As we have mentioned before, Fuji planned to release a major firmware update to most of its X series cameras on December 19, 2013. Well, today is the 19th, which means that you can download the latest firmware and apply it to your Fuji camera! I am very excited about this release, because it brings very important and key features to the X-Pro1 and the X-E1 cameras that have been rolled to the X-E2 and X100S cameras. The first key feature is Auto Gain control. As I have mentioned in my Fuji X-E2 review, auto gain is something that controls the brightness of the LCD and forces it to always show average brightness, no matter what settings are set on the camera. In short, it is an inaccurate representation of the actual exposure. While the feature can be very useful in low-light situations or when working in a studio, it is not something that I personally like to use 90% of the time. With the new firmware, you can now turn Auto Gain off, which will show the correct exposure on the LCD!
We are beyond impressed. Never before have we seen such support from camera manufacturers as shown by the relative newcomer to large-sensor digital camera market, Fujifilm. Only a while ago, Japanese company has released yet another firmware update for the original X camera, the X100. And a big one, at that. I can already hear the owners rejoice. They bought a quirky, charming camera and now, three years later, it is all grown up. So much, in fact, that we may have to append our initial review.
Update: Fujifilm X-Pro1 has just received firmware update v3.01, which fixes movie mode bug present in the v3.00 version.
The amount of post-release support Fujifilm has been providing its X-series users is, quite frankly, staggering. Yet another major firmware update for the X-Pro1 (v3.01) and X-E1 (v2.00) cameras is now available for download. In a nutshell, the firmware further improves autofocus performance for both cameras with most Fujifilm X-mount lenses. In addition to that, a current must-have feature for all mirrorless cameras, focus peaking, has also been added.
1) What We Think
I would have never expected a new compact system camera manufacturer to release perfect products right from the start. Of course, Fujifilm is far from being new to all-things photography. The company is well-known for its analogue cameras, high-end lenses and photographic film of all sizes. But when it came to digital consumer products, the most serious they tried before entering highly competitive and promising mirrorless camera market was digital point-and-shoot cameras. Let’s face it. Cheap point-and-shoot cameras are not something buyers are too picky about. Mirrorless and high-end, large-sensor compact cameras are a whole different story. And here, Fujifilm X-series cameras have been plagued with bugs, glitches and minor niggles likely more so than any other manufacturer. Autofocus speed and accuracy was likely one of the most talked-about shortcomings of X100 and X-Pro1 (click for our in-depth review).
Having said that, what I expected even less is just how persistent Fujifilm is at improving its existing cameras. Update after update, their cameras seem to transform with time into something much more capable and grown up. Even after new models are introduced, you are never left hanging with a product that could have been better had the manufacturer bothered to tweak the software and add much-needed functionality. When the X-E1 came out boasting improved AF algorithms, the X-Pro1 firmware update quickly followed with the same improvements.
If you own a Nikon DSLR, this is a good time to perform a firmware update, because Nikon has just released new firmware that contains distortion control data for most of its current and older generation DSLRs, including Nikon D4, D90, D600, D800, D800E, D3100, D3200, D5000, D5100, D5200, D7000 and D7100. The distortion control data is used to correct barrel and pincushion distortion exhibited by Nikkor lenses. Please keep in mind that this data is only useful for correcting JPEG images. Distortion control data is not applied to RAW images (only to JPEG previews stored in RAW images) and if you use external image editors such as Photoshop and Lightroom, they will completely disregard this data when the RAW file is imported.
Still, it is a good idea to run the latest and greatest firmware on your camera. Also, this distortion control firmware is not a full firmware update for most cameras – it adds lens profiles to the existing camera database (firmware “L”). Before you apply the above update, I highly recommend to update your camera firmware (firmware “A” and “B”) to the latest version first. I wrote a detailed article on how to update firmware on Nikon DSLRs a while ago.
Nikon has just released a firmware update for a number of current and older DSLR cameras. These include the D4, D3s, D3x, D3, D800, D600, D7000 and, finally, the D3200. Last generation cameras, namely the D3, D3s, D3x and D7000 now support the new super-telephoto Nikkor AF-S 800mm f/5.6 VR lens, so changes aren’t really big. Current cameras, however, have seen additional changes, among which are AF improvements for the D800 and D600 in continuous mode.
Read on for more detail and download links.
Continuing to bring improvements to existing products, Fujifilm today announced a v2.0 firmware update, developed for the highly popular X-Pro1. The biggest downside of the X-Pro1 for us when we reviewed it, was its somewhat slow AF speed. However, given how Fuji has been addressing problems in the Fuji X100 with firmware updates, we knew it was a matter of time until we see a major firmware update with autofocus tweaks. With the v2.0 firmware update, Fujifilm is bringing us all the auto focus, manual focus and write speed improvements the newly announced X-E1 has to the X-Pro1. Many X-Pro1 owners will be extremely happy with this firmware. We will update our Fuji X-Pro1 review as soon as we get to test v2.0 firmware.
With the new firmware, Fujifilm promises the X-Pro1 will focus significantly faster (in low-light, where it matters most), while also offering a closer focusing distance before the camera has to be set to macro mode, which is very welcome. Also, manual focus should now be much more usable, for, as Fujifilm states, “the speed of the image coming into focus when turning the focus ring has been vastly improved.” In other words, you should expect a shorter focus throw (more feedback from the focus motor) allowing faster change of focus distance. There are also some changes to how AUTO ISO operates, with maximum value allowed increased to ISO 6400 (as you can find out in our review, the X-Pro1 is very good in low-light, so don’t be afraid to use such a high setting if necessary), and you should expect a significant writing/processing speed boost, making your X-Pro1 more responsive.
Set your reminders! The firmware will be available for download from Fujifilm website, “Support” page, on September 18th at 6AM GMT. Fujifilm urges X-Pro1 users to update their lens firmware at the same time in order to fully take advantage of the improvements.
When Nikon releases a new generation DSLR camera, it seems to often make little changes to the camera firmware. We typically see slight tweaks here and there, but every once in a while (especially when a new piece of technology makes it into the camera) we see some new interesting and useful features getting added into the camera firmware. In this article, I would like to point out current firmware issues that I believe Nikon needs to address, along with some recommendations (wishlist) on what Nikon should do in their future cameras. Or, perhaps Nikon might consider to implement some of the below firmware fixes/recommendations on current DSLRs – I am sure many of the Nikon owners would get excited about some of these requests.
1) Add DNG Support
As a Nikon shooter, you already know how painful it can be to constantly keep updating post-processing software, image codecs and photo viewing programs every time Nikon releases a new camera. Upgrading a camera should be easy and we as consumers should not have to go through this process every time. DNG has already become a universal format and companies like Hasselblad, Leica, Pentax and Samsung have already adopted it. Why not do the same? I am not asking Nikon to abandon its NEF file format. Just give us a choice to pick either NEF or DNG please!
2) Allow AF Fine Tune Calibration of Each Focus Point
Thanks to the recent Nikon D800 Asymmetric Focus fiasco, we now know that each autofocus point is calibrated at the factory during the QA process. We also know that Nikon keeps the ability to tune these AF focus points to their own calibration software. Why not add this capability to every advanced Nikon DSLR where AF fine tune is already provided? Sure, this seems like a headache to implement and could result in a some improperly calibrated cameras out there (due to user error). But for those of us who know what they are doing when it comes to lens and camera calibration, why not give this capability? Nikon would save a lot of money on not having to re-calibrate so many cameras. Adding this feature, of course, would not be an excuse for improperly calibrating cameras, but it would certainly make the AF Fine Tune feature way more useful.
3) Allow AF Fine Tune Calibration for Different Focal Lengths
Those of us that have attempted to calibrate zoom lenses know that one AF Fine Tune value is often not good enough for the whole zoom range. The AF Fine Tune feature would be a lot more useful if we had the ability to use different AF Fine Tune settings depending on the focal length of the lens.
4) Live View at 100% Pixel Level Should be Standard
Nikon’s implementation of Live View on the Nikon D90 was terrible, due to its interpolated output. Since then, Nikon has made many new cameras that had a 100% pixel view, which was very useful in obtaining precise focus on subjects. With the D800, Nikon brought an interpolated live view back (which is one of my biggest complaints on the D800). Nikon should fix this as soon as possible on the D800 and make 100% pixel level live view a standard on all future cameras.
5) Fix Custom Settings Banks
The Custom Settings Banks implementation on Nikon DSLRs is bad and completely impractical. I personally do not bother using them on any of my cameras, because I do not have the time to either switch them in multiple places (Shooting Bank and Custom Settings Bank), or constantly review the settings to make sure that they have not changed. First of all, memory banks should apply to all camera menu items. Second, these settings need to be “lockable”, meaning if anything gets changed, the setting should not get overwritten unless I want it to.
Today, Nikon released a firmware update for their popular Nikon 1 J1 and V1 compact system cameras. Updates bring minor improvements to camera operation and fix a couple of bugs previously affecting some of the cameras. Here is the list of changes for both J1 and V1:
- The exposure control program used with shooting in Smart Photo Selector mode, or still image shooting mode with Exposure mode set to P Programmed auto or Scene auto selector, has been revised for faster shutter speeds to prevent blurred subjects.
- Auto white balance performance has been increased.
- Exposure accuracy with ISO sensitivity set to Auto 100–3200, Auto 100–800, or Auto 100–400 has been increased with shooting using the optional Speedlight SB-N5 (built-in flash for for J1 owners) to photograph subjects at close distances.
Also, the following issues have been resolved:
- An error message was sometimes displayed during interval timer shooting, preventing capture of the specified number of shots.
- When the camera was turned on by releasing the retractable lens barrel lock on applicable lenses, there was sometimes a slight delay before the shutter could be released.
If you are currently thinking about buying either of these great little cameras, maybe our review of the V1 will help you decide?
As we have seen recently, most new cameras seem to have flaws when they are first launched into production. Aside from rare hardware flaws that often require recalls and part replacements, many newly introduced cameras often suffer from software issues that can be later fixed via camera-specific software updates, known as “firmware”. We’ve had such updates for almost any DSLR, and also some flash units (like Nikon SB-900) and lenses, too. One of the most significant firmware updates, for instance, was released by Fujifilm for their highly regarded, yet also rather buggy (at launch) X100 camera, which has been significantly improved thanks to those updates. Ever since, Fujifilm has gained a lot of respect from its customers for showing how much they care about improving their products even after release – many hope and believe the Fuji X-Pro1 updates will follow with plenty of improvements as well.
While it is somewhat expected that camera bugs are addressed via firmware updates, most manufacturers do not bother with additional updates once the biggest issues are taken care of. As digital cameras are getting more complex with different picture/movie modes and many new in-camera editing functions, those innovations are typically pushed to newer camera models. Even if older cameras have enough processing power and memory, manufacturers want consumers to buy a newer product instead.