What Is an RW2 File?

This is an unprocessed (raw) image captured by a Panasonic camera

What to Know

  • An RW2 file is a raw image captured by a Panasonic digital camera.
  • Windows and macOS should open the file with their default image viewers, but if not, try XnView MP.
  • Convert to JPG at iLoveImg, or to DNG with Adobe DNG Converter.

This article explains what an RW2 file is, how to view one, and how to convert one to a different image file format.

What Is an RW2 File?

A file with the .RW2 file extension is a raw image created by a Panasonic digital camera, like the LUMIX AG-GH4 or LUMIX DMC-GX85.

A raw image file perfectly reproduces what it captured. In other words, there hasn't been any processing done to the file since it was taken by the Panasonic camera. These files are ideal for image editors that adjust the photo's color, exposure, etc.

RW2 files are similar to other raw image file formats created by digital cameras in that they all exist in those formats in a pre-processed form. Some examples include Sony's ARW and SRF, Canon's CR2 and CRW, Nikon's NEF, Olympus' ORF, and Pentax's PEF.

How to Open RW2 Files

Windows' Photos app, and the Preview app in macOS, should be able to open RW2 files.

If you'd rather use a different program, these are free: XnView MP, IrfanView, FastStone Image Viewer, and RawTherapee. Other programs that work to open RW2 files—but that are not free to use—include Adobe Photoshop Elements, ACD Systems Canvas X, Corel PaintShop, and FastRawViewer.

RW2 files in a Windows 10 folder

The LUMIX RAW Codec adds RW2 file support to Windows if you need it in Windows 7 or Windows Vista.

To view the RW2 photo in some other program that isn't listed above, the easiest method, without having to pay, is to use one of the file converter tools below. They let you save the RW2 file to a different file format that your program or device most likely supports.

How to Convert an RW2 File

Convert your RW2 file to DNG with Adobe DNG Converter. DNG is a more widely used image format than RW2, so chances are it will open in more programs than if you keep it in the RW2 format.

iLoveImg is a free online RW2 file converter that works on any operating system, which means you can convert RW2 to JPG on Windows or on macOS by just uploading the image to that website and then downloading the JPG to your computer. It can even load RW2 files from Dropbox and Google Drive.

After your RW2 file is in the JPG format, run it through another free image converter program to make it a PNG or some other image file format.

Still Can't Open Your File?

A common reason for not being able to open a file of any format, including a Panasonic raw image file, is that you've misread the file extension or some other program claims that file extension.

For example, maybe you really have an RW3 file, in which case it's related to web pages and the RapidWeaver 3 program from Realmac Software.

  • Can Photoshop and Lightroom open RW2 files?

    Yes. Both Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom added support for RW2 files in 2019. If you have an older version, you must first convert the file to a compatible format.

  • Is RW2 better than JPEG?

    Yes. JPEG is a lossy format, which means that some image data is lost in the compression process. That said, JPEG files are smaller and more widely used.

  • What's the difference between JPEG vs. TIFF vs. RAW images?

    JPEG, TIFF, and RAW are different image file formats that digital cameras support. Professional photographers prefer RAW files because they contain the most detail. Unlike JPEG, TIFF uses lossless compression, making it the prefered format for publishing.

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