HOW TO... update your camera’s firmware
All cameras have sophisticated software that manages everything from their shooting settings to the ways in which they process images and perform other key functions. In photospeak , this is called your firmware. Put another way, it is like a computer or phones operating system (Windows, Android etc.). When you get your camera it has the version of firmware which is current when it has been manufactured. In time, bugs are discovered and improvements made, which result in new firmware releases. These updates can often help your camera to operate at its full potential and this is easy to do and generally much the same on most camera brands and models. Below is a summary on how to update your camera’s firmware.
It is rather important to keep your camera’s firmware up to date in order to ensure you’re using it at its full potential. Unlike your computer, camera firmware updates don’t just happen automatically. You’ll need to take some degree of control over the process and install the new firmware on your camera yourself.
Your camera’s menu system will in all likelihood have an item showing what firmware version your camera is running and comparing this to the latest firmware version will tell you if there’s a new update that you may wish to install. Some cameras tell you that your version is outdated.
Your camera might not tell you if there is a new update. In this case, it’s good practice to note your camera’s current firmware, visit the manufacturer’s website to see if there are any new updates in their Downloads or Support sections. You’d be surprised how many manufacturers keep updating old cameras with new performance enhancements.
How to install a firmware update to your camera
As we said, all cameras are different, but the process of installing a firmware update across all makes and models of camera is basically the same. Here’s what you need to do in 5 easy to follow steps:
Step 1: Check for new firmware updates
Check your camera’s menu to see if there is a new firmware update or compare with the latest version on the manufacturer’s website to see if a new firmware version awaits you. This will be in the Downloads or Support section of their website. Download the new firmware to your computer.
Step 2: Format your memory card
You should format a memory card in the camera to be updated. If your camera has 2 memory card slots, do this for the slot you designate as the primary slot. Make sure you’ve backed up any files and downloaded any images which were on your card because formatting as will delete everything you had saved.
Step 3: Prepare the new firmware
Firmware updates almost always download as zip files. Unzip that file and drag the unzipped folder that contains the firmware file onto the root directory of your memory card.
In other words, the firmware folder should be on the first level, or window, of your memory card when you put it into your computer. Once the file is on your memory card, remove it and place it in your camera.
Step 4: Install the firmware update
Before you do this, make sure your camera’s battery is fully charged. Firmware updates can sometimes take a while, so if your camera’s battery is on low charge you would not want it to deplete during the update. A number of cameras will detect this and not start an update if they have a low battery.
Switch the camera on and navigate to the firmware menu item. Select the update firmware option. You’ll then be prompted through a series of questions asking if you’re sure you want to do this. If you’re happy at each stage, select OK. The firmware update will begin.
Step 5: Finalizing the update
When the firmware update is complete, turn your camera off and remove the memory card, put the memory card back in and switch the camera on.
You will in a number of cameras receive a prompt that new firmware is installed, and you’re now ready to use all those great new features! Before you do, though, best to reformat the memory card.
As we’ve said above, the process of updating firmware is very similar across most makes and models of camera; however, there are some nuances to each that may be worth knowing.
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