Working with the Rawer app. Edit raw .DNG on your Lumia

The Nokia Lumia 1020, 1520 and 930 will let you shoot in raw .DNG format, which will provide you with a professional digital negative. It will enable you to work with your shot in detail using programs like Photoshop or Lightroom. With the Rawer app, you can open and edit on your phone. How does it work?

Personally, I hardly ever shoot in raw .DNG. I do admire the patience of people who do - and their results! - but I usually rely on the device itself. Also, comparing smartphone cameras becomes very hard if you're going to include computer editing with the results of one of them. So in general, I use and compare what I get from the cams directly. And I rarely edit my shots on devices either, althought I must say that Samsung has provided the Galaxy K Zoom with some very interesting software to do so (more on that in a later post).

Recently though, I captured a few shots on the Amstel River in Amsterdam with the Lumia 1020 (you've seen one already in my previous post). The light was quite difficult, so I decided to shoot in raw as well. And I suddenly remembered I heard about an app to edit raw .DNG shots on your Lumia, called Rawer. So I decided to give it a try. First, here's the (resized) shot the way the 1020 captures it in 5MP.

This is still the result as "coming directly from the device". I don't have a 34MP high-res result, but a 41MB large digital negative. When I start the Rawer application on my device, it will first start looking for those files

In my case, he found three different raw shots

After choosing the one I wanted to edit, it will take some time to open the file, but not as much as I feared. Also, the app will let you know its busy.

And to avoid you might think it doesn't do a thing, it will show you one more line like


I saw a few different versions, I won't bother you with more screenshots of those. Here's the edit screen you'll see after a few seconds, showing the editing options the app provides you with

In general, those are the "standard" tools you might want to see in every editing application. A slider let's you control the amount of the effect you'd like to apply. For instance Exposure

There's a smart other button (on the bottom left) that will show the difference before and after you apply the effect in the shot

It will even let you zoom in a bit so you´ll be even more sure what you´re doing (it's not easy to see on a small screen).

There's another option that will show you the details of your shot, but in the application - it tells you it rendered your raw .DNG result into an 8MP result.

It will give you additional info below that (aperture used, ISO, shutter, time, manufactor, model, etc) and I'm sure you'll believe me without a screenshot.

Now what does it DO in fact? To compare that with the original 5MP output of the Lumia 1020, I blew that up to 8MP as well. First, you'll see the resized version of that, directly followed by two edited versions of the raw .DNG file: one with added exposure (first) and with added sharpness (second) 

Now these are all resized to 640 x 360 pixels and that doesn't really tell us much (all originals are on Flickr, of course). So let's have a look at the crops of all these three shots. The blown up original (5MP to 8MP) first, than the raw file with added exposure second, added sharpness third.

Now it's just one example and not much more than a first try even, but I think it looks like there's a kind of hue in both edited originals. Mind you: these are just two edits of the digital negative, not of the 5MP shot I got directly from the Lumia 1020 (and blew up to 8MP just to compare). It's obvious I've been overdoing it with the sharpness - so I won't blame the application for that. Also, it wouldn´t be fair to expect the same functionality from a €2 application as from way more expensive software like Lightroom or Photoshop. And I think it´s quite impressive that Rawer is able the work fluently with large files like these at all.

Practice makes perfect, although I'm not sure if Rawer will give me the tools to realize a result that's actually better than the Lumia 1020 already gave me in 5MP. But it's certainly fun to play with and gives me one more reason to do more raw shooting with my Lumia´s anyway. Worth a try I´d say. You can find it in the Store or here. I'm looking forward to read about your experience as well. You'll find the original shots in a dedicated set on Flickr, where I will add other edits later on.

PS I just noticed Nokia Conversations published about the same app a few days ago...