Firmware Friday: New features for Hasselblad X1D; improvements for Sony A6500 and DJI Spark


posted Friday, August 25, 2017 at 9:47 PM EDT


As another weekend arrives, it's time once more for Firmware Friday, our weekly roundup of all that's new in the world of camera and imaging firmware. This week, we bring you news of camera firmware from both Hasselblad and Sony, as well as an update to the DJI Spark drone. The latter in particular is crucial to install, as DJI has controversially decided to remotely disable Spark drones running older firmware just a week from today.

Without any further ado, let's get right down to it!

Hasselblad X1D-50c

We'll start off this week with the Hasselblad X1D-50c, which received its new firmware version 1.17.2 release last Sunday. There are two changes described in the official release notes, both feature additions. Firstly, the autofocus point size is now adjustable in three steps: 4mm (for a total of 35 AF points), 2.8mm (63 points) or 2mm (117 points). There's also a new electronic shutter function, capable of providing noise-free image capture at shutter speeds from 1/10,000 second to 68 minutes in length.

You'll need to register on Hasselblad's website and then log in after confirming your registration to download the new firmware here.

Sony A6500

Moving on to Sony, on Tuesday the company released firmware version 1.04 for the Sony A6500 compact system camera. Here, there is but one change. According to the release notes, image stabilization performance has been improved in movie mode. You can download this new firmware for your Sony A6500 here after selecting your operating system from the drop-down list.

DJI Spark

And finally for this week, we come to DJI's Spark aerial camera platform. The new version 01.00.0600 firmware release for the drone itself was released on Monday, and it's proven to be a controversial one. The reason? DJI is giving owners less than two weeks to upgrade, before they will find their Spark drones grounded and unable to fly. The company says it has taken this step because of an issue which caused some Spark drones to shut down mid-flight, a problem similar to that experienced by the competing GoPro Karma drone. (Although in GoPro's case, the defect was a mechanical failure, rather than a software one.)

However, DJI has also claimed that only a "small number" of Spark drones have experienced this issue, which is somewhat at odds with the urgency it is clearly putting into the update -- even at the risk of inconveniencing its own customers. (Many will be able to upgrade just fine, but some will have mere days to upgrade by the time they hear the news. And if they don't have time and a reliable internet connection with which to download the update in time, they could find themselves going without the aerial footage they'd planned to shoot.

The new drone firmware is accompanied by version 01.00.0400 firmware for the drone's controller, as well as updates to the DJI Go apps for Android and iOS (v4.1.5.3 and v4.1.7, respectively.) It also adds support for the DJI Goggles accessory, and fixes problems with the Dronie and Helix QuickShot modes, as well as failure of the remote control after updates, and inability to set the flight distance. The PalmLaunch function is also said to have been optimized.

To update, you'll want to either use the DJI Go app for your mobile platform, or the DJI Assistant 2 software for Windows and Apple computers, using the procedure described here.

And that's all for this week! Be sure to check back next time for more firmware news...

(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.)