What Is a CR2 File?

How to Open, Edit, and Convert CR2 Files

Screenshot of several CR2 files in Windows 10
CR2 Files.

A file with the CR2 file extension is a Canon Raw Version 2 Image file created by Canon digital cameras.

CR2 files are based on the TIFF file specification, so they're usually high-quality, uncompressed, and quite large in size.

Some versions of Canon digital cameras save images in the CRW format.

The 3D modeling program called Poser uses CR2 files, too. However, instead of storing photos, the Poser Character Rigging file format is used to hold information about human details like joints and bones.

How to Open a CR2 File

CR2 files can be opened with free programs like Able RAWer, IrfanView, and RAW Image Viewer. Another free CR2 viewer (and editor) is UFRaw.

Some versions of Windows will let you view CR2 files natively (for example, in a folder view) but only if the Microsoft Camera Code Pack or Canon RAW Codec Software is installed.

Although certainly not free, Adobe Photoshop is another popular program used to work with CR2 files. It can adjust the temperature, tint, exposure, contrast, whites, shadows, and more.

MAGIX Xara Photo & Graphic Designer may also be able to open and edit CR2 files.

If you're dealing with a Poser Character Rigging file, Smith Micro's Poser software should be used to open it. Other similar applications support the format as well, like DAZ 3D's DAZ Studio and Autodesk's 3ds Max.

How to Convert a CR2 File

The Adobe DNG Converter is a free CR2 to DNG converter tool from Adobe. It supports not only CR2 files but lots of other raw image file formats that were likely created on other types of digital cameras.

To convert a CR2 to another image format, start with one of the viewers I mentioned above and see what sort of export/save options you have. With the free RAW Image Viewer, for example, CR2 files can be exported to common formats like JPG, TIFF, PNG, and GIF.

Considering what they are and where they come from, it's probably no surprise that CR2 files can be rather large in size, so using an online CR2 converter probably isn't the smartest solution since you have to upload each and every CR2 file you want to convert. If you do go this route, I recommend Zamzar.

Your better bet is a free software-based file converter. Most are very easy to use and work on all operating systems. Depending on the one you choose, you'll find support for converting CR2 to JPG, TIFF, GIF, PNG, TGA, BMP and other image formats, including PDF.

Though I haven't tried it myself, it's likely that you can convert a Poser Character Rigging file with the Poser program mentioned earlier. Also, the other programs I mentioned that can import the file, can probably also be used to export the CR2 file to a different format.

Advanced Reading on the CR2 Format

If you're interested in anything beyond the basics on how CR2 works, I highly recommend you visit Laurent Clévy's super-thorough breakdown on the format:

It's not a light read by any means, but very interesting if you're the kind of person that likes to dig a bit deeper into raw image formats and how they work.