Thursday Thoughts v2.0

As I jump back in the saddle of topical discussions, I am going to actually share an experience I had with the readership today.  You’ll notice the title of the post today includes a v2.0 – why is that?  Well, because there are many versions of many things out there, and as photographers one of the things that is easy to lose sight of is the versioning of our firmware.

See, cameras, like any other device in todays technologically advanced world, can have flaws that are discovered after it is released to the public.  Most of the time the bigger players like Canon and Nikon keep these to a minimum, but nevertheless, things can happen.  Here is what happened to me.

Thus far my lens collection has consisted of glass that does not have built in image stabilization(or Vibration Reduction if you are a Nikon shooter).  So, when I had a shoot for work this last Tuesday, I thought it might be a good idea to go rent some glass and give it a whirl – to see if I could benefit from it.  Well, the oddest thing happened…whenever I was using the IS lens, I would hear a funny sound in camera.  It’s very hard to describe, but when I swapped lenses out, I didn’t hear the sound anymore.  I stopped using the lens and did the rest of the evening with my kit 18-55 lens.  When I returned the lens to the rental store, the guy told me that there have been reported problems with my particular body (the 40D), and I should check my firmware.

Sure enough, the firmware was at 1.5 or something, and Canon’s website verified that a newer release had been issuedto correct this very problem.  So, I downloaded the firmware and will be updating that for a tutorial next week.  (Make sure you tune in for that, because it’s not like I’ll have a chance to practice for it, and if I mess up, that will make for a funny tutorial!)  The moral here though is that cameras need maintenance too.

As we think about our work flow, we make sure our software is up to date, our operatig system is patched and secured, and hotfixes or system updates are applied…after all, we’re talking about all our work captured and saved on those precious hard disks.

Since Adobe, Microsoft, Apple, and the rest all have ways to automate our updates, that side of things can become rather ubiquitous.  We’ve set things up, and we know it will update itself when it needs to, so we don’t even think about it anymore.  it falls off our radar.  Cameras though, do not have a way of “auto-updating”.  Thus, we can’t let things things fall off our radar.  Letting things slide like that will only result in what happened to me on Tuesday – equipment failure or problems due to lack of current firmware.

As sort of a PSA, I am including here indications of what the latest firmware is for all the EOS cameras that are active in Canon’s line.  Check your firmware in camera and if it matches, you’re good to go.  If not, follow the link to get the latest firmware direct from Canon.  Mac is listed first, Windows is listed second:

Canon 1Ds Mark III – at version 1.1.2, dated 4/30/08

Canon ID Mark III – at version 1.2.3, dated 4/30/08

Canon 5D – at version 1.1.1, dated 3/18/08

Canon 50D – brand new, no version updates available yet

Canon 40D – at version 1.0.8, dated 4/7/08

Canon 30D – at version 1.0.6, dated 3/18/08

Canon XSi – no firmware updates are available for the XSi – but software updates can be obtained too

Canon XTi – at version 1.1.1 dated 12/7/07

Canon XS – no updates are available for this camera on a current platform, but legacy WIn2K has some installers

Canon XT – at version 1.0.3, dated 12/1/07

So, there’s the complete list of all EOS cameras.  Hope you take a moment to check your firmware today.  Happy shooting and watch those apertures (and firmware).  We’ll see you back here tomorrow!

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