DCR File: The Ultimate Guide to DCR Files

As a photographer or professional video editor, you are bound to come across many different formats in the line of duty. They'll usually present themselves with different extensions, with the most common being IMG and JPEG.

However, we also have other less prominent extensions like DCR, which are produced by certain cameras. In most cases, you won't be able to open, edit or convert these files right off the bat. Instead, your PC will request that you first install an application that can open or handle these files.

In this article, we shall try and elaborate on what .dcr files are and how you can easily process them using software like PaintShop Pro.

What is a DCR file?

A DCR file, or Digital Camera Raw in full, is a file containing a .dcr extension. They were first introduced by Kodak as the primary raw image format for their digital cameras. And even now, DCR is still the default image in many Kodak digital cameras like the DCS Pro 14nx.

Now also, you'll hear DCR being described as a raw format. This basically means that your typical .dcr file will store unprocessed and uncompressed Charge-Coupled Device (CCD) sensor data exactly as the camera captures or sees the picture, time/date information included.

Because it is a lossless format, DCR images are pretty large in size. Also, unlike other popular formats like JPEG and TIFF, DCR files are not 'positive' images and will need to be processed before they can be displayed. You will need to use appropriate computer software for this and any application of effects. The camera only acts as a capturing device.

Are DCR files dangerous?

It is important to note that just because your computer won't open a DCR file doesn't necessarily mean that they are dangerous, only that there is no program installed that can open the filename extension.

You see, when you try to open a DCR file, your computer usually starts by examining the files extension and then opens it in a program associated with the particular extension. If it doesn't identify the filename extension, you'll receive a message saying, "Windows can't open this file" or "how do you want to open this file?"

And this is the case with most .dcr files, which is why you'll need to download a separate software that can do the job.

Still, as is with many other file extensions, harmful programs can make .dcr files. Therefore, you are advised to always exercise caution when handling or opening files sent from an unknown source.

How to open a DCR file

As we saw earlier, opening or doing any processing of a DCR file requires the help of suitable software. Then it is pretty straightforward from there. In this case, we shall see how you can open them using PaintShop Pro.

PaintShop Pro is a cross-platform video editor with tons of built-in features that will allow you to open and process different image file formats. It works with over 450 different camera models and raw digital camera formats, including DCR, K25, DNG, KDC, NRW, NEF, ORF, RAF, PEF, RW2, SRF, SR2, and X3F images.

Other than that, PaintShop Pro will also allow you to convert it into other formats for easy sharing and modify your photos' contrast, tone, brightness, and color, among other edits.

To open your DCR file with PaintShop Pro, simply follow the steps below:

  • Start by downloading the PaintShop Pro application and installing it on your computer
  • Launch the application and choose file > Open
  • Navigate to the Look in drop list and choose the folder where you stored the file
  • Select the name of the .dcr file you want to open. You can also hold down the ctrl button and open multiple files
  • Click Open.


Well, that just about sums it up. The bottom line is, it is nearly impossible to open or manipulate most raw files like DCR without the help of a third-party application. We recommend you check out PaintShop Pro. Other than just opening raw file formats, the software features a range of image editing tools that you can use to enhance your images and videos. So go on over to our website today and download the PaintShop Pro free trial.

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