Nokia's Lumia 1520: The first phone that'll take raw photos

Giving the smartphone market an option that's been successful in attracting photo enthusiasts to higher-end cameras, Nokia's new Lumia 1520 phablet can take photos in raw image formats. The Lumia 1020 will get raw support next year, too.

Juha Alakarhu, head of camera technology for Nokia, announced the feature in a tweet Tuesday, saying Nokia will use Adobe Systems' DNG (Digital Negative) format for raw photos.

"It will be available for 1520 from the beginning and 1020 with the Black [software] update early next year," he said in a follow-up tweet.

Raw photos record data from … Read more

Sorry, DNG iPhone app won't let you shoot true raw photos

Photo enthusiasts already pleased with the iPhone's generally superior camera can be forgiven for getting excited about the possibility of shooting photos in the higher-end raw file format.

Cypress Innovations on Wednesday released a new app called Digital Negative that might raise that very hope by offering a way to take photos that are stored in Adobe Systems' DNG format for raw photos. Alas, although the app does store uncompressed image data, it doesn't actually store the raw data taken straight from the sensor.

The Digital Negative app collects the uncompressed red, green, and blue color information for … Read more

Revamped DNG format shows new Lightroom possibilities

Adobe Systems isn't making any promises, but an update to company's Digital Negative (DNG) image format paves the way for two important features in Lightroom: panoramas and high-dynamic range photography.

Lightroom is for editing, cataloging, and publishing photos, especially those shot in higher-end cameras' raw formats. Raw photos consist of data captured directly from the image sensor without in-camera processing into a JPEG. Although raw photos offer better quality and flexibility, they're also much less convenient than JPEGs.

One aspect of their inconvenience is that raw photos usually arrive in proprietary formats from camera makers. Adobe has … Read more

Lightroom 4.2 supports large swath of new cameras

With the Photokina show in Germany producing so many new high-end cameras, it's evidently been a busy season for Adobe Systems' Lightroom team.

That team just released Lightroom 4.2, which supports 22 new cameras, 43 new lenses, and lets people shoot with 11 new cameras tethered to a computer. It takes work to figure out how to decode each camera's proprietary raw format.

Here's the full list of new cameras supported, but note that the Nikon D600 support is "preliminary and there is a minor risk that the appearance of your images may change when … Read more

Adobe offering new reasons to get DNG religion

Photography enthusiasts have seen the light when it comes to shooting raw images, but plenty of them have yet to convert to Adobe Systems' DNG format for storing those images.

But Adobe could bring some new sheep into the Digital Negative fold with abilities arriving in Adobe's Lightroom 4 software and its Photoshop CS6 cousin. Adobe isn't evangelizing heavily, but it is offering new features that could convince people that DNG is a better alternative to the profusion of proprietary raw formats that higher-end cameras produce.

Three significant improvements are coming to DNG, two for speed and one … Read more

64-bit Windows to get Adobe DNG thumbnail views

Adobe Systems has lowered a barrier to using its Digital Negative (DNG) format, releasing an early version of software that makes it possible to see image thumbnails in 64-bit Windows.

DNG is an attempt to simplify the profusion of raw image formats that higher-end cameras can provide and to make it easier to add metadata such as captions and keywords to those image files. Although shooting raw is becoming an established part of the photo industry, Windows on its own can't show the images in Windows Explorer, file-management dialog boxes, or Photo Gallery software. Thus, camera makers have been … Read more

Adobe hammers DNG nail in PowerPC coffin

An Adobe Systems tool that lets older software handle raw images from newer digital cameras is about to leave behind Apple's PowerPC-based Mac era.

The upcoming version 6.4 of Adobe's DNG Converter will be the last to run on the older Macs, said Lightroom product manager Tom Hogarty in a blog post over the weekend. The software is used to convert digital cameras' proprietary raw-format images into Adobe's Digital Negative format. It's useful in part because older versions of Photoshop aren't updated to support newer cameras, but using the DNG Converter can bridge the … Read more

Trends in digital photography: The not so good

There's a lot to like about how digital photography is evolving. But that doesn't mean every trend is positive. At a minimum, some technologies are taking longer to mature than some of us might wish.

Interchangeable Lens Compacts (ILCs) are a case in point. Significantly smaller than today's dSLRs, they're also referred to as micro-4/3 (after the mirrorless interchangeable lens standard used by many of these cameras) or the somewhat tongue in cheek EVIL which alludes to the Electronic Viewfinder that's an option for most models in this class.

ILCs are certainly an exciting concept. … Read more

Adobe releases Lightroom 2.7--but what's next?

Adobe Systems released Lightroom 2.7 on Tuesday night for Windows and Mac, adding support for raw images from an expected range of newer cameras: Canon's Rebel T2i, Sony's Alpha A450, Panasonic's Lumix DMC-G2 and G10, Olympus' E-PL1, and some medium-format models from Leaf and Mamiya.

The company's standard procedure has been to issue minor updates to let the photo-editing and cataloging software handle the proprietary raw image formats from higher-end cameras. Lightroom 2.7 and the corresponding version 5.7 plug-in for Photoshop CS4 users are available at Adobe's download site, and the DNG … Read more

With an eye to the future, try raw photos today

If you enjoy photography, don't make the mistake I did.

Using my then-new SLR in 2005 and 2006, I photographed everything from my new son to otherworldly canyons we visited in Utah. The only problem: the photos were taken only in JPEG format.

JPEG is fine as far as it goes, and indeed for most folks it will suffice. But having rediscovered my enjoyment of photography in the digital era, I wish I'd used the raw image format that comes with SLRs and higher-end compact cameras.

My initial regret was from the realization that raw photos, although taking up about three times the storage space as a JPEG and requiring manual processing, offer higher quality and more flexibility. But what I've come to understand since then is a second advantage of raw: because processing software improves over time, raw photos in effect can get better with age.

For that reason, I've begun recommending friends who show some enthusiasm for photography that they should think about shooting important events in raw format alongside JPEG. You don't have to mess with the raw files today, but if it's an important event like a wedding, you might want them for later.

I've included below some samples of a noisy image shot in near-darkness at ISO 25,600 from my SLR. They may not convince you that shooting raw is a miracle cure for photo quality, but they do illustrate some differences with the camera's JPEG and that the raw-processing software isn't standing still. … Read more