We Tried The Apple ProRAW format on iPhone 12 Pro Max, See the results

We Tried The Apple ProRAW format on iPhone 12 Pro Max, See the results

The iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max smartphones, along with the launch of iOS 14.3, received support for shooting in Apple ProRAW. We have already described in detail what this format is, and now we have filmed in it and share the results.

How to enable shooting in Apple ProRAW on iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max

 

  • Open “Settings”.
  • Go to the “Camera” section.
  • In the “Formats” menu you need to activate the Apple ProRAW option.
  • The ProRAW button will then appear in the camera viewfinder.

 

What, when and why we filmed

Demonstrating the advantages of the Apple ProRAW format in clear sunny weather with good lighting is pointless. In such conditions, most smartphones and the iPhone itself will demonstrate themselves well in the JPEG / HEIC save mode. To unleash the full potential of shooting in RAW, you need scenes with difficult lighting: twilight, backlight, light drops, and more. This is necessary in order to draw out as much detail as possible in overexposed and underexposed areas of the image.

 

Scene 1: well yard, early evening

Apple ProRAW

What’s here: the sky is “knocked out” due to overexposure, and the perimeter of the building is clearly underexposed, there are too many shadows, especially at the edges of the frame. What we do: Draw out the overall exposure, and then draw out the details using the parameters “brightness”, “shadows” and “black”. After that add some saturation with Saturation and Vibrance. I didn’t pull out too many shadows to preserve the atmosphere of the shot, but there was still room for that.

 

Scene 2: dusk, street, bright lights

Apple ProRAW
Before

Apple ProRAW
After

What’s here: the smartphone has balanced the scene too much and the buildings have lost detail. What we do: we apply almost the same settings to the previous case, but do not touch the color enhancers, since everything is in order with the color saturation in this frame.

Scene 3: well yard, dusk

Apple ProRAW

What we see: it became even darker, the remainder of the glow in the sky is overexposed, and the perimeter of the building plunged into darkness. What we do: Bring out the details from the shadows, and then darken the sky to make the dynamic range wider. Thus, the picture will look less flat, and besides that, we will add a little more sharpness, which is lacking at the edges of the frame. It was perceptibly “eaten” by the ultra-wide-angle lens. According to the result, you can’t even say that the picture was taken at dusk, but soon it is early evening.

 

Scene 4: park, night

Apple ProRAW

What we see: the lack of detail at the top of the image. They were knocked out by the glow of the lanterns on the sides of the path. What we do: Draw out the shadows and lower the black level. Our task is not to overexpose the lower part of the image, to preserve the readability of the Gazprom Arena and not to hammer the sky into a blue mess, while preserving the texture of the clouds.

 

Scene 5: well yard, night

Apple ProRAW
Before

Apple ProRAW

After

What we see: dark, like a cat’s in the armpits. Objective: to get the details all over the frame in order to see at least something other than a piece of the night sky. What we do: take out everything! Pull the exposure to the level until the artifacts come in, and then pull out the shadows and lower the black level.

 

Scene 6: street, night, illuminated by signs

Apple ProRAW
To

Apple ProRAW
After

In this frame, the task is very simple: you need to maintain the window’s illumination level, but at the same time pull out the details from the darkened area on the right.

 

Scene 7: cloudy weather

Apple ProRAW
To

Apple ProRAW
After

What we see: there is no desire to say that this is some kind of “problem” picture, but I want to add atmosphere to it. To do this, you need to lighten the foreground a little and darken the sky, making it more dramatic.

 

Scene 8: clear weather, street, good lighting

Apple ProRAW

As a final example, I will add one shot in good lighting conditions. Thus, I emphasize that shooting with Apple ProRaw adds even more space for editing and creative processing.

 

As an afterword

Instead of a conclusion, I will add the thesis that I voiced earlier. If you shoot a lot and then tweak your footage with desktop apps like Lighroom, Pixelmator, and more, then Apple ProRAW is definitely worth a try. Not without a fly in the ointment. So, for example, the DNG format from the iPhone 12 Pro Max did not want to “wind up” in my usual Capture One, I had to distill it into TIFF. I suspect that this is primarily a C1 flaw, perhaps the problem will be fixed by an update.

Do not bother with shooting in ProRAW for those who perform all the basic manipulations with color correction directly on their smartphone and then post their pictures on Instagram. In such a scenario, you will not get any advantages, but on the contrary: the file weight is greater, for example. And the end audience in social networks simply will not see all the advantages, since they will be “eaten” by the platform compression algorithms.

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