Firmware Friday: 21 cameras improved by raft of Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Samsung, Sigma updates


posted Friday, June 14, 2013 at 11:31 PM EDT

It's that time again -- a week's rolled by, and we've another batch of firmware updates to report on. We'll keep it short and sweet this week, and let the updates themselves do the talking, because there's quite a bit to cover.

From Canon, we have an update for the EOS Rebel T4i. There are four main changes in Canon T4i firmware version 1.0.4, which you'll find for download here:

  • Fixes the following phenomena which may occur when the camera is used in combination with certain lens models equipped with a stepping motor.
    Affected lenses: EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM / EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM.
    • The camera may freeze in rare instances if you try to shoot with a lens cap attached or meter a subject in low contrast in Live View (or Movie) shooting.
    • Fine focus adjustment may not be possible in Remote Live View on the EOS Utility software.
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which some SD card products are not recognized by the camera.
  • Corrects some misspellings displayed on the menu screen.

Nikon, meanwhile, has a whole raft of updates for its 1-series, bringing the line up to Nikon V1 version A:1.30 / B:1.30, Nikon V2 version A:1.10 / B:1.10, Nikon J1 version A:1.30 / B:1.30, Nikon J2 version A:1.10 / B:1.10Nikon J3 version A:1.10 / B:1.10, and Nikon S1 version A:1.10 / B:1.10. (Phew!) The precise changes vary per camera, as noted below.

  • 1 NIKKOR lens firmware can now be updated. (V2 only)
  • Support for AF-C (Continuous AF) focus mode when the Mount Adapter FT1 is used with AF-S lenses has been added.
    To use this function, the Mount Adapter FT1 must be firmware version 1.10, which supports this function. When updating both the camera and FT1's firmware, be sure to update the camera firmware before updating the FT1 firmware
  • Support for the 1 NIKKOR 32mm f/1.2, equipped with a focusing ring, has been added.
  • The following changes to playback zoom for images captured in MF (manual focus) focus mode have been applied.
    • 1× magnification has been added.
    • The amount of time allowed to pass before normal display is restored when no operations are performed after playback zoom is applied has been reduced. (V1, J1, and J2 only)
  • Electronic viewfinder display in Auto and P, S, A, and M shooting modes is now smoother. (V2 only)
  • An issue that caused images to be somewhat dark when captured with continuous shooting using the Mount Adapter FT1 and an AF-S lens has been resolved. (V2 only)
  • When shooting in Electronic (Hi) release mode at 10 fps using the Mount Adapter FT1, the shutter speed displayed with a half press of the shutter-release button and that displayed when the shutter-release button was fully pressed differed.  This issue has been resolved. (V1 and J1 only)
  • The precision of time synchronization when the GPS Unit GP-N100 is attached to the camera and the Use GPS to set clock option is set to Yes has been increased. However, errors in time synchronization using GPS cannot be completely eliminated. Please update GP-N100 firmware to Ver. 1.02 , which supports this improvement.

As listed in the release notes, some of these firmware updates go hand in hand with an update for the Mount Adapter FT1 L, firmware version 1.10. This has but one change:

  • Support for AF-C (Continuous AF) focus mode when the Mount Adapter FT1 is used with AF-S lenses has been added.

Nikon Europe has also released the updated version 1.02 firmware for the GP-N100 GPS unit, but this is not so far available from Nikon USA. This makes only one change:

  • The precision of time synchronization when the GPS Unit GP-N100 is attached to the camera and the Use GPS to set clock option is set to Yes has been increased. However, errors in time synchronization using GPS cannot be completely eliminated.
    Please update camera firmware the version that supports this improvement as follows.
    • Nikon 1 V2 firmware A/B Ver. 1.10
    • Nikon 1 V1 firmware A/B Ver. 1.30

Also updated -- albeit not strictly firmware, but it makes sense to note anyway -- are both Capture NX and View NX software packages. Capture NX version 2.4.3 has only one noted change, while View NX version 2.7.6 has two changes:

  • Information for lenses used with the Auto Distortion function under Camera & Lens Corrections in the Develop section has been updated.
  • The destination for the link when the NIKON IMAGE SPACE website is opened from the NIKON IMAGE SPACE area in the Browser palette has been updated from my Picturetown to NIKON IMAGE SPACE.

Olympus, too, has a huge raft of firmware for its cameras. New versions numbers are Olympus OM-D E-M5 version 1.7, Olympus PEN E-P3 version 1.4, Olympus PEN E-P2 version 1.3, Olympus PEN Lite E-PL5 version 1.2, Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3 version 1.4, Olympus PEN Lite E-PL2 version 1.4, Olympus PEN Lite E-PL1 version 1.3, Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 version 1.2, Olympus PEN Mini E-PM1 version 1.2, and Olympus Stylus XZ-2 iHS version 1.2. (Zounds!) In all cases, you can get the updates using Olympus' Digital Camera Updater software.

Changes made are as follows:

  • Stability of touch panel operation during playback was improved. (E-P3, E-PL5, and E-PM2 only)
  • Supported VF-4 electronic view finder.
    *Automatic display switching by the eye sensor is not supported.

There's also an update for the Samsung NX300, version 1.20. This brings a total of 14 changes, as follows:

  • Adding Multi-touch zoom, double tap zoom functions
  • Adding Minimum shutter speed settting function ( ISO Auto in P or A mode)
  • Adding AF point moving function without focusing in Touch AF
  • Adding Touch screen on/off menu ( Even touch off, playback mode and menu selection is worked by touch.)
  • Adding guide message off menu during mode change
  • Adding MIC sensitivity level adjustment menu
  • Adding MENU, FN button display off mode in display mode
  • Fixing exposure error in SmartRange+ mode
  • Adding auto rotate function
  • Improving AF quality
  • Improving SD card compatibility
  • Adding interfaces for new Lens line up
  • Improving that some video player does not play sound on end parts of video clip in PC
  • Improving other bugs

Finally for the camera updates, there's Sigma. Three models get updates: Sigma DP1 Merrill version 1.04, Sigma DP2 Merrill version 1.05, and Sigma DP3 Merrill version 1.02. Changes for all three cameras are essentially identical, as follows:

  • Improves the stability of operation.
  • Improves the precision of bounce flash shooting when ELECTRONIC FLASH EF-610 DG SUPER SA-STTL and ELECTRONIC FLASH EF-610 DG ST SA-STTL are used.
  • When you enlarge an image, it used to enlarge the center of the image. However, the new firmware magnifies the image depending on the focusing position.
  • It is possible to select the file name of the image either from “SDIM” or “DP1M” / “DP2M” / “DP3M” (depending on camera model).
  • It has integrated the color tones of Custom White Balance (Sunlight, Shade, Overcast, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Flash) among the DP Merrill series.
  • Corrects the phenomenon that the AEL setting goes back to default if the AEL button is set for "Central AEL + AEL", and alternate MF to AF or vice versa, while it is still displaying the operation icon.
  • Corrects the phenomenon that self-timer shooting whilst using P Mode would cancel the program shift for the customized shutter speed and aperture settings if you press the release button.
  • Properly displays the image according to the selected magnification percentage.
  • Corrects the phenomenon that the selected exposure is not appropriately applied when an external flashgun is used with Custom Mode.
  • Corrects the phenomenon that, in rare cases, images are not recorded properly when the battery level is low.
  • Corrects the rare phenomenon that the recording process does not go perfectly when the camera is turned off right after taking the image.
  • It displays the size of the file when you select an image and open the Image Info Screen.

And there's more. (Yes, really.)
So... a whopping 23 hardware products updated, of which 21 are cameras, not to mention the software updates. In most weeks, that'd be it -- but not this time around. We also have new firmware from PocketWizard to report on!

PocketWizard's ControlTL firmware updates cover eight products: the MiniTT1/Nikon and FlexTT5/Nikon (version 3.400), MiniTT1/Canon and FlexTT5/Canon (version 6.400), Plus III version 1.200, MultiMAX version 7.51, PowerMC2/E640 version 2.400, and PowerST4/Elinchrom version 5.400. All of the updates can be downloaded from the PocketWizard website. There are a lot of changes, so we've linked the product names to PDF files describing each product's specific updates.

(Camera parts image courtesy of Kelly Hofer / Flickr; used under a Creative Commons CC-BY-2.0 license.)