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I ordered a Canon 7D mark II (to replace a stolen 7D),and shot a friend's wedding in RAW. But now, I can only view the pictures in very poor quality on my computer's photo viewer. I am not able to import the pictures into Lightroom 3 or my PSE 13. The software says no updates are available. What is wrong and what can I do?

  • Are you saying the new photos can't be viewed, or the old ones can't? – mattdm Jul 1 '15 at 0:52
  • it is just the new files... checked for an update and it states that I am up to date... – ashley Jul 1 '15 at 0:56
  • It's correct in that there are no available minor updates to LR3. However, there are 3 subsequent major upgrades to LR3, the current one being LR6. – Conor Boyd Jul 1 '15 at 4:20
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Even though the files from your new 7DII are in the .cr2 format, the data in a raw file is always sensor specific. That is, each different sensor design must be demosaiced/converted differently to get the same standardized results.

Lr 3 is a while back. The latest version of Adobe Camera Raw (which is used by Lr to demosaic raw files) that is compatible with Lr 3 was released a long time before the sensor in the Canon 7DII was developed. It is no surprise that Lr 3 can't handle the raw files from your new camera. Since Adobe has chosen to not support newer cameras with older versions of ACR/Lr, if you wish to work with the .cr2 files created by your 7DII you have a few options:

  • Update your version of Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw to versions that can support the Canon EOS 7D Mark II.
  • Use Canon's own Digital Photo Professional supplied with every Canon DSLR. Updates and even new versions such as the recently released version 4, are always free for owners of Canon EOS cameras.
  • Convert the /cr2 files from your 7DII to the DNG format and edit them with Lr 3. Be aware that some information in the .cr2 file is discarded when converted to .dng. That information may or may not be important to you.
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Welcome to the Photoshop tax on new cameras. :)

Essentially, RAW is not an acronym or a file format or a standard. It's a raw data dump from the sensor/processor. And it's different for every single camera model. The CR2 files from your 7DMkII are different from the CR2 files of your 7D. And since Adobe has no time travel capability, they can only "decode" CR2 files that exist at the time they update the ACR (Adobe Camera RAW) codebase that Lightroom and Photoshop use. And to... um... encourage you to upgrade, they only add new camera support to the current versions of Lr/PS. So you have to use a version of Lr/PS that exists after your camera was introduced.

In the case of the 7DmkII, the version of ACR you need is 8.7 or later and the version of Lightroom you need is 5.7 or later. So, that's why Lightroom 3 can't grok it. However. PSE13 should be able to open the RAW files, as it can be upgraded to 8.7.1.

The only two other ways around the Photoshop tax are to use Adobe's free DNG converter, and convert your RAW files to DNG, which will always be compatible with older versions of Adobe software (although you might lose some proprietary metadata doing this). Or use Canon's DPP (Digital Photographer Pro) as your RAW converter.

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