe apps primarily for their built in lack of “plays well with others”.
    I find the HEIF format gives me trouble with Lightroom importing so I have to keep it shut off in every app and choose tiff if possible.
     
  6. FundyBrian

    FundyBrian MobiStaff Site Staff MobiSupporter

    Joined:
    16 April 2013
    Messages:
    8,121
    Likes Received:
    24,422
    Location:
    Alma, New Brunswick
    Real Name:
    Brian Townsend
    Device:
    iPhone 7 Plus
    My 365:
    My MobiTog 365
    OK Affinity users, what are you doing with all those unique features? What is your experience developing DNG?
     
  7. sinnerjohn

    sinnerjohn MobiLifer

    Joined:
    16 November 2015
    Messages:
    6,280
    Likes Received:
    22,121
    Location:
    England
    Real Name:
    John
    Device:
    Samsung
    I've been following this thread with interest Brian and I was going to play Devils Advocate and ask why would you want to shoot RAW in a mobile environment?
    I understand what RAW is and can see its benefits on lets call it higher end photography, but mobile hmmm.
     
    FundyBrian likes this.
  8. FundyBrian

    FundyBrian MobiStaff Site Staff MobiSupporter

    Joined:
    16 April 2013
    Messages:
    8,121
    Likes Received:
    24,422
    Location:
    Alma, New Brunswick
    Real Name:
    Brian Townsend
    Device:
    iPhone 7 Plus
    My 365:
    My MobiTog 365
    I have those thoughts myself, and often the intended purpose of the image doesn’t warrant the extra effort of DNG. To some degree this is about the overall philosophy of whether mobile photography can be considered serious photography or if it will remain in the toy camera category. I don’t relegate mobile photography to the strictly lomo status. The question is, if one’s objective is “real photography” whether the iPhone qualifies as a viable tool in the process.
    I see mobile photography, with the built in computer and built in editing apps as the future of photography so I might as well jump in now and be on top of things as it develops. It’s not there yet but getting better.
    I’m an old time photographer. I’m more interested in making a good straight photograph than I am in a lot of apping. Which is not to say I don’t also enjoy playing with apps but it’s not my primary focus. However, I am very interested in HDR to help extend the rather limited dynamic range of the tiny sensor.
    I’ve found RAW very worthwhile on any of my other cameras, big and small. It’s all in the pursuit of better image quality. At the moment they make you work quite hard to use DNG entirely mobile. I think partial DNG solutions have been put foreword to test the demand. If no one shows any interest it won’t get far.
    You can achieve amazing image quality shooting DNG and developing on computer but the all-mobile results are less dazzling, but still impressive, because we don’t yet have a full featured development suite. Things are slowly improving. Maybe Affinity is it but so far I haven’t been able to try it since my iPad is too old to run Affinity. Also, no Affinity users on MobiTog appear to have explored DNG development (or other special features of Affinity that first caught my attention, like focus stacking). I guess my interests run in a slightly different direction than most mobile users.
    Another reason to use RAW is to circumvent the built-in heavy-handed noise reduction applied to all non-RAW images in iOS. The system is capable of better image quality than we see in jpegs.
    I have been impressed by my initial tests with DNG in terms of image detail and longer tonal scale, resulting in better control of highlight detail. So far I’m going between 3 incomplete DNG development options.
    DNG development is just a set of instructions attached to a RAW file and it is only when the file is exported as a jpg that the instructions are locked into the final image. It should be possible to start DNG development in one app and continue where you left off in another, at least that’s how it works on computer. You are just modifying the instructions list and not the actual RAW image data.
    On iOS I have not yet been able to get the instructions to stick from one app to another so you have to start from scratch each time. Rather pointless. Also, the DNG development done in mobile does not carry over when imported into Lightroom on the computer. Another pointless task.
    Lots of people wanted RAW images on mobile but perhaps they only wanted to shoot mobile and develop on computer. I’m hard headed enough to want to shoot AND develop all-mobile.
     
    MsDee and Starzee like this.
  9. terse

    terse MobiLifer MobiSupporter

    Joined:
    17 October 2013
    Messages:
    6,448
    Likes Received:
    23,466
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA, USA
    Real Name:
    Ted
    Device:
    iPhone 7
    If the results are "still impressive," doesn't that make it worthwhile even in its current state? It does for me, at least.

    My take: You have to put in some effort to render an image from a mobile DNG that will be better than a well-exposed out-of-camera JPG, so DNGs aren't worth the work in every situation (e.g., in street photography, where the moment captured is more important than the absolute image quality). But in landscape, still life, and similar images, the extra detail, tonal range, and noise control can make a difference in the results.

    At the moment, I use Lightroom to shoot DNG HDRs and some plain DNGs, and those I develop in Lightroom itself. (Not least because the DNGs produced by Lightroom don't work in most other iOS apps that accept DNG images. They can be opened but appear all black when I try to edit them. I'm guessing this is a problem with Lightroom's DNGs rather than with the other apps.)

    I do sometimes shoot DNGs with other camera apps, mainly ProCamera and Prime, and occasionally CameraPixels. I've tried a number of different DNG developers on these, none of which has completely won my allegiance. At the moment, I'm using Raw Power (from Gentelmen Coders). Lightroom can also open DNGs from other apps and develop them -- it and Raw Power seem about equal in the results they can produce (so far, but I don't have a lot of experience with Raw Power yet).

    NB: You don't have to sign up for or buy into any Adobe crud to use the mobile version of Lightroom, even though it wants you to.
     
    FundyBrian likes this.
  10. terse

    terse MobiLifer MobiSupporter

    Joined:
    17 October 2013
    Messages:
    6,448
    Likes Received:
    23,466
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA, USA
    Real Name:
    Ted
    Device:
    iPhone 7
    I'm not (yet) a regular Affinity user, but I have messed with its focus stacking some. The results were mixed. I still haven't figured out the right number of photos and the right focus range to feed it in order to get good results. CameraPixels can auto-shoot multiple photos at different focus points and lets you specify both the number of photos and the min and max focus distances. But it specifies focus distances using an unhelpful scale of 0.0 to 1.0 (rather than inches, centimeters, or something useful), so I need to do a bunch of test shots to calibrate its scale to something I understand.

    I also tried Affinity's HDR merge and wasn't impressed at all. I haven't tried its panorama stitching yet.
     
    FundyBrian likes this.
  11. ImageArt

    ImageArt MobiLifer MobiSupporter

    Joined:
    5 November 2014
    Messages:
    6,134
    Likes Received:
    21,069
    Location:
    Surrey, UK
    Real Name:
    Ann
    Device:
    iPhone 7 Plus
    Decided I’m not doing DNG at this point. As I do a lot of extreme manipulation, the additional quality isn’t important to me.
     
    terse likes this.
  12. FundyBrian

    FundyBrian MobiStaff Site Staff MobiSupporter

    Joined:
    16 April 2013
    Messages:
    8,121
    Likes Received:
    24,422
    Location:
    Alma, New Brunswick
    Real Name:
    Brian Townsend
    Device:
    iPhone 7 Plus
    My 365:
    My MobiTog 365
    Yes, I agree, that’s why I’m putting the effort into getting better results from my iPhone DNG images. My early efforts are definitelyencouraging. I’m optimistic overall. Things are improving.
    I’ve found Brad Nichol’s iBook, “Ultimate iPhone DNG” quite informative.
    I’m annoyed by Adobe’s “does not play well with others” attitude. Adobe really could be a major player in mobile photography if they decided to deliver an all-mobile solution rather than making us move images to the desktop to get the best results. Adobe has some almost great apps that are rendered not very useful to me. I’ve been deleting them one after the other.
    Yes, I’ve used Lightroom mobile in the non-paid mode and it works OK but I don’t like being trapped into a dead end solution. For many years I have been a dedicated Photoshop user, going back to the middle 90s, but things have taken a turn for the worse in my opinion. The main thing Adobe needs is some good competition that can survive the usual buyout pattern.
    Your example of Adobe mobile DNGs showing up black in other RAW apps reveals their heavy hand at work.
     
    MsDee likes this.
  13. terse

    terse MobiLifer MobiSupporter

    Joined:
    17 October 2013
    Messages:
    6,448
    Likes Received:
    23,466
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA, USA
    Real Name:
    Ted
    Device:
    iPhone 7
    Yes, that's absolutely another case where there doesn't seem to be any benefit to DNGs.
     
    FundyBrian likes this.
  14. FundyBrian

    FundyBrian MobiStaff Site Staff MobiSupporter

    Joined:
    16 April 2013
    Messages:
    8,121
    Likes Received:
    24,422
    Location:
    Alma, New Brunswick
    Real Name:
    Brian Townsend
    Device:
    iPhone 7 Plus
    My 365:
    My MobiTog 365
    Thanks for reminding me why I got CameraPixels. I had completely forgotten about the focus stacking feature. And I’m glad to hear you are working with Affinity. I might soon be joining the club so maybe we can compare notes.
    The best focus stacking app I have used is StayFocused. The focus steps and number of photos was well sorted out. All you needed to do was set the near and far points. Unfortunately, it was designed to use server processing, and they have since shut off the server. It is possible to export the set of focus shots to the camera roll. The other unfortunate thing about most special purpose apps is that the rest of the camera has no controls to speak of so it’s pretty much a one-trick pony. I found their server processing was about 50% successful, while the same set of images processed in Photoshop came out quite well.
    As you say, getting the right focus steps figured out is the main thing. StayFocused would allow you to set a respectable number of focus shots but after shooting it would evaluate the whole series and drop any shots it felt were unnecessary. You might end up with 7 out of 9, usually my extreme end points. My biggest issue was always getting good focus on the very closest point. When working with a smooth foreground the program would see no point in having that first shot that only picked up the very closest points and would frequently drop the shot. If there was other detail around it would keep the shot.
    The other focus stacking app works well enough but doesn’t have full resolution so doesn’t merit discussion.
    I have another focus stacking app, FocusStacker, but it isn’t a camera app, it’s an assistant app for DSLR users. It doesn’t appear to have the iPhone lenses in the range of focal lengths so it isn’t useful as a mobile photography app. However, it is a pro quality app and very instructive to work with and is very well thought out wrt calculating the number of shots, the distances, focus distances, aperture setting, etc. Also, it has links to higher end automated software driven hardware solutions that look very good. A bit “out there” for mobile users I guess.
    There is another thing arising from this that might be useful to think about for mobile photography. With macro photography they don’t adjust the focus on the lens but move the whole camera on a software driven motorized rail to the next focus position. This minimizes changes in distortion introduced by focusing the lens. In these super macro shots they may make hundreds of shots and combine them in Zerene Stacker on the desktop.
    The point of this that might be worth considering is the iPhone lens very close up has the same issue as the macro setup and changes in distortion may be the cause of some stacking failures. I’m also guessing that shutting off image stabilization might be important. That little bit of lens movement could put the shot out of register.
     
  15. FundyBrian

    FundyBrian MobiStaff Site Staff MobiSupporter

    Joined:
    16 April 2013
    Messages:
    8,121
    Likes Received:
    24,422
    Location:
    Alma, New Brunswick
    Real Name:
    Brian Townsend
    Device:
    iPhone 7 Plus
    My 365:
    My MobiTog 365
    Yes, I can see that in general. Although... I’ve found I can manipulate a DNG more extremely without it starting to show obvious signs of disintegration. Because you have more to begin with.
     
  16. FundyBrian

    FundyBrian MobiStaff Site Staff MobiSupporter

    Joined:
    16 April 2013
    Messages:
    8,121
    Likes Received:
    24,422
    Location:
    Alma, New Brunswick
    Real Name:
    Brian Townsend
    Device:
    iPhone 7 Plus
    My 365:
    My MobiTog 365
    Now that I’ve tried CameraPixels with focus bracketing it seems you can just leave those two settings at 0 and 1 and let it make a series of focus steps throughout the entire focus range of the camera. Presumable one would be doing something fairly extreme to need focus stacking in the first place. The only downside would be making a few shots that end up being beyond the extreme ends of the required focus range. Those extras would get eliminated at the time of combining the images.
    When using StayFocused you can see the image while sliding the near and far points just like manual focus with two moving parts on one slider. In that respect it is easier to use.
    Another thing I thought of with respect to the numbers 0 to 1 not relating to actual distances: if you’re making a close-up with a macro or close-up lens the distance range is totally changed so real distance numbers relating to a bare lens would not make sense anymore.
     
    Last edited: 28 January 2018
  17. terse

    terse MobiLifer MobiSupporter

    Joined:
    17 October 2013
    Messages:
    6,448
    Likes Received:
    23,466
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA, USA
    Real Name:
    Ted
    Device:
    iPhone 7
    Ah, true, I hadn't thought of that.
     
    FundyBrian likes this.
  18. FundyBrian

    FundyBrian MobiStaff Site Staff MobiSupporter

    Joined:
    16 April 2013
    Messages:
    8,121
    Likes Received:
    24,422
    Location:
    Alma, New Brunswick
    Real Name:
    Brian Townsend
    Device:
    iPhone 7 Plus
    My 365:
    My MobiTog 365
    I wish there was a smart album for RAW files. When they are all mixed together with jpegs and tiffs, Live Photos, Panoramas, etc., in my camera roll it is laborious to find which ones are RAW to edit them.
    I sometimes shoot RAW & tiff or jpeg at the same time and of course I’m doing HDR at the same time so this results in all sorts of different files to figure out in the camera roll.
    I have seen a couple of apps have a photo picker that identifies which photos are RAW and this is very helpful. But not if the app I’m working in doesn’t have that feature.
     
  19. Starzee

    Starzee BIG Font Junkie... MobiSupporter

    Joined:
    3 July 2016
    Messages:
    3,183
    Likes Received:
    12,430
    Location:
    Port Byron, NY
    Real Name:
    Star Greathouse
    Device:
    iPhone X
    My 365:
    My MobiTog 365
    You have read my mind. I have started to post here several times about how to even tell if an image is raw or not. I guess at this point you can only go through Metapho or some such app one image at a time.
     
    FundyBrian likes this.
  20. FundyBrian

    FundyBrian MobiStaff Site Staff MobiSupporter

    Joined:
    16 April 2013
    Messages:
    8,121
    Likes Received:
    24,422
    Location:
    Alma, New Brunswick
    Real Name:
    Brian Townsend
    Device:
    iPhone 7 Plus
    My 365:
    My MobiTog 365
    It’s so annoying when you spend a bunch of time reviewing images and marking the ones you want to edit with a heart, and then your chosen editor doesn’t show the hearts in their picker! Aarrrg!
    With PureShot, when you shout HDR and RAW + jpg or tiff at the same time, it is generally the first 3 in the HDR series that are RAW, followed by the 3 jpg of tiff. But not always. As you look down the photos in your camera roll you see a definite pattern, then something changes. The dark, middle, light pattern has been broken and now the RAW and jpg images are mixed up.
    If you have ProCamera try using their camera roll image picker. It shows RAW, HDR, JPG, TIF and even your favourites marked with a heart. OK, that’s interesting, but then what?
    The app Exif Viewer shows the file name under each picture which includes the file type on the end.
    There are others with similar features but I have found they don’t necessarily show the photos in the same order as your camera roll so if you rely on counting, the fifth one after the big tree, then it doesn’t help when they appear in a different order. Each editing app has their own image picker. Sometimes I mark certain photos with a favourite heart, but then some apps don’t show the hearts. But you can navigate to the favourites folder.
    Maybe someone will recommend a good viewer for revealing image file types without having to resort to an Exif viewer where you have to look at each image one-by-one. I like TwinViewer for many things but it is still a one-by-one viewer if you want any info at all.
    Often I will try different camera apps on the same photo. My iPhone is on a tripod so the comparisons can be made. But then I find that half of the camera apps don’t identify themselves in metadata so you lose track of which app made the photo and the effort at comparing was wasted.
     
    Starzee likes this.
  21. terse

    terse MobiLifer MobiSupporter

    Joined:
    17 October 2013
    Messages:
    6,448
    Likes Received:
    23,466
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA, USA
    Real Name:
    Ted
    Device:
    iPhone 7
    So how about collecting a list of editing apps that do tag raw images in their photo pickers.

    * Lightroom Mobile does.
    * Darkroom does.
    * ProCamera does.
    * Raw Power has a picker that can optionally show raw images only (yay!), but unfortunately it currently thinks HEIC images are raw (boo!).
    * ACDSee Pro doesn't tag images in the thumbnail picker, but it does in the larger preview and lets you swipe back and forth to other images in the Camera Roll from there.
     
    FundyBrian likes this.
  22. terse

    terse MobiLifer MobiSupporter

    Joined:
    17 October 2013
    Messages:
    6,448
    Likes Received:
    23,466
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA, USA
    Real Name:
    Ted
    Device:
    iPhone 7
    Also

    * Lipro does
    * Lumibee does
    * MaxCurve does
    * Polarr does
     
    FundyBrian likes this.
  23. terse

    terse MobiLifer MobiSupporter

    Joined:
    17 October 2013
    Messages:
    6,448
    Likes Received:
    23,466
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA, USA
    Real Name:
    Ted
    Device:
    iPhone 7
    I was partly wrong about this. What I said does apply to HDR DNG images shot with Lightroom. But if you shoot non-HDR DNGs using the Lightroom camera Pro mode, the resulting DNGs work just fine with other raw-capable apps.
     
    FundyBrian likes this.
  24. FundyBrian

    FundyBrian MobiStaff Site Staff MobiSupporter

    Joined:
    16 April 2013
    Messages:
    8,121
    Likes Received:
    24,422
    Location:
    Alma, New Brunswick
    Real Name:
    Brian Townsend
    Device:
    iPhone 7 Plus
    My 365:
    My MobiTog 365
    Are these all apps that can edit RAW photos and keep a RAW output? I’m not familiar with the first 2. I had MaxCurve once. And I guess I don’t have Polarr any more, either.
     
  25. FundyBrian

    FundyBrian MobiStaff Site Staff MobiSupporter

    Joined:
    16 April 2013
    Messages:
    8,121
    Likes Received:
    24,422
    Location:
    Alma, New Brunswick
    Real Name:
    Brian Townsend
    Device:
    iPhone 7 Plus
    My 365:
    My MobiTog 365
    Yes, compiling a list is a good idea.

    I exchanged a couple of emails with someone from Gentlemen Coders (RAW Power) and he told me there have been a lot of requests for showing which files were RAW in the picker. He said they can do it but no better than others who can’t do it reliably. There is some snag with the accuracy as Apple does not have a RAW tag to use and some files thought to be RAW turn out to be something else. I guess they are still working on finding a better way.

    What about Affinity?
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice