Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
07-23-2007, 02:29 PM   #1
Junior Member
GirlsGoneRacin's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: St. Louis, MO
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 35
What is the point of Firmware?

Ok, I have heard this term tossed around here and on the board that supports my mp3 player but I really need to ask this question:

What is firmware, how does it work and do I need to update?

I had always assumed, until lately, that the software that came with my camera was for working with the photos, like Photoshop, which I don't need.

My guess now is that this disk contains firmware which is the camera's operating system, correct? I have all the software that came with my K100D but I have never done a thing with it. I have never connected my camera to my computer because I always just take out the SD card and slide it into the slot in my laptop.

So if my camera works fine, do I need to do something with this firmware?

Thanks to those of you who do not laugh at me for asking this!

07-23-2007, 02:49 PM   #2
Site Supporter
pschlute's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Surrey, UK
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,239
Firmware

Firmware is the software in the camera itself yes.

Updates to it can be downloaded from the Pentax websites.
07-23-2007, 02:54 PM   #3
Site Supporter
daacon's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Alberta,Canada
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 20,831
Ahh I see pschlute beat me to it - I will post anyways.

That is a great question no worries. Your definition of 'operating system' is pretty close (see another definition below)

Firmware updates are usually provided to fix 'bugs' on some features or to introduce new functionlaity. For a pentax example firmware updates for the K10D
an example of new functionlaity would be
With this latest firmware version the support for Pentax DA lenses with a built-in Supersonic Drive Motor (so called SDM lenses) has been implemeted.

A bug fix would be
In rare case, vertical stripe at long time exposure.

How to apply a firmware update is device dependant - so it is different on your MP3 player than on your camera. For Pentax camera K100D You can check out Pentax K100D Firmware

As to do you need it ? These firmware updates usually have a readme file that indicates what changes were made and if there is a change you want then you should upgrade. On the other side of the fence if you are completley happy with your camera and functionality as is - no need.


- Firmware is programming that is inserted into programmable read-only memory (programmable ROM), thus becoming a permanent part of a computing device. Firmware is created and tested like software (using microcode simulation). When ready, it can be distributed like other software and, using a special user interface, installed in the programmable read-only memory by the user. Firmware is sometimes distributed for printers, modems, and other computer devices.
07-23-2007, 02:59 PM   #4
Junior Member
GirlsGoneRacin's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: St. Louis, MO
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 35
Original Poster
Thank you very much. I knew it wouldn't take long to get an answer on here. And I don't feel so silly for asking because no one laughed!

07-23-2007, 03:00 PM   #5
Veteran Member




Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: California
Posts: 426
Firmware on our camera is like the BIOS and OS in one. It's a rewritable chip, allowing us to make updates as necessary.

I'm not sure with the K100D, but with the K10D, there were some added features, menu options, and calibration tweaks.

If you're not confident with doing firmwire, and you're comfortable with your current settings, stick with it. Check out the read me file that comes with your firmware flash if you want to know what's been changed or updated.
07-23-2007, 03:07 PM   #6
Veteran Member
Ivan Glisin's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Belgrade
Posts: 656
Firmware is everywhere!

Firmware is a "software for hardware". Since it is firmly integrated with a specific hardware hence the name.

Most modern electronic devices use microprocessors (or microcontrollers) and are "programmed" to do certain operations, as opposed to designing specific electronic circuits to perform hard coded operations as in old days. Your remote control, microwave owen, TV, DVD player, digital camera, MP3 player, even your car rely on microprocessors. To run a microprocessor-based system you need a software of course, but you don't see that software as a separate entity (something that you can install or uninstall at will). It is tightly coupled with the hardware and usually you can not change it.

However, some devices will allow you to put firmware "image" on some sort of memory media (SD card in case of Pentax K100D) and device will recognize the file, load, replace current firmware, then restart. That allows manufacturers to modify and improve functionality without replacing physical components.

Obviously, this has nothing to do with the "software" that you got with your camera which is intended for separate installation on your PC and does NOT modify camera operation in any way.

To check the version of your K100D firmware turn off your camera, hold MENU button and turn on your camera. The version will be shown.

Same idea: If you drive a Chrysler here is how to check firmware version and perform a self test: with ingition key set to OFF, press and hold on the odometer reset button and turn the ingnition key to RUN position (or it was AUX, but not start/ignition!!!) then release the odometer reset button. After doing this odometer on my Sebring reads "SoF.02.00" as far as I remember (firmware V2.00). Then the show starts -- checking all instruments and so on until it reads "dOnE" or displays a diagnistic/error code (like "P0355"). Technically, Chrysler can upload a new firmware to adjust operation of certain modules, including automatic transmission operation! The connector for the computer is usually under the steering wheel. (This procedure may work with other makes: try it, you can not break anything.)

As you can see, you are in fact surrounded by firmware!
07-23-2007, 03:47 PM   #7
Pentaxian
Lowell Goudge's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Toronto
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 15,400
Guys

You are all dancing around the definition but not really touching the heart of the issue.

Software is generally devided into 2 parts, one called "firmware" the other called "application software"

Firmware defines how hardware works, at a very basic level. It controls input and output , reading from sensors, use of memory , definition of the names and address locations for all of the switches buttons etc...

Application software does things people program the computer/device to do.

On small devices such as a camera, people refer to the software as "firmware" regardless of whether it is really Firmware or Application software.

For example, when you press the shutter button on your camera , the camera goes through a routine of focusing, setting exposure and tripping the shutter. The interface to the hardware that does all these things is firmware, but the calculation that works out the exposure, white balance, and what is in focus is application software
07-23-2007, 05:47 PM   #8
Pentaxian
Arpe's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: New Zealand
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 4,344
And yes it's worth updating firmware. The firmware in the istDs has been updated several times and increased its functionality heaps. It can now do things it couldn't do when I first bought it.

07-24-2007, 07:49 PM   #9
Site Supporter
LeoTaylor's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Connecticut
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 679
Though some models have had several improvements in firmware, our K100Ds have had few:

From the Pentax Japan web site:

Changes to V1.02 Addition of compatible SDHC Memory card

Changes to V1.01 Support for SDHC Memory cards.
* The focal length which is input on the [Shake Reduction] menu can be displayed with Pentax Photo Browser3.
----------------------------------

Unless you plan to use 4 GB memory cards the SDHC change won't help you. The Pentax Photo Browser3 fix is pretty subtle.

There is a risk when doing firmware updates. I regularly do them on million dollar computers, but see no need to update my K100D (ver 1.00) since the new features do not apply to me. My K110D is ver 1.02 already.
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, software
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
vanishing point J.Scott Post Your Photos! 13 03-04-2009 04:42 PM
point credit pete_pf Post Your Photos! 10 10-25-2008 09:02 AM
So, at this point: 16-50, or 16-45 Dr_Watso Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 22 10-13-2007 09:05 AM
Dew Point Rickst Post Your Photos! 1 07-29-2007 12:47 PM
Link AF Point and AE Soligor Pentax DSLR Discussion 3 03-21-2007 06:39 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:14 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