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Shooting Raw on a Smartphone with the LG G4

I was recently given the new LG G4 smartphone to try out by my friends at ThreeUK. Theres a lot I could write about the software, shape etcetera, but Im a phoneographer so lets get straight to the camera.

Go Manual

The camera is good on this phone but really comes into its own when you opt to switch to Manual mode. Here you can opt to change;

White Balance
Focal depth
Exposure compensation
ISO
Shutter speed

All pretty cool and opens up some great photographic opportunities, but what really got me excited was the option to shoot jpg or DNG (digital negative)

Shooting DNG

DNG was introduced by Adobe back in 2004 as a standard raw format. If youve used Lightroom or Bridge you’ll probably know that you can convert your images to DNG on import. The format is lossless and holds a great deal more information than a jpeg.

Editing An Image

The above image has had to be saved for web, but gives an idea of the images straight out of err.. camera.

To compare it more, in the following Ive dropped the Highlight and White sliders in Adobe Camera Raw to their minimum;

The detail lost in the jpeg is very noticeable and expected, but the level of detail from the DNG is kept, maybe I should have expected this, but coming from a smartphone it still took me a little by surprise.

Editing Workflow

In the Basic panel Ill make my initial adjustments, I can always return here later. Clarity is a real favourite and with an image with details like this it can work really well. Again, I can return later to adjust this but for now Ill take it to 100, its maximum.

Ive almost got a faux HDR effect here, bringing the Blacks and Shadows up here would give an even more HDR looking effect, but thats not my intention here, instead I want to head toward a balanced black and white image.

Black and White

To make the image black and white Ill head over to the HSL Grayscale panel. At the top of this is a check box, Ill click it.

The sliders here have a default setting, they run in a nice curve. The colour information is still present and any change to the sliders will effect that colour in the image. Moving the Yellow slider to the right will lighten the hay here even though the image is black and white.

The Targeted Adjustment Tool

Using the sliders is great here but I can target the colours directly using the Targeted Adjustment Tool. Using this tool on Greyscale Mix and clicking and dragging directly on the image will adjust the sliders in accordance to what tone is under the cursor.

Clicking on the hay and dragging to the left and right on the hay actually adjusts the Orange and Yellow Sliders.

Add a Vignette

Vignettes are quite popular right now, and I have to admit Im a bit of a fan. So Im heading off to the FX panel and add a Post Crop Vignette.

Crop It

I like this but Id like to see how it looks cropped in. Even though Ive already added the vignette itll adapt to any new crop I make.

Ive cropped to a square which costs me a little foreground, but I like the way it draws more attention to the inside of the truck.

Even More

To draw a little more attention to the hay and make it a focal point, Ill use the adjustment brush with the Shadows and Exposure sliders a tad higher;

And there we are, a little workflow for a DNG file from the LG G4. Thanks the Three UK for allowing me to have a play!

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