Allow Canon sRAW and mRAW files to be processed like TIFFs and JPGs

OK, I’m unlikely to get any votes for this, but I have a pile of mRAW images (from before I understood what that meant). PL2 refuses to work with these, even as it happily works with TIFFs and JPGs. It claims that sRAW/mRAW files are not really “RAW” files (fine), but then neither are TIFFs and JPGs.

I believe (but haven’t tested) that PL2 may also reject linearized DNG files. Again, these could be treated like TIFFs and JPGs.

I just ran trial copies of a number of RAW converters and none of them had any problems reading sRAW/mRAW file, so it didn’t even occur to me to check before I purchased PL2.

There’s a technical reason not to use sRAW/mRAW as the results are so much worse than proper RAW files. As PhotoLab aspires to only the best possible results, their exclusion makes perfect sense. Despite Ken Rockwell’s recommendation (he recommends jpegs too), there’s no good reason for a modern photographer to shoot these formats (they came into existence when computers were underpowered to process full size 20 MB RAW files). For legacy files in the archives, there’s quite a bit of software which will help you through those files including old Lightroom (even I own a copy of Lightroom 4 from before Adobe started their Cloud cash/privacy grab and lost my business permanently).

I’d far rather see DxO make an effort to support Iridient Transformer versions of Fuji X-Trans files than mRAW/sRAW (and I have a shelf full of Canon cameras).

Your argument might be valid if PL2 also refused to work on JPGs, but it doesn’t.

I have a pretty good understanding (now) of what sRAW/mRAW files are. I know I can use other software (which I already own) to process them. I also know I can convert them to TIFFs and then PL2 will happily accept them.

I don’t want to make assumptions about how much effort it might take to allow them. It might take weeks of development or it might just require flipping a bit.


If it’s not much work, then DxO should just add these formats. Based on how comprehensive the DxO processing is, I imagine that each format is almost like adding an additional camera for DxO. Based on DxO’s speed adding cameras and their announced process, I worry adding these formats is very time consuming.

DxO creates profiles for a large set of camera/lens combinations. This is pretty time consuming and I would guess that this is the source of the slow speed in adding cameras.

They would be insane if their internal format was different for each RAW file. I suspect they convert each format to a common internal format, with metadata to account for the differences. Their image processing would then process the common internal format.

So the real effort is in converting each RAW format to the internal format. If it were me, I would have started with one of the RAW conversion libraries (e.g. dcraw or libraw)—why reinvent the wheel? The library approach allows an image viewer like Irfanview (with just one developer) to support almost all RAW formats (including sRAW/mRAW) with little effort. Even if they use custom code, the files might not be that hard to read as there is probably a lot of reusable functionality in their conversion code.

Anyway, we’re both guessing. The DxO developers are the only ones that can properly estimate the effort.

Dang, that’s depressing. I just got a new MacBook pro with EVERYTHING (apart from the hard drive) maxed out. Then I discovered Adobe LR Classic 6 doesn’t work anymore on my new machine, but curiously enough LR Classic 5 does. Go figure. There’s no more standalone Lightroom classic (like a version 7) and I’m not going to pay for Lightroom forever with recurring revenue for Adobe so a great time to switch to DXO right? I shot an engagement session yesterday and figured it was a good time to test DXO PhotoLab. There something I Love about the colors it renders, just seem more natural than LR. But then to my horror, I realized I can’t process half the pix as they were taken using mRAW (one of those Canon C1,2,3 settings I had forgotten to change when shooting High-Speed sync flash, although the main setting AE was full raw. Sigh.

I was getting all excited about switching to DXO PhotoLab but, as a wedding photographer, I tend to shoot in sRAW a lot as a long wedding can eat up 4-5,000 photos easily and that’s a lot of hard drive space. Add some video and suddenly you have a 200Gb wedding to edit. If it’s good enough for Canon and my 5Ds (IV and III) then surely it’s good enough for DXO? I mean JPEGs are OK but mRAW ain’t???

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Welcome to DxO PL and the forum! (I’m not an official greeter, but the forum software is telling me you’re new here and I should welcome you :wink:).

You probably already know this if you’ve looked through the thread but DxO does a lot of its magic before demosaicing. sRaw and mRaw are not true RAW files–they are already demosiaced. You can convert your sRaw and mRAW to a 16-bit TIFF and then process it in PL, but it will never support a few features such as PRIME de-noising and lens sharpening.


Thanks for the courtesy of your reply! Thanks for the TIFF tip too.

I did a few casual tests yesterday with full RAW using Canon DPP and PhotoLab and there was a marked difference in sharpness and color balance. DxO was quite amazing really. However, as I mentioned before, I’m primarily an event and wedding photographer - some weddings can be 14 hours long, starting at 10AM with the getting-ready shots and going on until midnight. One accumulates 3,4, 5,000 photos quite easily (and we’re not talking about machine gunning high speed here) so apart from the cost of 256Gb compact flash cards you can eat up 150Gb for a long wedding easily thus a lot of wedding photographers shoot at sRAW and JPEG for backup. Just wrestling with thousands of 80Mb+ files can be daunting which is why Canon recommends those formats for long events. I shoot video as well so add another 60Gb to the mix. Methinks PhotoLab is ideal for maybe landscape photographers or advanced amateurs who are only working with a handful of choice files after a weekend’s shoot? Maybe I’m buying my hard drives at the wrong place since lots of folks refer to them being cheap and plentiful on the forums.

For those shooting sRAW and JPEG, I would ask what kind of backup is a JPEG? Neither file format yields particularly good results when compared with the full RAW file format. IMO, you might as well just shoot JPEG only if you are willing to accept sRAW.

Surely you don’t keep all the photos from every wedding? Do you not cull them down? In my experience, most couples only want a very limited set of images in the region of 100-200.

Yes, you need a large amount of disk space to download the original film roll but, after culling, a lot less.


Good points for sure. Of course I edit down the photos for my couples. I’m somewhat unusual in that I offer an A, B, and C set. Couples really appreciate having options and sometimes they even choose the “C” photos for albums. I’m also unusual in that I keep copies forever of my couple’s weddings as a backup. I’ve had several cases over the years where I get a phone call saying: “we’ve lost our wedding photos because our MacBook is broken…do you have, by chance, any copies, pleeease?” So I keep the (edited) RAW files just in case - in my experience clients rarely if EVER back up their photos. I guess what really flummoxes me is that I’ve missed this mRAW, sRaw conversation over the years. I feel like I’ve been in outer space for a decade and returned to earth.

Adding a different spin on this topic. Many here spend a significant amount of money on camera and maybe even more on lenses to get the best quality they can get for their money. So why would I even shoot sRaw in the first place with all this expensive equipment. I could have gotten a cheaper camera and cheaper lenses in the first place then.

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for example you have a bigger in camera buffer capacity shooting compressed raws … there are use cases, the mere fact that you don’t understand them does not make them useless for some other people

Your point is irrelevant to the feature request. PhotoLab is happy to support people who shoot in JPG-only mode, which is far worse than mRAW or sRAW.

The only relevant reason for not supporting mRAW/sRAW/DNG file reads would be if it requires a ton of work. It’s possible that it would–I don’t have any access to PL’s internal code–but it is also possible that it would not.

When I submitted the request, I was on PL2. PL7 has the same limitation, so either it requires substantial work or DxO has decided that the feature is not worth any amount of work.

Whatever the reason, I have a pile of mRAW photos. I can’t go back in time and change that fact. I could convert them to TIFFs, but TIFFs usually wind up being something like 5x as large as my RAW files. I would still prefer to have PL read the original mRAW files than convert them to TIFFs and have PL read those.

Some people bought into Adobe’s DNG propaganda. They may have a similar problem to mine: a pile of old photos in a PL-unusable format (from before they wised up) that they would still like to use with PL, even if PL disables a few features.

No other photo tool I use refuses to open mRAW files.

Yes, it’s strange that if everyone else in the space can provide editing for mRAW files, DxO cannot. I don’t have a horse in this race (no cameras which shoot mRAW now, though my Nikon also have some kind of smaller RAW formats I’ve never used). It’s just silly for DxO not to support this.

One issue with mRAW is that it’s never down-compressed the images in a particularly good way (on a high resolution camera with a high quality images could be downsized and sharper but they are just pixel-binned).

Not supporting mobile DNG is another way to annoy users to no purpose. These policies don’t make sense.