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The Samsung RAW Expert app for the Galaxy S22 Galaxy S21 series’ cameras lets you have DSLR-level control over many of the core camera functions instead of relying on the built-in computational algorithms in Auto mode that most of us do when taking a shot.
The two main culprits behind the app’s development – Hamid Sheikh, Head of the Intelligent Imaging Team at Samsung Research America’s (SRA) Mobile Processor Innovation (MPI) Lab, and Girish Kulkarni, Head of the Camera Solutions Group at the Samsung R&D Institute India- Bangalore (SRI-B), – sat down for an interview and divulged how Samsung’s RAW Expert camera app came to be.
The Expert RAW camera app was the result of a major cross-team project at Samsung
Q: What does the Expert RAW app do? What are the main benefits for users?
Hamid: Expert RAW really gives users the ability to take full control of their mobile photography experience much like a professional photographer would. The app captures much more comprehensive data for each image, which can be used to both improve photos and artistically enhance them with editing software like Adobe Lightroom – the go-to app for professional photographers. To improve the overall camera experience, we worked closely with Adobe to tightly couple Expert RAW with Lightroom. The result is that photographers have full control over their creative experience. Novice photographers can also utilize automatic set points for camera controls, and then use the Samsung-specific default values in Lightroom. In both cases, the tight integration of the two apps makes for an enjoyable experience.
With Expert RAW, people can capture much more information in a single picture – from dark details to bright highlights. It also drastically reduces noise and increases sharpness and detail. If you’re looking for the ultimate creative controls, you can choose your own settings for aspects like ISO, shutter speed, white balance, EV and focus, and even choose which lenses you want to use for the subject and the scene. Finally, because both JPEG and DNG files are saved when shooting, you can hop right into the Adobe Lightroom app on your smartphone or PC and edit with ease.
On the other hand, they had to wait for the “leaps in computational and AI capabilities of today’s mobile processors” that now make such complex image processing calculations possible. The app’s developers chimed in on the importance of their creation for the future of phone cameras, too:
The Expert RAW camera app interface
What makes Expert RAW such an important release for mobile photography in general?
Hamid: The camera experience is one of the most important experiences that a user has with his or her smartphone. Samsung has been at the cutting edge of camera quality, and the gap between consumers and professional/enthusiast photographers has always been a tempting one to bridge.
I think with the release of Expert RAW, users will find that their photography experience will take a quantum leap in terms of creative control and artistic expression. I expect more and more people will find this new experience rewarding because it lets them personalize their camera based on their tastes – exactly how they want them – and not based on what some other engineers chose for them.
Girish: As an app, this platform has simplified the RAW capturing process with precise camera and lens controls and post-editing with Adobe Lightroom. It’s for every user who is willing to go beyond – to unleash the true power of an Expert RAW camera, and explore their creative side.