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With the release of iOS 14.3, the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max get Apple’s new raw photo format called ProRaw. The new file lets you have the customization of a raw file built atop the iPhone’s computational photo smarts. For the past few weeks, I’ve been testing out the new feature and I’m impressed at how ProRaw transformed my phone photography. ProRaw is as significant a camera addition as the faster aperture lens Apple added to the main cameras on the iPhone 12 family and the new sensor-based stabilization found on the iPhone 12 Pro Max .
Read more: iOS 14.3: These are 16 iPhone features you’ll use every day
ProRaw works on all four iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max cameras. It uses the widely supported Adobe Digital Negative, or DNG, file format and contains information for 12-bit color and support for 14 stops of dynamic range. The approach Apple took with ProRaw is similar to how Google saves raw files built from HDR Plus on Pixel phones. ProRaw files are created from multiple image frames and contain the data from the best parts of those photos. Deep Fusion analyzes those images pixel by pixel to create a deep photo file. The A14 Bionic does all of this analysis in real time without causing shutter lag.
The release of iOS 14.3 brings with it ProRaw photo support on the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max. Once you enable ProRaw, you’ll see a new “RAW” button on the top right side of the native camera app.
There are several notable differences between taking a raw photo on an iPhone and a ProRaw photo. The first is that you can only take raw photos using a third-party app like Halide or Moment. ProRaw photos can be taken using the default Camera app. Next, ProRaw files are large. For example, I took a photo of the same subject using each file format on the iPhone 12 Pro Max. The HEIC file was 5.2 megabytes, the JPEG was 6.8MB, the raw photo (taken with the Moment app) was 16.5MB and the ProRaw photo was…