Firmware Friday: New lens support for Sony Alpha-series; Phase One XF gets new features aplenty


posted Friday, March 18, 2016 at 6:04 PM EDT

The weekend is here, and it's Firmware Friday time once more! This week, we have news to report from Panasonic, Phase One, Sigma and Sony, with the latter in particular providing a whole raft of updates.

Phase One XF Camera System

We'll start with Phase One, whose second feature update for its XF Camera System is packed with new features. There's a refreshed look for the XF's OneTouch UI, and autofocus accuracy has been improved both for low-light shooting and when the camera is handheld. The self-timer now offers a 0.5 second to one minute capture delay option, and new tools have been added for focus stacking, time-lapse photography and high dynamic range bracketing. A variety of other smaller tweaks have been made as well. You can find more details and download the update here.

Sony Alpha-series

Moving along to Sony, there are a whole raft of updates for various Alpha-series models, but they all share much the same changes, at least within the boundaries of each camera's hardware capabilities. The main focus of the new firmware for the Sony Alpha A5100, A6000, A7, A7 II, A7R, A7R II and A7S is new lens support. All of these cameras also gain support for autofocus when using the FE 85mm F1.4 GM (SEL85F14GM) lens to record movies. Additionally, the cameras with phase-detection autofocus capability -- that is the A5100, A6000, A7, A7 II and A7R II -- phase-detection autofocus is now supported with G Master lenses. And finally, all but the A7R II get tweaks to ensure the correct lens names are recorded in the EXIF headers of images. Get the new firmware at the links below:

Sigma 150-600mm lens

For Sigma customers, you may remember that we recently discussed 150-600mm Sports / Contemporary lens firmware updates whose development had been announced, but which at the time were not yet available. We understand that these updates are now available for Canon and Nikon-mount lenses, and can be applied using the company's USB dock accessory. You'll also need Sigma Optimization Pro version 1.2 for Windows or Mac computers; visit Sigma's website to get this.

Panasonic GH4

Finally for this week, we have another announcement of firmware which hasn't yet been released. This time around, it's for the Panasonic GH4, and availability is slated by the end of March 2016. The new firmware version 2.5 release will add post-focus capability as already seen in the Lumix GX8, as well as the company's clever 4K Photo (Burst, Burst Start/Stop and 4K Pre-Burst) functions, and support for burst flash with the external DMW-FL580L, DMW-FL360L, DMW-FL500, DMW-FL360 and DMW-FL220 flash strobes. Watch the company's customer support microsite or look out for more details in a future Firmware Friday roundup when this new firmware ships!

(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.)