Best Canon RAW Viewers to Browse CR2, CRW, and HEIF on Windows/Mac

Last Updated on March 21, 2023 by Peter Wood


When you shoot with a Canon DSLR camera in RAW format, you can get the photographs in CRW, CR2, JPEG, or HEIC. How to View the Canon RAW photos? A Canon RAW Viewer supports the photos from EOS might not work with Canon 5D Mark IV. When you are using Canon EOS R6, R5, or EOS-1D X Mark III, the new HEIF is the latest Canon RAW. Is there a Canon RAW view to browse all these files, CR2, CRW, and HEIF?

What is the best Canon RAW Viewer for Windows 10 and Mac? The Canon RAW files include some additional information, which cannot view the photos directly within the default photo browsers. When you need to browse the RAW photos for different Canon digital cameras on Windows and Mac for different Canon RAW file formats, you can learn more details from the article.

best canon raw viewer

Part 1: Best Canon RAW Viewer for Windows 10 and Mac

1. Best Canon CR2/CRW/HEIF Viewer for Different File Formats

To browse the different Canon RAW file formats, such as CR2, CRW, HEIC, JPEG, and multiple video formats, WidsMob Viewer Pro is a professional Canon RAW viewer to browse/manage all Canon file formats. Besides the photo formats, you can also play videos, PDFs, and even the EXIF information of the taken photos. Moreover, you can also view the Canon RAW files in different modes, manage the photos, edit the files, or share them on social media sites.

  1. Support JPEG, HEIC, CR2, CRW, TIFF, and MP4 from a Canon SD card.
  2. Manage the Canon RAW photos within the different folders with ease.
  3. Provide multiple RAW viewing modes, like full screen, slideshow, etc.
  4. Convert CR2 files to JPEG, apply photo effects, and rename in batch.
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Step 1: Download and install the WidsMob Viewer Pro, you can set it as the default image viewer. Just double-click any Canon RAW image from your SD card, whether it is a HEIF, JPEG, CR2, or even MP4, and it will launch the Canon RAW viewer and provide all photos and videos within the same SD card folder.

View Canon RAW Viewer Pro

Step 2: Once the CR2/CRW/HEIC/JPEG/MP4 files are imported into the Canon RAW viewer, the files will be displayed in the thumbnail mode on the right panel. Moreover, you can navigate to another folder to transfer photos and videos to another folder. Double-click any Canon RAW to enter the full-screen mode.

Full Screen Browse Viewer Pro

Step 3: In the Full-Screen mode, you can use the mouse to switch to another RAW file or HEIC photo, zoom in/zoom out the pictures, play the videos taken by Canon, and more. Just click the i icon to enter the EXIF mode, in which you can find file name, file size, file creation, and more. If you do not want to file, click the Trash icon.

Crop WidsMob Viewer Pro

Note: To view your CR2 files as a slideshow automatically, click the View menu and choose the Slideshow option to enter the slideshow mode. The Canon RAW photos will playback automatically according to your requirement.

Step 4: If you want to edit your Canon RAW files, right-click it and you can find editing features to rotate, flip, crop, move to trash, open the RAW file in the folder, show in Explorer, and even set up the Preference. It enables you to manage the HEIC photos, videos, RAW files, and others with the program accordingly.

Edit Canon RAW Viewer Pro

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2. Best Canon CR2/CRW/HEIC Viewer for Windows 10

You cannot view Canon RAW files on Windows directly. The good news is that Microsoft released a Camera Codec Pack for Windows that allows you to view thumbnails of RAW images, including CR2 and CRW files.

For Windows 8 and earlier, you have to install the pack manually from the Microsoft website. When it comes to Windows 10, the pack has been built-in your system. Therefore, you can preview CR2 files directly in your Windows Explorer.

Step 1: Once you connect your Canon camera to your computer running Windows 10, open an Explorer window and open the camera storage with the Canon RAW images.

Step 2: You can view the Canon RAW files in a thumbnail. It is convenient to manage your CR2 files on Windows 10 and search for a specific one within the default photo viewer.

Microsoft Camera Codec Pack

Bear in mind that Microsoft has stopped updating for Camera Codec Pack. If your Canon RAW file cannot be viewed on Windows, search for extra code, and install it on your computer. Then reboot your computer and your RAW photos will appear as thumbnails.

Part 2: What are CR2, CRW, and HEIF Files?

1. Canon RAW CR2/CRW

CR2 and CRW are the RAW formats for Canon digital images. It is TIFF-based and able to preserve more details from your camera’s sensor than JPG. The CR2/CRW files record the original white balance, exposure, and detail among other photo components.

Since Canon’s RAW files contain so much unprocessed data, they are pretty large. On the other hand, it means that RAW files offer much higher quality than compressed images.

Pros:

The biggest benefit of the Canon RAW file is the excellent quality. It makes sense that it contains all of the image information from the sensor. That leaves more space to create the end photographic result that you desire. It allows you to adjust your image color and appearance easily.

Cons:

The downside of CR2/CRW files is the file size. Thus, your photos take up a great deal of space. Plus, you have the Canon RAW viewer to view and browse both CR2 and CRW files on your computer with ease.

cr2-canon

2. Canon RAW HEIF

Why does Canon use the new HEIF format? It is first introduced with the EOS-1D X Mark III in 2020 and also is available in the EOS R5 and EOS R6. It is not only a successor of photos but also contains data for several different types of media.

How about the quality of Canon’s new RAW file format? Compared to the 8-bit JPEG, HEIC contains 4 times more color and tonal information. Besides, the HEIC/HEIF files provide more post-processing and editing flexibility. But HEIF compression is 50% more effective than JPEG, which means you can get better quality with a smaller size.

Pros:

Provide better compression algorithms with better quality and small size.

Less JPEG artifacts, image noise and color banding, and related problems.

Contain more information, which is better than Canon CR2/CRW/JPEG.

Cons:

The new Canon RAW HEIF is not compatible with most photo editors.

Difficult to distinguish the quality and others for beginners or amateurs.

Canon EOS HEIF

Part 3: FAQs about Canon RAW Viewer

1What are the Differences Between CR2 and CRW?

CRW is an uncompressed and unprocessed camera RAW based on Camera Image File Format (CIFF) while CR2 is a Canon Raw Version 2 image file created by a Canon digital camera based on the TIFF file specification. Just like its name, Canon is moving to the CR2 format for coming Canon models.

2Should I Choose Different Canon RAW Viewers?

No. There are some slight differences between the RAW files of different Canon models. You might find the CR2 files of Canon 5D Mark II won’t open in the same Canon RAW viewer that works with Canon 5D Mark. No mention of the CRW files. But you can always choose a professional Canon RAW Viewer that works with all Canon RAW files.

3Can I View Camera RAW on iPhone or Android Phone?

Yes, you can simply install a Canon RAW viewer for an Android phone or iPhone, such as Darkroom, Adobe Lightroom CC, VSCO, Snapseed, and more. But it is not recommended to view RAW photos on a smartphone because of the large file size.


Conclusion

You can find the best Canon RAW viewers on Windows and macOS. CR2, CRW, and HEIF are the file formats of Canon digital images. Though it has many advantages, compatibility is the biggest drawback of Canon RAW formats, especially for HEIF files. Therefore, you cannot view or edit CR2/CRW/HEIC directly. WidsMob Viewer Pro is the ultimate Canon companion to view, convert and manage RAW, JPEG, HEIC, and videos within the SD card.

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