Firmware Friday: Tethering support for Pentax K-1; Samsung NX1 and NX500 get Bluetooth bugfix


posted Friday, May 20, 2016 at 5:59 AM EDT


After a rather quiet Firmware Friday last week, our regular roundup returns today with a raft of news from Fujifilm, Ricoh, Samsung and Sony. Updates this week include new tethering support for the mighty Pentax K-1 full-frame DSLR, new features for one of Sony's pro camcorders, promised updates on the way for two Fuji lenses, and a pair of Android-related bug fixes for some rather long-in-the-tooth Samsung cameras.

Pentax K-1

We'll start this week with Ricoh, whose Pentax K-1 version 1.10 firmware update landed yesterday. The new release contains two main changes, both tethering-related. With the new firmware installed and software updated to the latest versions, Pentaxians are now able to tether their cameras for studio shooting with the Pentax K-1 using the optionally-available Image Transmitter 2 application on both Mac and Windows platforms. And you can also tether free of charge using the rather wordily-named Pentax Tethered Capture Plug-in for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (Simple Version).

If you want to tether your K-1, you'll want to grab the Pentax K-1 firmware version 1.10 update here, as well as the Image Transmitter 2.2.0 update for either the Windows or MacOS platforms, and/or the Pentax Tethered Capture Plug-in 1.1.0 update for Windows or MacOS machines. And if you don't already own Image Transmitter 2 and want more than just the simplified Lightroom-only experience, you'll also want to purchase a copy of the application, which you can do from IR affiliate B&H Photo Video here at no extra cost to you. (And you'll help to support this site in the process, for which we offer our heartfelt thanks!)

Incidentally, even if you're using the Pentax 645Z and not the K-1, you'll want to update your Image Transmitter app and Lightroom Plug-in, because there are more changes in both beyond the new K-1 support. For Image Transmitter, there's a new adjustable-size independent post window and a configurable live-view grid display. For the Lightroom Plug-in, there's a change to allow images to be stored on the SD card in your camera as well as being transferred to the attached computer.

As for the firmware, as per usual Ricoh also promises "improved stability for general performance" -- in other words, perhaps some minor bug fixes -- without disclosing what these entail. So even if you're not planning to tether your K-1, you may want to update regardless.

Samsung NX1 and NX500

One could be forgiven for thinking that Samsung has forgotten it ever made cameras. (Well, other than the ones in its phones, refrigerators, and so forth.) The company has shuttered its website, hasn't launched a new camera in over 14 months, and has let its lens lineup languish unloved since the last new optic debuted 20 months ago in September 2014. Despite its protestations to the contrary, it certainly looks to all appearances as if the company has quietly bailed on its photography customers.

It seems at least one person remains in the camera division, though, waiting on the lights to be switched out for good, as Samsung has just pushed updates for its flagship NX1 and entry-level NX500 cameras. Don't expect new features, because that's not what these new firmware updates are about: Instead, they're intended to resolve issues pairing via Bluetooth with the company's smartphones running Google's Android Marshmallow operating system. (And that might explain why we've suddenly seen activity, some eight months after the company last shipped a firmware update, since in a roundabout way the company's smartphones were affected.)

Be that as it may, though, we're just glad to see some activity for owners of the company's cameras, if only to fix a problem. You can get Samsung NX1 firmware version 1.41 here, and Samsung NX500 firmware version 1.12 here.

Fuji XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR and XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR

Fujifilm's contribution to this week's roundup isn't actually available to download just yet, but should be available around the start of June. The company has promised new firmware for its XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR and XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lenses, in both cases to add support for its newly-announced 2x teleconverter. Since the teleconverter itself won't be shipping until then anyway, you won't need the firmware any earlier. Watch for more news in a future Firmware Friday article!

Sony PXW-FS5

And finally for this week, we return to a story from late April. At the time, we told you about a planned firmware update for the Sony FS5 pro camcorder, slated to arrive in May 2016. Well, now it's here, and as promised it includes an automatic mode for the electric variable ND filter, a new GPS function, and new zebra level settings. It also enables 4K raw video capture to an AXS-R5 external recorder with HXR-IFR5 interface unit at rates from 23.98 to 120 fps, and 2K raw video capture from 23.98 to 240 fps, but you'll need to purchase the CBKZ-FS5RIF install license separately, which we believe will cost around US$600. We've checked and as of right now, it doesn't appear to be available for purchase in North America, but in the meantime you can download the new firmware here. Release notes for the update are available here, in your choice of seven different languages.

(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.)