Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
10-06-2009, 09:42 AM   #1
Senior Member
insulinguy's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 134
firmware - how necessary is it?

so i havent installed the firmware for the K20 yet - i dont really see a need for it as i use CS3 and lightroom and photomatix for all my PP needs. what is in the firmware that makes it necessary?

10-06-2009, 11:23 AM   #2
Senior Member




Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Boston, MA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 146
for the firmware Version 1.03, the main Update was
improved SR (Shake Reduction) accuracy.

it will definitely help all the hand held shots.
you might end up with more keepers due to better SR.

if the firmware helps to make the camera work better, why not update?
its free and its safe.

i'd say go ahead and update.
10-06-2009, 11:38 AM   #3
Senior Moderator
Loyal Site Supporter
Nass's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: The British Isles
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,251
Off the wall thought - I don't think it'll be too long before camera companies will start charging for firmware updates - the 'software as a service approach'. In fact I'm surprised it doesn't already happen - an obvious revenue model for some of these companies. Heck if I had to pay 20 for a software update, I wouldn't mind if a) it really was a major improvement and b) the revenue ensured more and better development of the software update itself
10-06-2009, 11:43 AM   #4
Senior Member
insulinguy's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 134
Original Poster
what im asking is - what purpose does the firmware serve? everything i need to retrieve the photos and process them i already have - so why do i NEED to install the firmware?? what im wondering is what is in there that i cant do using the programs i already use? i dont NEED it to get the photos off my K20, and i dont NEED it to process files. i have raw conversion already, and i have all the HDR and PP software that i need - so what is in the firmware that i would need??

10-06-2009, 11:49 AM   #5
Site Supporter
Site Supporter




Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Central Ohio (formerly SF Bay Area)
Posts: 1,491
The firmware, in general, is the computer program that runs on the camera to make it do what it does. Without any firmware, a DSLR is about as useful as a paperweight or door stop. It won't do anything at all, because every single subsystem -- shutter, mirror flip, shake reduction, the buttons and menus, the flash, exposure calculation -- EVERYTHING is controlled by the firmware.

Older versions of the firmware apparently had some bugs, and the shake reduction doesn't always work right. This firmware is intended to correct that bug.

If you install this firmware on your camera, you're not actually adding anything new to your computer. You're just correcting a bug in how the camera operates. And after you complete the upgrade, you can safely delete the firmware file on your computer and on the SD card.
10-06-2009, 12:10 PM   #6
Veteran Member
GerryL's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: CA
Posts: 2,731
Let me clarify this more.
A Pentax *istDS for example was originally programmed to run on 2 Gig SD cards max ('coz during that time, these size cards might have been the max), when the SD cards that have 4 Gigs or more where developed..it can't be used by the camera anymore therefore crippling it a bit.
As a resort or solution, Pentax released a firmware upgrade to the camera (which you have to upload in the camera itself) to change it's program to be able to use the 4 Gig SD cards.
Other firmware updates can be released which would make the camera up to date and fix also some bugs that Pentax might have missed during the program release together with the official public release of camera in question.
10-06-2009, 12:21 PM   #7
Senior Member
insulinguy's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 134
Original Poster
how is the camera rendered useless without the firmware? as i have not even taken the disc out of the package but have shot almost 1000 frames??? no offense- but i dont see how that makes any sense.
the SR works perfectly fine on my K20 so why would i need to 'upgrade' it? this isnt making much sense to me - WHAT IS IN THE FIRMWARE THAT MAKES IT ESSENTIAL? anything? because i havent come across one thing that i would need it for.
im not going to connect my camera to my laptop...so i dont need it for that...
and what is meant by you have to upgrade the firmware in the camera??? i have 2 cds from pentax - how is that going to upgrade IN the camera? someone please bottom line this for me -
WHY IS IT EVEN NEEDED??
10-06-2009, 12:28 PM   #8
Site Supporter
Site Supporter




Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Central Ohio (formerly SF Bay Area)
Posts: 1,491
When you buy the camera, it already has firmware on it. But in this case, it's broken. So Pentax fixed it, and you can apply the fix yourself by downloading the firmware and applying it to your camera.

What you do is download the package from Pentax to your PC, and that package includes a file that you put on your camera's memory card. Put the card in your camera, then you press a key combination on the camera (I forget what it is) when you turn it on, which tells the camera to read that file and upgrade its own firmware. Done! After that, you can delete the package on your PC and the file on your SD card. The fix gets applied to the camera, and it stays there.

There are detailed instructions for this accompanying the download.

It's not essential by any means. If you're happy, go on, do your thing. But -- hypothetically -- if I found out my car might fail to lock its doors occasionally, simply because of an on-board computer error, I'd fix it! Even if I never noticed that problem myself.

10-06-2009, 12:46 PM   #9
Pentaxian




Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Bay Village, Ohio USA
Posts: 1,047
Firmware or Software?

QuoteOriginally posted by insulinguy Quote
how is the camera rendered useless without the firmware? as i have not even taken the disc out of the package but have shot almost 1000 frames??? no offense- but i dont see how that makes any sense.
the SR works perfectly fine on my K20 so why would i need to 'upgrade' it? this isnt making much sense to me - WHAT IS IN THE FIRMWARE THAT MAKES IT ESSENTIAL? anything? because i havent come across one thing that i would need it for.
im not going to connect my camera to my laptop...so i dont need it for that...
and what is meant by you have to upgrade the firmware in the camera??? i have 2 cds from pentax - how is that going to upgrade IN the camera? someone please bottom line this for me -
WHY IS IT EVEN NEEDED??
Insulinguy, you seem to be referring not to firmware, but to the software that comes on a CD in the box that your camera was in. Is that right? This is the software that is installed on your PC to process the images from your camera.

If that is what you are referring to, then, you are right, you don't really need it, if you have other software that meets your needs.

Firmware, on the other hand is specialized software that runs inside your camera. Without firmware, your camera would make a nice paperweight, but it would not produce any images. Your camera came from the factory with firmware installed. It is usually version 1.0. Camera makers occasionally release updates to the firmware, either to fix bugs or to provide enhanced features. For example, the K100D, as released was limited to 2GB SD cards. A firmware update increased the capacity beyond that and supported SDHC cards. The K10D, as released, did not support the wireless control of Pentax' flash units. A firmware update added that support.

Like most products today, a camera is about half computer. Therefore, it must have programming to make it function.

You don't absolutely need to update your firmware, either. As long as you can live without the added features and you haven't been bothered by the bugs that have been fixed, you don't need it. I suspect that a lot (possibly more than half) of camera owners don't bother with firmware updates.

On Pentax dslrs, you can tell what firmware version is installed in your camera by holding the Menu button down while turning the camera on. The version number will display on the back LCD for a couple of seconds, before the regular menu appears.

Accurate use of terminology is important.

BTW, the terms come from the early days of computers. Hardware was, well, hard. It was the stuff you could touch and it was hard to change. The programs that made the hardware do something useful was referred to as software. You can't really touch it, but it was relatively easy to change. Then came software that ran inside the hardware, for specific purposes and was not really easy to change. This was called firmware, because it is somewhere between soft and hard.
10-06-2009, 12:53 PM   #10
Senior Member
unkabin's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Moorhead, MN
Posts: 176
QuoteOriginally posted by insulinguy Quote
how is the camera rendered useless without the firmware? as i have not even taken the disc out of the package but have shot almost 1000 frames??? no offense- but i dont see how that makes any sense.
the SR works perfectly fine on my K20 so why would i need to 'upgrade' it? this isnt making much sense to me - WHAT IS IN THE FIRMWARE THAT MAKES IT ESSENTIAL? anything? because i havent come across one thing that i would need it for.
im not going to connect my camera to my laptop...so i dont need it for that...
and what is meant by you have to upgrade the firmware in the camera??? i have 2 cds from pentax - how is that going to upgrade IN the camera? someone please bottom line this for me -
WHY IS IT EVEN NEEDED??
Do you write for The Onion?
10-06-2009, 12:59 PM   #11
Senior Member




Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: BC, Canada
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 174
I think the OP is mistakenly calling the programs on the CD that came with the camera "firmware". That is not correct. "Firmware" refers to the program that is installed in the camera by the manufacturer at the factory. This "firmware" is not on the CD that came with the camera. This "firmware" runs the camera menu system,
exposure metering, auto-focus, etc (i.e. controls just about everything on the camera).

The programs on the CD are meant to run on your PC (or Macs) and they may not be necessary if you already have Photoshop, Lightroom, etc.
10-06-2009, 01:03 PM   #12
Inactive Account




Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Rochester, NY
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 119
Firmware upgrades should not and, I hope, will not become a revenue stream for manufacturers. The ability for the product to be tweaked and improved after it has hit the market was seen more as a boon for manufacturers to have time to market and capture early adopters without a penalty.

If it became solely a paid for service, you'd have new product releases sitting on the shelf because fewer people would be inclined to purchase before flaws were "fixed". Of course, the improvements have their limitations since the physical design of the sensors and hardware are fixed, but software controlled algorithms can be improved.

Could you imagine having paid a premium for a newly launched camera with less than optimal metering and AF and then find out that there's a fix but that you're reward for adopting the technology early is to pay for the fix?... I think that would be a quick way to turn people away from your brand.
10-06-2009, 01:11 PM   #13
Senior Member
insulinguy's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 134
Original Poster
THANK YOU! pardon my misuse of the term - all along i was referring to the software. ha! so now that its cleared up...i havent experienced one bug yet so i dont know if i need the upgrade or not. ill DL it tonight and see what is listed as far as bugs fixed and what not. i have never written for the onion but i read it all the time. thank you all for your responses! ive only had the K20 for a little over a month and dont even think ive sratched the surface yet! such an amazing piece of equipment!
10-06-2009, 01:39 PM   #14
Senior Member




Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Boston, MA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 146
good catch noblepa. you were the first to get what the OP was referring to.
10-06-2009, 02:52 PM   #15
Senior Member
insulinguy's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 134
Original Poster
OP = original poster?
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
camera, dslr, firmware, photography
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Firmware? Naturenut Pentax DSLR Discussion 10 08-03-2010 06:37 AM
K-7 Firmware 1.02 konraDarnok Pentax News and Rumors 1 10-22-2009 08:01 AM
New K7 firmware... dlacouture Pentax DSLR Discussion 9 10-07-2009 10:09 AM
When do we get the new firmware? ottoangel Pentax DSLR Discussion 1 04-19-2009 12:05 PM
Firmware 1.11 benjikan Pentax DSLR Discussion 21 03-15-2007 10:41 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 08:19 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top