Canon RAW Codec for Windows Vista Released

I used to be a Nikon guy, but I decided to dabble with the Canon Rebel XT a couple of years ago, and so far, I'm pleased. Most of my newer wallpaper images were taken with the Canon camera and a 60mm macro lens. Unfortunately, until now, all of those wonderful .CR2 files sitting in my picture folders didn't display thumbnails, and they weren't viewable in the Windows Photo Gallery. The good news is that Vista provides an extensible platform for camera manufacturers to add support for their RAW file formats directly into the operating system (as an aside, if you want to read more about writing a custom codec, check out the Windows Imaging Component Overview article on MSDN).

Canon released the first version of their RAW codec today, and a few others are also available:

  • Canon RAW Codec 1.0 - choose your digital camera, then click Drivers / Software to find a link to the codec. According to the site, this version works with .CR2 files from the following cameras: EOS-1D Mark III, EOS-1Ds Mark II, EOS-1D Mark II N, EOS-1D Mark II, EOS 5D, EOS 30D, EOS 20D, EOS Kiss Digital X / EOS DIGITAL REVEL XTi / EOS 400D DIGITAL, and EOS Kiss Digital N / EOS DIGITAL REBEL XT / EOS 350D DIGITAL. No support is currently mentioned for files with a .CRW extension.

  • Nikon RAW Codec 1.0.1 - works with .NEF files from the following cameras: D1, D1H, D1X, D100, D2H, D2Hs, D2X, D2Xs, D200, D40, D50, D70, D70s, D80, COOLPIX 8800, COOLPIX 8700, COOLPIX 8400, COOLPIX 5700, COOLPIX 5400, COOLPIX 5000.

  • Sony RAW Codec - works with .SRF and .SR2 files, but I'm not sure which camera models are specifically supported.

  • Olympus RAW Codec - work with .ORF files from the following cameras: E-1, E-300, E-330, E-400, E-500,E-10, E-20, C-70 ZOOM, C-5050ZOOM, C-5060 Wide Zoom, C-7070 Wide Zoom, C-8080 Wide Zoom, SP-310, SP-320, SP-350, SP-500UZ, SP-510UZ.

As an alternative, you can open up Windows Photo Gallery, choose File/Options, then click on the Check for updates button in the General tab. This will lead you to any added/updated codecs too.

For more information on Microsoft and photography, visit the Microsoft Photography Blog.

Comments (30)
  1. barbbowman says:

    Please specify which of these codecs supports Vista x64

  2. Excellent news. Unfortunately the Cannon add-ons are 32-bit only and will not install on Vista 64-bit 🙁

  3. naisan says:

    Vista x64 is great, but this lack of x64 RAW support is killing me. Can you put some pressure on Nikon, Canon etc. to get this done?

  4. Diego says:

    What happen with EOS 10D ? This works ?

  5. thibaud says:

    indeed no support for x64 again.

  6. Martin says:

    What would someone make support for 32-bit win only, when every photographer (that’s not on mac) will have good/new hardware and fast pc’s. Thats just lame.

  7. anantha92 says:

    Being a Photographer, i use x64 fo its faster and more stable functionality in prgarms such as photoshop. How can Canon not make it for the 64bit version of Vista as well? This is getting a bit annoying. Guess i’d ahve tos tick to the fidly Canon software provided with the camera.

    By the way mines a 400D.

  8. robgreen says:

    The lack of .CRW support is dissapointing – is there any sign of a future update?

  9. tejo says:

    It worked. the codec worked.

    BUT.. bugs..

    it takes forever to close a preview after you open it. you probably have to wait for the image to load completely before you CAN close it. omg.

  10. Just got off tech support with Canon regarding the lack of CRW support in Vista. Native support of RAW from the PowerShot and Digital Rebel series is not coming, ever. The tech support agent told me that RAW viewing with ZoomBrowser EX is the only Canon-supported method of RAW management for these cameras. This is unacceptable. Canon has completely dropped driver support for a number of their high-end cameras that are barely three years old. Canon has also provided half-assed camera support in Mac OS X – the RAW spec for my camera, the PowerShot S50, is missing completely from OS X  Tiger.

    I am not buying another digital camera until RAW/TIFF uncompressed image support is improved. Here’s hoping that Adobe DNG takes off, eliminating these proprietary camera maker formats that have poor driver support.

    Shame on the camera companies for eliminating RAW from point and shoot cameras, forcing us to save in the ancient JPEG format.

  11. ForexBlog says:

    What a bad news to hear that RAW is not supported. Indeed it is a shame for the camera companies not making drivers for the latest technology they produce. Do you think this problem will be fixed till the end of this year?

  12. Peter says:

    If Canon does not release RAW support for Vista. I will not be buying another Canon product.

    They do not support any Software for Vista as ultimately their drivers do not work. I have 3 canon bodies and multiple lenses. My newest body is less than 3 years old and still under warranty.  I wonder if I have a claim that non functional support is voiding the warranty, might be worth a claim in court.

    or at least multiple people attempting to make Canon realise they cannot dump customers whilst utilising their products.

    It is funny as I was planning on buying a new body next year, might sell all my gear on ebay and go for Nikon. At least they support their old RAW format.

  13. David Blake says:

    We are working on a 64 bit codec for Canon’s CR2 on Vista x64.

    The current beta version is available at

  14. Luis says:

    YES, IT’s WORKS !!!

    Ardfry works fine under Vista 64 bit and support Canon RAW CR2 !!!!!

    Wonderfull !!!

  15. Tomas Jakubec says:

    It works, but…it’s not FREE! Why should I pay for it only because I have 64bit OS??? I know it is only 20 USD, but I live in Czech Republic, Europe, and I don’t have a credit card which is commonly accepted worl-wide for  credit transfers…


  16. luky says:

    I completely agree with Tomas. And I WON’T pay for something that should be in the software package of a high-end hardware! And lol on those who buy it from any 3rd party..AND FOR A BETA version hahaha…. can’t say anything else..

    btw shame on you Canon!

  17. Skip says:

    Agreed.  I would never pay for this!

    x64 raw support is something that should be free from Canon.  

  18. Still, no Vista x64 support.  If Canon can’t, or won’t do it, I’ll have to address where my loyalties lie (that Nikon D3 does look sweet!).


  19. Alun James says:

    Canon / Nikon should be paying ardfry for that software and giving it free to their users, if they cannot be bothered solving the issue themselves.

  20. David says:

    Canon needs to support Vista x64.  I’m going to switch to Nikon if they won’t.

  21. Dave says:

    All you canon guys threatening to move to Nikon if Canon doesn’t release a Vista x64 codec – Nikon doesn’t have a Vista x64 codec either, only a x86 codec, just like canon.

    I have Nikon and Canon bodies, lack of x64 support is annoying, I will agree to that!

  22. Alex says:

    check for how to view cr2 in windows foto gallery under vista 64 bit

  23. Jarrod says:

    Guys n Girls,

    You don’t need to buy the codec to get support!!!

    You don’t need to wait for Canon either. Unless you want to.

    While this is annoying you can get it to work pritty easily. Follow the steps below and you will get support for the Canon codec. It may no be 100% functional but it will be dam close.

    Steps required.

    1. Install the 32bit version of the codec you want. I used the 1.3 version with vista 32bit support(64bit not supported). URL —>

    2. Make a 32bit explorer launch shortcut. This will effectivly enable you to use 32bit apps that integate with 32bit versions of windows. Note, this will only enable 32bit windows explorer integrated apps for the ONE windows that is stated!!!! So you have to view your photos and everything from that one windows. Or lauch more 32bit winows from the shotcut. To make the shotcut is easy. Simply right click on a blank space on your desktop. Select ‘New’ —–> ‘Shortcut’ —–> Enter the following text ‘%windir%SysWOW64explorer.exe /separate, /root, c:’. Obviously if you want it to open to a different directory than ‘C:’ you can modify it.

    Now your done. To start viewing your CR2 files just lauch a 32bit explorer window with the shortcut and navigate to your photos.

    Done. If you don’t believe me try it for yourself it only takes a minute. Screen shot of it in action here —->

  24. keitsi says:

    Missing 64bit support is really lame. It’s year 2009 and 3,5GB isn’t really enough for many people anymore.

  25. keitsi says:

    OMG… first, I try to install raw codec for my vista 64 installation. No 64 bit support. ARGH.

    Ok, I have my mini laptop (Toshiba NB100-12N).

    Basicly the installer says “screen resolution is not enough to run installer”. Or “The screen resolution to execute canon raw codec is not enough”.

    (Ok, luckily I had a 1024×768 resolution available which allowed me to install it)

    And 60 megabyte download for a codec?

  26. Mitch says:

    Now July of 09 and still no codec for CR2 files, but Adobe has also dropped the ball.  There is no codec for DNG either.  It’s my understanding that Nikon does not have one for Vista 64 either.  

    Running 32bit codec is not a viable work around.  My files can span as many as 7 drives.  

    Come on Canon, Adobe, and Nikon get off the stick and help out your customers!

  27. zyrex says:

    Thanks Sunday Jarrod

    Your shortcut hack to 32bit works like a charm!

    no installation other than the canon codec.

    %windir%SysWOW64explorer.exe /separate, /root, c:

  28. GaryNeedsX64 says:

    It’s mid-October 2009 and still no 64-bit .CR2 codec…

  29. Jason says:

    Hey guys.. check out these codecs.  They work! Theyre free.

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