Lightroom Mobile just received another update today, and if you see the Adobe video (see below) and read the release you’ll see that while they’ve also introduced Speed Review, export of original DNG and raw files from iOS, and Spot & Linear selections for Android users, the feature they’ve chosen as the primary talking point of this update is the new RAW HDR capture mode.
Raw HDR Capture
It does as the title would suggest, and that is allow users with adequate mobile devices to select the HDR mode from the camera within Lightroom Mobile whereby the app will analyze the scene, take 3 exposure bracketed raw shots, then melt them together for an image with high dynamic range. That’s the short of it, or in the words of Adobe:
“The new HDR mode works by automatically scanning the scene to determine the correct exposure range and then capturing three DNG files which are then automatically aligned, merged, de-ghosted, and tone-mapped in the app. You get a 16-bit floating point DNG, with all of the benefits of both an HDR and a raw photo, which is processed by the same algorithms with the same quality as the HDR technology built into Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom.”
Of course this is beneficial and a nice feature to have, because as any level of photographer knows, getting the camera to see what our eyes see in very contrasty situations with wide variations in light in a scene isn’t something cameras natively do well – it’s why we resort to graduated filters, and bracketing and the rest. This feature certainly will help you capture those scenes much more accurately, and should aid in lowering noise in the shadows and retaining the detail in the highlights.
In use, it’s faster than expected, seeing as though there are other HDR apps that take a longer time to shoot and assemble your finished version, but the final result doesn’t seem as good in early testing as using an app like ProHDR. That said the speed at which it works and having the LR editing abilities right there is nice. Using an iPhone 7+ manipulating the large files was also surprisingly quick. If you’ve got LR Mobile already this is a welcome addition, but not something to write home about or to get the app for.
As mentioned above, there are other features released with this new version, and these will probably make a bigger difference in the daily routine of photographers than the poster-child HDR set-up. The ability to export full raw files is a nice one since so many phones now can shoot in raw, but more than that, if you are able to transfer raw files to your phone, either via computer (LR Desktop won’t upload originals to the server – annoyingly) or straight from camera via adapter or whatnot, your phone or tablet can become a nice transfer or holding option for your files. In the past I’ve spoken about how Apple iOS devices could hold raw files but not view them, but now being able to view them, edit them, and transfer them makes working on mobile much more impressive and able.
For heavy LR users the ability to speed review and rate your images should make reviewing and culling and organizing a breeze, and I know of one boudoir photographer who regularly uses his mobile devices for this purpose while on the move, and to great effect.
Finally the new Lightroom widget isn’t much to speak of but it does make access to the LR camera faster, which is nice if you’re planning on using the new HDR feature, and then finally having the radial and linear selection tools brings that power to Android, and that is something to celebrate.
You can find more details on the Adobe blog.