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What Is a File Extension?
File extensions come at the end of the title of your digital file. A text file will display a .txt, whereas an image file type might show JPEG.
The problem comes around when capturing photos in a Raw format. Here, manufacturers place their unique file extensions after the name of each file.
These extensions allow your computer to read and edit them. Some need special programs or plug-ins to enable you to preview them.
You’ll need other programs to be able to read them correctly so you can ‘edit’ the contents.
What Is a CR3 File?
Canon, like other manufacturers, uses file extensions to separate their digital image files from the competitors.
This extension tells the computer program if it can use it or not. The CR3 file is a Canon Raw format, which has the highest quality reproduction of the scene you are shooting.
As the CR3 file is a relatively new file format, your computer might not let you preview CR3 file type images. To edit CR3 files, you need access to an editing software platform that can read them. What to do?
When I first tried, Lightroom and Photoshop had not yet created a plug-in for CR3 files, as it is one of the latest to be released. I had to convert the CR3 raw images to DNG‘s to view, open, convert, and edit them.
You will find that all Canon cameras with a Digic 8 Processor will use the CR3 file. It isn’t exclusive to the new mirrorless range. It also affects the Canon EOS M50.
The difference between a CR2 and CR3 file is the CR2 is based on the TIFF unlossy format. The CR3 file is closer to the CIFF (Camera Image File Format).
You can save it as a lossy C-RAW (Compressed RAW) version, which allows it to be 40% smaller than the largest size. The benefit here is you see a minimal loss in quality.
Below we will tell you how to do all of these, and what you need to do so.
How Do I Convert a CR3 File ?
For Lightroom classic, you need to have version 8.0 or later. Version 2.0 for Lightroom will also suffice, as long as Camera Raw has an 11.0 version installed.
Once the images are loaded, you can convert them to JPEG, TIFF, PSD, DNG, PNG or keep the CR3 file.
Luckily, Canon created the Canon Digital Photo Professional, allowing you to convert Canon Raw images to anything you wish.
Adobe Photoshop is another program you can use. But it can be a little more complicated. The CR3 file is a Raw image, so, Photoshop will force open Camera Raw (a Raw file convertor). This process is something you need to go through before you can open the photo for intensive editing.
Camera Raw allows adjustments that you can use and then save without having to open Photoshop.
How to Open a CR3 File on Windows?
Opening a CR3 file requires an editing software program such as Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, or Lightroom.
With Camera Raw, you need to press Open Image to use it in Adobe Photoshop. From there, you are free to edit your image. Lightroom is a better option as it opens Raw photos without you even realising.
It is best to convert your images to a DNG (Digital Negative) that has more options for usage.
For both Windows and Mac operating systems, use Lightroom or Canon Digital Photo Professional.
Are CR3 and Raw the Same?
A CR3 file is an extension for Raw files for Canon Digic 8 processor digital cameras. It is similar to the lossless format of TIFF. However, these follow the CIFF version. These files are large, which they need to be to allow you to edit your images.
Is a CR3 File Better Than JPEG?
Typically speaking, any Raw image file is better than a JPEG. But, only if it is something you need. It depends, like always, on what you plan to do with your photos.
JPEGs are a lossy file format, meaning they lose quality every time you open it. A Raw format CR3 file gives you much more data, and therefore, retains higher quality.
It is best to use Raw formats for all types of photography.