Had a chance today to test out shooting RAW from my new iPhone 7. I’m kinda bummed the native Camera app doesn’t allow shooting RAW, but at least I was able to do it with Mobile Lightroom. Here’s a few examples of how you can pull out details much better with RAW than you can with standard JPEG. I’ve put the “as shot” originals either on the left or in the middle for comparison. If you’re viewing on a small mobile phone, “left” = first image.

All of these shots are done with the Telephoto f/2.8 lens. I am not running the Beta software with the Portrait setting that adds depth of field, so there isn’t much bokeh.

TIP: Click the images to view them enlarged and in the lightbox mode. You can then toggle between them using the arrows for better comparison.

#1 – IAME X30 Engine

This one is fairly basic, but you can see the highlights on the original photo on the left are blown out. The version on the right was processed in Lightroom to pull the highlights down. Because this shot was a little backlit, the engine is a bit flat, but there’s tons of dynamic range in the RAW file that allowed me to pull out far more contrast.

#2 – Aluminos Sonoma Chassis

Highlight detail is far more obvious in this one. You can see how they are totally blown out in the original on the left, but the edited version on the right shows a lot more detail and you can see the modeling of the metal.

#3 – Fisker Karma

Check out the sweet ride that showed up at the track today – I just had to snap a quick shot of it. Not the best photo, but a good demonstration of RAW. Check out the mountains that are totally gone in the original in the middle, but far more visible in both of the edited versions. Also, the shadows in the wheels were able to be brightened up using Lightroom’s Adjustment Brush feature. A JPEG would never have that much detail available to pull out, based on the original exposure.

#4 – Kyle and Zia Learning from Brett

This is a really horrible shot, but I purposely positioned the camera directly toward the sun to see how much detail I could extract. Not only was the original exposure terrible, I also did a crappy job of framing the shot so I couldn’t resist cropping for the tests. You kinda need to look at this one on a large monitor to see how the subtle gradients turned out in the sun burst.

Overall, I’m just really happy that RAW is finally available on iPhone. I’ve always shot RAW on my DSLR and although I’m about to start bloating the storage on both my devices and iCloud Photo Library, the "Optimize Storage" option on iOS devices is a nice way to keep the capacities manageable. Now, if I can only figure out how to move the RAW files out of Lightroom and into iCloud…