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First Snow - 2021 Lake Ontario at Guildwood
First Snow – 2021 Lake Ontario at Guildwood

My Move Away From Canon

Most serious amateurs, and many pro photographers (I was one) were taught very effectively by Adobe to use their digital negative (DNG) raw file format converter when it first came out, advocating convincingly for a raw file universal standard format. All major digital photo apps adopted the format in record time, as this made everything easier for their own software engineers. While DNG files are amazingly good, Adobe had the monumental task of trying to figure out every camera manufacturer’s raw file proprietary colour science for the conversion to DNG.

My Return to Canon

But wait – nobody knows your camera better than the manufacturer. I eventually learned from other discerning photographers that Canon’s colour was best represented by Canon’s proprietary .CR2 raw files processed with Canon software – Digital Photo Professional (DPP) 4. This software is actually free with the purchase of your Canon camera, and while it has a bit of a learning curve, I love the real Canon colours I am getting from this app. I have compared DNG with TIFF files output from DPP and there is a slight but distinct difference in the colour. Not only that, but DPP incorporates some very cool lens corrections – no one knows Canon lenses like Canon. So if you are a photographer who loves those Canon blue skies and flesh tones, I recommend finding that Canon DPP software (you can download it from Canon) and diving into it.


For serious photographers, your workflow will be to bring your .CR2 Canon proprietary raw files into DPP for initial processing, and then output them to 16 bit TIFFs for further work in Photoshop if necessary. Don’t forget to shoot RAW in the Adobe 1998 colourspace and embed that profile in the TIFF. With this workflow you will have preserved the Canon colour science in the high quality TIFF.

One last point – when outputting jpegs for the web from the Adobe 1998 colour space originals in Adobe applications make sure you convert (not assign) to sRGB or your colours will look washed out. These two “Adobe words” are representing different colour space conversions.

Finally, as you know, YouTube has Canon and many pro photographers waiting to teach you Digital Photo Professional. Enjoy!

***Update:*** I forgot to mention the option we have to convert your raw file to ProPhoto RGB. Although your camera may only have sRGB or Adobe RGB as shooting options for RAW files, if you choose Adobe RGB your camera sensor may be capturing slightly more colour than Adobe RGB. So many photographers choose to convert their raw files to ProPhotoRGB to avoid clipping those extra colours. If you do this, be sure to use 16 bit files or you may encounter “banding.” Canon’s DPP calls this colour space “Wide Gamut RGB” under Settings > Colour Management. If you are printing with a high quality printer, it may be able to show some of these extra colours beyond the Adobe RGB colour space if it can print 16 bit files.