Does My Camera Need a Firmware Update?

13 June 2024

Camera manufacturers do their best to present you with the best possible product right out of the box so that you can put it to best use capturing your life from every possible angle, no matter what challenges it throws at you. But now and then a bug pops up that prevents even the best digital camera from performing at its optimum - this is why updates to camera firmware are important.

What is the purpose of a camera firmware update?

As mentioned above, updating your camera's firmware helps it function at its best in all scenarios. It also gives manufacturers a chance to iron out any issues that have been noticed when the camera has been used in the field.

While all cameras undergo rigorous testing before being released to the public, there are sometimes little issues that become evident when the camera is used in a certain scenario, or setting, or when paired with a specific accessory or camera lens.

Firmware is dedicated software created for a specific item of hardware. Why is it called firmware? It is a middle ground between hardware and software. It is not hardware, but it is also not designed to be manipulated like software is.

Does My Camera Need a Firmware Update?Does My Camera Need a Firmware Update?

Finding out if your camera needs a firmware update

Does My Camera Need a Firmware Update?Does My Camera Need a Firmware Update?

You don’t need to wait for a problem to occur before you start searching for the latest camera firmware download for your camera. Manufacturers announce updates when they are available, which can be found on their official websites. Even if you miss these announcements, you can find this information at any time, and then it’s just a matter of checking the current firmware version of your camera, to see if it is the most recent.

There is a different process for checking the current firmware of your camera but generally, this information can be located in the camera’s set-up menu, with a bit of searching.

How to update camera firmware

Firmware will be available to download on your camera’s manufacturer's website. They will also usually list the date that this firmware became available and make note of the changes made in this specific update.

The first step is to download the new firmware. There are two main ways that this is done, depending on the model of your camera: 

For some cameras, you download the firmware to your computer, transfer the firmware to your camera’s memory card, and then install the memory card in your camera.

For others, the firmware can be downloaded in a dedicated app that your camera is compatible with. You can then send this new firmware to your camera VIA WiFi.

To confirm the process, you can refer to your camera’s user manual. Be sure that your camera’s battery is fully charged before you start as if your camera were to power off during the update, this could cause serious issues.

Does My Camera Need a Firmware Update?Does My Camera Need a Firmware Update?

Is there anything else I should know about firmware?

Does My Camera Need a Firmware Update?Does My Camera Need a Firmware Update?

If you use an interchangeable lens camera, which means a DSLR or Mirrorless camera, there are often firmware updates available for your camera lens. Camera lens firmware updates can address issues with focusing, stabilisation, and compatibility issues with recently released camera models. The process for checking for and updating to the latest firmware is usually the same as described above, although some manufacturers, such as Sigma and Tamron, offer a separately available dock that you can purchase, which attaches to the lens to perform these checks and updates.

Updating your camera firmware is a great way to ensure your camera is always ready to fire and you won’t run into any unexpected issues. It is an essential step in looking after your digital camera. For more tips on piecing together the best camera kit for photography of all types, follow Ted’s photography blog.

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