The Ideal DNG Capture App?

A quick trawl through the catalog of Camera Replacement apps on the Apps store will soon reveal a plethora of apps laying claim to being the greatest thing since sliced bread. It can be a little confusing to sort out what you need and what really works.

My eBook “Ultimate iPhone DNG” has information regarding App choices but you might also like to check out this little video where I discuss the items/features that you would ideally be looking for…fact is some of the apps have deficits that rule them completely out of contention.

Buy Ultimate iPhone DNG on the iBooks store:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/ultimate-iphone-dng/id1274334884?ls=1&mt=11

Check out the video here:

DNG on the iPad Pro?

Can the iPad shoot DNG? One of my students asked me very a sensible question in an iPhoneography class a couple of weeks back, one I’d not really given much thought to before.

The short Answer is that only the iPad Pro models running the 12 mp iSight camera module are able to do this, so you have a choice between the 9.7 inch and the latest iPad Pro Models.  I have the 10.5-inch model so my comments apply to that only but I assume the larger 12.9-inch model exhibits the same attributes.

Yep, Ok Brad so the Pro model can do the DNG shuffle but is it any good?

The camera module is the same iSight unit fitted to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, which is to say it’s the latest and best incarnation of the module having the f1.8 lens and the most sophisticated sensor.  The main difference is the lack of optical image stabilization.

So the short answer was there’s no reason the iPad pro should not produce excellent DNG image quality provided you have an app that allows it to shoot in DNG, but I thought being a dedicated teacher I’d better delve a little deeper for you.

I decided this past weekend to give that a try, now please note I’ve not had the chance to do any comprehensive testing,  there could be some hidden issues I have yet to uncover.

 

Kiama Blow Hole, testing the DNG photo quality iPad Pro
Kiama Blowhole, taken with my iPad Pro 10.5 using DNG (UniWb).
Crop of Kiama Blowhole taken with iPad Pro using DNG (uniWb)
Crop from iPad Pro DNG looks great, fine detail on the water is excellent and the highlight tonality is vastly better than what you would expect to get from the standard JPEG capture.

You have a few shooting choices because you can load any of the latest iPhone DNG shooting apps, they’ll only fill the middle of the screen but you can expand them to a 2X view and they’ll then fill most of the screen real estate.

You could also choose to shoot using Lightroom Mobile, the iPad version shoots DNG natively.

As far as I know all of the dedicated iPad apps, Like ProCamera HD only shoot JPEG or sometimes TIFF. (Let me know if you have any alternative knowledge and I can update the blog.)

I have to say that in past I’ve had a good chuckle at people wandering around shooting with their iPads, it just looks so…. odd.  Frankly the 10.5 inch iPad Pro is a pretty cumbersome camera and no doubt the 12.9 inch is getting more than a tad ridiculous for the mobile photographer.

There are a couple of issues that show up in a practical sense, first, it’s difficult to control and hold the iPad at the same time, for example, setting focus points and exposure and holding it steady etc really seems to need about 3 hands! The iPad is large enough to catch the wind and unless you shoot in landscape mode it just feels uncomfortable, I imagine the 12.9 in version would feel even more precarious.  I’m sure you could get used to it but honestly, I just couldn’t relax when doing the “iPad out in the big wide world” test.

And then there’s the issue of actually carrying it around, sure it’s not heavy by any means but try as I might it wasn’t going to fit into any pockets I had.

But by far the biggest issue is that, well I just felt ridiculous, nobody else seemed fussed about it but I really couldn’t wait to get back to the car.

Testing DNG photo quality iPad pro 10.5in using TLC method
iPad Pro raw dynamic range is better than expected. In this case the image is a TLC – DNG and even in this downsized image it’s obvious that the photo possesses excellent textural information, the contrast range is very high as the inherently dark rock face is in deep shade, still it holds some solid detail and the breaking surf on the distant rocks still has full tonality.

So it was all bad then….no not at all, there’s lots of good stuff as well.

The screen is just amazing, even in the bright sunlight I could see pretty clearly what was going on and it was really obvious if the shot wasn’t in critical focus. For me however the really neat thing is the color and tonal rendering of the new iPad Pro screen, it’s far better than my iPhone 6S plus and shows no banding that I could see, looks like all that Apple bragging regarding the new screens was justified.

In the end, I couldn’t happily shoot outside with the iPad Pro, DNG or not, and I certainly wouldn’t entertain the idea of shooting with any of the JPEG only iPad versions in the great outdoors or probably anywhere else for that matter.

But it got me thinking, what if you needed to shoot indoors studio style stuff and you could mount the iPad to a tripod, ah well, then I think the iPad Pro might actually be a very useful tool.

As said, the screen is just brilliant and the size makes critical focus and exposure accuracy a cinch, you could work at a greater distance from the screen, and seeing such a large image definitely improves your ability to judge composition.  So yep this could be a killer indoor studio camera for people who need to shoot products etc but don’t want the complications of a regular camera set-up.

The real clincher, however, could be the easy interfacing with the amazing editing tools you can use on the iPad Pro.  Lightroom mobile just rocks on the iPad Pro but even better the new “Affinity Photo” for iPad Pro is utterly incredible, so in short, you have the possibility of a rather compelling workflow.

Ok enough of the basic iPad Pro stuff, what about the photo quality?

Well, the news is great, the DNG photo quality is excellent.

Kiama Blowhole park taken with iPad Pro using DNG, Test image.
iPad Pro DNG records excellent fine detail, this image is particularly telling. First, we have a square crop of the original 4:3 aspect ratio frame taken using TLC-DNG, you can take it from me the cropped off sections are just as detailed and clear.  The sky is nicely done and shows no banding, this image has not been corrected for vignetting so the corners are a little darker than the middle but that’s easily fixed if desired.
Kiama Blowhole Park 100% crop iPad pro DNG image quality test
Look at this 100% plus iPad DNG crop,  (note this is TLC -DNG so represents the ultimate possible image quality you could get from a single frame capture), have a look at that sign,  you can’t read it of course but it’s pretty obvious it has writing and icons on it, what’s even more impressive is that tonally the sign is very high up on the scale yet it holds full detail, it’s not even close to clipped….impressive indeed!

I must point out however that when I test, I always aim to see just how high the quality bar can be for a particular device, which means the DNG test frames are extracted in Iridient Developer using custom settings and in this case some of the frames were shot using TLC (buy my “Ultimate iPhone DNG” book if you want to know about TLC).

Long and short of it, my results should show the absolute potential of the camera with optimal technique.

Back to the test then, basically the 12 mp iSight module in the iPad Pro is a step up from the ones used in all of the iPhones prior to the 7 series models.

Specifically, tests indicate it produces DNG files that are sharper, have less noise, better color accuracy, less vignetting (when uncorrected) and virtually zero chromatic aberration.  In other words, it’s pretty much better in every measurable respect.

The custom processed DNG files show truly excellent levels of sharpness and impressively better highlight retention that the iPhone 6 series sensors offer, additionally I think the edge definition is improved but I would need to carry out more exhaustive tests to confirm this.

Kiama Blowhole Lighthouse iPad pro dng test procamera
iPad Pro DNG and near white tones? This TLC -DNG image has impressive near white tonality and I expect that a monochrome image captured this way with the iPad Pro would be excellent.

On the other side of the coin, I don’t feel I can see any significant improvement in shadow detail, but again I’d need to run some additional tests to confirm this.

Most people probably want to know about the noise, well I can say that when optimally exposed the native level of chrominance noise is much less obvious, in fact, I’d rate it a non-issue at the lowest ISO and the luminance noise is actually very fine-grained and film-like, so not at all unpleasant.

So to sum up, ultimately I feel confident after this quick test in saying the potential of the iPad Pro camera easily bests that of all the pre-iPhone 7 models and is by all fair measures rather excellent, provided you can keep the whole thing rock steady as there is no optical stabilization.

The JPEGs? Basically, I don’t really care but I expect they would be fine for non-critical purposes etc, if I get a rush of blood to head on a day of rare boredom I might run some tests on those, but please don’t hold your breath.

What I do promise, however, is that soon I will do an exhaustive ISO ramp up at my regular test site to see how this sensor compares to the previous gen iSight sensor, I expect it will do quite well.

 

Buy Ultimate iPhone DNG from the iBooks Store:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/ultimate-iphone-dng/id1274334884?ls=1&mt=11


Shooting iPhone DNG for Family Photos

Like lots of photographers I use an iPhone as a regular camera, I love the “in your pocket, unobtrusive, instant feedback” aspect of shooting with the Phone. Being able to easily share snaps with family and friends instantly adds enormously to the appeal…take a shot, tweak a little and airdrop it to my kids or friends over a cuppa, what’s not to love about that.

And of course I get a regular stream of pics and videos of my new Grandson and the Families exploits in return. As a family we carry our visual lives in our collective pockets and handbags, a well-shot snap can convey a wealth of information that words often struggle to say.

I don’t get hung on the idea that a photo should be purely the result of the camera and lens, I’ve always believed that editing and presentation are just as important. I’m convinced good edits can make the idea and message more direct and maybe even more meaningful.  Let’s face it, in the end we’re trying to tell personal stories, express emotions and convey feelings…….with pictures.

Aaron On His Birthday
Yep hard to believe my son is 30 years old, taking a bit of chill time in the coffee shop, the pic has been treated to some selective blur and subtle edits.  I really do love the way that the DNG files work as monochromes.
Aaron and Jain 2
My son Aaron and his partner Jain on his 30th Birthday, this is a TLC-DNG image (you’ll need to buy the book if you want to know about TLC), its taken in full harsh sunlight but the file has edited beautifully and really it looks rather film like. The simulated depth of field certainly adds an extra dimension to the image.

For me the addition of the DNG option for shooting on the iPhone was a huge deal, it opened up an array of options that just weren’t possible with the JPEGs but more importantly, it provides me with files which are nowhere near as brittle and “vastly more editable”.

Now I don’t expect my iPhone or any smartphone to be a paragon of technical excellence but that doesn’t mean it has to be technically hopeless either. The DNG option has expanded the iPhone’s capabilities and turned it into a potentially far more serious photographic tool and one that’s definitely far from a technical disaster.

Longtime iPhone shooters will know exactly what I am talking about with respect to the JPEGs…poor highlight retention, no fine textural detail, watercolor rendering at anything above minimum ISO, rampant banding of blue skies, weird hue shifts on skin tone highlights, we’ve all seen these problems.  iPhone images don’t have to be like that, with DNG everything can be soooooo much better!

I like to edit my iPhone pics, and even edit them to quite serious levels.  I want to make blow-ups if the image is nice enough, I want to crop, I want it all, regardless of what camera I take the photos with.

Yes, of course I could use one of my other cameras, but then I don’t normally take a camera kit to the coffee shop or out to a family dinner, or most places in fact, but I always have my phone.

milton copy
My wonderful Grandson Milton, apple of his Poppies eye, isn’t he just beautiful.  Taken with window light using UniWb DNG and then DOFsimm’d to taste.  The image prints superbly well.

I realize some people might say, look, Brad, you could get that shallow DOF and big blow-ups with the pics with your Sony Nex, your Olympus OM.  Well, sure I could if I had those cameras with me at the time.

I don’t shoot zillions of pics, I’d rather shoot just a few select images, editing them into what I want is pretty quick and relatively painless and just because photos are shot on an iPhone doesn’t mean they need to look half-baked.

Back to that DNG stuff, there’s much to love about it, but for me, the two most important aspects are the increased highlight tonality and the ability to have the fine textural information in the photos preserved.  I know Apple likes to kill noise stone dead so it looks all peachy when the average punter zooms in for some pixel peeping fun but seriously that “wrapped in plastic” look just doesn’t cut it for me.  I have a healthy relationship with noise anyway, we can both get along quite nicely, I’d much rather be given the choice between going plastic or analogue thanks very much.

Basically, the DNGs allow for a more 3D like rendering, being able to hold those near white tones makes the images look far more organic and the increased textural detail adds more shape and form to surfaces and this is evident even without any serious editing.

Back to the editing front, I just love that I can push the tones around in DNG without getting that horrible tonal breakup that seems to afflict most iPhone JPEGs, want to vignette a bit, lighten a shadow, dodge some skin tones, burn some highlights, no problem it all just works much better.

Wendy 57 Today
Wendy, the love of my life, we’ve been together for 40 years, this little snap was taken in one of our favourite coffee shops, it was inside and under dim light but the DNG option made the most of it.  I love that smile even after all these years.

What really gets me excited is when I want to create depth of field effects. I realize a lot of photographers will get more than a bit uppity about this, thinking it’s sort of cheating by denying Olympus of the opportunity to sell me a very nice 25mm f1.2 for my OM camera to do this all automatically for me. (Olympus are about to tempt me with three more very fast f1.2 lenses I believe, I feel movement in of the wallet in my pocket)

Honestly, though I actually have some solid creative reasons for sometimes taking this simulated DOF approach and anyway isn’t this approach much the same as what Apple is already doing with the iPhone 7S Plus and other makers on the cutting edge of experimental camera technology are trying to achieve.

Consider this, with a bit of work I can pretty much get any sort of effect I want, bokeh effects are adjustable, depth of focus controllable, field curvature can be simulated and lot’s more. Fact is I often DOF sim with shots taken at say f3.5 on my regular cameras instead of going down the ultra shallow DOF shooting route, we have choices as they say.

The big advantage with the DNGs for the all this Doffy Sim stuff is that the “in focus areas” are just, well… more in focus. Details are more resolved and they respond far better to a wide array of post-shot sharpening processes, like ultra fine radius sharpening, high-pass filters, noise texturing and more. I look at it this way, it’s always possible to blur sharp bits but it’s not possible to get sharpness out of blur. So starting with a sharp image with a more extensive depth of field and selectively blurring can often be more successful that staring with one with marginal overall sharpness and then trying to add detail back that was lost due to technical depth of field limitations. You’ve probably gathered I’m not a big fan of the “6 eyelashes and half an eyeball in focus” look, but I know lots of folks are…which is fine.

I must point out that I would not attempt any of this Doffy Sim stuff on the iPhone itself, any of the apps I’ve tried to use for these effects are just plain horrible, basically, they lack the fine control you need and it’s just really hard to do on such a small screen. All that said my new iPad Pro is a different beast altogether.

Note: If you do know of an iPhone app that really does this DOF sim stuff well I’d also love to know about!

Lightroom mobile has proven to be a brilliant editing app for dealing initially with the DNGs, I remain seriously impressed be just how good it is.  Using Lightroom in conjunction with Snapseed for fine tunings and effects provides a killer family pic combo. Honestly, the two are just a superb for most needs and it’s utterly amazing that neither will even ask you to remove your wallet from your pocket!

Note that I wouldn’t use either for simulating Depth of Field effects, that’s always down in Photoshop but Snapseed can do some passable simulations if you use the layers functions.

Holly 1
Our little girl, Holly the Collie, frankly she is far too smart for her own good, but she looks a treat in the Autumn leaves and the DNG is quite excellent at fully recording the subtle whites in her coat.

Ultimately I take a sort of hybrid approach with the family and friends iPhone snaps, I shoot in DNG, do an extraction in Lightroom mobile, follow it up with some tweaking in Snapseed and then hand it on to my family and friends via airdrop or email if they don’t have the airdrop option. It normally takes about 4 mins, not instant, but quick enough. Later on, if I decide I like the pic enough I’ll airdrop the pre-edited JPEG to my trusty Mac and give it some Photoshop time. I then re-send the newly cooked result via email to my family and friends.

I don’t normally process family and friends DNGs on the desktop but for some more serious holiday or commercial shots where I want ultimate quality, I’ll cook them in one of my RAW editing programs, usually Iridient Developer, which provides for some serious image quality that will utterly belie the iPhone origins.  (yep, that’s all covered in one of the upcoming books)

In the end, the only thing that I find a bit limiting with the iPhone for family and friends snaps is shooting under really low light (though DNG helps a lot) and the lack of a more telephoto lens.  The standard wide lens does kind of apply its own perspective look to shots, but I’ll upgrade to the new dual-lens iPhone 8 later in the year so that aspect will probably cease to an issue for me.

Wendy at the Food Van
By rights this should be just about an impossible shot, taken under very low light handheld at 1/40 sec, Wendy was actually very strongly backlit with the exposure set to record the highlights, yep it’s a bit grainy but it’s nice grain and I truly treasure this shot,  a great reminder of a lovely but very cold evening we spent with some friends out on the town.  Of course its DNG, a UniWb version in fact.

 

Get Ultimate iPhone DNG on the iBooks Store:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/ultimate-iphone-dng/id1274334884?ls=1&mt=11


 

 

 

 

 

How Good Can iPhone DNG Be?

It’s been twelve months since DNG was announced for the iPhone and around 11 months since it officially became available, still, the great majority of iPhone shooters haven’t tried DNG and indeed most casual shooters are probably not even aware that the DNG option exists.

As far as I’m concerned DNG for the iPhone is a game changer, in one swift movement it solves most of the core deficits of iPhone image quality, it may not be for everyone but there’s no doubt the difference in quality is truly significant. I’ve found in the past with DSLRs and Mirrorless cameras that the whilst the step up to DNG/RAW certainly made for better image quality I wouldn’t usually describe it as a quantum leap, that’s not the case for iPhone images, the difference is enormous.

So this begs two questions from photographers wondering about the ins and outs of shooting in DNG on the iPhone. What specific image aspects does DNG improve and how good can those DNG files be.

I’ll deal with the first briefly. Shooting in DNG and properly processing the files will provide the following changes.

 

Significantly better highlight and near white tonal rendering.

Far better textural information, your pics won’t look like they’ve been wrapped in cling wrap anymore, especially when the light drops off or the ISO gets ramped up.

Far fewer issues with posterization and banding.

Much improved shadow recoverability.

The ability to deal with noise reduction far more sensibly.

Improved skin tones.

Potentially better color.

Vastly better editing flexibility.

Cropping works better.…… and I could go on and on, but I won’t….

 

Trust me on this, the results are better in pretty much any way you might reasonably expect, but of course, you do need to know a little bit about editing and it sure helps if you pay more attention in the shooting phase as well.

So to the second question, how good can it really be, well I going to show you some samples but I’ll start by saying this.

Not one person I’ve shown comparative prints or full resolution on-screen images too has failed to be convinced by the results, almost everyone has said they find it difficult to reconcile that the images were even shot on an iPhone.

Before I proceed I must make a disclaimer and mention two things, one I have written a whole 400 page eBook on this subject, it’s the first in the series of six I’m producing on shooting seriously with your iPhone….so obviously I’d love you to buy a copy from the iBooks store if you’re interested.

Second, I have three core ways of shooting DNGs on the iPhone, I’m pretty confident that most folks are only aware of the regular method, so my results will probably be better technically than what the casual shooter will liberate, but the question we are asking here is “just how good can iPhone DNG be” not how good is it with quick and dirty techniques.

The first two samples are captured using the ultimate method, the last one via my middle-level method.

None of the core examples are from stacked images or stitches, just in case you are wondering, they’re all single frame captures.

It’s probably worth noting that the tool you use to extract the file has an enormous influence over the results and it’s possible to get all sorts of renderings by playing with various convertor apps and methods, both on the iPhone and your desktop computer.

But at the moment let’s just stick to the straight question, how good a single frame DNG captured and edited by optimal processes can be?  The test DNGs have been created using TLC capture (nope I,m not explaining that, you can buy the book if you want to know more) and processed using Iridient Developer.

So first up your honour,  I present this example,  a JPEG test capture from a set I took to compare the various capture methods (including stacked captures which are not covered in this article), it’s a scene taken from a hill near my home in bright light mid-afternoon light. It’s just the ticket for testing resolution etc.

 

Windellama Road View (JPEG)
Full-width JPEG frame, the sky has been cropped as it was incidental to the needs of the article, at this small size it looks pretty good.
Windellama View crop (JPEG)
Crop from the above JPEG capture, taken from the upper middle.

 

Just so you know all the images were all shot on a tripod and optimally exposed at the lowest ISO setting. In other words, the JPEG example is absolutely as good as it’s ever going to get with standard iPhone JPEG capture using the standard Apple camera app. You can be pretty sure that many of your iPhone pics will not be as good technically as this test JPEG due to small degrees of movement, less than optimal light and perhaps slightly compromised exposures.

Now let’s turn our attention to the optimal raw TLC-DNG capture.

 

Windellama Road View TLC
Here we have a single frame DNG -TLC capture, this is the ultimate single frame capture option, a couple of things will be obvious, the colour is more muted and film-like, and even at this small size it appears to have more fine detail and more natural level of clarity, in other words it doesn’t look “forced” in the way JPEGs do.
Windellama Road TLC crop
This crop shows where the rubber meets the road fine detail is just much better, color shows more subtlety, it looks far more analog, in fact it’s hard to believe they are taken with the same camera.

 

If all you want to do with your iPhone pics is share them to Facebook or post to Instagram then perhaps the difference between the test images may be irrelevant but let’s just examine those differences anyway.

First of all looking at the two overall images it obvious the color palette of the JPEG is far less subtle, but look closer and a couple of other color differences are evident. Take a peek at the bush to the left of center, it has tiny red berries on it, these are in real life a very bright red. In the JPEG capture you really struggle to see them at all, they sort of blend into the other colors. The same issue is evident on the Eucalyptus in the middle of the frame, it has new bright red shoots but again these are much less invisible in the JPEG capture.

Now turn your attention to the shadows, basically, in the JPEG capture they’re black, you can see it under trees, in the shadows of the leaves, basically, the tones just roll straight off into deep shadow.  It’s possible something may be recoverable with some clever editing but clipped data is clipped data and honestly, there’s very little wiggle room in those shadows unless you’re happy to accept all sorts of nasty noise.

Looking at the highlights now, two things are evident, the JPEG tends to tint the sky a bit more cyan green, but also the white clouds are not actually white, they also have a slight cyan tint. Away from the sky, everything that’s yellow in hue is pushed a little bit more saturated and lighter in tone, this also holds true for skin tones taken on the standard JPEG app set-up.

Basically, with the JPEGs there is a limited difference between the yellows and greens and the overall level of saturation is natively a little more intense, you may not realize this but greater saturation and color subtlety are actually flip sides of the same coin, you either get one or the other. Once you jack up the saturation on a JPEG you can never get that lost subtlety back by dialing it down in post..it’s a one-way street.

The DNG overall is more analog looking, it could, of course, be ramped up in saturation if desired and the shadows could be deepened but as far as editing potential goes it beats the JPEG hands down then comes back around the corner to flog it with a big stick.

Now let’s take a closer look at those crops. Well, really this is a chalk and cheese difference, in fact, if you only saw the crops you might have some difficulty believing they are the exact same device! Basically, the JPEG has zero fine textural detail, distant trees and low to mid contrast details look “watercolour like”, the grass in the near paddock is simply areas of indistinct color. At this resolution, we can also see the shadows in the DNG really do have quite a bit of color information.

Something very subtle but I find important is that the aerial perspective is quite different, the JPEG has similar color intensity across the entire crop, whereas the DNG goes obviously from more intense color on the foreground tree to far more muted colour in the distance (which incidentally is about 8 km away), this, of course, is how the scene really looks to the eye.

In summary on the test pics.  I realize some people may prefer the more intense and yellow rendering of the JPEG but in truth, the DNG can be made to look pretty similar if you really want that, the important thing is it can also be rendered very naturalistically and everything else in between.

I know that none of you stood next to me when I made these tests but I can absolutely state the DNG is far closer to the reality of the scene than the in-camera JPEG.

One question a keen shooter may have is “can the DNGs be enlarged to a higher degree for printing purposes”?  Well print quality is nearly impossible to show on a web page, but yep I’ve tried all sorts of options and the sections from that DNG test image, for example, can be printed very large indeed yet still look very nicely resolved, in fact, it’s in large prints that the DNG difference really hits a home run.

Let’s round things up by having a peek at a couple of other examples.

The next pic is a shot I took on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, I was at the time taking some family snaps but turned around and liked what I saw. Now even in the small downsized image you see here it’s pretty obvious that technically the shot is very sharp, with good shadow and highlight detail and nice color without being over the top. But just take a closer look at the 800 px close up crop, I didn’t crop out of the plant in the front of the scene which is where the focus was optimally set, here we’re looking more into the background and yet this is really super detailed and sharp and remember this represents a print of about a metre wide!

 

Tussock in Sand
Full Frame, the focus was set on the tussock grass, this taken in extremely contrasty light, just the sort of conditions that challenge the JPEGs when it comes to retaining both shadow and highlight details.
Tussock in Sand (crop)
Crop from the above, the file is processed in Iridient Developer on a Mac desktop, If you printed the whole image this big it would be approximately 100cm wide by my calculations!  From any sensible viewing distance, it should look excellent.

 

Something not to be overlooked is that with optimally exposed TLC-DNGs the noise reduction can be switched right off and once you do that you get not only more detail to start with but also the files now respond brilliantly to all manner of sharpening methods. This is where JPEGs are severely crippled, post sharpening usually just accentuates the deficits of the JPEG compression and the over-zealous standard iPhone noise reduction.

The example below wasn’t captured using the ultimate TLC – DNG method but rather the middle-level option, and it’s really rather nice. The wagon wheel shows excellent detail and tonality and is nicely editable, in this case, I’ve applied some sweet low radius sharpening to bring out all that fine detail.

Wagon Wheel
A wagon wheel I found at the “Goulburn Historic Waterworks” taken with iPhone 6S Plus, using the UniWb-DNG method.

 

So in the wrap-up, there is no doubt that DNGs are potentially vastly superior in any measurable way.  I’ll leave you by adding this, whilst these sample test pics represent the Ultimate single frame capture possibilities there are several multi-frame options that elevate the quality again, so just as a tease I’ve included a teensy tiny crop from 52 mp multi-frame TLC version……you’ll need to look back at the full frame pics to see just how tiny this section is.  Yes, this one can print “seriously big”.  I’ve done the maths for you it would be a print 1.5 meters wide! Obviously then you need to step back a bit from your screen or device to get a true perspective of how this would translate to the real world print, oh and those tree textures you can just see on the hill, that’s 8  to 9 km away from the camera.

 

Windellama View 52mp Crop
A tiny section from 52 Mp image stack taken using  4 frames TLC-DNG stack, printed this would be 1.5 meters wide!  A greater number of donor frames could be used to further increase quality and reduce luminance noise.

 

Want to know more, here is the link to my “Ultimate iPhone DNG” eBook on the iBooks store:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/ultimate-iphone-dng/id1274334884?ls=1&mt=11