What Is a CR2 File?

A Canon Raw Version 2 file is an image file

Screenshot of several CR2 files in Windows 10

 Tim Fisher

A file with the CR2 file extension is a Canon Raw Version 2 image file created by a Canon digital camera. CR2 files are based on the TIFF file specification, so they're usually high quality, uncompressed, and large.

The 3D modeling program called Poser uses CR2 files, too. However, instead of storing photos, the Poser CR2 files are character rigging files used to hold information about human details like joints and bones and where and how much they bend.

How to Open a CR2 File

CR2 files can be opened with free programs such as IrfanView, CR2 Image Viewer and UFRaw. Some versions of Windows will let you view CR2 files natively (for example, in a folder view) but only if the Microsoft Camera Codec 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 and see what sort of export or save options you have. With the free CR2 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 no surprise that CR2 files can be large, so using an online CR2 converter probably isn't the best solution because you have to upload each CR2 file you want to convert. However, if you do go this route, try Zamzar.

Your better bet is a free software-based file converter. Most are 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 formats, including PDF.

You may be able to convert a Poser character rigging file using the Poser program. Other programs that can import the file can probably export the CR2 file to a different format.