Updating your Camera’s Firmware

What is Firmware and why is it important?

Inside your camera is a chip (small computer), that uses code on non-removable memory storage within your camera. This can be known as firmware and is the OS (operating system) of your camera that permits you to regulate the options and functions, with the camera’s menus and buttons. Firmware additionally controls auto focus, exposure, image processing, noise reduction and different other vital functions inside your camera. Without firmware your camera wouldn’t be able to operate.

Why check your camera’s manufacturer for updates?

Normally, we interpret updates to contain fixes or enhancements to specific features.  To be honest Firmware updates aren’t always necessary, and some cameras never have updates at all.

When a brand new camera is assembled the manufacturer loads the firmware that was designed at that point. Once the camera has been released to the general public, individuals might realize that there are bugs or issues with the manner the camera operates. The manufacturer investigates these issues and produces fixes for them within the style of firmware updates. A number of these fixes are often minor, however a number of them fix a lot of serious problems like optical device issues, battery-draining problems, or the camera unexpectedly locking up.

Other reasons why firmware updates are released is to incorporate new camera options such as additional languages, or to have manually adjustable settings that were once only automatic.  Some updates are to support new elective accessories for your camera (e.g. wireless functions or GPS modules, etc.).  I prefer to consider them as free upgrades to your camera.

When to check for firmware updates?

I recommend checking for updates on a semi-regular basis, every few months roughly, and when you buy a replacement camera is also a decent time to examine your firmware. There will seemingly be fewer firmware updates for older cameras however still worthy of checking, maybe on an annual basis. If you haven’t checked your camera for a firmware update then now could be a decent a time to try and do so.

Does your camera have the latest firmware?

First check what version of firmware your camera is running. This information is found within your camera’s menu options. Finding it is completely different on each camera and not always obvious.  Your manual can point you in the right direction of where to look within the menus. Take your time and you will find it!

You can check for the most recent firmware by viewing the manufactures support and downloads section of their website for your brand and model of camera. Search for higher version numbers than the one found on your camera. If the version numbers are a similar, there’s no need to perform an update. Please note that some camera models never had new or updated firmware. Therefore, new firmware updates might not be listed at all.  Know the model of your camera and only use the firmware that is specific to your camera model.

The following links are the most current for camera manufacturers and can be of assistance when checking for firmware.

Why read the instructions carefully before updating your cameras firmware?

It is important to read the instructions carefully before updating your cameras firmware. You don’t want to end up having a camera for a vegetable!  If by any chance the battery fails during the firmware update or the update is interrupted in any form, the risk is having a camera without usable software.  Basically you have a dead camera that can only be repaired by the manufacturer. Hopefully your still covered under warranty at this point as well.

How to find out what has been fixed or updated with the current firmware?

Once you have found your devices firmware simply review the release notes associated with it.  Usually you can find find a list of the fixes and updates in previous firmware versions as well.

I hope you are more informed about firmware and how to update your camera. Let us know if you enjoyed reading this article and kindly share our link to this article.


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