Images are surfacing across the internet of a mystery Windows Phone from HTC that appears to be sporting a 12mp camera. This just days after rumors surfaced of a 16MP HTC device called 'Bresson'--at least 12MP sounds a bit more realistic. Another interesting revelation from the images is that this camera has RAW support. For those not familiar with RAW image files, they are unprocessed by the camera. JPEG images receive a good deal of "in-camera" processing" while RAW images rely on post-processing from the photo editing software of your choice. I often describe RAW as a digital negative.
While the prospect of a 12mp camera with RAW support is interesting, the screen shots also give rise to some questions. RAW is an image format, why is it not listed under the resolution settings? You also see an Exposure Metering Mode that is set to a frame average. Could this be a bracketing setting (taking a series of the same shot at progressive exposure settings)?
Granted these screens could be entirely different if this mystery Windows Phone ever sees the light of day but as someone who has spent a good deal of time around a camera, right now these images give me pause. Unless HTC has moved to a larger sensor, I'm hesistant to get too excited over a 12mp phone camera. You can only fit so many pixels on a sensor and when you pass that mark, image quality begins to suffer.
Plus RAW files are huge compared to JPEG because of the lack of file compression. It's not uncommon for a RAW file to be 10mb in size and that will require a hefty amount of on-board storage or a removable storage method for this to be practical.
Still, if these images hold true, some of these settings may bring the phone camera closer to the abilities of a stand alone digital camera.