I need to take a collection of photographs using my Samsung Note 4 used as resources for a video game. To give the best experience, it is important that I use a completely lossless format for this. When I take a picture with my phone, it saves it in a JPG format by default. I need to losslessly save this image in PNG format.

I am looking for some way to do this with existing apps. The one resource I found about this topic from a user's point of view claims it is impossible as there is some sort of hardware encoder -- however I very much doubt this as I've always considered the encoding into a file format to be handled by software.

Is it possible to take a photo in PNG (or other lossless) format in Android?

  • I'm bit confused. Is the video game supposed to be played on an another machine and you would be taking the snapshots of it OR the game would be played on your device and you would be taking screenshots of it? For both the cases, how many apps (names) did you try so far unsuccessfully? – Firelord Nov 8 '15 at 11:11
  • @Firelord The video game is played on a PC. I am taking pictures using my phone that will then be used to create the video game on a PC to be played on a PC. I have tried my phone's built in camera app. – john01dav Nov 12 '15 at 15:12
  • I think you are asking the wrong question. If the game is played on a PC, taking a picture with an Android device is already going to result in reduced image quality regardless of format when compared to a screenshot on the PC. – mattm Nov 13 '15 at 17:10
  • @mattm I'm not taking a picture of the game but rather a picture of real life for the game. For example, if I want a tree in the game I could go and find a real tree and take a picture of it's bark and apply it to an in-game cylinder. I need a way to make this picture be lossless. – john01dav Nov 13 '15 at 22:57
  • If you really need high quality photographs, you should start with a high quality camera. Made-for-purpose cameras have the advantage of better optics over Android devices because they can be bigger, which may be a bigger factor than image compression. See this comparison with cheap cameras. A decent camera is also likely to give you more flexibility in output formats. – mattm Nov 14 '15 at 1:36

If you really want to take lossless photographs, you should look for a camera app with RAW support. Typically, you would be working with a .dng file, instead of a .png file. RAW photos are lossless and uncompressed, which is what you're looking for, and (as the name suggests) captures the raw data from the camera's sensor.

The Lollipop Camera2 API includes a feature to capture RAW images, and there are at least a few popular apps that take advantage of this.

  1. OpenCamera (Free, Open Source)
  2. Manual Camera (try the compatibility checker app before buying)
  3. Camera FV-5
  • I'd use those, but my budget is literally $0. I'm using an open source game engine for instance. I need something open source, or at least free to use. – john01dav Nov 19 '15 at 23:09
  • 1
    @john01dav The "lite" version of Camera FV-5 can capture RAW and .png files, but it has limitations. You could give the free lite version a try to see if it works for you. – Dan Herbert Nov 19 '15 at 23:17
  • Perhaps this github.com/googlesamples/android-Camera2Raw – Clocker Jan 17 '17 at 21:58

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