Why Photosmith dumped iOS's built-in raw-photo support

One nice perk of using OS X and iOS is that Apple supplies support for higher-end cameras' raw photo formats, which offer photographers higher image quality but require programmers to decode each camera's proprietary format. So why did Photosmith, an independent iPad companion app to augment Adobe Systems' Lightroom, shift from reliance on iOS' raw support to its own code package?

In short, because Apple's interface and camera support aren't up to scratch, according to Mike Wren, Photosmith's user advocate and and evangelist.

Apple's ALAssets interface for accessing photos and videos has bugs and is … Read more

Red's camera wows with top score in image-sensor test

When it comes to image sensor quality, a camera company you probably haven't heard of just stole the show -- almost.

Nikon's D800E is the top dog on the DxOMark sensor test rankings, with a score of 96 on precise measurements of dynamic range, noise, and low-light performance. It's not often that a new winner emerges, but a cinema camera from a company called Red -- the Epic-M camera with the Dragon sensor -- just earned a score of 101.

The impressive score isn't quite enough to win the competition, though: DxO Labs measured the performance … Read more

Live.pics.io lets you narrate online slideshows in the moment

Miss the days of real-world slideshows, when your guests would come by to see your vacation photos and hear you tell the story behind the shots? Ukrainian startup TopTechPhoto launched a service called Live.pics.io on Wenesday that aims to reproduce the experience online.

The service works over a private chat room on the Web, but the company plans to launch a Facebook app in a week or two that uses the service, too.

Sites such as Flickr or Facebook are fine for sharing photos, but they aren't set up for a live conversational tour of a photo … Read more

Click! Google rebuilds Android camera base for better photos

Want a better camera on your Android device? Google does, too.

For that reason, the company has overhauled the mobile OS's plumbing. Google has built deep into Android support for two higher-end photography features -- raw image formats and burst mode -- and could expose those features so that programmers could tap into them, the company said.

Evidence of raw and burst-mode photos in the Android source code surfaced earlier in November, but Google has now commented on the technology. Specifically, spokeswoman Gina Scigliano said the support is now present in Android's hardware abstraction layer (HAL), the part … Read more

Source code snippets open door for raw photos on Android

Android device owners might be able to take photos in a higher-end raw format in the future, according to details tucked away in the source code for the mobile operating system.

As spotted by Ars Technica, Google programmers have been working on a revised camera interface that exposes new features to Android app programmers. Among the features in the "new camera API" (application programming interface) are support for raw photo formats and burst-mode shooting that can take a rapid sequence of photos.

It's not clear what the fate of the new interface will be. It was added … Read more

Adobe Lightroom 5.3 candidate supports hot new cameras

Adobe released a test version of Lightroom 5.3 on Friday, giving the photo editing and cataloging software support for the season's hot new cameras like the compact Canon PowerShot S120, the high-end mirrorless Fujifilm X-E2, the full-frame Nikon D610 SLR, Panasonic GM1, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and Sony A7R.

In addition, Adobe said it's squashed a number of bugs, including one that has been driving me batty where exporting photos to Flickr would hijack Lightroom so you could see only images in the Flickr publish collection unless you restarted the software. Adobe said it's fixed, and … Read more

DxO boasts Optics Pro 9 beats rivals at photo noise reduction

DxO Labs announced its new Optics Pro 9 software Wednesday, an update the company believes does a better job stripping out noise than rivals such as Adobe Photoshop and Apple Aperture.

The software's Probabilistic Raw Image Enhancement, or Prime, takes more time than other noise-reduction algorithms, but it can detect finer details and accurate color amidst the noise speckles that afflict digital photos taken at high ISO sensitivity settings. DxO said the technology goes a full stop beyond the competition, meaning that it could cut noise from a photo taken at ISO 12,800 as well as a rival … Read more

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

NSA hands Israel intelligence data on 'US persons'

Another shoe has dropped in the National Security Agency's covert mass surveillance program.

Whistleblower Edward Snowden has provided The Guardian with a document that outlines the NSA's widespread sharing of "US persons" cellular and e-mail metadata with Israel. According to The Guardian, "US persons" include US citizens, permanent residents, and anyone located in the US at the time of data interception.

The classified document, called the "Memorandum of Understanding," shows that the NSA has been providing Israeli intelligence agencies with reams of raw intelligence data, such as transcripts, phone records, and digital network information, … Read more

Apple supports raw photos from Canon's new 70D

Apple released an update Thursday that lets its Mac operating system handle raw files from Canon's new EOS 70D SLR, some new high-end compacts, and an older medium-format camera, the Pentax 645D.

Raw image formats, though proprietary, offer higher image quality and more flexibility than conventional JPEGs. Apple's support means iPhoto, Aperture, OS X, and other software can decode the raw formats from the following new cameras, according to the update:

• Canon EOS 70D

• Fujifilm X-M1

• Leica M

• Leica M Monochrom

• Nikon Coolpix P330

• Olympus Stylus XZ-10

• Pentax 645D

• Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R

• Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II

Apple software … Read more