It seems that the next “big thing” most photographers missed in Smartphone cameras is finally coming – RAW file format support. Up until now, we have seen many camera-phone combinations; with optical zoom (Samsung S4) or insane resolution (Nokia Pureview), but none of these allowed shooting in RAW file format. I am a big advocate of RAW since it is the only format that allows reaching maximum image quality any given camera or sensor can produce. I wrote on this topic already on my blog, so please click here to learn more on RAW file format.
CNET published an article in which Gina Scigliano, a Google spokeswoman, confirmed Android OS’s support for RAW image capture. According to CNET article, Google will expose a developer application programming interface which will allow RAW image capture. This will finally allow users to get maximum image quality from built-in cameras in smartphones and might be the final nail in the coffin of the compact camera market. With sensors like the one used in Nokia Pureview and RAW format there is basically no need for a second compact camera most DSLR users have.
Maybe a month ago Nokia announced RAW DNG support for Lumia 1020 and 1520, but these smartphones use Windows Phone OS which holds only minor market share (only around 3%). On the other side, around 70% of all the smartphones on the market use Android OS.
The exact date of the API release is still unknown as is the date of first RAW capable applications, but my guess is we won’t have to wait more than half a year.
Above: Nokia Pureview in action