Firmware Friday: Sony A7R II / A7S II get better video on SDHC; bug fixes for Nikon D7200, Leica M-series


posted Friday, April 29, 2016 at 11:10 PM EDT


The weekend is here once more, and Firmware Friday just squeaks in under the wire with news of new updates from Leica, Nikon and Sony. In all, seven cameras receive new features or bug fixes this week, all of them interchangeable-lens models.

Sony A7R II and A7S II

We'll start with Sony this time around, as its new firmware for the Sony A7R II and A7S II cameras provides the most interesting new feature this time around. In both cases, the same single change is made: It is now possible to capture XAVC S video on SDHC cards, not just on SDXC types. There are some provisos, however. For one thing, the file will be split after every four gigabytes of data, although these files can be remerged on the desktop later using Sony's PlayMemories Home software. For another, the card you use will need to carry a Speed Class 10 rating and/or UHS Speed Class 1 rating. If you want to record at 100Mbps or more, the requirement increases to UHS Speed Class 3.

Sony's new firmware can be found at the links below:

Nikon D7200

Continuing to Nikon, the company's D7200 DSLR has received its "C:1.01" firmware update in the last few days. This focuses on bug fixes, with four main changes made. You should no longer notice problems with incorrect display of the firmware version in the menu system, nor of the date being shown incorrectly on February 29th in each leap year. If you're recording video to an external device via HDMI using movie live view, you should also no longer find that each clip starts with four seconds of static on the audio channel. And finally, when processing raw files in-camera, you should no longer be troubled by occasional issues when using a negative exposure compensation value.

Nikon's new firmware is at the link below:

Leica M (Typ 240), M-P (Typ 240), M (Typ 262) and M Monochrom (Typ 246)

Finally for this week, Leica's firmware updates for four closely-related M-series cameras rounds out the firmware news. All four cameras get the same changes, which focus mostly on bug fixes with a few small feature tweaks as well. New features include support for memory cards up to 512GB in capacity (although the company notes that it doesn't recommend use of such high capacity as it causes long startup times), an automatic warning shown in the viewfinder display when SD cards are too slow for movie capture, a switch to saving DNG raw+JPEG file formats by default when the camera is reset, and an increase in the timeout for the last recorded GPS position in the absence of a GPS signal to 2.5 hours.

In addition, exposure compensation is no longer saved to user profiles, and therefore when it is adjusted, the user profile is still displayed as well. Display of flash exposure compensation has also been improved in the menu system. And finally for the feature tweaks, the camera's controls should now remain responsive even while the buffer is filled with images, accuracy of the histogram at high sensitivity, as well as of the internal clock have both been improved, and Leica notes that "it is now possible to display all zoom steps when reviewing images in playback mode".

Bugs that have been squashed include failure to display the metering mode in playback for images using Auto ISO in Manual mode, a misleading warning to "check battery age", failure to transfer files over 2GB via USB, camera lockups when shooting fast burst sequences, and (for the Leica M Monochrom [Typ 246] specifically), an issue with fine patterns of black pixels appearing in images has been squashed. Leica also says that the new firmware includes "further system optimizations", but doesn't elaborate.

You can get Leica new firmware at the links below:

Thanks to the Leica experts at the Red Dot Forum for ferreting out the download links, as the firmware for the last three models isn't actually listed in each camera's downloads section on the company's website at this time.

And that wraps up this week's firmware news. Check back next time for more from the firmware front!

(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.)