AMITIAE - Sunday 28 December 2014

Cassandra: Android RAW and iOS TIFF

apple and chopsticks


By Graham K. Rogers


With the update to iOS 8, a number of features for apps on iPhones and iPads were unlocked, including the ability to make manual controls available. Some early releases of camera apps made good use of this, for example (the aptly-named), Manual and one that appeared a few days later, Manual Cam.

A report by Steven Shankland last week on CNET, outlined the ability of apps using the latest version of Android 5.0, Lollipop, to handle RAW images. While DSLR cameras make good use of this file-type - basically the digital negative in data form - most smartphone users (and apps) save images in JPEG by default. This may be good enough for Facebook, Twitter and other such sites, but may not be the best format for the higher level output that the latest smartphones and tablets allow.

When working with my Nikon DSLR cameras I usually save in RAW format. When imported to the computer, I can adjust the image as often as I want as the version (the adjusted image) can be saved and exported, but the RAW image remains untouched. I do now save images on the Nikon as RAW + JPEG as I can then transfer images to the iPhone for immediate use, using the Eye-Fi SD card and software. I do not import the JPEGs to the Mac.

While there are several apps that can export images in the lossless PNG format, I make much use of TIFF images that can be produced using 645 Pro Mk III (and other apps from Michael Hardaker) which now also has manual controls. There are several other iOS apps available that will export to TIFF: an uncompressed image format.

Neither the lossless PNG nor the uncompressed TIFF have the advantages of RAW and the iPhone does not have this as Steven Shankland mentions. I also note the recent rumours that Kodak is to produce an Android phone: that would be a useful combination.

iPhone and Android imaging
iPhone 6 images imported to Aperture on the Mac

As much as I like the output from the iPhone, particularly the better quality that my current iPhone 6 allows, the idea of saving images to RAW as an additional option has much appeal.

What if. . . .

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.



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