.CR2 File Extension

Canon Raw Digital Image File

Image File
CR2 is an image file format written by some popular Canon digital cameras such as the EOS300d, EOS350d, EOS400d, Digital Rebel XT and Kiss n Digital. CR2 is a RAW format that supersedes the CRW format. RAW format means that the data is written to memory directly from the CCD or CMOS chip without any modification, processing or compression.

CR2 files usually contain vast quantities of information which is lost when saved as JPEG, the file size of a CR2 can be four times that of the equivalent highest quality JPG. The images are stored using the TIFF standards, with some improvement to the file structure and also includes full EXIF details.

Because of the extra information stored in CR2 files it is favoured in astrophotography because the very fine details of planets, nebulae and galaxies can be bought out in post processing. CR2 does not "throw away" any data so it's just a case of adjusting the curves in Photoshop to bring out the details in dust lanes or surface features. This extra information is very fine detail, or very faint detail. A photograph of a galaxy may not show anything but a few stars. It's not that the sensor hasn't captured the light, it just too faint to be visible. This faint detail would be lost if saving to JPEG, but it remains in CR2, it just takes some adjustment of the brightness and curves.

CR2 (or RAW files generally) also offer a greater flexibility when dealing with exposure times. An under exposed image can easily be increased in brightness/contrast without introducing noise or effecting the dynamic range, as can a over exposed image.

Canons own "Digital Photo Professional" is an excellent piece of software for post processing CR2 files. Using this software you can adjust the exposure, white balance and push the curves whilst preserving the extra information. You can then export to JPEG, TIFF or BMP for later use.

CR2 is also natively supported by Adobe Photoshop CS2 and above, as well as Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop Elements.

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Comments (6)
showing 1-6
Lance Cannon
2008-09-17 18:52:37
I have a copy of Adobe Photoshop elements 2.0 and a Canon 40d. Is there a patch or download that will allow me to use the CRE format?
2008-12-08 20:32:38
Adobe Photoshop CS3 does not support .CR2 from my canon 450d only canon software can convert them
2009-01-27 22:38:19
I have a canon eos 50d and can't bring my raw pictures into photoshop elements 6- I know it is because of this cr2 file, but how do I solve it? I tried to upload the updated raw file from adobe, but that doesn't seem to work. What do I need to do?
2009-01-28 16:15:16
Lotty, try "canon digital photo professional" to batch convert the cr2 files to tif or jpg

hope this helps
George Alderson
2010-04-06 08:37:59
I have a Canon 500D SLR and have tried to load Canon's EOS utility on my PC but it does not respond it turns my wallpaper into an IR negative and cannot access anything even non Canon software.

I have Windows 7 upgraded from Vista. I have loaded the same CD on my laptop which has XP PRO with no problems. Any ideas please Canon are lost, and I have downloaded Canon's Windows 7 upgrade.
2012-05-10 01:35:26
I have a Canon DSLR 500D and Photoshop Elements10. The Raw files used to open automatically in Elements 6 with my Canon DSLR 400 without having to convert. The only way I can see a Raw file with the 500 is to convert. How can I get the 500 to open up in Elements 10 automatically.I have been using the Canon software which came with both cameras.