Firmware Friday: Ricoh rewards GR Digital IV owners with new features, Canon camcorder gets XLR fix


posted Friday, August 9, 2013 at 2:10 PM EDT

Another Friday has arrived, and regular readers will know what that means: It's time for another weekly roundup of all that's new on the camera firmware front! This week, we have three updates to report on, with new firmware shipping from Blackmagic, Canon, and Ricoh.

Ricoh's update is by far the most interesting, because it continues the company's long tradition of adding brand-new features to old cameras. It's something we wish more companies would do, not only because it can extend the life of products at retail, but also because it's a great way to reward your loyal customers for their business.

Some manufacturers want you to buy new cameras regularly. Ricoh gives your existing camera new features regularly. We know which option we prefer!

The Ricoh GR Digital IV might have been announced way back in late 2011, but that doesn't mean its life is over. Far from it: courtesy of the new firmware v2.30, your GR Digital IV will now sport four brand-new features, and two bugs will be squashed at the same time. The new features are as follows:

  • The existing Fluorescent white balance preset has been replaced by a Shade preset and four Fluorescent presets specific to different lamp types: Daylight Fluorescent, Neutral White Fluorescent, Cool White Fluorescent, and Warm White Fluorescent. If you want to replicate behavior of the old Fluorescent preset, use the new Cool White Fluorescent preset.

  • You can now configure the Function buttons to toggle between Multi and Spot AF, except when in Macro or Continuous AF modes, or when the Adjust lever is used to select the autofocus target.

  • The Hi-Contrast Black & White, Cross Process, Positive Film, and Bleach Bypass effects all now offer a Very Weak option for vignetting.

  • It's now possible to select a focus target by pressing and holding the Macro button, unless in Manual or Subject Tracking focus modes.

More details and the Ricoh GR Digital IV firmware v2.30 update can be found on Ricoh's website.

With new firmware, the Canon XA10's XLR port will now behave as the manual says it does.

Canon's update, meanwhile, is rather less exciting, but likely no less welcomed by owners of the XA10 professional camcorder. Courtesy of firmware version, a problem with the camcorder's XLR terminal is resolved. Previously, polarity of the terminal did not match that described in the instruction manual, and the polarity offered could cause problems with external audio devices. Install the update available here, and you'll find those issues resolved.

New firmware for the Pocket Cinema Camera allows autofocus using the Focus button.

And finally, we come to Blackmagic's v1.4 firmware update for the Pocket Cinema Camera. (Technically, we already mentioned this one earlier in the week, but we'll revisit it for those of you who missed it at the time.) The new firmware allows autofocus operation with a compatible lens, simply by pressing the rear-panel focus button, providing near-instant access. Double-pressing the button enables focus peaking, while a double-press of the OK button enables focus zoom. Get the update here for Windows users, and here for Mac users. And if your LCD flickers after updating, fear not -- Blackmagic says this is normal, and will stop after a few minutes of operation.