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ProRAW on Instagram – support for iPhone 12 Pro feature

Instagram has added support for Apple’s ProRAW standard, which was finally introduced in iOS 14.3 for the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max.

One of surprisingly few features that distinguish the iPhone 12 Pro models from their iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini counterparts, ProRAW effectively brings the benefits of the advanced RAW photo format to iOS, but with Apple’s usual image processing wizardry left intact. (RAW, if you don’t know, is a file format that leaves photos uncompressed – meaning they look great, but take up a lot of storage space.)

ProRAW received a major boost on Friday with the news that the world’s biggest image-based social network had added support for it. Instagram iOS team member Tim Johnson tweeted the news (via iMore) that it would be rolling out imminently.

We should point out that Instagram’s initial ProRaw support is somewhat limited. The network’s own editing tools won’t be able to take advantage of the format, meaning that you’ll need to perform any desired editing outside of the Instagram app ahead of uploading.

Indeed, this ‘support’ essentially entails converting the ProRAW DNG format to JPEG. This means that your ProRaw shots will be heavily compressed by the time they appear on your Instagram feed.

When you really get down to it, ProRAW’s true purpose and appeal lies well outside of Instagram’s typical heavily compressed and processed snapshots. It’s far more of an advanced tool intended to improve your carefully composed shots – the kind that you might even consider printing off and framing, rather than merely sharing and forgetting in five minutes.

Early sample efforts from professional photographers have shown the startling potential of ProRAW to take the kind of detailed, nuanced shots in challenging conditions that would normally be the preserve of dedicated DSLRs.

Still, the fact that you can now share your carefully composed ProRAW efforts with the wider world – even in a reduced form – is exciting news.