I posted this to another forum, but so far have received no response. I hope this is suitable for discussion here.
I recently visited Grand Tetons National Park. My main cameras used on the trip were a Nikon Z7ii mirrorless and a D850 DSLR. On several occasions, I used my iPhone 13 Pro to take photos alongside of my Nikon cameras for comparison. The photos taken with the iPhone were remarkably better than those taken with the Nikon cameras, in particular photos taken of the snow-covered mountains, waterfalls, or images which included bright white cumulus clouds. The whites in the images are beautifully bright while retaining details. I am no beginner when it comes to understanding the differences between the Nikon raw images versus the in-camera processed images from the iPhone, so that is not the issue. My goal is to be able to post process the Nikon raw images to achieve the same look as the images I am seeing with the whites on the iPhone; however, I am so far unable to come close.
However, something else is going on with the iPhone that I do not understand. Any attempt to copy the iPhone image to my PC causes the whites in the image to become flat. Even if I copy the image to a file folder on the iPhone itself, then look at it with the iPhone, the whites become flat. Only viewing the original image in the Photos app produces the bright whites. Another strange observation is that when I initially open the original image with the Photos app, the whites are muted, but then they become brighter and brighter over the next five seconds. It appears that the Photos app is applying postprocessing to its images on the fly every time the image is viewed. Again, if the photo is copied, then viewed, the image does not exhibit the same appearance.
Can anyone explain what is going on with the iPhone photos or the Photos app itself, and how I might be able to post process my Nikon raw images to achieve a similar brightness in the whites without losing details in the highlights?