Google’s new Android software comes with an important feature for photography enthusiasts: the ability to shoot raw images.
This means users will be able to see what photos look like before the phone’s camera processes it and translates it to a JPEG file.
The ability to shoot in raw is common on high-end DSLR cameras, but hasn’t made its way to mobile until now.
So why does this matter? The average person probably doesn’t care much about shooting photos in raw.
In fact, it would probably be more of an inconvenience than an improvement. The camera software in phones are built to compress and translate images into a JPEG or similar file format since it’s easy to share and edit, as CNET’s Stephen Shankland notes in his feature about raw coming to the Android platform.
But those who do know a thing or two about photography could benefit greatly from the new feature. Unlike JPEG or PNG, raw gives you the freedom and flexibility to edit and manipulate particular parts of an image.
Raw photos are essentially pure image data captured through a camera without any compression or modifications — meaning photographers can fiddle with it any way they want using software like Photoshop, as Shankland explains. In other words, when you’re shooting in raw the camera’s software doesn’t make any assumptions about how colours and other elements of an image should look.
It might not be the most noticeable addition to Android, but it opens up the door for mobile phones to replace professional cameras in certain circumstances. And, it certainly gives Android a leg up over the iPhone in that particular regard. Although the iPhone takes fantastic images, it doesn’t allow you to shoot in raw like you can with phones running Android 5.0.