RAW DNG on Nokia Lumia 1520 and 1020 explained – first smartphones with RAW

| October 30, 2013 | 45 Replies

Screen Shot 2013-10-30 at 16.14.18

NokConv talks about the Nokia Lumia 1520 and 1020’s ability to shoot RAW images. Basically digital negatives where you can tweak settings AFTER the photos are taken delivering maximum versatility when editing your images post production.

It’s a much requested feature, especially from the 808 users who wanted to push the boundary of mobile photography further.

Colours, tone mapping, noise filtering – change it how you like! Although on the one hand we’re moving towards the “point and shoot” simple photography, on the other, people are becoming more creative with how they’re editing their pictures. In Nokia Smart Camera (and in a way on the N9 I believe) Nokia allowed users to edit photos in a non destructive way. Likewise with cropping on Pro Cam. This allows for that and so much more as your images can be tweaked AFTER the photo is taken. Yes you can do that with jpegs but the quality and flexibility isn’t the same.

Juha says:

“But with RAW you can define these settings on your own, and this gives you enormous creative opportunities later on. That is the power of the digital negative – you can change the settings after taking the photo. You can tune the settings separately for each photo, just the way you like it – whether you a searching for a special artistic expression or the most natural representation of the original scene.”


“Overall, I’m so proud of what we have achieved in Nokia. We have the amazing camera hardware, very powerful camera user interface, and now the RAW support. When you bring this all together, the system is more than the sum of its parts. I’m always carrying my Lumia 1020 in my pocket. I use the manual controls, exposure bracketing, and RAW – and the results are just pure magic.”

There is also one more additional benefit when shooting and archiving photos in RAW. “The RAW computer software and algorithms evolve all the time. If you shoot with RAW, you can take benefit of the continuously developing algorithms in the future. Who knows what these tools will offer in 10 years!”

Screen Shot 2013-10-30 at 16.20.29The downside is the files are quite large, as expected in RAW images (and the fact that they’re 38MP!). 40MB. Fortunately there’s a memory card slot in the 1520.

Cheers Janne for the tip!


Category: Nokia

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Hey, thanks for reading my post. My name is Jay and I'm a medical student at the University of Manchester. When I can, I blog here at and tweet now and again @jaymontano. We also have a twitter and facebook accounts @mynokiablog and Check out the tips, guides and rules for commenting >>click<< Contact us at tips(@) or email me directly on jay[at]
  • Why only 1020? Where is 1520 sample? and 1520 is using small sensor than 1020, the file of RAW should be small too.

    However, i want to know the quality of RAW between 1520 vs 1020
    RAW (16MP vs 33MP)…if 16MP is good enough, then just 1520 better with high-end specs

    • JGrove303

      What exactly are you saying? 16mp? Good enough? Are you suggesting that RAW DNG only be available for the 1520 because the sensor is “good enough?” Considering the sensor size on the 1020 and the VERY pocketable size of the 1020, the camera and screen size on the 1520 may very well NOT be better for everyone. Especially photo nerds that want the very best in there pocket.

      I wear Dickies Contractor pants and loose denim jeans the majority of the time, and I know the 1520 is not going to be comfortable (or not even fit) the popular skinny jeans and jeggings that are ridiculously popular now. 1020 drops right in.

      Sorry, got carried away.

      • JGrove303

        To complete my meandering though, RAW is going to make the 1020 impressively powerful. Considering pro digital photogs use GiMP or PhotoShop afterwards anyway, RAW gives them the flexibility they need.

        So what if the full photo is 40MB? RAW isn’t for posting on instagram.

      • I said if 1520 quality is good enough, I will go with 1520 , not mean is the best…you understand? As 1020 disappoint me in the specifications. Sure we know 1020 is bigger sensor but with just only 32gb..I had nothing to said. And our life is not just taking photo.

      • And I am not a photo freak, I am just choosing the overall. Got good camera and video camera is enough and high end specs for new experience. No need the best except it is worth in price and specification.

      • JGrove303, I am not mean RAW only for 1520. I am just mean the image is good enough or not. But I didn’t mention a word “”Best””.

        Is just good enough. Of course 1020 is a “Camera Phone” so it worth to own it RAW file, that is an expectation to everyone, no doubt. Even me also fully agree to it. But just lack of memory and In this generation still using old CPU and old GPU(As that is GDR2 limitation at that moment), However, i couldn’t accept the price of 1020 in my country, if you want say because 41MP so expensive, then i will said 808 with more larger sensor than 1020 cheaper than 1020 about 4 times of number. 2499 vs 799…

        • So, for the word call “worth”, i will greatly analysis which one is suitable for me to paid that all. If 1520 detail is still ok, that should be great :), Recently i am keep find out both device(1520 and 1020)… but just larger size as you said i cant put in common jeans pocket, so i think i will put it in my bag or buy a larger pocket for it. After compare both quality, i will consider my final decision. But anyway thanks guy 😀

  • myname24

    technically speaking on N9 and N900 ( N950 too ) RAW dng is possible .

    • Shaun

      That’s what I was thinking too. We’ve been able to do RAW on Nokia’s smartphones for a few years already.

      • Hope 808 also can take RAW file.

    • Janne

      Nokia was doing some great research on the N900 and to an extent on N9. We are seeing fruits of that in the Lumia range now.

      Ah, how I miss the N900. It would have been great to see Maemo 6 get a chance as is, in 2010, without the MeeGo and swipe adventures.

  • stylinred

    that’s very cool that nokia listened to users of the n8/808 and added raw capability shame its not available for the n8/808 but really awesome for those switching to (or on) Lumia

    • Janne

      It is possible 808 couldn’t do RAW with any conventional upgrade if the JPG processing is done inside the chip that can’t be altered after the fact. N8 probably could do it with a suitable upgrade, unless there are some resource constraints, because it controls the camera more directly than 808.

      Not that Nokia would make such upgrades now, but just pondering out loud what the hardware capabilities are.

      • dss

        The 808’s jpeg is as close to raw as you can get on a smartphone.. the processing is kind of mild, that’s why it responds very well to post processing.

        But that is a good point.. I am not sure why they didn’t include RAW and manual exposure on the 808

        • Random Random

          RAW was said not to be possible just for the reason Janne mentioned. The raw data from the sensor is transferred to the chip creating the JPG, without a possibility to transfer it to the memory without being compressed.

          And not having manual setting for exposure time.

          It was said that Damian Dinning was so competent that he decided that 808 would be a better camera without the setting. It was claimed to be a design decision.

          That made be to suspect that Damian Dinning is not that good camera designer after all.

          That’s one of the most important manual settings there are.

          • milojko

            it’s still the greatest camera out there 🙂

            • Janne

              I’m sure you mean greatest smartphone camera.

              I agree that 808 PureView is in certain circumstances the greatest smartphone camera out there. If we are looking purely at sensor-size and the results that can be achieved in optimal circumstances considering 808’s features.

              Then again, there are several circumstances where 808 PureView is not the greatest smartphone camera.

              Here are few where 808 PureView is not the greatest:

              – Handheld in low-light
              – Stable video
              – High-res zoom (no Nokia can claim this)
              – Shutter speed control
              – RAW support
              – Computational photography
              – Mainstream smartphone features

              808 PureView is great within the limits of the parameters it is great at – and many of the fans of 808 set the parameters so that 808 fits the bill. There are many scenarios where a person might find another solution better for them. The lack of optical image stabilization is probably the biggest obstacle, for me, in calling 808 PureView the greatest smartphone camera. OIS just makes a huge difference.

              Then again, the greatness of 808 PureView in the areas it excels as, stops me from calling Lumia 1020 the greatest either. In my books, I probably call it a tie between 808 and 1020. It can’t be disputed what the 1020 brings, the 808 is sorely missing (OIS and manual controls the biggest, other software features the second), but of course 808 with its larger sensor can do some things the 1020 can not.

              • milojko

                1st depends of how stable your hands are and how experienced you are in applying correct settings for the situation

                2nd can be sorted on your PC with minimal loss of resolution (unless you deliberately shake your phone like a rave party maniac)

                3rd what?

                4th can be indirectly controlled via ISO, you get used to it although it would be nice to have it controlled manually

                5th true, but RAW is of no use if your picture is made by low quality optics although in some situations pictures can be made to look fantastic

                6th err what?

                7th true, however there are some other features not seen on other phones that can be very useful

                • Random Random

                  Actually, no.

                  1st. Stable hands will can give you n seconds exposure time but stable hands + OIS will give you for example n*2 seconds exposure time.

                  2nd. There is loss of resolution and unless you want to have borders, the image will have to be rescaled and that will make the quality even worse.

                  3rd. Probably high res macros. 808 is not the greatest in that.

                  4th. Not the same and may result with unpleasant surprises if the lighting conditions change.

                  5th. RAW just makes it possible to do more. Just accept it.

                  6th. You know there are lots of nice apps for iPhone, some also improving the image quality. No, and not doing that in post. New camera applications etc. While some exist for 808, it’s really missing quite many.

                  7th Yes. 808 is not a modern smartphone.

                  • milojko

                    1st better sensor&optics matter more than n*2 seconds exposure with worse sensor&optics, try and see for yourself

                    2nd you can remove borders and the loss of quality is negligible, certainly not that big like difference between 808&1020 😀

                    3rd as many other very expensive professional cameras with non-macro lenses, yet you can mount external lens to 808 and it’s not too complicated

                    4th not the same but still better than worse optics with manual everything 😉

                    5th yes, bad optics with RAW will become less bad, but still bad

                    6th 808 camera app is quite sufficient, it’s a semiprofessional camera not an iphone toy after all

                    7th nor is a 1020, it doesn’t have official instagram app 😉

                    • Random Random

                      1st: Actually not what it comes to low light. In low light when shooting freehand, there is no reason to use full resolution anyway so the small softness on the sides is really not a problem. However the longer exposure time is really something that makes 1020 the winner.

                      2st: Taking away borders results with entire image being softened. You also lose resolution both x and y axis.

                      3rd: Irrelevant. It’s either only the device you use and carry or then it comes back to carrying around tons of adapters, connectors, a tripod and now extra lenses. If 808 really needs those, it’s a very flawed product.

                      4th: Wrong. Not having a manual setting for exposure time makes it almost impossible to take certain photos.

                      5th: No RAW mode for 808. This is where 808 fails.

                      6th: 808 is a camera for amateurs. Then again even iPhone allows more manual settings like the setting for exposure time.

                      7th: 1020 is better on that but in the end, iPhone is superior what it comes to apps.

                    • milojko

                      you are not right in all 7 points, but just continue to hate on Symbian 😀

                    • Random Random


                      Once again you prove me right.

                      When you run out or arguments, that’s all you got left.

                      This has been the case for your Symbian religion for a long time.


                • Janne

                  milojko and RR:

                  By “High-res zoom” I refer to zooming while retaining a high resolution. Something better done by SGS4 Camera, especially as the zoom range becomes larger. I know the quality of SGS4 Camera is limited, but still if you need to zoom far a lot in still photography, it is the better smartphone camera.

                  • Janne

                    A couple of more answers:

                    4th: By manual control I also refer to manual focus in 1020. That’s pretty nice to have. This together with shutter speed.

                    6th: By computational photography I refer to the expanding suite of software such as Nokia Refocus and Smart Cam, but one could think of it in older terms too, like HDR. This is an area where 1020 is ahead of 808.

                    (Of course RR is right the true “pioneer”, through its vibrant app ecosystem, of computational photography is the iPhone. But thanks to Nokia and their Scalado purchase, Lumia 1020 is bringing some innovation to this field too.)

                  • Janne

                    My point about SGS4 Camera was just that if you are looking for the “greatest smartphone camera” – that is you want a camera that is a smartphone too (and not even considering usability as a smartphone, just any smartphone would do) – there are things to stop me from calling any of the top three contenders the greatest.

                    SGS4 Camera is truly the greatest if you need a large optical zoom, say you like photographing birds, even if it isn’t necessarily a great camera or even a great smartphone. But of course, overall, I’d put the two top competitors for the title of greatest smartphone camera as 808 and 1020. 808 because of its great sensor, 1020 for its OIS and the way it is a balanced product in hardware and software capability (camera-wise and otherwise).

                    • milojko

                      you can mount external zoom lens on 808 it’s very simple and makes overall package just a tiny bit bigger than SGS4 Zoom…


                    • Janne

                      Sure, you can add lenses – although it can be cumbersome. But sure, as the 808’s strength is the large sensor, you could add external lenses, tripods, even steadycams for greater results than you could get from 1020 or SGS4 Camera with similar additions. You could even shoot a lot of 38 MPix images and the do computational photography on them on your computer.

                      Then again, that probably often isn’t very practical. But if the measure of “greatest smartphone camera” is simply how good the camera is in theory, the 808 is clearly the greatest one, barring the lack of manual control. That said, real life doesn’t happen in theory, it happens in reality and that’s where 1020 and even SGS4 Camera to an extent do challenge 808’s crown for the greatest smartphone camera – especially 1020.

                    • milojko

                      In reality you need a PC just to open 41 MP photo from 1020…no comparo again.

                    • Janne

                      Sure, but you can re-frame new 5 MP images for sharing on the device itself. The quality of that scaling will probably improve over time.

                      If it can be done from RAW original in the future, it would be “lossless” too before the scaling/5MP JPG compression – but that remains to be seen.

                  • Random Random


                    That’s true.

                    S4 Zoom is probably the best on that.

                    S4 Zoom can produce 16MP image with 10x zoom while 808 and 1020 can only produce 0,4 MP image with 10x zoom.

        • Janne


          The 808′s jpeg is as close to raw as you can get on a smartphone.. the processing is kind of mild, that’s why it responds very well to post processing.

          Well, I would say N900 (and I guess N9?) is the closest you can get to RAW on smartphone today (in public), because you actually can get RAW out of them. Soon, Lumia 1020 and 1520 will, too, be as close as RAW as you can get on a smartphone because you can get RAW out of them.

          808 won’t be on that list, barring some hack and discovery that getting RAW through the hardware setup is possible, because you can’t get RAW out from it.

          • Random Random


            You can get uncompressed pictures from iPhone.

            That’s actually pretty nice feature to have.

            • Janne

              Cool. Are they uncompressed and unprocessed? Just curious.

              I haven’t really paid attention to the iPhone scene since I got rid of mine, other than on the large announcement level.

              • Random Random

                I haven’t studied those to the detail, but they seem to be uncompressed. +17 MB for one TIFF picture.

                Unprocessed? Can’t really say that.

                What I know is that they look nice and add some detail which is lost on jpg compression.

                • Janne

                  I would guess it depends on what the Apple API is. Does it process on the way to the app. I would guess it probably does, but this is just guessing.

                  Nice to have the option either way.

              • n8thebest

                He’s wrong. The iPhone apps that claim “RAW output” are just fake and lying. With the Apple API, it is NOT possible to have completely uncompressed and unprocessed RAW images. The Apple API simply does not allow that.

                What those apps do is essentially take image data before JPEG compression (roughly equivalent to a high quality JPEG), and then export the file as a TIFF. However the images are still post-processed, and are therefore not true RAW images. Some of those apps also output image data that is already compressed.

                Those apps employ some sort of tricks or hackery, but in the end they are misleading in terms of claiming to provide true RAW images.

                • Random Random

                  How come I would be wrong?

                  I said uncompressed and those are not compressed.

                  I didn’t claim they were RAW images.

                  At least agood TIFF is better than high quality JPG.

              • n8thebest

                Forgot to add, there may be a hardware limitation on the iPhones in terms of trying to get RAW images.

                • Random Random

                  This is of course possible, but I don’t think that hardware limitation would be as restrictive as it’s on 808.

                  On 808 there are understandable reasons why creating RAW is not possible. On iPhone that’s more like an assumption. Just like you said, ” there may be a hardware limitation”.

  • milojko

    hah, some people here said that majority of phone users don’t want to fiddle with settings on their phone and they will mostly use auto, so will they suddenly become photography experts to spend hours on modifying RAW files? 😀

    • Random Random

      Most people want to shoot with auto, they want to have good enough quality and they want thin phones. No wonder iPhone is selling that well.

    • Janne

      If you are referring to e.g. me, no I wouldn’t expect any “normal people” to fiddle with RAW.

      I think this is purely a treat to the segment that may have felt slighted by some of the compromises in 1020 (e.g. smaller sensor), the serious camera enthusiast.

      This will make Lumia 1020 (perhaps even 1520) a little more attractive to them.

      I’d say that’s a good thing in its own right. But no, it isn’t significant in the grand scheme.