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iPhone 12 & Apple ProRaw

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Active Member
Mar 20, 2011
Glasgow, UK
Lightroom Experience
Lightroom Version
Lightroom Version Number
Lr Classic
Operating System
  1. macOS 10.15 Catalina
A question about raw photos on phone cameras and how this bears on the choice between an iPhone 11pro and 12pro.

My wife has a better eye than I, irritatingly, but whereas I use an SLR she uses her iPhone.

We're considering upgrading from her iPhone 6s to either SE, 11pro, or 12pro.

The SE lacks night mode, which looks like it's worth having (please say if you disagree), so I'm veering away from it. It also has fewer lenses.

The 11pro looks very good, but the more expensive 12pro has proRaw. I shoot in raw on my SLR, and edit in Lr Classic, but have never shot in raw on phones, so it's hard for me to assess how much of an advantage this is.

So one question is with proRaw is worth the extra money of the 12pro over the 11pro?

Googling suggests my wife could shoot in raw even on the 11pro using the Lr or other app on the phone. But I also get the impression that proRaw might be better because all of Apple's computational wizadry (nightmode, portrait bokah, deep fusion, HDR) is built into the apple raw image that would not be built into the non-apple raw image. In other words, I take it, the DNG you'd get from proRaw would be a better place to start editing from than the DNG you'd get from the Lr app. Is that right?

And, final question, and a crucial one for me: even if that is true -- i.e. that things are done to the apple raw image that makes it, even though impressively editable, a better first pass than any other raw image you'll get from an iPhone, are those advantages lost as soon as you export the image into Lr Classic, which is where I would do the editing of the image.

Actually, one more question. If shooting in raw on the iPhone is a pain, my wife won't do it. She just likes taking the pictures. But I take it she can just export any raw pictures she wants to whatsapp to someone, say, as jpegs if she wants to?

Thanks all!

Hi David, we could try to put words to your question, but you could start with this petapixel review and see what you think.
I got the iPhone 11 last year, but now I would absolutely choose the 12pro.

Do make sure you don’t miss this part, as it’s relevant to your wife’s requirements:
“The main downsides to using the new format are the same as any other RAW file: storage space and processing. ProRAW DNGs are anywhere from 10x to 20x larger than their HEIC counterparts, especially when shooting in Night Mode, and the images need to be converted before you can share them on most social media.”
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