What is a CR2 File and How to Open & Convert

Update on

If you’re a photography enthusiast, you must have heard of or even interacted with CR2 files. However, if you’re an amateur, it might be the first time you’re hearing about these types of image files. Either way, this post provides a detailed overview of what you need to know about CR2 files. Read on for more…..

A CR2 file, also known as Canon Raw 2nd edition, is a proprietary type of file format extension that takes over all raw files in a Canon SLR camera. A raw file, also called a digital negative, refers to the original file format that contains uncompressed and unprocessed image data obtained from the photosensitive original file.


It’s worth noting that not all cameras support the CR2 file format. Depending on the manufacturer, different camera brands support different file extensions for raw files. For instance, Nikon NEF and Sony ARW are file extensions that both take over raw files in some models or Nikon and Sony cameras.

Pros of CR2 file format

Pros of CR2 file format

The CR2 file format comes with a number of advantages. Some of these include:

  • Supports large uncompressed files which contain a lot of details.
  • Files have maximum quality color features.
  • The proprietary file format makes it easy to prove the copyright of a given photo.
  • It can be easily converted to other file extensions formats.

Cons of CR2 file format

Cons of CR2 file format

Aside from the advantages, Canon Raw Version 2 file format also comes with a couple of downsides. Some of these include:

  • A large file size of at least 25 MBs takes a lot of storage space.
  • The complex file sharing process

How do I open a CR2 file?

cr2 file open with ps

The CR2 file format can be opened by a number of software programs. Some of these tools perform better when it comes to processing these types of image files. We strongly recommend using Canon’s official viewer, the Digital Photo Professional.

Apart from that, you can also open CR2 files using Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom. Both of these tools come with the Adobe Camera RAW plugin installed, thus making it easy to open and even edit CR2 files.

Here’s how to go about opening a CR2 file in Windows, Mac, or Linux operating systems. Note that the steps are similar in all these platforms.

Step 1: Start by running Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom on your computer.

Running Adobe Photoshop

  • Tip! You can follow the same steps while using the Digital Photo Professional.

Step 2: Once the program is launched successfully, click on the File tab on the menu bar.

photoshop File tab

Step 3: In the menu options window, click on the search icon to browse for the specific C R2 files.

Step 4: Locate and select the file(s), then press Enter to upload, then onto Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom.

Step 5: Click on the CR2 image file, then scroll down to the bottom right of the screen and click on Open to access the CR2 file.

CR2 image file open

How to convert CR2 files

You can easily convert CR2 files to common image formats, which are familiar and much easier to handle. The file conversion is usually done online.

However, you can also make use of dedicated standalone software tools. Here are some of the best websites for converting CR2 file formats into common image formats like JPG:

1. Cloud Convert

Coud Convert Homepage

This site allows you to convert your CR2 file to JPG and a couple of other image formats. The platform has a number of features for regulating the image quality, resolution, and size while converting to JPEG.

In case you didn’t know, JPG is a very popular format for image files because of the small file sizes and unbeatable quality. It is based on the 10:1 to 20:1 lossy image compression technique that only reduces the image size while retaining the original quality and resolution.

2. Free Convert

Free Convert Homepage

Free Convert offers online conversion of CR2 image files to other formats such as JPG for free. The platform guarantees the best image quality.

Moreover, they also provide file SSL encryption protection for the safety and security of all files processed on their platform. You don’t have to worry about losing any of your images to hackers.

3. Iloveimg

Iloveimg Homepage
Another great website for converting CR2 files to JPG, among other image formats. Something awesome about this site is that it supports simultaneous conversion of multiple files. If you want to convert many CR2 files to JPG, this site allows you to upload and convert all of them at once.

Pin It on Pinterest