With four separate cameras in its camera collision, the Galaxy S21 Ultra comes close to having a DSLR in your pocket, at least at the level of hardware. Unfortunately, when it comes to software, it’s always less than that. The pictures taken by the phone are great, don’t get me wrong, but the pro mode has always been disappointing. Now it looks like this is about to change, as Samsung has released its new Expert Raw camera app.
Samsung’s Pro Mode has already offered consumers considerable controls, but it’s limited to the primary and ultra-wide sensors, which is disappointing when we’re working with a phone that has all these incredible zoom. The hardware is there. To fix this and test some new features, Samsung has created a brand new app: Expert Raw.
Once you open the Expert Raw app, you’ll see a ProMode-like interface in a regular camera, with a few key differences. Aside from new features like the histogram in the upper right corner, perhaps the biggest change is the addition of support for both of the phone’s telephoto lenses, which we’ve been asking for since last year’s S20 Ultra and its space zoom.
Before we really start digging into this release, there’s one. By the way Important way to get out of the way: Expert Raw is currently only officially available through the Galaxy Store in South Korea. Google didn’t do a great job translating the ad for me, but it was enough for us to get a glimpse of what’s going on below the surface, and to be able to get excited about it.
First, Expert RAW will still use the phone’s HDR to add some post-processing to photos and save both a regular JPEG copy in addition to the multi-frame RAW file. This could potentially be a competitor to Apple’s ProRaw, allowing us to take advantage of the magic of this type of software on the device while still retaining the ability to edit images accurately. ۔
Samsung also talks about combining information from multiple lenses for better low light performance. These details are typically incorrect by translation, but the company seems to be testing new software processing to improve performance on ultraviolet and telephoto lenses.
The weather is bad today, so I haven’t picked up a usable specimen myself. Thankfully, Ice Universe is playing with the app, and you can see the results in the tweet above.
Once you have taken your photo, there is a shortcut to open it in Adobe Lightroom, where you can edit the photo to your liking. Samsung has also added some preset profiles for import into Lightroom, which you can download below:
All of these features are being tested in Expert Raw, but the plan is to finally get them on the main camera app. In a way, it’s like a good lock for your camera, but with a more sensible name. Samsung says Expert Raw is considered exclusively for the One UI 4, which runs the S21 Ultra, but some users have reported that it works. On S21 +. And again, since Expert Raw is now only available in South Korea, you’ll need to use APK if you live elsewhere.
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