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How the awesome Expert RAW app came to be, explained by its makers


Last updated: April 13th, 2022 at 18:51 UTC+02:00

Expert RAW is one of the best apps Samsung has released for its Galaxy phones, arguably in years. It soups up the Galaxy S22 series and S21 Ultra’s cameras with capabilities similar to what you’d find on DSLR shooters.

This new mobile photography app resulted from a tight collaboration between different Samsung branches united by the same goal of giving expert and enthusiast photographers more creative control over their photos.

Today, Hamid Sheikh of Samsung Research America MPI Lab and Girish Kulkarni of Samsung R&D Institute India-Bangalore (SRI-B) came together again for an interview to discuss the thought process behind the creation of Expert RAW.

What is Expert RAW capable of, and what was the inspiration?

Samsung’s default Camera app relies on sophisticated computational photography algorithms to deliver its often-astonishing results, but the trade-off is that users have limited control over how their images will be rendered.

In the interview, Hamid Sheikh and Girish Kulkarni explain how Expert RAW combines that same ease of use offered by Samsung’s Camera app with DLSR-like capabilities. It’s a mobile photography app that gives more creative control to the photographer.

Expert RAW captures images with more comprehensive data and its integration with Adobe Lightroom turns the phone into a mini studio for professional photographers. It also enabled Galaxy S21 users last year to control parameters such as shutter speed and ISO value on the zoom camera(s), something that was not possible in the Pro mode in Samsung’s main camera app until the Galaxy S22 series came along.

As to how it came into existence, the idea was to please DSLR camera users who were looking for a similar experience on mobile phones. And thus, Expert RAW was inspired by the expert and enthusiast photographer community.

A tight-knit collaboration of Samsung MPI Lab and SRI-B

Samsung Research America’s Mobile Processor Innovation (MPI) Lab and the Samsung R&D Institute India-Bangalore (SRI-B) have worked closely to develop Expert RAW, which was “a complex R&D project.”

Today, Samsung went into detail as to how these two teams, MPI Lab and SRI-B, contributed to making Expert RAW possible.

In essence, MPI Lab brought to the table its expertise in computational imaging and the multi-frame pipeline building blocks implementation. SRI-B leveraged its skillset and resources to develop the necessary software, AI blocks for the Expert RAW pipeline, and the app’s UI.

Developing Expert RAW 24/7

The MPI Lab and SRI-B teams used their 12-hour time zone difference to their advantage, and Expert RAW was essentially in development 24/7. Accounting for the time zone difference, MPI Lab and SRI-B bounced the project back and forth 24/7 to finish development on Expert RAW “in record time.”

And, according to Samsung, the journey continues, which is good news for us, Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S21 Ultra smartphone users (more models will support Expert RAW later). MPI Lab and SRI-B say that “in the future, we would like to continuously enhance Expert RAW with a focus on creating a new ecosystem for pro photography that fully utilizes pro-grade camera capabilities.”

Indeed, Expert RAW continues to be improved and got an update for better low-light photography last week.

Expert RAW was put to the test by professional photographers capturing wildlife earlier this year, and we also tested this pro-grade app in December using the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Click the links for more details, stay tuned for future updates, and check out the full interview on the Samsung Newsroom website.

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