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Nikon's Coolpix 5000 digital camera. Courtesy of Nikon Inc. with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins Nikon: New Coolpix 5000 firmware
(Monday, September 30, 2002 - 18:13 EDT)

Imaging giant Nikon has released a new version of firmware for its Coolpix 5000 digital camera that breathes new life into the design with some bug fixes and new features.

First spotted by our friends at the Digital Photography Review, the new firmware version 1.7 has quite a list of changes (repeated below courtesy of Nikon), but a few stand out - most notably the addition of a RAW image capture mode using Nikon's .NEF format. There's also EXIF v2.2 support, improved AF performance, a new feature that lets you trade-off reduced LCD speed for improved shutter lag times, and the ability to completely disable the internal flash when using an external Speedlight.

The updater, which is available in the USA, Europe and Japan, can be downloaded for either Windows or Macintosh platforms. To check the current version of firmware in your Coolpix 5000, repeat the following procedure:
With the camera off, press and hold the MENU button (the center button on the LCD display), switch the camera to "On" mode (with the Menu button still pressed). The firmware version will be displayed on the color LCD display.
The full list of changes is as follows:
  • Support for RAW (NEF) Image Quality
    A RAW image-quality function has been added to the COOLPIX5000 firmware. When an image-quality setting of RAW is selected, "HI" blinks in the camera@apos;s control panel. Additionally, RAW images can be converted to TIFF using the cameras menu.
  • Control options for Shutter Release Speed
    The Monitor Options item in the setup menu now contains a Shutter Release Speed setting that controls the speed of shutter response as follows.
  • Option "Normal": Priority given to quality of preview displayed in monitor.
    Option "Quick Response": Reduces the time lag between pressing the shutter-release button all the way down and shutter being released to take a picture.
  • Internal Flash Off option
    The Speedlight Control menu now contains an Internal Flash Off option that allows you to turn the built-in Speedlight off entirely. The built in Speedlight will still fire if red-eye reduction is "on" only to reduce red-eye; it will not fire during the actual exposure. Additionally, the internal flash will fire a monitor pre-flash (but not an actual exposure flash) if a Nikon Speedlight is connected.
  • Support for Picture Transfer Protocol
    PTP (Picture Transfer Protocol) option is now available in the USB menu in the Interface setting for the setup menu in User Sets 1, 2 and 3.
  • Support for Exif 2.2
    The COOLPIX5000 firmware version 1.7 now supports Exif (Exchangeable Image File Format for Digital Still Cameras) version 2.2, a standard that allows information stored with photographs to be used for optimal color reproduction when images are output on Exif-compliant printers. PRINT Image Matching (PIM) is no longer supported by COOLPIX5000 firmware version 1.7. Users who require PIM should not apply this update.
  • Improvements in LCD monitor display
    The LCD monitor has been improved to allow better display of images when viewing in dark surroundings. Monitor brightness has also been improved.
  • Shutter speed information corrected when using BULB exposure
    Previously when shooting an image with a BULB exposure time of more than 100 seconds, the shutter speed information recorded in the shooting information was incorrect. This has now been fixed.
  • Improvements in autofocus performance
    Autofocus performance has been improved.
To update your Coolpix 5000, visit the appropriate Nikon country's website - the USA, Europe and Japan - and download the firmware. Be sure to follow Nikon's instructions to the letter, and only use firmware designed for your specific country of purchase. Firmware upgrades are generally a safe and simple process, but if you don't follow the instructions or attempt to install firmware from another region there's a good chance you could turn your digital camera into a digital door-stop. ;)

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