Firmware Friday: New features aplenty for Ricoh GR; Pentax K-5 II / IIs and Leica S / S2 / S2P also updated


posted Friday, October 4, 2013 at 3:42 PM EDT


It's time once more: Another week, another Friday, and another round of new firmware! This week, we have updates for six large-sensor cameras from Ricoh and Leica to report on.

We'll start with Ricoh, which has updated cameras sold under both its own brand, and the Pentax badge. New firmware for the Ricoh GR enthusiast compact -- which we reviewed last July -- adds a variety of handy new features. Perhaps most surprisingly, the fastest shutter speed at the lens' maximum aperture of f/2.8 has been raised to 1/2500 second, rather than the original limit of 1/2000 second. (Previously, you had to stop the lens down to f/3.5 to get a shutter speed of 1/2500 second.) There's also a new 47mm crop mode, a Maximum Aperture Priority shooting mode, support for raw file transfer with compatible Eye-Fi cards, and the ability to use the shutter button to confirm some settings, among other changes.

In full, the list of changes in Ricoh GR firmware version 2.03 is as follows:

  • Shooting Mode

    • The shutter speed at maximum aperture can now be set up to 1/2500 second.

    • The order of the icons for No.21 to No.25 in the shooting display has been changed.

  • Playback Mode

    • Pressing the shutter release button fully after starting up the camera in playback mode will now switch it to record mode.

  • Shooting Menu

    • 47mm crop function has been added. The existing [Crop to 35mm] option has ben renamed [Crop]. It has three options: [OFF], [35mm] and [47mm].
      Note: When set to [47mm], [L] or [M] cannot be selected for the picture size, and RAW files will be recorded as [S] size.

    • New [P Mode Selection] option in Program and Manual modes offers a choice of normal or maximum aperture priority modes.

  • Key Custom Options Menu

    • New [Shutter Button Confirmation] option allows the camera to save Adj. mode or exposure compensation settings by half-pressing the Shutter button.

  • Setup Menu

    • Added [Eye-Fi RAW Transfer] option, available only when using Eye-Fi cards which support raw files. It has two options: [Allow] and [Deny].

  • Playback Menu

    • When transferring images using [Eye-Fi Transfer Selected Images], the number of remaining images to be transferred is displayed on the playback screen.

    • Image files with a folder number over 200 can now be transferred using [Eye-Fi Transfer Selected Images]. The file names of transferred images consist of the last two digits of the folder name plus the last six digits of the file name.

More details and the firmware download can be found on the Ricoh website.

The Pentax K-5 II and IIs digital SLRs have also been updated by Ricoh this week. Firmware version 1.06 for the two cameras corrects issues with instability in the previous version 1.05 firmware, which was released in the first half of September. That firmware added support for the company's new all-weather flash strobes, as well as its new HD-coated DA Limited lenses. There are no other changes disclosed in the Pentax K-5 II / IIs firmware v1.06 update, which you can get here, although as always the company promises "improved stability for general performance".

And so we come to Leica. Yesterday, the company announced a new 45mm f/2.8 prime lens for the S-mount. The new lens comes accompanied by updated firmware for the Leica S, S2 and S2-P camera bodies. As well as supporting this new lens, the latest firmware adds Korean-language support, improves screen color temperature, allows bracketing and self-timer settings to be stored in user profiles, and more. The full list of changes courtesy of Leica is as follows:

  • Ensures optimum functionality when the Leica Elmarit-S 45 mm f/2.8 ASPH. (CS) lens is mounted.

  • Improves tethered shooting for DNG-compressed file output.

  • A flash triggering signal is now passed to the sync socket at all shutter speeds.

  • User-settings for bracketing sequences and the self-timer can now be stored in user profiles and remain active after restarting the camera.

  • The color temperature of the monitor screen has been optimised.

  • Korean has been added to the language options.

  • Errors registered by users, such as the focusing behaviour of the Leica Vario-Elmar-S 30–90 mm f/3.5–5.6 ASPH. and in user profiles, have been corrected.

Leica's new firmware can be downloaded from the Owners' Area of the Leica website, along with an installation guide.

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