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.
It seems like Canon is changing this old mentality with its new v2.0 firmware update for the Canon 7D DSLR camera. Let’s hope other manufacturers will follow.
Ever since it was announced in 2009, the Canon 7D has been one of the most desirable APS-C cameras on the market, offering a high-resolution 18 megapixel sensor (for its size at the time) still used in most recent Canon cameras, such as 650D and EOS M. With a new firmware release, Canon is now adding the following features and enhancements to the already superb camera:
- Improved maximum burst for RAW images (up to 25)
- In-camera RAW image editing
- In-camera Image Rating
- In-camera JPEG resizing
- Maximum Auto ISO setting (ISO 400-6400 user configurable, changed from fixed ISO 3200 setting)
- Manual audio level adjustment in movie recording (64 levels)
- GPS Receiver GP-E2 compatibility added
- File name customisation
- Time zone settings
- Faster scrolling of magnified images
- Quick control screen during playback
Why Is This Update Important?
Canon has shown us that even older products can be significantly improved via firmware updates. While not all the new features are going to prove important, improved buffer performance as well as better Auto ISO control are most likely going to make plenty 7D users happy as they wait for a successor to this great APS-C DSLR. Videographers should rejoice as well thanks to the added manual audio level adjustment in their videos.
Canon’s main rival has not made significant upgrades like this to its cameras for a while now. What if Nikon D7000 were to gain better buffer performance? I’ve seen many photographers choosing between D7000 and the more expensive D300s for their sports photography, and favoring D300s thanks to better burst of RAW images. D7000 is almost as fast, well built, ergonomically competent, offers a much better sensor, as well as ability to record videos. If it were to have a faster buffer, some sports shooters might actually prefer it to the higher-end, yet much older, D300s, which is due for a replacement soon.
If the D7000 is giving us all it can and such improvements are not possible via firmware updates (perhaps requiring more memory, faster processor, etc), wouldn’t it still be nice to have better in-camera editing, enhanced HDR, movie controls and other improvements? Nikon, we hope you are listening!
Official Announcement Press Release
Enhanced with you in mind – Canon adds a range of new features to the EOS 7D
London, UK, 28 June 2012 – Canon today enhances the EOS 7D with firmware v2, adding a range of new features for enthusiasts looking to push the limits of their photography. Building on the camera’s high speed, advanced handling and creative versatility, the new firmware provides photographers with a host of new benefits including higher maximum RAW burst rate, in-camera editing functions, user-definable Auto ISO and support for Canon’s latest GPS Receiver, GP-E2.
Originally launched in 2009, the EOS 7D was carefully developed based on the feedback from thousands of photographers from across the globe. Offering the perfect combination of outstanding image quality and exceptional versatility across a range of photography styles, even today it is still considered to be one of the best APS-C cameras on the market. When developing the new firmware Canon followed a similar approach, gaining direct user feedback to bring the EOS 7D up to date with enhanced performance and a greater range of shooting capabilities and creative functionality.
Enhanced RAW performance
With an 18 Megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, Dual “DIGIC 4″ processors and an extended maximum ISO of 12,800, the EOS 7D offers fast, high-quality shooting at speeds of up to 8 frames per second. Thanks to the new firmware which adds powerful memory management algorithms taken from Canon’s flagship EOS-1 series, photographers will now be able to enjoy greater flexibility in continuous shooting, with the maximum RAW buffer now extended to a new high of 25 RAW files or 130 JPEGs. Combining with the camera’s high 18MP resolution and 14-bit image processing, this will allow photographers to capture the decisive moment with rich detailed images.
In-camera image editing and rating
A range of newly-added editing functions also gives photographers more control over how images look, allowing post-production to begin in-camera. Photographers can now process their RAW files and correct artefacts such as peripheral illumination, distortion and chromatic aberration. Additionally, adjustments to white balance, sharpness and Picture Style, as well as a host of other parameters, can now also be made immediately after shooting, with the results saved as new JPEG files. JPEGs can also be instantly resized, without the need for a PC or Mac.
Photographers can now easily filter large volumes of pictures on their way back from a shoot using an image rating facility. Image rating data is stored in each file’s metadata, which can be read by a range of editing applications, including Canon Digital Photo Professional, and other industry software such as Apple Aperture, Adobe Lightroom and Bridge.
Extra control in stills and movies
The EOS 7D’s new firmware provides extended versatility across both stills and movies. Newly-added control of Auto ISO enables photographers to limit the maximum ISO speed to any point within the native ISO 400-6,400 range. Offering greater control over exposure, this will enable photographers to customise the maximum automatic ISO speed to suit their personal preferences, or to adjust parameters in different situations to meet specific creative goals.
Improved audio functionality in movie mode also provides aspiring videographers with greater control while shooting videos. Users can complement the camera’s Full HD (1920x1080p) movie footage with 16-bit digital stereo sound, sampled at broadcastquality 48KHz, and new manual control of audio levels allows users to choose from 64 sound levels. A digital wind-cut filter also reduces noise made by movement of air around the microphone, ensuring sound is clear and free from peripheral interference.
Track your travels with GPS compatibility
Firmware v2 also provides added capacity for users to track the location of their images with new support for the GPS Receiver GP-E2 – Canon’s latest high-performance GPS unit. The GP-E2 is attached securely to the hotshoe, and connected to the camera via a cable, making it easy for EOS 7D photographers to geo-tag photos with longitude, latitude and altitude data as well as the direction in which the shot was taken – adding the information to the EXIF file of the image1. A GPS Logger tracks movements by downloading GPS data at regular intervals, and compatibility with Google Maps means users can easily view their route in Canon’s free Map Utility software.
Firmware v2 will roll out across the region from August 2012.
You can download the latest firmware for your EOS 7D DSLR camera by following this link – choose your Operating System and click on “Firmware” to download.