posted Friday, February 19, 2016 at 5:51 PM EST


As the weekend fast approaches -- and with it, time to leave the office in search of great photo opportunities -- it's time once more to check your camera gear is up to date and running smoothly. This week's Firmware Friday roundup is pretty epic, with no less than 18 different cameras, one lens and one camcorder either receiving updates, or forecast to get them soon.

Fuji X-E2 update

With so much to cover, we'll take things in alphabetical order this time around and start with Fujifilm. The company has updates for four cameras this week, although technically a pair of these are the same camera underneath a different skin.

The Fuji X-E2 version 4.00 firmware update gives owners access to almost all of the updates from the newer X-E2S model, which launched in January. Changes are as follows, courtesy of Fujifilm:

  1. New AF System

    1. New AF system with Zone and Wide/Tracking modes for effortless capture of moving subjects. 
      The AF System complements the fast and accurate 49-single-point autofocus system with new Zone and Wide/Tracking modes, which use 77 autofocus points across a wider area to substantially improve the camera's ability to capture moving subjects.

    2. Improvement of AF accuracy. 
      Single-point AF divides the focus area into smaller sections to more accurately determine the distance to the subject for even greater focusing accuracy. The built-in phase detection pixels have the detection range of 0.5EV, an improvement from the previous 2.5EV, delivering phase detection AF performance that enables fast focusing in low-light conditions and on low-contrast subjects.

    3. Eye Detection AF.
      The firmware update provides Fujifilm's Eye Detection AF, which automatically detects and focuses on human eyes. The function allows you to easily focus on the eyes even in difficult conditions, e.g. when shooting a portrait wide open to obtain a beautiful bokeh background.

    4. Auto Macro mode. 
      The firmware update introduces the Auto Macro function, which automatically switches the camera into the Macro mode while maintaining the conventional AF speed. You no longer have to press the Macro button to initiate a close-up shot. This update eliminates the Macro function assigned to the Macro Button, allowing you to assign a different function to the button.

    5. AF improvement in the Movie mode. 
      The optimized algorithm delivers a more natural and smooth AF action during movie recording.

  2. Function enhancements

    1. High-speed electronic shutter with a maximum speed of 1/32,000sec.
      The FUJINON XF Lens series lineup includes a number of fast fixed focal length lenses which boast very high sharpness with the aperture wide open, producing excellent out of focus "bokeh". However, fast apertures are difficult to use if the light is too bright, so to ensure users can create shallow depth-of-field effects, the camera is now equipped with a fully electronic shutter offering a maximum shutter speed of 1/32,000sec. The mechanical shutter will not operate at all when any speed for the electronic shutter is selected, which also delivers a completely silent shooting experience; perfect for shots of sleeping children, pets, weddings, and more. In addition, it is possible to set the electronic shutter in 1/3 steps from a range of 1sec to 1/32,000sec.

      • Note 1: Shutter Sound 
        The shutter sound can be muted if desired. Use the new "SHUTTER SOUND" and "SHUTTER VOLUME" options in the setup menu to choose the type and volume of the sound made when the shutter is released. 

      • Note 2: Electronic Shutter
        The Electronic Shutter may not be suitable for fast-moving objects. Flash can not be used.

    2. White Balance Bracketing.
      Just fire the shutter once and capture the same scene at your selected white balance setting plus one frame at a warmer and another at a cooler color temperature. White Balance bracketing can be set in ±1, ±2 and ±3 steps.

    3. Enhanced ISO Auto Setting to AUTO1/AUTO2/AUTO3.
      You can use three ISO Auto setting AUTO1/AUTO2/AUTO3 in menu.

    4. Exposure Compensation control in Manual. 
      You can use the Exposure Compensation dial to make exposure adjustments while shooting in the Manual exposure mode with the ISO Auto setting.

    5. Natural Live View function is just like the naked eye.
      One of the great benefits of an electronic viewfinder is that 'what you see is what you get'; the final image is displayed in real-time so any Film Simulation modes or other effects can be checked while shooting. But users sometimes need to see colors close to how they're viewed with an optical finder, or to focus on shadow detail, which some high-contrast effects block out. To aid this, the Natural Live View function has been added and, when "PREVIEW PIC. EFFECT" is turned Off in the menu, an image close to the naked eye is displayed during live view.

    6. Finer lines on the framing grid enhances visibility 
      The lines on the framing grid, which you can choose to display in the Screen Set-Up menu, have been made finer   making it easier to view the subject.

    7. New Video Frame rates (50P / 25P / 24P).
      As well as the existing 60fps and 30fps selections, 50fps, 25fps and 24fps options will be available with the update. 50fps and 25fps allow video editing in the PAL regions, such as Europe, without converting the frame rate. 24fps offers a cinema-like view.

    8. Manual Shooting in Video mode.
      The update will enable ISO sensitivity selection prior to shooting videos, as well as the ability to adjust aperture and shutter speed during movie recording.

    9. Phase detection AF support for Instant AF.
      In Instant AF mode, which is operated by pressing the AF-L button during manual focusing, the update will enable Phase Detection AF, providing faster focusing speeds.

    10. Expansion of shutter speed in Program Shift mode.
      In the current Program Shift mode, the slowest-speed setting is 1/4sec, but this will increase to a maximum of 4secs.

  3. Operability improvements

    1. The new user interface. 
      The new user interface has been designed with particular attention paid to the size and layout of displayed settings. This allows you to concentrate fully on shooting through the viewfinder.

    2. Improved Shutter Speed Dial operation.
      When the Shutter Speed Dial is set to T and the Shutter Type to Mechanical + Electronic, you can use the command dial to set a full range of exposure times from 30-1/32000sec. Previously, this was limited to 30-2 seconds. This means you can change the shutter speeds across a broader range without having to change camera position.

    3. Name of Silent mode changed to avoid confusion.
      The Silent Mode has been renamed to "SOUND & FLASH ".

    4. Direct selection of AF area.
      The update will let users select the focus area using the 4-way selector buttons, without pressing the Fn key.

    5. Unlocked AE-L / AF-L Buttons.
      The function of the AE-L / AF-L button is currently locked, but will be interchangeable, depending on the user's preference.

    6. Variable Focus Area during MF.
      When working in Manual focus mode, the update will enable changing the size of the focus area during Instant AF with the AF-L button.

    7. Q. Menu customization.
      To make the Q Menu (used for quick access of frequently-used items) even more efficient, the update will allow its items and layout to be changed to the user's preference.

    8. Interlocking of Metering and Focus areas.
      Users will be able to interlock the AF area position with the Metering area when Spot Metering mode is selected.

    9. Movie Recording.
      Movie recording starts by pressing a function button not the shutter button. "MOVIE" in DRIVE options is eliminated.

  4. Other changes with the update

    1. Supports focus limiter function for XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR.
      To be fully compatible with the lens, the new firmware supports focus limiter function for FUJINON XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR.

    2. "BACKGROUND COLOR" menu. 
      "BACKGROUND COLOR" menu in "SCREEN SET-UP" menu is eliminated.

    3. The maximum number of images taken in the continuous shooting mode.
      JPEG in High-speed continuous shooting mode: approx. 28 images ⇒ approx. 18 images RAW in High-speed and Low-speed continuous shooting mode: 1 or 2 less images than before the update.

You can get the Fuji X-E2 v4.00 firmware update here, along with a PDF-format addendum to the user manual.

Fuji X-T1 / X-T1 Graphite Silver updates

Moving along, we have the Fuji X-T1 v4.30 update, which also comes mirrored by a similar update for the X-T1 Graphite Silver Edition. Changes are as follows:

  1. Using a flashgun in Bracketing / Continuous shooting.
    Optional flashguns can be used for bracketing and burst photography. When using the EF-X8, which is bundled with the X-T1, the flash fires in ISO, FILM SIMULATION and WHITE BALANCE BKT modes.

  2. Instant AF Setting in manual focus
    Focus and exposure can be locked when the AF-L button is used in manual focus mode. You can shoot after locking AF and AE with your thumb.

  3. AF+MF operation with AF-L button 
    The AF-L button can be used to lock focus in AF+MF mode and you can adjust the focus more accurately using the lens's focusing ring.

  4. Focus zoom in AF+MF
    The FOCUS ASSIST button can be used for focus zoom and you can focus using the lens's focusing ring with focus zoom activated.

  5. Additional Custom Display options

  6. The Fn7 Button
    The movie-record button doubles as an Fn button (Fn7). Press and hold DISP/BACK to select what it controls.

  7. Supports focus limiter function for XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR.
    To be fully compatible with the lens, the new firmware supports focus limiter function for FUJINON XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6  R LM OIS WR.

  8. Solution for an issue of Firmware Ver. 4.20
    In AF-C mode, freeze would happen on certain conditions. This has been fixed.

You can get the Fuji X-T1 v4.30 update here, along with a PDF guide to the new features.

Fuji X-T10 update

And finally for Fujifilm, we have the Fuji X-T10 v1.20 firmware update. Changes in this release are as follows:

  1. Supports focus limiter function for XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR. 
    To be fully compatible with the lens, the new firmware supports focus limiter function for FUJINON XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR.

  2. Improvement of the eye sensor's performance.
    The phenomenon is fixed, that switching LCD display to EVF can be slow with some SD cards right after Power ON.

You can get the Fuji X-T10 v1.20 update here.

Panasonic CM1 Communication Camera update

Continuing through the alphabet, we come to Panasonic. Here, there are updates for nine cameras, several of which are closely-related. We'll start with the unusual Android-based Panasonic CM1 Communication Camera, now running firmware version 12.0300. Changes are as follows, courtesy of Panasonic:

  1. Applied the patches on the vulnerabilities in the Android's core component called "Stagefright".

  2. Removed the following apps.

    • Docs

    • Sheets

    • Slides

    * You can download these applications from Play Store after this software update.
    In addition, if you have updated these applications on the Play Store, the applications will not be removed when you update.

  3. Performance and functional improvements and bug fixes.

You can get the Panasonic CM1 v12.0300 update here, but if you've not already done so, note that you'll need to update to the Android 5.0-based v12.0274 first.

Panasonic G7 / G70, GX8 and FZ300 / FZ330 updates

Next up, we have the closely-related Panasonic G7 and Panasonic G70. Both cameras are now running version 2.1 firmware, and there is but one change as follows:

  1. The frame of AF area is displayed in 4K Burst mode. (Except when the auto focus mode is set to [49-Area] or [Custom Multi])

You can get the Panasonic G7 / G70 v2.1 updates here.

The Panasonic GX8 also scores this same single change in its version 2.1 firmware release. You can download the update here.

The same update is also provided for both the closely-related Panasonic FZ300 and FZ330. These cameras, too, now run firmware version 2.1, which you can download here.

Panasonic TZ57 / TZ58 / ZS45 updates

And finally, that brings us to the Panasonic TZ57, TZ58 and ZS45. This closely-related trio are now running firmware version 1.3, with changes as follows:

  1. Operation stability in the Self Shot mode is improved.

  2. Calendar function is improved.

Download the new v1.3 firmware for your Panasonic TZ57, TZ58 or ZS45 here.

Ricoh GR II update

Continuing down the list, we have Ricoh's new firmware version 2.00 release for the GR II. Changes are as follows, courtesy of Ricoh:

  1. Displaying Today's Shots

  2. Setting options in shooting mode can be swiftly scrolled by pressing the +/- button.

  3. [Macro AF Scan Range] is added.

  4. [Conversion Lens] is added to the functions which can be registered to these buttons.

  5. [Macro] is added on [Conversion Lens]

  6. The values set in [Detail] can be reset to the default settings.

  7. The preview image in [RAW Development] can be enlarged.

You can download the new Ricoh GR II v2.00 firmware update here, along with a PDF-format manual addendum.

Sigma dp0 Quattro, dp1 Quattro, dp2 Quattro, dp3 Quattro and Photo Pro updates

Finally for the camera updates, we have Sigma's dp0 Quattro, dp1 Quattro, dp2 Quattro and dp3 Quattro, all of which differ predominantly in their choice of lens. The specific firmware version for each camera varies, but the list of changes doesn't. Updates are as follows:

  • White balance accuracy improved.

  • Color reproduction improved.

Notice: RAW data (X3F files) taken with the dp Quattro series cameras after the firmware update has been installed cannot be processed in software prior to SIGMA Photo Pro 6.3.2. Please use the latest SIGMA Photo Pro 6.3.2 to process for the latest RAW data.

You can download Sigma's updates at the links below. A demonstration of the color / white balance differences you can expect is to be found here.

That rounds out Sigma's camera updates, but there is more news from the company on other fronts. For one thing, as noted above the new firmware will require an updated release of Sigma Photo Pro to process raw data. You can download the new Sigma Photo Pro v6.3.2 release here.

Sigma 150-600mm Sports / Contemporary lens updates

Sigma is also promising an update for the Canon and Nikon-mount versions of its 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Sports and SIGMA 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Contemporary lenses. The new firmware isn't available just yet, and nor is there a projected date for it to arrive, but we do know at least some of the changes it will bring.

Specifically, the new firmware will improve the autofocus algorithms and thereby, the autofocus performance. Sigma is projecting an approximate 20% increase in AF speed, and a maximum improvement of 50% in some shooting conditions. These improvements will be noticed both in Speed Priority mode and in regular shooting. To apply the updates, you'll either want to purchase Sigma's USB dock accessory, or return the lenses to the company for update once the new firmware is available.

JVC GY-LS300 update

Finally, we come to JVC's GY-LS300 Super 35mm camcorder. Here, the new update will add 120 frames-per-second HD capture, allowing as much as a five times slow-motion effect with a playback rate of 24 frames per second. The new firmware isn't available yet, but will ship free of charge for GY-LS300 owners this coming April.

Check back soon for more firmware news!

That brings us to the end of this week's roundup. Be sure to check back next time for all the latest from the world of camera firmware!

(Camera parts image courtesy of Kelly Hofer / Flickr; used under a Creative Commons CC-BY-2.0 license. Image has been modified from the original.)