Photographer Austin Mann Demos iPhone 12 Pro ProRAW Capabilities

Photographer Austin Mann, who is known for his camera-focused reviews of Apple's iPhones, today shared details on ProRAW, the new format that Apple enabled for the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max with the iOS 14.3 update yesterday.

austin mann proraw
ProRAW is a RAW format for iPhone that also takes advantage of all of the computational photography features that Apple builds into the ‌iPhone‌. As Mann explains, it combines the computations necessary for accurate imaging with user control over preference parameters like white balance, noise reduction, sharpening, and more.

To test the new ProRAW feature, Mann used the iPhone 12 Pro Max to shoot a meteor shower at night. He took the same photo in both ProRAW and standard mode and edited the photos in Lightroom. The ProRAW version captures more detail in the sky, highlighting the stars that were erased by noise reduction in the standard image.

austin mann proraw comparison

Standard HEIC image on left, ProRAW image on right

Mann includes a video on the benefits of ProRAW when it comes to HDR scenes that have bright sunlight and shadows, as well as the expanded color range. Images shot in ProRAW are 12-bit color, allowing for more nuanced shades and a significant improvement in color depth.

With 12-bit color, 14 stops of dynamic range, and dramatically more creative control, Apple ProRAW is a massive leap forward in professional imaging with ‌iPhone‌. I'm now comfortable relying on my ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌ to capture a strong photograph in virtually any light conditions because I know I'm able to custom tailor the processing to my taste, instead of relying on computational generalizations designed for most users.

According to Mann, shooting in ProRAW makes the most sense in extreme scenarios where Apple's general algorithms are unable to do all the work. Indoor mixed lighting, extreme low light, and super high dynamic range images have the potential to benefit from ProRAW settings.

Mann points out that ProRAW files must be edited and are not ready to be shared straight out of the camera, and the feature is not available in Portrait or Panoramic mode. Mann has additional tips on shooting in ProRAW in his full piece on the new feature.

Related Roundup: iPhone 12 Pro

Top Rated Comments

citysnaps Avatar
5 weeks ago


I agree. If you're a photographer or simply really into photography (or heck, even just night shots), why spend $1400 on a phone when the same amount (or easily less) on a DSLR will yield far, far better results.

I have several dSLRs, an Arca-Swiss 4x5, and an iPhone which I've been using exclusively for the past five years. It's always with me in my shirt pocket, ready at an instant to make photographs. That's why. Below is a recent photo.

Can't wait to get 14.3 loaded on my 12 Pro for ProRaw. That will likely open up a ton of opportunities for me.



Attachment Image
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rmoliv Avatar
5 weeks ago
Low-light and night photography has still a long way to go on phones.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
contacos Avatar
5 weeks ago
Looks great! But I am scared my relatives will enable this only to complain half a year later how they cannot open their photos on their toshiba laptops or printing stations at the super market ? just like HEIC
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
locrumo Avatar
5 weeks ago
Pictures are small and the quality is awful and people are saying woow because of iphone and ProRAW. LOL
hypehpehype
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
hoodlum90 Avatar
5 weeks ago
Halide posted a detailed update today on how ProRAW works.

https://blog.halide.cam/understanding-proraw-4eed556d4c54
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HiRez Avatar
5 weeks ago


I agree. If you're a photographer or simply really into photography (or heck, even just night shots), why spend $1400 on a phone when the same amount (or easily less) on a DSLR will yield far, far better results.

I live in a rural area and have a great view of the sky. I would love to have the time to learn more about night photography and take some great shots. We have the most awesome views of the moon a few times every single month.

Well because even photographers aren't going to have their pro cameras with them all the time but still find themselves with interesting opportunities. I'm not a pro photographer, but I shoot with a Nikon and some expensive glass and also have a much more compact Ricoh GRIII, which is great, but I still find myself in a lot of situations where my iPhone is all I've got, so having it be capable of taking better photos, and editing them later in Lightroom, is very appealing.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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