Firmware Friday: Ricoh GR II bug squashed; new features for pro video cameras from Arri and Sony


posted Friday, April 22, 2016 at 8:59 AM EDT


With the NAB Show now behind us, Firmware Friday revisits pro video for a second week running with news of more new firmware on the way (or just arrived) for professional video cameras from Arri and Sony. We'll start off this week with quick news of another update for the Ricoh GR II, following in the footsteps of the one released last February.

Ricoh GR II

Among the changes made in Ricoh's firmware version 2.00 update for the GR II was the ability to enlarge the preview image when developing raw files in-camera. It turns out, though, that a bug crept in when the feature was in development.

The just-issued Ricoh GR II firmware version 2.01 update squashes this issue. Upgrade your camera to the new release, and you'll no longer spot this problem, which was an issue with the position display when developing raw files using the XS image size, and with the HDMI port connected in 1080i mode.

What's that you say? You never saw this problem? We're not surprised, as that's got to be a fairly unusual use case. It's no surprise Ricoh missed the issue in development! Be that as it may, you can download the new firmware here in case any other unannounced changes were made.

Arri Alexa XT, Alexa Classic and Alexa Classic with XR Module

Moving along, we have Arri's new SUP 11.1.1 firmware update for the Alexa XT and Alexa Classic cameras, the latter including those with the XR Module installed. Arri describes this update as a maintenance release, and notes that while no new features are included, the firmware adds support for two new accessories. These are the EMIP300 radio module, and a new right-side display. More details and the update itself can be found here.

Sony PXW-FS5, PXW-FS7, PXW-X70 and PXW-Z100

Finally for this week, we come to Sony's new pro video camera firmware. Here, there are to be two free updates, two of which are mostly free, but have some paid features too. We'll start with the latter updates, as these not surprisingly contain the most interesting changes.

The Sony FS5 firmware version 2.0 update ships from May 2016, and contains four main features. There's now an automatic mode for the electric variable ND filter, and a GPS function has also been added, along with new zebra level settings. All of this is free, but if you pay $600 for a license, you'll also get the ability to record 4K raw video to an AXS-R5 external recorder with HXR-IFR5 interface unit at rates of 23.98, 25, 29.97, 50 or 59.94 frames per second. Additionally, clips of up to four seconds in length can be cached and recorded at 100 or 120 fps. 2K raw video can also be recorded at any of the above rates, plus both 200 and 240 fps.

The Sony X70 firmware version 3.0 update will be available from July 2016, and here there are two separate paid software keys needed to unlock all features. The CBKZ-X70FX key which unlocks 4K capture at 100Mbps in XAVC mode at 24, 25 or 30 frames per second is already available at a list price of $629. This also allows 50Mbps Full HD / HD capture in MPEG HD422 format. Separately, there's a CBKZ-SLMP key (price not yet disclosed) unlocking the same MPEG HD422 features, plus 35Mbps MPEG HD420 Full HD / HD capture. Other new features which are free of charge include support for high quality QoS Streaming with the PWS-100RX1 Wireless Streaming Receiver, and support for real-time Ustream direct streaming at either 1280x720 or 640x360 resolution. There's also a new HDMI/SDI/composite output selection during QFHD recording, and a new function to protect and salvage XAVC recordings after a loss of power. 

The Sony FS7 firmware version 4.0 update, meanwhile, ships from June 2016 without charge. It includes two new features -- on-board 4K 24p recording in XAVC Intra format, and the ability to place the autofocus area anywhere in the imagr frame using flexible spot autofocus.

Finally, the Sony Z100 firmware version 5.1 update ships from May 2016, and adds support for M-series XQD memory cards.

More info on all of Sony's new pro video camera firmware can be found here.

(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.)