Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Updating the Canon 7D firmware

In late August 2012, Canon released a new major version of the firmware for its 7D body, upgrading it from 1.2.5 to 2.0.0.  This was followed a few weeks later with version 2.0.3, which fixed a few minor bugs.  The v2 firmware added a number of relatively major features to the 7D, and provided an uncommonly significant upgrade to a body that is over two years old.  After waiting a month for other people to beta test the new firmware (a good idea, as evidenced by the release of v2.0.3), I finally upgraded my own 7D from version 1.2.5.

I've upgraded firmware versions on my Canon bodies several times in the past, although I don't stay on top of every minor update that's released.  The process is pretty straightforward:

  1. Download the latest firmware from Canon's web site.  Find your camera body, then select "Drivers & Software."  When it asks for your OS version, just select the latest version of Windows.  You're only downloading a zip file containing a computer-agnostic firmware binary as well as a few PDF instructions.  Nothing you're downloading cares what type of computer you have.  I did all this from my Linux desktop.  With the OS selected, expand the "Firmware" option and download the file.
  2. Extract the zip file.  Find the PDF file for your native tongue and follow the instructions therein.  They've never changed in the years I've done this.
  3. Copy the firmware file to the top level (root directory) of a memory card.  Unmount the card properly from your computer (DON'T JUST YANK IT OUT!) and insert it into your camera.
  4. Make sure you've got nearly full batteries in your camera.  If you interrupt a firmware update, you've just bricked your camera.  You definitely don't want that to happen because you ran out of juice during the update.
  5. Under the camera's menu, find the firmware version.  It'll be under one of the yellow wrench headings.  Select it.
  6. If the firmware is in the right place on the memory card, the camera will give you the option to update your firmware.  Do so.  The camera will crank away for several minutes while a progress bar keeps you entertained.
  7. Once finished, the camera will reboot, and you'll have to reset your clock and probably a few other custom settings.  You won't lose all of them, though, and I'm not sure what determines which ones stay & which ones go.

That's it.  Pretty painless.  I did see one minor problem right off the bat after my upgrade:

Where'd my "Date/Time" option go?
I had my custom menu filled with options, the last of which was the "Date/Time" option.  After the upgrade, that last line on "My Menu" was replaced with a blank line.  When I tried to re-add "Date/Time," the camera said that My Menu was full and that I should delete another item first.  When I did, I found two copies of "Erase Images" (which had been the item right before "Date/Time" on My Menu).  I deleted the second of these, which then allowed room to re-add "Date/Time" to My Menu.

The following improvements were added in v2.0.0, per Canon.  You can learn more about them from a video on Canon's web site.
  1. The max burst is increased from 6 to 17 shots in RAW+JPEG mode.
  2. The new GP-E2 GPS receiver is supported.
  3. Adds an ISO Auto maximum setting.
  4. Adds an in-camera RAW processing function.
  5. Adds a Quick Control function during image playback.
  6. Adds an in-camera image rating function.
  7. Adds a JPEG resize function.
  8. Adds an auto recording level manual adjustment function.
  9. Adds a function to freely set text for file names.
  10. Adds a function to make time zone settings.
  11. Increases the screen scrolling speed when magnifying images.
  12. Fixes a phenomenon where a slow shutter speed may result when an external flash is used to fire intermittent, consecutive flashes.
  13. Corrects the color space information in the EXIF file for movies.

Additionally, v2.0.3 fixed these problems in v2.0.0:

  1. Fixes a phenomenon in which the camera stops working when the auto power off setting takes effect.
  2. Fixes a phenomenon in which the maximum number of images that can be captured in a burst displayed in the viewfinder may be less than what can actually be captured.
  3. Corrects some errors in the message displayed on the LCD screen when saving RAW images developed in the camera.

The features I'm most looking forward to are the max burst buffer and the ability to set custom filename text.  The first one is obvious for a sports photographer.  The second one will be nice because I shoot with multiple cameras at an event, and sometimes the image numbers overlap, which creates conflicts when I download the images into the same folder on my computer.  We'll see how it goes after I've used it for a while.

Have you ever updated the firmware on your camera?  Did you notice a difference, either for better or worse?  Tell us about it in the comments below.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave your comment below. Comments are moderated, so don't be alarmed if your note doesn't appear immediately. Also, please don't use my blog to advertise your own web site unless it's related to the discussion at hand.