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How to convert the CR2 image file to a PSD

by Casey Schmidt  |  October 28, 2019

3 min. read
A conversion symbol.

The CR2 offers a chance for users to view a raw, untouched version of a photographer’s vision. However, it’s likely that it will be better suited in a different format, such as PSD, for editing. Here’s how to convert the CR2 to PSD.

What is a CR2?

The CR2 image file is the standard digital file extension for all photographs taken using a Canon camera  then uploaded to a computer. CR2 means Canon Raw 2, because it’s the second edition. It is a very large size due to high resolution image that results from its raw, unaltered nature.

What is a PSD?

The PSD image file is the digital file extension for files from the Adobe Photoshop program. The PSD is unique in that it can hold multiple images, unlike other file types. It also contains different aspects of a specific image. Ultimately, the PSD is best suited for extensive editing.

An icon of the PSD image file.
The PSD file is editable inside Adobe Photoshop.

How to convert CR2 to PSD

In order to convert a CR2 to a PSD, you’ll need a third party software program. There are two different types to consider: browser-based systems and desktop systems. Browser-based systems are superior when you have only a file or two to convert. They’re also more convenient when you’re lacking hard drive space and don’t want to clutter your computer with a new program. When seeking out a converter, it’s best to find one that has a simple interface and fast upload/download speeds. I think Convertio matches these qualifications and I recommend it.

The desktop-based systems, on the other hand, are superior for users with large quantities of files they need converted. They are also ideal for someone who has limited internet access. When looking for a desktop system, consider the hard drive space it will take up and how many files you have to convert at once. Make sure the program you choose can handle a large quantity. PearlMountain makes it easy to convert in bulk.

A picture of a caterpillar with a butterfly shadow.
Conversion is necessary when editing is crucial.

Why convert?

The CR2 is a raw image file, containing all of the original graphic makeup from the photograph. This is great for viewing the picture in its intended form but it fails to meet other standards. For one, it’s very hard to share a photograph collection made up of CR2 images. They are large in size, requiring the recipient to have a lot of hard drive space and a fast connection.

They also are a lot harder to edit in their raw form. This is why the PSD is such a good option to convert to. The PSD is specifically designed to be edited. In fact, Photoshop has some of the best editing tools available. If a photographer was looking to make very specific edits to his or her pictures, the PSD would give them the best chance.

The CR2 is a high resolution image file that gives great insight into the true nature of a photographer’s work. Unfortunately, it is a bit too large and needs to be edited. For this reason, converting to a PSD is necessary. Make sure you know how.