Lightroom and Special Camera Features


Today’s Question: You have addressed some questions that suggest it is better to use the Lightroom app on a smartphone in order to take advantage of raw (DNG) capture. But then aren’t you missing out on some of the special features of the smartphone camera, such as panoramas or Portrait mode on the iPhone?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Correct. While using the Lightroom mobile camera feature to capture raw photos in the Adobe DNG file format, you would be missing out on some of the special features that are available on your smartphone through the use of the built-in camera app.

More Detail: When using a third-party app to replace the built-in camera app on a smartphone, you are missing out on the special features that are only supported through special software features with your smartphone.

For example, the built-in smartphone camera app for both iPhone and Android devices supports panoramic captures. The Lightroom mobile app camera feature so far does not support the capture of panoramic images (other than the option to capture at a somewhat panoramic 16:9 aspect ratio). Therefore, it would not be possible to capture an Adobe DNG raw capture while making use of the panorama feature that is available with the built-in camera app.

Note, however, that with the Lightroom camera feature you will have access to the multiple lenses, if your smartphone is so equipped. That means you could switch between the wide angle, normal, and telephoto lenses on an iPhone 11, for example. It is only the special software features of the smartphone that Lightroom isn’t able to access.

The same holds true for other special features such as the Portrait mode that is available on certain iPhone models. So, in the case of special features you’ll need to decide whether it is more important to make use of those special features and only have a JPEG or HEIC image, or if you want to capture higher quality DNG images but not have the special features available to you.