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Firmware patch released for Sony DSLR-A700 (UPDATED)
(Tuesday, October 30, 2007 - 09:37 EDT)

Sony has released a firmware update for their DSLR-A700 in Europe and other parts of the globe, it should be posted on the US support site soon.

This has already been announced by Sony Europe, Sony US tells us they'll have it up on the US support site by later today. We'll update this news item as soon as it appears, but it should show up here. In the meantime, Sony Europe has it posted here.

Sony is a little vague about what the new update covers. Here's what Sony US told us about it:

"Sony is releasing updated firmware for the DSLR-A700 camera, as well as updates for the Image Data Converter and Image Data Lightbox bundled software applications. The camera firmware update improves image sharpness and reduces noise under certain circumstances. It also improves flash control at very short distances with non-ADI control lenses. The updates for the bundled software applications correct the functioning of such features as image display and file type indication. These updates relate only to early production Firmware "Ver.1" models, which were manufactured through early October. Firmware "Ver.2" models (press Menu & Display together to check) already include this upgrade. Although these improvements are subtle, it is recommended that customers make the update to improve the camera and application software performance.

Most regions outside of Japan (Japan not affected) will be notifiying customers via their customer support sites on Oct. 30 at 11 PM PST / Oct. 31 at 2 AM EST. Our region is experiencing a slight delay in notification due to last week's fires. We expect for SEL's site to go live tomorrow morning at approximately 9 AM EST. Tomorrow, we will be able to provide you with specific URL links to the upgrades, but in the meantime, the general support web site URL is www.sony.com/support."

It's not clear just how this update will affect image quality. The official note talks about "improved image sharpness and noise", so it could be construed to address the poor sharpness we saw in in-camera JPEGs. But the reference to reduced noise would seem to work against that.

As noted, the update release also includes a patch to Sony's RAW-file converter, but the effects there appear to be much more limited in scope, mainly bug patches affecting on-screen rendering, and a fix to make the color rendering match between camera and software for Creative Style settings other than the default.

We still have our A700 evaluation sample here, so will apply the firmware patch and shoot some test shots to see what's actually going on. (No ETA on results, it may take us a while to sort through and analyze the images to determine the full effect of the update.) Meanwhile, you can download the patch from Sony Europe, and see for yourself what it does. - Or, stay tuned and we'll update this article once the US link appears. (OR, hold off and let our A700 sample be the guinea pig.)

UPDATED 2007-10-31 02:16ET: Sony US has now provided us with the following links for the update:

Windows Firmware

Mac Firmware

Windows Applications

Mac Applications

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