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645 PRO app for iPhone offers access to lossless camera output (but not Raw)

By dpreview staff on Apr 20, 2012 at 19:51 GMT

App developer has launched 645 PRO, a flexible photography and processing app that provides access to the lossless output of the iPhone's camera. The company grabs the processed camera output before the phone compresses it, and saves it as a TIFF file. These files, which it slightly optimistically calls 'Developed Raw,' can then be accessed via iTunes. The app also offers a series of features such as spot metering and exposure, focus and white balance lock, as well as a series of film simulation options and aspect ratio options, but it's the uncompressed output that is, as far as we are aware, unique.

As well as uncompressed output, PRO 645 offers a good degree of control over the iPhone's camera.

Until now, the vast majority (if not all) of iPhone apps apply their image processing to images that have already been compressed as a JPEG, with the reduced processing latitude that brings. The processed images produced by most app are then subjected to a second compression step at the end of the process.

PRO 645 intercepts the camera data after it's been initially processed (demosaiced and with processing parameters such as white balance and sharpening applied), but before the phone compresses it. This file can be be saved as a TIFF (presumably 8-bit), alongside a JPEG version with whichever of the app's image manipulations you've chosen to apply. These JPEGs are also much less compressed than the iPhone's default compression, which is usually the starting point for most apps (equivalent to the maximum quality option in Photoshop, the developer claims).

Even without this access to the best-possible quality output from your iPhone, the app also offers a range of useful photographic features such as a live histogram, spot metering and the ability to independently lock exposure, focus and white balance, to give a high level of control over the images you're capturing. The only downside is that the TIFF output has to be accessed via iTunes, but it's still an interesting step forward for occasions when the camera you have with you is your iPhone.

645 PRO is available from the Apple App Store for $2.99, and we're hoping to review it in the coming weeks.

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Total comments: 132
By Rubenski (Apr 20, 2012)

Won't be long before we have the first Pulitzer prize winner that took a picture with his iphone. Mamma mia, what an terrible outlook for such a beautiful profession!

Comment edited 50 seconds after posting
Gary Dean Mercer Clark
By Gary Dean Mercer Clark (Apr 20, 2012)

That would be so cool to get a pulitzer prize for an iphone image! The future looks very bright for us.

By Kodachrome200 (Apr 20, 2012)

you still wont be able to take the pic unless you know what your doing. and this is still the best job EVER

1 upvote
By JadedGamer (Apr 21, 2012)

Yeah, it would be as if a painting painted using a cheap nylon brush was as well-received as one painted using an expensive mohair brush.

It's the photographer not the camera that matters, silly.

By szlevi (Apr 20, 2012)

It was about time because despite using the same great EXMOR R lens my Xperia arc uses the output of the 4S is far behind my arc's IQ in every possible way: colors are crappy, DR low worse etc (and let's not get into video because then 4S downright sucks.)

Comment edited 53 seconds after posting
shigzeo ?
By shigzeo ? (Apr 21, 2012)

Wow, now I really really wish I had an Xperia arc.

Comment edited 8 seconds after posting
By szlevi (Apr 23, 2012)

By shaocaholica (Apr 20, 2012)

Urgh. Why can't Apple just give devs and their own camera team access to the raw data and save it as something like a DNG. Also manual exposure and white balance. Its all happening in the background so its not like they need to write any low level code for it.

Nathaniel George Weir
By Nathaniel George Weir (Apr 20, 2012)

Because Apple thinks it would too "complicated" and clutter up the phone. in my opinion, I love the simplicity of the iphone, but an option to have manual controls and advanced features on the built in camera would be wonderful.

By shaocaholica (Apr 20, 2012)

As if having 50 pages of useless apps isn't worse. Give us a switch or a separate app and update the camera API.

By laueddy (Apr 20, 2012)

I am not surprised. It used to be relatively costly to learn photography. We are talking about cost on films and developing, let alone enlargement, or cropping.
Digital photography made photography so easy, just like almost anyone here in the US can drive.
Films, we have to worry about color casts, so we put in filters. 90% of us use day light balance films, where again color filters are needed to correct the color ahead.
With Digital, we have AWD, we can shoot in any lighting conditions, etc.....! Yes, digital photography is a lot easier, and you have to be very good and set yourself apart from the average.

By loock (Apr 20, 2012)

Any advantage brought by this software is minimal, and even with true RAW, would be as insignificant.
If sensor size would be true 645, ( hell, even APS-C size..) then it would be really useful some RAW format.

1 upvote
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Apr 20, 2012)

You've never found yourself seeing a photo and only having an 'phone with you? I have photos where I wish I'd been able to take more control over exposure, then have the most possible data to work with, later. It's not the same as having Raw, but it's still an improvement over having a rather wonky out-of-phone JPEG.

By MonkRX (Apr 20, 2012)

Until out of the camera (phone) JPEGs are perfect, RAW is the only solution.

And since everyone has a different opinion of perfect, RAW is best starting point to process images.

I also agree with the ability to have RAW output on capture devices. Sometimes I'm caught with a P&S or a phone camera that has excessive saturation and a crazy gamma curve. These aren't the best in image quality out there, but their potential is ruined if users are only limited to its built in processing. I bet with my older phones, I could literally double the effective resolution if I was allowed to process the RAW myself. (Its noise reduction is extremely destructive).

Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Apr 21, 2012)

@"R Butler" - have you tested the improvement? And have you tested if the battery drain problem is for real?

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Apr 21, 2012)

@MonkRX - this app does not output RAW. You probably know that - but just so someone does not misunderstand.

By AusPic (Apr 22, 2012)

At the end of the day this App makes my Iphone a whole lot better and much more versatile. In fact I believe it takes the voice tool with image capability and almost turns that on its head. It is getting close to being an Image tool that has voice capability. Lossless .TIFF is a boon. Having quite a few 'Arty' options via quirky Apps. just made the 'phone' into a one stop 'in your hand' mini Photoshop of sorts.
For me this is an 11/10 score, remembering we ARE talking mini format here. We are not reviewing the latest Phase One!!!

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
Total comments: 132