Firmware Friday+1: Blackmagic, Canon, Fuji, Nikon, Ricoh, Sigma and Sony offer updates aplenty


posted Saturday, December 21, 2019 at 11:09 PM EST


This week's Firmware Friday roundup arrives just a little late, as your humble editor's been under the weather the past few days, and I didn't manage to finish writing it last night. In part, that was down to the amount of news there was to cover -- in the past seven days, we've seen updates from Blackmagic, Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon, Ricoh, Sigma and Sony.

We've got a lot to discuss, so let's get down to it!

Blackmagic URSA Broadcast, Viewfinder and Studio Viewfinder plus Blackmagic RAW

Kicking things off with Blackmagic Design, the Blackmagic Camera 6.7 update (Windows | Mac OS)brings with it new features and fixes for the URSA Broadcast camera, as well as the Viewfinder and Studio Viewfinder accessories. There are also new versions of Blackmagic's RAW plug-ins for Avid Media Composer and Adobe Premiere Pro (Windows | Mac OS | Linux).

In all, here's everything that's new:

URSA Broadcast

  • Add language localization support.

  • Add new demosaic algorithm for improved sensor response.

  • Add extra level of gain control up to +18dB.

  • Add gain slider and 1/3 stop gain adjustment.

  • Add lens correction for B4 lenses.

  • Add ability to remap buttons on broadcast lenses.

  • Add Blackmagic RAW recording format.

  • Add LUT embedding in Blackmagic RAW clips.

  • Add 720p SDI output on main SDI and 720p SDI input.

  • Add sensor pixel recalibration in camera.

  • Add ability to adjust line level audio.

  • Add sidetone level adjustment.

  • Add improved ballistics and scaling of audio meters.

  • Add choice of -18 or -20dB reference levels for audio meters.

  • Add ability to remap the HFR button.

  • Add ability to disable function and HFR buttons.

  • Add press-to-focus for EF, PL and B4 lenses with focus servo.

  • Add quick media switching from the heads up display.

  • Add support for HDR metadata in SDI output.

  • Add 'LUT' icon to status text overlays.

  • Add 'PRE' icon to status text overlays for preset timecode.

  • Add 2:1, 1:1 and 4:5 monitoring frame guides.

  • Add customizable frame guides.

  • Add ability to lock timecode to SDI Input.

  • Retain jam synced timecode after power cycle.

  • Improved jam sync timecode accuracy after playback.

  • Improved stability when using external or program reference.

  • Improved compatibility for embedded audio on SDI outputs.

  • Improved thermal performance.

  • Improved ND filter status text.

  • Improved Canon B4 lens support.

  • Improved EF lens support.

  • Improved auto exposure speed and performance.

  • Improved auto focus performance.

  • Improved media formatting user interface.

  • Improved clip playback for renamed clips.

  • Numerous performance and stability improvements.

  • Removed old Cinema DNG format.

URSA Studio Viewfinder

  • Add support for new URSA Broadcast gain settings.

  • Add support for new 4:5 and 1:1 frame guides.

  • Add improved ballistics and scaling of audio meters.

  • Add choice of -18 or -20dB reference levels for audio meters.

  • Fixed bug where focus assist changes colour on power cycle.

URSA Viewfinder

  • Add support for new URSA Broadcast gain settings.

  • Add support for new 4:5 and 1:1 frame guides.

Blackmagic RAW 1.6.1

  • Added Blackmagic URSA Broadcast support.

  • Blackmagic RAW Avid Media Composer plugin general performance and stability improvements.

  • Blackmagic RAW Adobe Premiere Pro plugin general performance and stability improvements.

Canon IVY REC and RF 70-200mm lens, EOS Utility, Picture Style File Registration, Mini Cam / Print apps

Moving along to Canon, there's plenty to discuss.

First off, there's new firmware in development for the RF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM lens, which will resolve an issue that Canon has identified which could cause slight front-focusing of nearby subjects shot near the 200mm telephoto position. The company predicts this update should arrive in January 2020.

Next up, the IVY REC camera's new version firmware update brings reduced Wi-Fi / Bluetooth connection time and improved battery level accuracy. This update must be installed using Canon's Mini Cam app for either Android or iOS, which have themselves just been updated to version 1.0.3. This new update brings quicker Wi-Fi connection, improved app stability and now sorts burst images by time stamp.

Alongside the Mini Cam app update, there's also a Mini Print app update for IVY printer owners. Version 1.3.3 for Android and version 1.3.4 for iOS now allow users to postpone updates, and for Android users only, fix an app crash issue when the SD card was accessed. iOS users are promised "minor performance improvements and bug fixes" as well.

Finally, Apple's Mac OS 10.15.2 update is preventing two of Canon's apps -- EOS Utility 3.11.1 and Picture Style File Registration Tool 1.0.0 -- from connecting via USB to connected Canon cameras. Fixes are in development, but in the meantime Canon recommends that users stick with OS X 10.15.0 or 10.15.1.

Fujifilm X-A5, X-A7, XF10, XP140, X-T3, X-T100 and X-Pro3 plus Mac OS / iOS updates

Meanwhile, Fujifilm too continues to be bedeviled by Apple. After having to rework many of its apps for the initial Mac OS Catalina release, and before it had even finished issuing them all, Fuji has discovered similar issues to Canon's with the Catalina 10.15.2 update.

The company notes that with this release installed, all of its software -- X RAW STUDIO, X Acquire, Tether Plugin PRO for GFX for Lightroom Classic, Tether Shooting Plug-in PRO, Tether Shooting Plug-in or Tether Shooting Plug-in PRO for GFX -- cannot detect an attached camera. And at the same time, Apple's iOS 13 update causes Wi-Fi issues with some of its cameras in combination with certain unspecified Apple smartphone models.

While it works with Apple to get to the cause, the company has in the meantime shipped updates for quite a number of its cameras in the past week. Firmware version 3.10 for the X-T3 brings the gimbal / drone support for USB tethering which was promised last November. Once installed, you'll be able to start or stop video capture, make manual focus adjustments and tweak the exposure mode, shutter speed, aperture, ISO sensitivity or exposure compensation remotely from your attached drone or gimbal.

The X-T100 and X-A5 version 2.01 updates, meanwhile, both bring the same three main changes to both models:

  • When using an external flash, an image can be recorded with a selected color temperature.

  • The phenomenon is fixed that a display of the focused AF area is shifted when enlarging a recorded image by the touch zoom function.

  • The phenomenon is fixed that images are not recorded in the selected step of AE bracketing under a specific shooting condition.

The XF10 version 1.11 update brings all but the external flash tweak to that camera, as well.

The remainder of the updates are all specific to the individual camera. The X-A7 version 1.02 update now displays battery level by default, the XP140 version 1.02 update no longer incorrectly rotates images on sending them to a smartphone, and the X-Pro3 version 1.01 update prevents linear noise on the right side of images recorded with electronic shutter.

Nikon Coolpix A1000, B600, W100, W150 and Z6 / Z7

Moving along to Nikon, firmware version C:2.20 for the Z6 and Z7 cameras adds support for Sony's Type B CFExpress memory cards. For the Z6 only, it also fixes a problem which would show colored lines at the bottom of the display when viewing at over 100% zoom a full-frame image which had been shot in demo mode.

The Coolpix A1000, B600, W100 and W150 have all received new firmware too, and in every case it fixes SnapBridge pairing issues with Apple's iOS 13 update. For the W100 and W150, that's the sum total of the changes, but the A1000 and B600 both also get fixes for failure to charge the installed battery and flash the power lamp when powered via the EH-73P charging AC adapter kit with UC-E21 USB cable. And the A1000 alone gets a fix for occasional failure to record location data when configured to do so, in certain unspecified locations.

Ricoh Digital Camera Utility 5 and Theta SC2

Ricoh has one camera update and one software update apiece in this week's roundup. The new camera firmware, version 1.20 for the Theta SC2, is described simply as a "bug fix" release. You can update using the Ricoh Theta app for Windows (download here) or MacOS (download here). 

And for the desktop or notebook, there's version 5.8.4 of Ricoh's Digital Camera Utility 5 software for Windows or Mac OS. For Mac users, the sole change is support for Mac OS 10.15 Catalina. For Windows users, there are three bug fixes as follow:

  • When opening image file that is changed the parameter of noise reduction panel after restarting Digital Camera Utility 5, each noise reduction parameter changes are not restored.

  • When trying to switch to Browser mode with adjusting (Change parameter) JPEG image and without saving re-develop saving in Laboratory mode, adjusted parameters are not reflected to saved image even save the image file with selecting [YES] on save warning dialog.

  • When trying to switch to Browser mode with all image display pages close in Laboratory mode, the error message [Encountered an improper argument] is displayed and freeze the software.

Sigma 24-70mm, 28mm, 40mm, 50mm, 70mm, 60-600mm, 150-600mm, 500mm lenses, MC-11 and MC-21 converters, plus Photo Pro, Optimization Pro and X3F plug-in

There's plenty of news from Sigma this week, with updates for eight of its lenses across several mounts, plus a couple of mount converters and three bits of software.

Kicking things off with the lenses, there's better AF performance with the MC-21 SA or EF-L mount converter for the Canon EF-mount 24-70mm F2.8 DG OS HSM A017 and 50mm F1.4 DG HSM A014 lenses, as well as for the Sigma SA-mount 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM S018 and 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM S014 lenses.

As well as this, both the Canon EF and Sigma SA-mount variants of the 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM S014 lens get better Mode 2 optical stabilization with the MC-21 SA or EF-L mount converter, and so to does the Canon EF-mount 500mm F4 DG OS HSM S016 lens.

Rounding out the lenses, the Canon EF-mount 28mm F1.4 DG HSM A014 lens gets improved aperture control with the MC-21 EF-L mount converter, while the Sony E-mount 40mm F1.4 DG HSM A018 and 70mm F2.8 DG MACRO A018 lenses get improved autofocus performance.

And finally, the MC-11 and MC-21 mount converters also get new firmware to support all of the updated lenses. To update your lenses, you'll need Sigma's USB dock accessory and its Optimization Pro software. Those of you who own the mount adapter can update it using the same software and your supplied USB cable.

Sony A7 III, A7R III, A7R IV, HVL-F45RM / F60RM strobes and NXCAM NX80 / XDCAM Z90

And that just leaves Sony for this week. In the past seven days, the company has updated three Alpha mirrorless cameras, two flash strobes and two video cameras. All of the mirrorless camera and flash updates are aimed at adding the ability to control the attached flash strobe directly from the camera body, rather than on the strobe itself. Configuration of remote strobes is also possible if using them with the FA-WRC1M wireless radio commander.

As for the video camera updates, version 2.00 for the NXCAM NX80 and XDCAM Z90 adds RTMP / RTMPS support as promised earlier this year.

**Worried you might've missed a critical update lately? Don't be! Just click here for all recent Firmware Friday articles!**

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(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.)