How to Take RAW Photos on the LG Q6… You Read That Right!

If you’ve listened to my podcast of late, you know I’ve been happily using the LG Q6 for about a month and it has been a delight to have a daily driver (minus that scrappy speaker). LG’s Android software has become more and more useful the longer I use it. To add to even more to its repertoire I recently discovered that the Q6 is capable of taking RAW photos. The ability to shoot RAW requires your device have Android’s camera2 API and that is a feature that you almost never find on lower end devices like the Q6 with a Snapdragon 435 processor. Bonus!

Before you jump in to the Q6’s stock app keep in mind you wont find this ability there. Also keep in mind that the RAW photos aren’t anything to gape in wonder at because the sensor on the device is still “low end”. But for you photo tinkerers out there the barrier to entry here is fairly simple and only requires an app install from Google Play. No rooting required!

I discovered the capability out of curiosity by installing the “Manual Camera Compatibility” app provided by Geeky Devs Studio from Google Play which can be found here. This app lets you know if your camera and software will work with Geeky Devs Studio’s main “Manual Camera” app. They provide this app because the “Manual Camera” app is $2.99 and this way you can make sure your device will work before you commit to purchasing.  I couldn’t believe my eyes when the Q6 passed all the tests!

Then I simply purchased and installed the “Manual Camera” app, which can be found here. I opened it up, tapped the settings cog on the right and tapped the JPG icon and it toggled to JPG/RAW. I snapped a photo and it worked! I had a 3MB JPG and a 24MB DNG/RAW file of the same shot. Very cool!

Now, in order to officially open a RAW/DNG file you need specific software that will “develop” the file. Shockingly, LG’s stock photo gallery app let me view and also edit the DNG file. But, for more detailed developing I copied over the new image files to my PC and opened them in Photoshop.

Example

Keeping in mind what I stated earlier, the RAW photos captured aren’t the best out there, but they offer a much more workable image file for editing. Below is one quick example of the difference between the RAW and standard processed photo taken on the Q6.

Below is the full scene with the standard processed photo on the left and the RAW captured photo on the right which I pulled into Photoshop. Click each image to see the full size for each.

Below is the cropped version of each photo to view the detail. I chose the Bluetooth speaker specifically to see the difference between the processing and the RAW capture on the speaker holes. Click each image to see the full size for each.

Overall, you can see the difference between the two versions of the photo in the speaker holes. The processed image isn’t too bad, but the RAW version manages to maintain much more detail, as it should.

It’s great to see this option on a budget device even if it isn’t advertised… at all. The ability to shoot RAW has definitely increased my positive view on the Q6 even more. It adds more flexibility to an already pretty flexible device.

Let me know in the comments if you have discovered any other budget devices that can shoot RAW photos. The Q6 is the first one I’ve found!