Nokia brings RAW format support to the Lumia 1520; Lumia 1020 following soon

The camera in smartphones has improved over the years to the point where you can purchase a Windows Phone with a 41MP shooter. As well as the megapixels, Nokia also includes numerous features that come together to create a superb experience when snapping those special moments.

The company is now looking to bring in RAW image format support. 

This will be a first for smartphones, according to a blog post over on Nokia Conversations. The Lumia 1520 (and Lumia 1020 in time) will be able to save photos in lossless DNG (Digital Negative) format. But what does this mean for the average consumer and enthusiast? What's the difference between DNG and JPEG (the latter is currently used for saving images)?

RAW format essentially enables you to work with the images and develop them post-capture. When saving in JPEG format, the smartphone carries out the processing to enable you to save and share the end results on social media and more. With the RAW files, Nokia will allow you to define the likes of noise filtering, tone mapping and sharpening on a PC.

This is quite the advancement as not even point-and-shoot cameras support the format.

Say hello to the new DNG format.

What's more is you'll be able to fine tune settings and achieve some interesting effects. There's also some future proofing with RAW. Algorithms may alter in the future, enabling you to revisit photos captured with the Lumia Windows Phones to work with advanced technology. The Lumia 1520, Lumia 1020 (with an update to the Nokia Camera app - coming soon) will have the setting turned off by default, just in case you're not wanting it.

Good news is should you be an average user and don't require the format, you won't have to use it. Simply continue with saving JPEGs and you're golden. However, should you wish to go advance, the RAW DNG format comes alongside a 5MP oversampled image. You have the high quality JPEG for sharing and RAW image files for USB transfer and PC processing.

Shot with a Lumia 1020

Juha Alakarhu, head of imaging technologies at Nokia, commented the following:

"This is one of the most exciting announcements of the week for me personally. It has been a key request from so many of our users for a long time now. People who are passionate about photography can be more creative and do more with the images from their Lumia than ever before."

Of course, Adobe is behind the RAW format. Here's what Winston Hendrickson, vice president of products, Creative Media Solutions at the company had to say on Nokia's announcement:

"Adobe is excited to see Nokia be the first to bring advanced, raw imaging technology to the smart phone market by utilizing the openly documented Digital Negative (DNG) format as part of their leadership efforts. By adding DNG support within the Nokia Lumia 1020 and Lumia 1520, Nokia is dramatically improving the artistic control and flexibility available to their customers."

Source: Nokia Conversations

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.