7 top questions about...


Can you answer this one question?

What is firmware?  
Is it:
A. Something you put on the dinner table along with the silverware
B. An ointment the urologist prescribes to a man
C. An operating system for your camera
D. All of the above
If you answered C you were correct.  
Firmware is like the operating system for your camera.  It’s a combination of the hardware (your processor) and the software (the instructions that tell your processor what to do). The camera hardware that you receive when you open the box and take out your camera cannot be changed. The shutter button, the program mode dial, the lens mount, etc., are examples.  Your camera also contains a processor.  It is a razor thin board containing a myriad of computer chips. It is the brains of your camera. The instructions for your camera’s operation is embedded in the processor.  
Why do they call it firmware?  The processor is a combination of hardware (the processor itself) and software (the instructions it’s programmed with).  It’s easier to say the word “firmware”than this string of words:  a combination of hardware and software. 

1. Why does firmware need updating?

Firmware updates fix bugs or glitches that you may not even be aware of, but can ultimately affect your camera’s performance.
Your camera is a complex computer system, sometimes the computer nerds and engineers don’t get things absolutely as perfect as technically possible.  When that gets discovered by another computer nerd, it gets resolved with the next firmware update.
Improve performance.  As camera technology advances, manufacturers add improvements to their existing cameras in their firmware updates.  This can include improved auto focus, or exposure metering.
Add new features.  Camera manufacturers are constantly developing innovative new features.  Some are small and some are substantial.  Here’s an example:  A few years ago, Sony added automatic pet eye focus to many of their newer models in one of their firmware updates.

2. Does MY camera need a firmware update?

It’s not hard to check, if you know what to look for.  The easiest way is to find out, is to bring it to Horn Photo and we can find out for you.  If you live across the ocean and it’s difficult for you to come into Horn Photo, read on.  Here’s how you find out for yourself.
You can discover the firmware version that is currently installed on your camera by looking in your menu.  Note the version that you have (it’s always a number), then look on your camera manufacturer’s website, and see if they’re version matches the one that you have.

3. Do I HAVE to get firmware updates installed?

Not necessarily.  Sometimes they fix only minor issues that may not affect you.  But sometimes they repair glitches in your processor or memory card compatibility.  Often times, firmware updates come with new features or capabilities that can enhance your photography.
For those reasons, we recommend that you always update your firmware.

4. How do I install a firmware update?

This depends on what kind of camera you have.  Each manufacturer has instructions on their website.  
Make sure you have a fully charged battery in your camera, and format a memory card.  Then follow the instructions VERY CAREFULLY on the manufacturers website to download the firmware.
After you’ve downloaded the firmware, check to see if your camera is running with the newly installed firmware version. 

Here’s an easier way!  

Bring your camera with a fully charged battery and a formatted memory card into Horn Photo, and let us update your firmware.  

5. If I install anew firmware version, can things go wrong?

Yes.  Yes. Yes!
A failed firmware update can result in your camera having to go to a service center to be fixed.  
The main reason why firmware updates go south is because the instructions were not properly followed.  Firmware updates aren’t difficult, but they have to be done in a certain order.   If not, there can be trouble.  Or if for some reason the camera is switched off halfway through or the installation is interrupted in some way (for example the battery dies), that can cause your camera to have a tantrum and embarrass you in a public place. Or most likely, it will just cause your camera not to work, and have to get professional attention.  

6.  Do my lenses need firmware updates too?

Some lenses do have firmware that needs updating from time to time.  This happens not as often as the firmware updates for your camera.  A firmware update for your lenses most likely will improve auto focusing, especially during video shooting.
The same rules apply for camera lenses as they do for cameras.  Bring them into Horn Photo and we can check for you, or check the manufacturer’s website.   It’s worth the effort to see if your lenses need updating so that your photography can be it’s very best!

7. How much does it cost to have Horn Photo install my firmware update?

If you purchased your camera and lenses at Horn Photo, it’s FREE, otherwise it's $19.99. We will perform the firmware update while you wait, time permitting, and depending upon availability of staff.  

Horn Photo cannot:

•  Install a firmware update immediately if our store is busy.  You may have to wait, or leave your camera and come back later.
•  Install a firmware update if your camera battery has less than 50% remaining on it’s charge.

Thanks for reading! Any questions email us