CRW - Canon Digital Camera Raw Image Format

What is a CRW file

CRW refers to one of the various file extensions used by Canon cameras for their raw image files. These files are not yet processed and contain the most information possible from the camera’s intake. These images are large and do not have many programs which support them. The highest quality possible is retained as long as users do not compress the image file into a smaller, easier to manage file type. These images can be edited to ensure high quality post-production, but sending, uploading, and transporting the images is impractical.

Microsoft’s Digital image 2006 was capable of recognizing and opening raw image formats including CRW, but it has been discontinued since 2007. Adobe Photoshop, Aperture, Picasa, and more programs can read and handle these files, meaning photo editing with cameras using CRW files is still a viable option, decreasing the need to convert (and usually compress) the images into other, easier to use image files. Canon raw image files fall under the CIFF (Camera Image File Format) Specifications but have not been in use or updated since 1998. The CRW file extension usage has been replaced by the newer CR2 file format. Besides used as raw images, CRW files can serve as a container format to store metadata of JPEG images.

Here's a small, but not exhaustive list of programs that can open CRW documents:

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Aperture
  • AZImage
  • ExifTool
  • Adobe Lightroom
  • Picasa
  • dcraw
  • jrawio
  • libraw
  • RawTherapee
  • BreezeBrowser
Extension CRW
MIME type image/x-canon-crw
Useful links