by Mike Tomkins
The weekend is almost here, and you know what that means -- it's time for our weekly Firmware Friday roundup of all that's new in the world of camera updates. This week, we have several fairly straightforward updates to report on from Casio, Panasonic, and Sigma.
First up, Casio: The Japanese company is best-known for its watches, calculators, and keyboards in the USA, having discontinued its camera line here some years ago. In other markets, though, Casio still sells digital cameras, and four models in its unusual, swiveling EX-TR-series camera line have just received new firmware. In all four cases, there is but one change: improved reading of MicroSD cards. It isn't clear whether the improvement is in terms of read performance or read stability, but either way it's a worthwhile change for EX-TR series owners. Grab the updates at the links below:
Panasonic, meanwhile, is offering updated firmware for its Lumix DMC-GX7 compact system camera. There is only one change listed in the release notes, but it's an important one: improved stability whenever the camera is powered on. Get the firmware for Windows or Mac OS computers from Panasonic's Joint Update Service for Four Thirds website. (Scroll down, read the license, then click the 'accepted' button. You'll see the GX7 listed on the resulting page, along with a link to its firmware download page.)
And finally, we come to Sigma. The company -- whose lens factory we were recently priveliged to tour -- has shipped updated for two of its lenses in Canon-mount form. The updates are applied with its optionally-available USB dock, and it has also issued updated versions of its Windows and Mac OS software for the dock, so even if you don't own the Canon-mount variant of either lens, you'll want to update your dock software. (The newer version of the dock software retains your customized autofocus and stabilization settings in each lens even after the lens firmware has been updated.)
The two lenses updated by Sigma are the Canon-mount 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC MACRO OS HSM C013 zoom and 35mm F1.4 DG HSM A012 prime, and in each case the new firmware makes just two changes. Firmware version 1.01 for either lens will reduce noise from the autofocus drive system during AF operation. For the 17-70mm zoom, the new firmware will also improve optical stabilizer stability. The new firmware for the 35mm prime, meanwhile, allows for smoother movement of the AF system as it starts or stops moving.