Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge – Shooting in RAW – Editorial

  
This is my final part of the S7 Edge camera review. In this part I will cover off using the Pro Mode and RAW images. 

The above shot is full auto with HDR activated. I then took the same shot in the Pro mode and extracted the RAW image into Adobe Lightroom on my Mac to see whether the RAW image could be improved. After a few quick edits and conversion to a jpeg I achieved the shot below. 

  
Is this better than full auto. Not sure to be honest. What do you think?

I then tried using 3 raw images with 3 different EV exposures. -2, 0 and +2. The aim to combine them in Lightroom using the HDR option. Sadly, Lightroom would not perform this merge as it produced an error message data not available in images to perform HDR merge. 

My next option was using another Mac app, Photomatix 5 HDR. For this I combined 3 raw images with different exposures. This was a non runner as the boat name running along the edge was not aligned. This was despite the S7 Edge being on a tripod. This was very disappointing as this app produces amazing images. 

So was the effort of shooting in raw worth it? No in my opinion. Just use a normal jpeg and edit in snapseed or similar and create this shot below. 

  
So at the moment I cannot see any benefit in using RAW with this Phone. 

On Monday, my full review of the S7 Edge will be live. This will include by audio findings and my view of the S7 Edge “experience”. 

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16 thoughts on “Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge – Shooting in RAW – Editorial

  1. Thank you Gavin for at the very least attempting to show RAW shooting with the S7.

    I completely agree in that not only did it not produce a greater shot but I have never been a fan of RAW with smartphones. The sensor and other hardware simply can not preserve the levels required of RAW format.
    The whole idea of RAW is to produce an image that has greater control.
    When shooting in a format like JPEG, image information is compressed and lost. Because no information is compressed with RAW you’re able to produce higher quality images, as well as correct problem images that would be unrecoverable if shot in the JPEG format.
    With lighting JPEG records 256 levels of brightness, whereas RAW records between 4,096 to 16,384 levels!
    The same is with exposure where with a JPEG you can only pull back so much out of an underexposed and dark shot. The idea of RAW is to be able to grab all what lies in dark area of a shot and bring out all the detail that is temporarily lost. To be honest I find the iPhone is better in this area, it saves a greater amount of data which initially can not be seen ~ thus giving the indication of it being an inferior shot over say the S7.

    With the S7 (and any other smartphone), no way is any of this evident. It simply does not have the scope to fulfill RAW properties. You may just as well do as you say and use Snapseed or any other editor to pull back any lost data.

    On that ~ my favourite in iOS for editing exposure is ACDSee. It is tremendous at altering various light segments both darks and lights. It also has a much greater control with the primary colours and much other areas.
    It’s only issue is it saves the files as a JPEG, but for working on smartphone images it is ideal in mimicking RAW editing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Update on my comment on ACDSee:- It had an update yesterday and I am very happy to say it now supports TIFF and JPEG at various levels of compression.
      Well worth a look.
      Go for the £0.79 version which at the moment is free. If you like it go Pro. However for most editing you can get away with the free version.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. What you’re missing here is that the RAW needs to be processed by something that understands it. That’s the only time those levels become really useful. Within the “I took it and published it with the camera” zone, the most important user setting for4 a general photo is a JPEG quality setting.

      However, those levels – the actual range of the sensor – within the context of shooting with the phone – are what allow HDR-like dynamic range control. So they’re not useless, they’re just only useful in the sense that the phone uses them to give you more styles of shooting.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Gavin! I find the area RAW really excels on the S7 is in low-light shooting, the details are amazing! I took a photo with some dishes and using a very dim salt lamp on the bench. I took the RAW file into Snapseed and edited it a bit. S7 camera has phenomenal low-light performance!

    Mike, “To be honest I find the iPhone is better in this area, it saves a greater amount of data which initially can not be seen ~ thus giving the indication of it being an inferior shot over say the S7.” – have you tried the S7? Technically speaking the camera sensor is superior to the iPhone 6S sensor. Not only is the sensor itself much bigger, increasing the size of the pixels, the dual pixels themselves all work to find focus, the aperture is also f1.7. And to top it off it also has fantastic O.I.S. I have also been able to pull fine details out of dark areas on my S7 using Light Room and Snapseed. My previous Note 4 camera (which was no slouch mind you) wasn’t quite as good at this.

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    1. Hi Damien. I had a firmware update last night and took some more photos today. The sharpening is slightly less aggressive and I took some shots in RAW again and was surprised that they were improved. How did you import file into snapseed. I can’t seem to do it?

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  3. Hi Damien,
    Yes, I concur. As I mentioned in my opening message the iPhone camera is indeed better than what the default camera app shows.
    It protects levels of light and dark (exposure) much better which in turn requires editing to lift as required.
    Apple could harness this much better if they wrote software similar to HDR whereby allowing you to raise and lower light and dark areas before shooting.

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  4. I like the raw image better than the default auto. The sharpening is less, just see how natural the light reflecting off the water appears leading to the ferry. Also see the extra detail in the struts of the railings in the ramp to the left of the ferry. Those struts aren’t even visible in the auto shot. As for editing the jpg in snapseed, you can’t tone down the sharpening already applied in the auto shot.

    You have a 10 bit file to play with vs an 8 bit one. So snapseed on 8 bits cannot access the extra info from 10 bits.

    Key with raw is how you process it. Less is more like with most post processing.

    The question is whether you should shoot raw or how often, depends. I think with landscapes in good light there is a good reason to do so. In less light maybe not as much. If you wanted to print your photos there is more to play with. If post processing is required. The differences are there but are subtle so might not be worth the extra work. Upto you.

    Vincent posted these comparisons some time ago which show the subtle differences that can be gained out of raw with the g4 & s6e.

    LG G4 - RAW (DNG) shot
    Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ RAW (DNG) shot

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  5. “So at the moment I cannot see any benefit in using RAW with this Phone. ”

    Processing raw files does now only limit to merging 3 different exposed images. I truly find the raw dng capture on S7 very useful, being able to preserve all the finedetails and sharpess, taking control on the overall exposure, and the true colors that are captured the sensor are stored by each dng files.

    It would really depends on you on how you would like your image to look like, you alll have the freedom. you migh want to install lightroom on your phone and process your dng files in there,.i suggest you play with the highlights(reduce it a bit) and shadows(increase if to reveal shadow details), if youd like your image to have a HDR look. I was able to capture beautiful, colorful, high dynamic range , landscapes with this camera . You might want to read more about raw shooting to appreciate the capabilities of this awesome small camera. 🙂

    Cheers

    Like

  6. “So at the moment I cannot see any benefit in using RAW with this Phone. ”

    Processing raw files does now only limit to merging 3 different exposed images. I truly find the raw dng capture on S7 very useful, being able to preserve all the finedetails and sharpess, taking control on the overall exposure, and the true colors that are captured the sensor are stored by each dng files.

    It would really depends on you on how you would like your image to look like, you alll have the freedom. you migh want to install lightroom on your phone and process your dng files in there,.i suggest you play with the highlights(reduce it a bit) and shadows(increase if to reveal shadow details), if youd like your image to have a HDR look. I was able to capture beautiful, colorful, high dynamic range , landscapes with this camera . You might want to read more about raw shooting to appreciate the capabilities of this awesome small camera

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  7. In most cases I shoot Full Auto with HDR on as you suggest. My problem with this is what appears to be excessive over-sharpening of the jpeg. This is most obvious in small detail like leaves and grass. For this reason, I tested the RAW files for myself, since on my dslr that’s all I ever shoot. But the noise level is pretty bad in shadow and by the time I reduce the noise, bring up shadow detail, and sharpen minimally, I still end up with a less satisfactory image than the phone’s own jpeg creation.
    So if we aren’t at the stage yet where we can have adequate RAW files on the phone, I’d love for Samsung to allow us to adjust the level of sharpening applied to the jpegs. That would be a good intermediate step.
    Thanks for the review.

    Like

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