Unleashing the full power of Android 5.0 Lollipop camera: see the difference between lossless raw (DNG) vs JPEG

Unleashing the full power of Android 5.0 Lollipop camera: see the difference between lossless raw (DNG) vs JPEG
Android 5.0 Lollipop comes with a very noticeable visual overhaul, but it's the little changes under the hood that really make this upgrade huge. After long years of offering very limited access to the camera feed to developers, Google has finally opened up by introducing a much more versatile Camera v2 APIs.

Put simply, with Android 5.0 Lollipop, developers have the power to make camera apps that give the user control over shutter speed and allow for lossless raw (in DNG format) image output. 

This opens up a world of possibilities for post-processing, as you can just take the RAW files and non-destructively edit them to get the most out of an image - better dynamics, suppressed noise, and all the other benefits of having files with no compression rather than compressed JPEGs.

The new camera APIs also allow app makers to go as deep as changing the color correction matrix, as well as benefit from massively faster camera burst rates. With the new camera API, the 8-megapixel Nexus 5, for instance, is capable of going at bursts of 30fps, faster than even many dedicated cameras.

What we really want to focus on here, though, is how you can unleash the full power of the camera APIs in Android 5.0 Lollipop by using the lossless DNG files and slightly tweak them. We compare JPEGs out of the camera with DNGs that have been tweaked slightly, and then reformatted to JPEG. We've also downsized all images to around 2 megapixels for faster loading. Take a look at the results right below: which ones do you prefer, the JPEGs or the edited DNGs?


Related phones

Nexus 5
  • Display 5.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.3 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, Quad-core, 2260 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB
  • Battery 2300 mAh(17h talk time)

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58 Comments

1. Limbopope

Posts: 62; Member since: Aug 12, 2014

Is it my imagination or are the light switch and light on the ceiling missing in the DNG of the close up face image. DNG is amazing XD

3. Dee79

Posts: 307; Member since: Jun 19, 2014

Its there just about. Just cropped out more :)

36. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

I have to admit, these pictures look pretty amazing. I wonder how the Nexus 6 camera will rate against the others!

39. haseebzahid

Posts: 1853; Member since: Feb 22, 2012

get samples from 1020 /1520 /930 you know how will DNG look its helps in zoomed crops greatly

49. Jimrod

Posts: 1605; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

Nah, someone just got a little carried away with Photoshop seeing as even his freckles disappeared - which kind of renders all the comparisons a little suspect really. Why edit? Just give us the same shots.

58. My1cent

Posts: 370; Member since: Jan 30, 2014

Missing switch and light at pic.19, 20 Looks like OVER-edited DNG!

4. zig8100

Posts: 243; Member since: Dec 13, 2012

Lolol

7. Deaconclgi

Posts: 405; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

The ceiling is curved behind his head compared to the JPG photo too!!! Woa! You mean with DNG I can dodge bullets? No, Limbo. What I mean is, that when you’re ready you won’t have to...also, it isn't the ceiling that bends, it is your mind that bends. There is no ceiling.

16. boosook

Posts: 1442; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

LOL! That's because the in-camera processing includes lens distorsion correction, while DNG is a sort of raw format: you get what comes out of the lens and sensor. This happens for every camera nowadays. Especially in compacts, you would be surprised to see how much the images are distorted by the lens and how much correction they get in post processing by the camera.

31. Ashoaib

Posts: 3269; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

exposure is too high in dng

26. shaineql

Posts: 521; Member since: Apr 28, 2014

Just imagine next Flagship generation from sony/Samsung/Lg , we will rain terror on apple :) Plus this is biggest step up in mobile OS world since ever(Android 4 to 5) Cant even compare it to iOs 7 to 8 or WP 7 to 8 GO GO GOOGLE

40. haseebzahid

Posts: 1853; Member since: Feb 22, 2012

ahm ahm WP8 had it long before you ever knew infact 808 pureview had this i think, or atlest 1020/1520/930 do have dng images :P

44. hemedans

Posts: 746; Member since: Jun 01, 2013

wp8 to wp8.1 was major improvement i have never seen in history of mobile os

56. o7o

Posts: 114; Member since: Jun 26, 2009

You realize this isn't the first time it's introduced right? It has been available on WP8 flagships from Nokia long ago!

2. der_damo

Posts: 213; Member since: Sep 16, 2014

The porsche-one in the bottom looks awesome!

5. Numz

Posts: 34; Member since: Oct 31, 2009

In every comparison the raw one looks the best and from a nexus 5 no less. I'm excited for the camera enhancements.

6. ihavenoname

Posts: 1693; Member since: Aug 18, 2013

Porsche PA-namera Turbo.

25. power_x

Posts: 264; Member since: Aug 28, 2013

I see what you DNG there

8. ali262883

Posts: 13; Member since: Mar 26, 2014

Waiting for final release.. Its awesome

9. LikeMyself

Posts: 631; Member since: Sep 23, 2013

Wow! The DNG compressed photos look like professional photos! The amount of details is impressive! The jpeg ones look like the typical high quality smartphone pics, but the DNG are just awesome! I believe the Porsche belongs to PA owner!

14. LoveHater

Posts: 234; Member since: Oct 09, 2013

of course ,,, every APPLE PARTNER has Porshe

20. hboy857

Posts: 367; Member since: Jun 03, 2013

This site never was and never will be Apple partner. Do you see any other site posting that much news about iphone's bendgate ? Now tell me who's the biggest benefisier of this ridiculus

22. hboy857

Posts: 367; Member since: Jun 03, 2013

+ bendgate controversy. Yes, PA is that company's partner. (PA give us too little time to edit a comment)

10. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

That is why RAW and DNG is left with professional photographers, it has room for many post-processing. Average joes should stick with JPEGS, since today's cameras have good sensors and processing powers it is par with lossless formats.

11. 5sApple

Posts: 11; Member since: Sep 12, 2014

This is amazing. Well done Lollipop

12. ptikjp

Posts: 8; Member since: Aug 08, 2014

You'll probably need an editor capable of manipulating .DNG to post process the RAW files ... like Light Room. This means there is extra effort in getting results. Its not point; capture and display experience anymore. You snap the pictures and then edit them (perhaps on the phone itself - not sure if the software exists yet) to your liking.The results are impressive none the less and is an option when you need it; should you need it.

53. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Welcome to WP Lumia, android playing catch up. Good news for Droid however. Check out "Rawer" for Windows Phonehttp://www.windowsphone.com/s?appid=991cc82e-80d8-4fa0-a929-c6c7e6ea20e8

13. Bogdan86

Posts: 48; Member since: Oct 06, 2014

with the new APIs is ther any posibility to have manual control over the Shutter speed ????

15. AstronautJones

Posts: 305; Member since: Aug 01, 2012

"Put simply, with Android 5.0 Lollipop, developers have the power to make camera apps that give the user control over shutter speed and allow for lossless raw (in DNG format) image output. "

17. FaisalWibowo11

Posts: 166; Member since: Aug 12, 2013

GREAT! I now can unlock the full potential of my Z2's camera. My Z2's photostream:https://www.flickr.com/photos/125751132@N08/

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