As one scans thru photo websites and blogs, you'll find that a firmware upgrade will be offered for a just released camera. And you may ask yourself  "Hey, what exactly is firmware and would I ever need an upgrade?" Seeing that 2 upgrades were offered up for major cameras within the last week, it's time to discuss this a bit... According to Wikipedia, " firmware is a term often used to denote the fixed, usually rather small, programs and data structures that internally control various electronic devices. Complex consumer devices, such as mobile phones, digital cameras, synthesizers, etc., contain firmware to enable the device's basic operation as well as implementing higher-level functions". So in laymen's terms, firmware are the programs that are stored in the chips on the circuit board of these devices usually used to perform basic functions. When you turn off the device they are not erased so it can be activated when you next turn on the device. You can also upgrade firmware so as to provide new functions or correct faults. As a result, when a quirk is found when a camera is intially introduced or a feature that can be added to a camera, a firmware update is announced by the company. The 2 upgrades that were announced this week was an upgrade for the Canon 7D. Firmware v1.2.1 brings in both improvements and fixes bugs such as the magenta banding that can appear in still images shot under specific conditions in movie mode. The firmware is available for immediate download from Canon's website : And from Olympus, a firmware update for their new popular PEN micro 4/3 DSLRs, available on April 22nd promises faster auto focusing speeds and improvements when using the recently announced 9-18mm lens. There are also improvements and bug fixes for individual cameras ( We'll let you know when major upgrades are announced, but one should use common sense when approaching these updates. See if the upgrade applies to your usage of the camera or would improve the overall performance of the camera (There's been an update that corrects spellings of the menu in French, for example). And follow the instructions when upgrading CAREFULLY! A power failure during the firmware writing operation may disable the camera. So...
  • Use a fully charged Battery Pack or dedicated AC Adapter Kit  for the firmware update.
  • Do not shut off the power during the firmware writing operation.
  • Do not open the card slot cover during the firmware writing operation.
And, of course, follow any other instructions the manufacturer states before proceeding. Doing an upgrade can be just what the doctor ordered to fix what ails your shiny new digital wonder, but see if you actually need it & keep in mind that once loaded, you usually can't revert to the previous firmware.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published