Summary: Photoshop, or other Adobe applications may show errors while opening Canon Raw (CR3) files, or may not open them altogether. This blog shares in detail how to open CR3 files in Photoshop or Lightroom in different versions of Photoshop. Also, learn how to repair CR3 file, in case it is not opening in image editor due to corruption.
CR3 is a raw file format used by Canon cameras. It is popular with professional photographers as the HD images shot in this format provide greater creative liberty during the editing stage.
However, sometimes Photoshop or other applications may not open the CR3 files. You may receive various errors such as,
‘Could not complete your request because Photoshop does not recognize this type of file.’ Or
‘The file is damaged or .CR3 is a format that cannot be included.’ etc.
So why Adobe Photoshop won’t open CR3 files? It can be due to reasons, such as
Here, we share how to open CR3 files in Photoshop or Lightroom, in any case.
Note: It’s advisable to follow methods in the same order as shared to avoid slip-ups or mix-up.
Your Adobe application should support your Canon camera model as well as have the right Camera Raw Plug-in to open any RAW image file.
Thus, it’s best to have the latest version of Photoshop and Camera Raw Plug-in to easily open CR3 file on your Photoshop or Lightroom.
But this is not always feasible, as you may be using older Photoshop like CS2, CS3, CS4, etc., and may not want to upgrade.
To address such situations, we bring the methods to open CR3 files on your version of Photoshop.
3 things to keep in mind before trying to open CR3 files in Photoshop or Lightroom
Method 1: Install the latest Camera Raw plug-in compatible with your Photoshop (If you are using older version of Camera Raw plug-in)
Method 2: Remove and reinstall Photoshop (If you are using the correct and latest version of Camera Raw plug-in but CR3 files are still not opening).
Method 3: Upgrade and get the latest Photoshop (Photoshop version is not compatible with the Camera Raw plug-in version)
Method 4: Use Adobe DNG Converter (If you don’t want to use method 1, 2 and 3)
Method 5: Repair corrupt CR3 files with Stellar Repair for Photo (when none of the above methods work)
The Adobe Camera Raw plug-in helps to open CR3 and other raw image files in Photoshop. When you install Photoshop on your PC or Mac, the Camera Raw plug-in version gets installed automatically.
But with every camera launch, manufacturers release new proprietary RAW formats. Thus, Adobe keeps adding support for any new camera in its latest versions of Camera Raw plug-ins, every quarter.
Note: If your Canon device is launched within the past 3 months, wait for Adobe to add the device’s compatibility in the supported camera list.
So when your CR3 file format is not opening in Photoshop or Lightroom, first check whether your Canon device is supported by Camera Raw Plug-in or not. Also ensure you are using the latest version of the plug-in and the Photoshop app.
If your Canon model CR3 file is present in the list, do the following:
Look for Camera Raw. Click on it and note the version.
If you are using an older version of Camera Raw plug-in, then install the latest version compatible with your Photoshop app.
However, if you are using the same or later version of Camera Raw plug-in, and the CR3 files are still not opening, then move to the next method — Remove and reinstall Photoshop.
You can automatically update to the latest Camera Raw plug-in version in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, either by using Adobe Application Updater in Creative Cloud apps or Adobe Application Manager (in CS5 and later).
The Photoshop app updates automatically.
If you are not able to update the Camera Raw plug-in or in case the update fails, get plug-in installer on your Windows or Mac. Photoshop CC 2017, CC 2019, or CC 2020 users can install Camera Raw 12.2.1 installer on their computer while Adobe Creative Cloud, CC 2015 or CC 2014 below users should install Camera Raw 10.5 installer.
If your CR3 files are not opening even when you’re using the right version of Camera Raw plug-in, then remove and reinstall Photoshop.
Photoshop CS2 & below and Photoshop Elements users:
Next, open Finder and click to follow /Library/Application Support/Adobe.
6. Find a folder named Plug-Ins, drag it to Trash.
7. Restart your Mac.
8. Go to Finder > Empty Trash. Next, reinstall Photoshop.
After you have removed Photoshop from your system, reinstall it by simply downloading Photoshop from adobe.com using your Adobe ID and password.
Now try to open your Canon camera Raw CR3 file in Photoshop.
Your Photoshop version should be compatible with the Camera Raw plug-in version to open CR3 files. If it is not, then upgrade it. The latest Photoshop will support the maximum number of cameras and their RAW file formats.
The latest upgrade at the time of writing this post was Photoshop 2020 (version 21.1.2). You can buy a Photoshop upgrade from Adobe directly.
Nevertheless, if you don’t want to invest in upgrading to the latest, then go for Adobe DNG Converter for your Photoshop version.
If you have an older version of Photoshop or Lightroom and don’t want to purchase the latest Photoshop, then get Adobe DNG converter.
Adobe DNG Converter is an application that converts CR3 files to DNG format. DNG is a universal RAW camera format that doesn’t compromise on the quality of your CR3 photos.
You can open DNG image files in the older Photoshop. Just make sure to have at least Camera Raw 2.3 or later version.
The DNG converter is a free tool available for Windows and Mac. It supports Photoshop CS, CS2, CS3, CS4, CS5, and CS6, Lightroom 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, Photoshop Elements 3 to 15 & 2018.
Using a DNG converter is the quickest way to open CR3 files in Photoshop or Lightroom.
When none of the above methods work and CR3 won’t open in any image viewer also, chances are your image file is corrupt. Repair corrupt CR3 files with the help of Stellar Repair for Photo and open them in any image viewer or photo editors like Photoshop.
The software can fix distorted, blurry, pixelated, greyed-out, or error-throwing RAW files from all Canon cameras. Also get thumbnails of severely corrupt images. You can also repair damaged or corrupt DNG image files with the help of the software.
Hope this post was helpful. Do share with our readers how you were able to open the CR3 file in your Photoshop version in the comments box.
Nishat Paiker is an expert technical writer and editor with over 8 years of experience. She has deep knowledge about data recovery and loves to explore new technology and DIY tools. Nishat has keen interest in photography. You will often find her giving photography tips and hacks.
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