We all know how DSLRs can capture images in the minimally processed RAW format, allowing us great flexibility in the post-process and ability to edit it to our own taste. But a great shot can occur anywhere and sometimes, you find all you’ve got on yourself is your smartphone for that perfect shot.
Here is how you can get the most out of your iPhone camera with these apps for shooting RAW images on iOS (iPhones 6s and later models).
Best RAW Camera App For iPhone and iPad
Starting off the list, we have Manual, a solid camera application for noobs and pros alike.
Manual, as you might infer from the name, allows extensive manual controls over your iPhone camera letting you tweak everything from exposure and ISO to focus and shutter speed. Using the app is very similar to that of a DSLR which pro photographers will appreciate immensely; however, not overly done to scare away amateurs or beginners. If you use a DSLR more often than not, with Manual you will feel right at home.
But that’s not all, the app is filled with small little features that include a live exposure-value monitor, focus zoom, grid overlays, a live histogram, an EXIF viewer and even themes. All these small things, in turn, add up to make it a very capable and powerful camera app for shooting RAW.
Full manual controls
Live monitor and histogram
Save photos directly to Camera Roll
If you are looking for an iPhone app that comes the closest to using a DSLR allowing full control of your iPhone camera, you can’t go wrong with Manual.
Download: Manual on App Store
2. Adobe Lightroom CC
Adobe Lightroom CC is well known as a powerhouse for editing and creating pro-quality images, that also happens to shoot in RAW in its mobile version.
The capture mode here also allows you full manual controls for shooting along with HDR mode and Photoshop Magic which has five formulated presets, offering you live view of the effects and which you can even tweak later after taking the picture. After you have captured your image, you can edit it directly in the Lightroom app with tools ranging from simple one-tap presets to powerful advanced adjustments and corrections. There is also support for connection to other Adobe apps like Photoshop Fix if you want further refinements of your shot.
The best part is you can backup your original photos and access them on other devices using the Adobe Creative Cloud.(Premium Feature)
Import and sync raw photos from your phone
Full-featured photo editor with powerful tools
Access all your photos in not only Lightroom but other Adobe apps as well
If you are someone who is already heavily invested in the Adobe ecosystem, this app can make your workflow a lot smoother. Even if you are not, and just looking for a camera app with a powerful editor, Adobe Lightroom CC should fulfill your needs.
Price: Free (In-App Purchases Available)
Download: Adobe Lightroom CC on App Store
You might know VSCO already, which became huge owing to its crowd-driven marketplace with pre-formulated filters which offer an idiot-proof transformation of your simple photos into a film-like masterpiece. The developers have constantly been pushing new features to the app over the years, one of them which happen to be capturing of RAW images.
What sets this app apart from the rest of this list is the plethora of high-quality filters it offers to choose from, that you can directly apply to your RAW image in the built-in editor. Don’t worry, VSCO is not all about its filters as the built-in editor does give quite a lot of editing capabilities like recovering lost highlights, adjusting the color balance and tweaking the hue and saturation. Talking about the viewfinder, it is simple and minimal with access to all the manual controls.
Huge collection of high-quality filters
Built-in editor to edit directly after taking a photo
If you don’t want to spend too much time editing and processing your RAW image, then VSCO is a godsend. Simply snap your RAW photo, add a filter, export, and post wherever!
Price: Free (In-App Purchases Available)
Download: VSCO on APP Store
ProShot is yet another app that shoots in RAW with an innovative camera UI and DSLR-style dials which can be customized with a choice of accent color.
Like the previous three, this app also gives the user the ability to tweak each and every little element of your camera. ProShot has support for shooting full resolution in 16:9, Zero Lag Shutter and Bracket Exposure and the Camera Roll is also fully featured with EXIF metadata.
But where ProShot shines is the video department that also has a full resolution Burst mode and a Time Lapse mode, all with full manual controls. While recording video, the manual controls take effect in real time and you will even find a meter for monitoring your audio in real time.Along with all the photo capturing capabilities, the video features are very much welcome and although might be a gimmick for many, surely there are some who will appreciate it.
Pro-quality video shooting along with photos
Zero Lag Shutter (ZLS)
Exposure Bracketing with various modes
If you have or might have needs for pro video shooting beside shooting RAW photos, ProShot offers just that and it can be the perfect app for the right person.
Download: ProShot on App Store
ProCam5, being trusted by 6.5 million users worldwide and with a very high rating in the Apple App Store, does speak for itself. It is the most complete and feature-packed app on this list, even with an app for WatchOS and the price-tag of about $6 is only there to justify it.
To start with, the app offers you a handful of modes in which you can shoot in which also includes a Portrait Mode(only on iPhones which originally support Portrait Mode) and even Live Photos. There’s even a Time Lapse mode, like the one in ProShot, with extensive customisability options for various formats. The app takes some cues from DSLR cameras like its scroll and steppers system and not to mention the whole host of manual controls. For some challenging scenarios, there is even the inclusion of Auto Exposure Bracketing. Another welcome addition is the support for the lossless TIFF file format.
ProCam5 also supports a manually controlled video mode with up to 4K support along with the ability to edit the videos within the app editor itself.
Various Shooting Modes
Quick switching between RAW, HDR, and AEB
Real-time video stabilization
Apple Watch app
Verdict: If you’re looking for the absolute best and the most feature-rich camera app on iOS and have 6 bucks to gage on an app, then look no further; ProCam5 is your app.
Link: ProCam5 on App Store
Last but not least, we have which might be the most balanced app on this list, Halide, which was specifically designed to allow people to capture RAW photos on their iPhones.
Halide has nailed arguably, the most crucial part of any app, the User Interface. The beautiful and intuitive UI makes the app all the more elegant to use, not to mention the support for gestures, 3D Touch and also one-handed usability. Gestures and swipes can be used to tweak some of the many manual settings that Halide offers, while the others are tucked away, a single tap away.
The pro tools include a detailed, live histogram, focus peaking and an adaptive level gird overlay. With its latest update, Halide introduced support for capturing depth on dual-camera iPhones and features like portrait mode, real-time depth previews, and even a fantastic AR viewer.
Halide also has another trick up its sleeve; along with the RAW photos you take, Halide makes sure to save a JPEG thumbnail/preview so that you can check out and show off your RAW captures even in applications that don’t have the support for it, like the Photos app. Halide also supports a wide variety of export formats including Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) and even Apple’s new HEIC format.
The developers are always working hard to push new features to the app and although I think its price tag of $4.99 is worth it, you have to justify it for yourself.
Gorgeous intuitive UI with gesture support
One-handed usability support for Plus models and the iPhone X
Support for TIFF, JPEG, HEIC
If you are a sucker for great UI like me, and just want something simple that works flawlessly for capturing RAW photos on your iPhone, I think Halide is your best bet.
Download: Halide on App Store
Wrapping Up: Best RAW Camera App For iPhone and iPad
So this was our roundup of the best camera apps that shoot RAW for iOS. Personally, I can’t get enough of Halide and it has been my goto camera app for shooting RAW on my iPhone. The lack of a built-in editor isn’t a problem for me as I like to edit the files later on my computer. If you’d like to have the ease of editing your photos straight from your phone, I’d highly suggest Adobe Lightroom CC and even VSCO. And if your needs also include capturing videos with the same flexibility, check out ProShot or ProCam5.
What do you think of the list and which one suits your need? Let us know in the comments below.