GoPro's RAW format is based on Adobe's DNG RAW format, but it's distinctive enough that most RAW processors can't handle them, and .gpr compatibility has been very slow to extend to other apps--even apps that boast about how many RAW formats they're compatible with. Part of the problem is that .gpr don't contain an embedded preview JPG; many apps that work with RAW files rely on having an embedded preview JPG.
If you're looking to work with .gpr files, GoPro recommends using "Adobe Camera Raw (ACR), version 9.7 or later, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC (2015.7 release or later) and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6 (version 6.7 or later)." But those are paid apps--and not inexpensive, at that--and not everyone has them or wants them.1
So what happens if you still want to use GoPro RAW image files but don't want to fork out the cash for those apps? There's a free workaround that's not mentioned on GoPro's page, and that is to convert the files to from .gpr to .dng files using Adobe's free DNG Converter.
The advantage in doing that is that all RAW image processors, and even many broader image editing apps, can work with DNG files. You can find a roundup of free options here. So once the .gpr files are converted to .dng versions, you can open them in just about any image editing app worth its salt.
How to Convert GoPro .gpr files with Adobe DNG Converter
First, you'll need to download Adobe DNG Converter and install it. It's free and there are versions for Windows and Mac.
The interface isn't especially pretty, but it's also not complicated to use. You simply follow the sequences of steps from 1 to 4.
First you select the files you want to work with. This is pretty self-explanatory and works just like any other file selector. There are two options you can use. One is to select images within subfolders, which is useful if you're trying to batch convert a bunch of files at once. The other is to skip the source image if the destination image exists, which saves you processing files where a DNG version already exists.
Then choose where you want the converted files to be saved. If you're batch converting and want to preserve the folder structure, you can check that option.
Then you can choose the file naming format. This is useful if you're creating archive versions or want to distinguish the converted files from the originals using filenaming systems.
Finally, you can set preferences. The defaults work well for many uses, so there's no requirement you mess with these. But if you want to, you can set things like preview images, whether it uses lossy compression (I don't recommend that here), and embedding the original RAW file (most useful if you're creating archival versions for long-term backup, but there can be an argument for doing it here--just expect larger resulting file sizes).
Then you simply hit the Convert button at the bottom right and it will give you a popup showing the conversion progress. How quickly it converts will depend on the speed of your computer and drives, the preferences you've set, and how many files you're converting.
Things to Watch Out For
One thing to be aware of is that the resulting .dng filesizes will typically be much larger than the original .gpr files. That's especially true if you're embedding the original file into the DNG version.
Sometimes, when file formats are fundamentally similar, you can cheat and simply change the file extension and the file will still open and work. Unfortunately, that doesn't work here. If you simply change the file extension rather than actually convert the file, you'll get a decoding error and won't be able to open it at all.
If all this seems like too much work for what you want, the fallback is that when you select the .gpr RAW format in the GoPro cameras, it also saves a JPG version at the same time. So if all else fails and you simply can't get the .gpr versions to work, there are also .jpg versions you can use instead.
- Adobe Camera RAW (or ACR) works as a plugin or underlying RAW processing engine for Photoshop, Lightroom, and Bridge rather than as a standalone app. ↩
Common GoPro Questions
Here are some common questions I get from GoPro users.
How to Maximize a GoPro's battery life
There are several factors that influence how long the GoPro's battery life lasts. Among them include what mode you're recording in (4K uses more power than 1080p30, for instance), the health of the battery, and even the environmental temperature (lithium batteries don't perform well in very cold temperatures). But there are some things you can do to maximize battery life. Not every GoPro has all of these features, but start with these:
- Minimize use of the back screen
- Turn off wireless
- Turn off voice commands
- Turn off GPS
- Turn off Protune
- Use QuickCapture mode
Is it normal for GoPro cameras to get hot?
Yes. Depending on the model and the shooting mode you're using, it's normal for GoPros to get quite warm while shooting. They can get hot enough to be uncomfortable to touch. It's especially noticeable when shooting high-resolution and high-framerate video. Some newer models have an overheating protection mechanism that will shut the camera down if it gets too hot. I have more details on GoPros getting hot, here.
How can I control a GoPro remotely?
GoPro makes a range of wireless remote controls. They don't all work with all GoPros--for example, the HERO (2018) isn't compatible with this type of remote control. Many of the newer models also work with the GoPro mobile app. Not every model can be controlled remotely, but most of the newer models have wireless compatibility that can be used for at least some methods of remote control.
Can you take pictures with a GoPro?
If you've been using a GoPro for a while, this might seem pretty obvious, but if you've never used one, it's not quite so self-evident. GoPros are best known for dramatic action videos, but they can most certainly take still photos too. In fact, they can be a very interesting alternative to a traditional camera so long as you work within its limitations. I have more more details here.
Do GoPro wireless controls work underwater?
No. You can't use the mobile app or a wireless remote control if the camera is fully submerged in water. They will normally work just fine in rain and spray--just not submerged. I have a more detailed explanation here.
Do GoPro touchscreens work underwater?
No. If they're just wet above water, they can work to some extent, although often less reliably. But the touchscreens won't work underwater.