At the very pinnacle of the Samsung Galaxy series lies the Ultra devices (at least since the S20 Ultra), and they’ve got some of the best camera hardware on the market. But, in this era of computational photography, software matters just as much, if not more. Last year Samsung released the Expert Raw app for the S21 Ultra to give customers even better control over the photos they take, improving on the existing “Pro” camera mode. And now it’s pushed out an update to address a few issues and even add a new feature.
Serial leaker Ice Universe recently tweeted a link to download the new Expert RAW camera app version 1.0.00.21 — also available at APK Mirror. Based on Samsung’s prior promises, the update is expected to fix a number of bugs, including problems with the telephoto camera. SamMobile speculates that other issues like shutter speed information errors when attempting to capture long exposure photos, poor image quality when shooting bright or saturated objects, and a voice command bug in the Expert RAW settings menu may also be addressed.
Whatever fixes are included, the update also delivers a wholly new feature: High-Efficiency RAW support. Saving photos in the High-Efficiency RAW format reduces the amount of space typically huge RAW files take up and can ease the impact on your phone’s storage — even more important since the S21 Ultra doesn’t have expandable memory.
The app only came out last November, so it’s not a surprise that there aren’t any big UI changes or anything like that in this new update. If you aren’t familiar with it, the Expert RAW app is only meant for the S21 Ultra (for now) and adds telephoto support for capturing RAW photos. It’s not clear why the standard Camera app didn’t get this functionality, but the new app could serve as a testbed for future changes. And it doesn’t just capture typical RAW images; Samsung tosses in some extra computational skills to improve the results, with multi-frame HDR and the ability to combine information from multiple lenses for better low-light performance. After taking a picture, you get two copies: a lossless JPEG and a multi-frame RAW file which you can edit to your liking via an Adobe Lightroom shortcut. For more information, you can read our analysis of the new app at launch.
Samsung plans to bring these features to the main camera app after testing in Expert Raw. However, if you want to try them out on your S21 Ultra, you’d have to download the app via Ice Universe’s link, as it’s still only officially available through the South Korean Galaxy Store.