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Understanding The Importance of Firmware

Understanding The Importance of Firmware - Mark Elliott shows you how to make sure your camera's performing as it should.

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Words by Mark Elliott. Mark Elliott is a Cumbria based portrait and commercial photographer. He also runs Better Photos Photography Training - www.better-photos.co.uk

Your camera runs on software, known as 'Firmware', and just like other types of software, it gets updated. There may well be new versions of your camera's firmware, fixing 'bugs' and adding new features which will improve its performance.

How to check your camera firmware version

Your camera's firmware version is displayed in your camera menu, it will simply say 'Firmware version 2.03', or something similar. Check online for the most recent firmware for your particular camera model. (Note: Every camera model firmware differs.)

It's very simple to get started, search Google with the phrase 'firmware updates and then your camera model'. This should take you to manufacturer's website, through which you can get their firmware updates. When you visit these websites, you'll be able to see if there are more recent versions of firmware available. If there is higher version numbers than your own, then there has been updates for your model. There will also be information on why the firmware was updated and full instructions how to update it in your camera.

How to Download Firmware and Get it into Your Camera

It is important to carefully read and then follow the manufacturer's instructions when downloading firmware and installing it into your camera. For example, it may state that need to remove lenses when installing new firmware.

Firmware is usually downloaded directly onto your computer and not directly into your camera. You then transfer the firmware file to a formatted compact flash or SD card, which you would have to slot into your computer's camera memory card slot or card reader. The card containing the downloaded firmware is then removed and then inserted into your camera, which is then turned on. You then select Firmware version from the camera setup menu and follow instructions displayed to upgrade the camera’s firmware.
Please note: This is just a simple outline of a typical firmware update process. Always follow your manufacturer's specific instructions, so that you don't damage your camera.

The process is fairly straight forward and it is something that you won't do very often, but it ensures that your camera's software is up-to-date and performing as it should.

The following link takes you directly to the Nikon website where you can download their firmware updates: Nikon Firmware Updates

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Sometimes the firmware is just language updates; But sometimes allows the support of new lenses, or allows better focusing in lower light, sometimes it even add new features.
What's included in the update is usually listed and often well worth doing.

If you have not updated for a while you might need to do a prior update before doing the latest update. But as said above read the instructions.
Also have a fully charged battery before starting the upgrade on the camera.

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