Understanding how Digital Photography and ProRAW works

As some of you may know, I love photography. I have multiple mirrorless cameras with quite a few lenses, some being a bit on the expensive side. But the camera I use is not these cameras; they are sitting in a closet. The camera I use is my iPhone – an iPhone 12 Pro Max. It’s always with me, and it takes excellent photos. And now, with the new iPhones, I am going to have even better photos possibly! Why? ProRaw. What is ProRaw? A new format. And how does digital photography work in the first place? It isn’t magic, but it seems like it is.

Recently, I read an article that explains how digital photography works and more. It is laid out in a way that makes it easy to understand. Who wrote it? One of the developers of the most popular RAW camera for iOS – Halide. The author knows his stuff and can explain it in the most simplistic of ways. Who knows, maybe this will inspire me to create a tutorial on iPhone photography for the hobbyist, for people like me. We will see. Anyway, if you are interested in photography in general, I highly recommend this article – Understanding ProRAW.

We make the most popular RAW camera for iPhone, so when Apple revealed their new ProRAW image format, we were beyond excited.

Then they announced it’s coming to the built-in camera app.

Many developers in our shoes would freak out, thinking Apple wants to gobble up their customers. We were just confused.

Apple builds products for the broadest possible audience, and RAW is a tool for photo-nerds. These powerful files take skill to edit and come with significant tradeoffs. Why would Apple cram a complicated feature into an app meant for everyone?

As we dug deeper into ProRAW, we realized it wasn’t just about making RAW more powerful. It’s about making RAW approachable. ProRAW could very well change how everyone shoots and edits photos, beginners and experts alike.

To understand what makes it so special, the first half of this post explains how a digital camera develops a photo. Then we go on to explain the strengths and weaknesses of traditional RAWs. Finally, we dive into what’s unique about ProRAW, how it changes the game, and its few remaining drawbacks.

Grab a coffee, because this is a long read.

Again, highly recommended – Understanding ProRAW.

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