What is “firmware”? Firmware is the program code that resides in an electronic or computer device’s read-only memory (ROM). ROM can be written into using special software. Firmware is also referred to as “microcode”. Typically, firmware is written into ROM when products are assembled in the production facility and is used to facilitate the running of the product defined by user programs.
In most cases, when a product is first introduced the firmware is given a numeric designation, typically 1.0. As features are added and bugs or problems are resolved, new firmware is developed and the numeric designation is updated. This could be 1.1 or 1.01, etc. These are minor revisions or updates. A significant enhancement or update is usually designated with a whole number increment, 2.0, 3.0, etc. All firmware updates are designed to be incorporated into existing products via an update. Such updates can be downloaded from the manufacturer to your computer and subsequently into the ROM of your product.
With many manufacturers, you will get an email notification when a new firmware update is released. However, this notice will only come if you have registered your product. You need to periodically check for these updates on the manufacturer’s website (usually in the support section).
It is unfortunate that many DSLR’s and Mirrorless camera owners rarely update the firmware. Only when they encounter issues and ask for support they will be requested to do an update. The update will in most cases resolve the issue.
It is good to periodically check the firmware version of your camera and verify that you have the latest. If you are not up-to-date, then download and install the latest version. Be very careful and follow installation instructions explicitly. There are no shortcuts and a mistake during a firmware update can render your camera useless. You will have to send the camera to the manufacturer for a complete reset and update.
DSLR and Mirrorless cameras are not the only products that require firmware updates. Newer lenses, flashes, lens adaptors, hand held light meters, studio strobes, etc. contain ROM and firmware. If your photography product has a USB port (connection) then it probably has ROM and firmware so it is worth checking for updates.
Why not start the new year ensuring all your gear is up-to-date. It is also good to check for updates once every three months. Why miss out on a new feature or bug fix.