Although firmware is defined by Wikipedia as a combination of hardware and software, when applied to digital equipment it generally refers to small software programs that control the operations of various internal components. Residing in the interface between the camera’s software and hardware, it is embedded in the microprocessor chip(s) that control all the device’s operations.
|[ See list of latest firmware updates ]
Firmware covers both routine processes and enabling functions for higher-level procedure. The more complex the device, the more reliant it is on effective firmware.
For this reason, camera manufacturers sometimes issue firmware updates to correct errors that have been identified since the camera was released and enable additional functionality. It’s worth checking the website of the manufacturers of your digital cameras periodically to see whether a firmware update has been released. They are more common in the first six months of a product’s market life, but updates will continue to be released as long as the manufacturer feels there are sufficient users of the product in the marketplace to justify the effort.
However, don’t feel you MUST update your equipment’s firmware each time a new update is released. Sometimes a firmware update may add functionality that doesn’t apply to equipment you use, such as specific lens models. Before downloading firmware it’s wise to check exactly what the new firmware provides, so you can decide whether it’s relevant. (Updates that address issues like image quality and general camera functionality are always worth applying.)
The first step in the updating process is to check whether an update is available for your camera. Go to the manufacturer’s website (see boxed out section on Recent Updates) and look for your camera’s model number. The version number of the latest update should be listed.
Then check the firmware on your camera to see whether it corresponds with the listed version. If it does, you don’t need to update. If it doesn’t – and you consider the update to be worthwhile – follow the steps listed to download, extract and install the update.
In most cases, the following procedure will be outlined:
a) Fully charge the camera’s battery (loss of power during the firmware writing operation may disable the camera).
d) Once the update has been transferred to the card, remove the card from the card reader as described in the documentation for your computer or the card reader, and prepare to install it in the camera.
Navigate to the folder in the Setup menu that contains the firmware. Press the Set or OK button to select this item. Then follow the installation instructions on the manufacturer’s website. The camera will usually recognise the update file so usually all you need do is press the OK or Set button to start the updating process.
A display on the camera’s LCD shows the progress of the updating. Don’t make any adjustments to the camera or press any control buttons while updating is in progress as this may damage the camera’s controls.
Once the update has been installed you may switch off the camera and remove the memory card. In some cameras you also need to remove the battery for a minute or so and then replace it. The update will take effect immediately and you can check in the camera’s set-up menu to ensure it has been installed.