Another looking for a decent RAW/DNG smartphone/mobilephone/cameraphone

Hi excellent forum

I posted back in 2020 about the ins and out using RT (and ART) on DNGs from a Huawei P30 Pro with a lot of help and I sorted out the colours and vignetting thanks to the forum here at PixelUS. The only things I never could fix was the amusing strange artefacts the Huawei made which has been called worming and that’s is a good description. On macro/close-ups looked at 100% the weird things happens. In any case I gave up and resigned myself to this as a fact of life and a result of great marketing from Huawei - proudly supported by various reviewers who obvious where more interested in the clicks and the hype than the facts. No blame just me complaining a bit…I wanted a phone which could take pictures in RAW (DNG) and I thought I had found one (Huawei P30 Pro). Now I love my phone (if that is the right word) but now it is time to move on there will be/are no more security updates for this phone. The phone still works perfectly, hardly a scratch, when I test newer flagships I am underwhelmed but with payment apps, banking apps, ID apps it really is necessary (or at least I believe it is) to have a fully updated stock phone. It is a bit hard to accept when I normally use all my stuff until the wheels fall off. I mean my favourite leather jacket is from the 90s and I still have my merino woollies from when I went to Uni in the 80s and they are still like “new” (I live in a cold Scandinavian country) as I found out when the gas prices went crazy this autumn all over Europe and turning the heat down meant finding those woollies again. Saves a lot of CO2 too…

So while looking for a new phone with raw capabilities I turned to Camera2Probe so see who can do the camera 2 api thing and I trawled this website. I especially liked jorismak. who back in Jan '21 had a post with…“I’m going to be blunt here, but it’s clear you don’t really understand what you’re saying.” as he/she was obviously also talking to me.

What I did was to give up on reviews and marketing numbers hype and instead look the horse in the mouth (or try to) and simply compare DNGs from various phones which I found in this forum and elsewhere on the great wide web in RT - looked at them at 200% and…It seems to me that my present phone, the Huawei P30 Pro, actually has the worst/highest level of artefacts of them all - with Samsung S20-S21 a distant 2nd, with not much difference to the way cheaper Samsung A52 and the rest but the Pixel 6 actually looks very decent indeed when compared to a Nikon D7100 NEF. Would that be a good factual conclusion to make…?

If you want a decent RAW/DNG go with a Pixel?

Screenshots from RT at 200%
Huawei P30 Pro

Samsung S21 Ultra

Samsung S21 FE

Samsung S21

Samsung A52

OnePlus Nord

Pixel 3a


Pixel 6

Nikon D7100

I can only say that my Pixel 4a DNGs need to be heavily compensated. After that the details seem to be pretty decent but the compensation part is tough. There’s significant distortion, vignette and green tint.

The vignetting and green tint is caused by lens shading, and the data needed to correct it is embedded in the DNG file. The correction is currently supported by ART - in the Raw tab, enable ‘Flat-Field’ and check ‘Embedded in metadata’, and that should fix it.


@paolod has a great script to use with his dngpreprocess that will apply the gain maps so you can use them in DT…a quick way to check it out is to use ART as described above


Ah, that explains why the raw file appears compensated in Snapseed. I hope one day the feature would make it to DT. Sorry for hijacking the topic then. :slightly_smiling_face:

I have been working on an implementation for DT, hopefully can get it into the next release 4.0.


It’s a hack but try the lens correction for the Huawei P10 or p20…handles the vignette correction pretty well at least for 3aXL

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HI Thank you for the participation and good thing there was some issues/solutions. This forum is a goldmine for that. Back to the hardware though. If any body has a view on the what phone makes the cleanest DNG without strange crystals/worm artifacts I would very much like to hear them. Also if any body as a close up of anything in RAW/DNG from a Samsung S21 or a Pixel 4-5-6 that would be great too - then I can look at them myself. It still seem very difficult to find the truth about the phone camera quality as so much is done in the workings of the software in the phone itself.

For the Pixel phones, if you use the default Google Camera app, it will always shoot multiple raw frames internally and stack / average them to reduce noise. This process can sometimes produce artifacts - if something moved during a long exposure it may have to use less frames from that area to avoid blur, resulting in that area being noisier. But you can always use a third party camera app that supports raw, which will just save a single frame directly from the camera without any further processing. This would have more noise and less dynamic range, but should not have any artifacts at all.

Another possible source of artifacts is the remosaicing process applied to images from 48MP or 64MP ‘quad bayer’ sensors. This is not an issue for 12MP or 16MP sensors that use the normal bayer pattern.

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Even the default Google Camera app supports single frame raws. These are then stored in a separate folder.

Even if night mode is not enabled, those RAWs are still not generated from a single frame - they have a white level near 16384, so are 14 bit resolution. A single frame captured directly from the camera hardware, as output by Open Camera for example, has a white level of 1023 because the actual sensor is only 10 bit resolution.


What happens if you shoot with open camera or another camera app on your Huawei…just curious. It sounds like there is sharpening applied when you say worm like artifacts that is something RL deconvution that is too strong. Are the perhaps settings if you dig deep that you could disable?? Worth a try before spending more money

One other thought maybe try all the various demosaic options…you might stumble on better results?? Can you share one of those wormy shots?? My wife’s old LG doesn’t natively takes raws but when she uses a certain zoom and lens selection her JPG files are really bad with those artifacts…I’m just curious about what the choice of demosaic aligorithm might produce

Hi priort - thank you for suggesting to use a non native camera app for RAW. I did try that back in the day and ended up with only Adobe Lightroom Mobile being able to shoot in RAW - but only from the wide camera. I gave it another go now to see if something had changed over time - starting with the always mentioned Open Camera and then 4 others which supposedly also use the camera2 api. I then side loaded the mythical Google Camera in several versions after a bit of a dive down the rabbit hole made by numerous bloggers (oh dear) - best advices and links were on XDA - not surprise there. However none of them can take RAW on the Huawei P30 Pro as far as I can see (?). I should mention that the Camera2 test app only gives the Camera2 api a limited but I thought that meant RAW was fine but no bells and whistles otherwise (like the LRM camera).
Comparing the native and LRM RAWs in Rawtherapee look much the same to me. Native app lifts the light a fair bit more than the LRM but the funnies are the same. I am just not in over the technicalities enough to understand much of the inner doings of the sensor, quad, bayer, build, binning, stacking and all that so perhaps I simply expect too much from a mobile phone sensor (victim of the hype). Not giving up finding a better phone just yet, or least a phone which doesn’t make things up a long the way - would anybody be willing to point me to a sample gallery with RAWs of the phone you think is a good RAW shooter. At this point it seems like it could be a Pixel or perhaps a Sony?

That is really interesting that you cannot shoot a raw file in OpenCamera…there are a boatload of settings in there…it used to not select the API2 by default and so would not offer raw…just be sure you checked that I am sure you have …the DNG from open camera are different for sure. They are larger and have no preview when I use it on my Pixel…so behaves like a TIff packaged as a DNG from what I could see. THey did open fine in DT and they were clearly not the same colorwise or overall look…It seems really strange that open camera would fail to take raw photos for you??

Hi… I agree that it seem strange… But I did select Camera2 Api. I tried with and without a reboot but I new got a RAW choice and I have searched the phone for DNGs. Nothing. It is even stranger that none of the raw camera apps worked but LRM does work. And run around with Google doesn’t catch much light on the matter - except that OC appears not to support RAW while LRM does (as I have found). Still it is peculiar…

Camera2 Api status

Tried this one yet…

Yes and Hedgecam and 3 others with the name RAW in the app name…no go… Thank you for all the help and suggestions. I noticed that the jegs coming from the native camera app when you shoot in RAW (RWA+Jpeg) are softer than the normal auto “Jpegs” which are sharpened too much. I have found a few jpg and dng samples on the www taken by real people with their mobile phones…and it looks like the (old) Pixel 4a and (new) 6 does a decent job indeed with RAWs which are just soft as RAWs are but without strange artefacts, that the Samsung S21FE and the S21Ultra has similar looking RAWs but the S21Ultra produces far superior jegs than it’s smaller sibling, OnePlus 9 pro did not impress, Vivo x70 pro+ is over sharpening like the Huawei P30 Pro and the Sony Xperia 1 Pro probably makes the best RAWs I have seen so far…(but that model is so expensive that it is just silly)…

Ya as the computational stuff gets more and more intrusive there might have to be a third option for purists… raw + jpg = “real” raw…

My experience with my Pixel 3aXL is that to my eye the jpg, not always but for the most part are oversharpened and the color seems a bit on the cool side…I think they bump blue in a way to tweak contrast…

So for sure the raw are fuzzy but usually I can manage that and with the gainmaps applied the brightness and vignetting is corrected leaving me with something that has a nicer base for color.

Often when you first look at the jpg you say wow that looks great…until you look at it for a bit longer or pixel peep a bit and then the overprocessing usually is very obvious…

Good luck with your search… I watched a video on the new iphone 14 leaked …supposedly moving finally to a higher megapixel camera with some other new tricks but not sure how the raw situation is on iphones …never owned one…always seemed ridiculously expensive to me…

:slight_smile: iPhone 14…I have not owned an iPhone since the iPhone 3… It was a great little thing with round edges and a silver backplate. The way the OS works just isn’t me… Having said that Apple makes amazing consumer products no doubt about it and there are a few iPhones in the family and iPads. The latter is the big pro version used for drawing/painting and it runs rings around everything else in that segment.

Back to phones, I found some raw files from an iPhone 13… But when I wanted to take a look - wouldn’t you know if Apple hadn’t made their own container called HEIC which I not been able to open yet (the eco system thing again).

Keep looking indeed - well I think I may have found the best out there… The 1" sensor Xperia 1 Pro phone from Sony but it is sooo expensive that it makes even an iPhone 13 look cheap…

Thank you for your help and time.

BTW Are you supposed to close a question or are they just always open…