Nokia is to roll out raw file output in its camera-focused Lumia smartphones, with the new Nokia Lumia 1520 phablet the first smartphone to introduce the universal DNG format to capture options. Wowzers.
Pocket-lint is on hand at the Nokia World in Abu Dhabi where we've been seeing the ins and outs of what's forthcoming from the Nokia Lumia Black OS update - and this announcement, which we've seen in action from capture through to Photoshop, is definitely a big one. The Lumia 1020 is also confirmed to benefit from the update, with other device updates to be confirmed.
A raw file captures all the available information, so if you want to adjust, say, white balance, exposure compensation, or shadow and highlight levels after shooting then you can. That underexposed shot can be lifted out of the shadows using all the information that's available - something you just can't do with a JPEG file as lots of the data has already been discarded in processing.
At this moment in time it doesn't appear that software to edit raw files within Windows Phone 8's Lumia Black OS will be possible, so it's something you'll have to deal with outside of the device.
Nokia's choice of raw file type is a crucial one, as the DNG format is universally recognised. Whether you're using Photoshop, Elements or other raw file converters the format will open up irrelevant of version - that means no need to update or buy into new software. Therefore nobody will be "locked out" if they want to explore the depths of raw processing.
Raw and JPEG capture is also possible. Should you happen to zoom in to the maximum when taking a snap then the 5-megapixel JPEG file will be stored, as will the full 41-megapixel scene - in the case of the 1520 - in the raw format.
It might eat up on-board storage at pace, but serious photographers won't care - this is the biggest push forward for camera tech in smartphones we've seen for some time. Exciting.