Update Your Firmware

Update your firmware.

Even if your digital camera is brand new there's a chance that the firmware inside has been revised. To find out, visit the manufacturer's website and search for your camera model in the Support or Downloads database. Then consult your camera owner's manual to determine how to check which firmware version your camera is currently running.

Manufacturers release updates for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it's to provide compatibility with new accessories; more often it's to fix bugs.

Do not interpret a firmware update as a sign of weakness, however, or think that it indicates that the company was careless when it released the product originally. On the contrary, it means that the manufacturer is listening to consumer feedback and addressing issues that arise.

Manufacturers always post clear and specific directions for upgrading. In most cases, it's a simple procedure. The steps involve downloading a ZIP file and copying the extracted BIN file to the root directory of a formatted memory card. The card is then inserted into the camera in the normal way and the camera is powered up. Sometimes it's necessary to start the camera in Playback mode; other times you have to press Menu or another button while powering on.

Precautions: make sure that the battery is fully charged (or use the AC adapter). If the firmware upgrade process is interrupted for any reason—as will happen if the batteries die—the camera could become a nice chrome and glass paperweight. If you're reluctant to chance it, you can always send the camera back to the manufacturer. Most charge for this service (unless the firmware upgrade was released to remedy a critical flaw) so call first to verify the cost and anticipated turnaround time.