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Firmware Updates

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by OzRay, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    There's a curious post on Sans Mirror today, talking about camera/lens updates: http://www.sansmirror.com/newsviews/the-firmware-update-woes.html. I'm not sure whether it's written by Thom Hogan or someone else (sounds like someone else), but I really can't relate to the problems the author appears to have with camera/lens updates.

    With the Olympus Digital Camera Updater (I don't know if Panasonic does it this way), the updates are simple and easy, just connect your camera lens combo to you PC, open up the updater and it interrogates and recommends any updates. Swap lenses and do the same for your entire kit. The updater clearly identifies the camera/lens attached, the current firmware version and whether newer versions are available. What could be easier?

    So to lump all mirrorless systems into this supposedly one boat, as opined in the article, is actually pretty poor.
     
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  2. biomed

    biomed Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 22, 2013
    Seattle area
    Mike
    Panasonic firmware update is a bit different. The zipped update file is downloaded from Panasonic to a computer. The unzipped file is then saved to a SD card. The card is put in the camera. After the play button on the camera is pressed the LCD will display "Start Version Up? Yes/No". Select yes to start the update. When the update is complete the camera will turn off then back on. It is much simpler than it sounds. I keep a folder of firmware updates for bodies and lenses on my computer. For the latest Panasonic updates and instructions check here.
     
  3. fortwodriver

    fortwodriver Mu-43 Top Veteran

    959
    Nov 15, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Frank
    I know a few people have issues with the dead-air the Olympus updater seems to have during the update process. There's a lot of sitting around and waiting with no status bars or clues as to what's happening between the firmware delivery system and the connected camera.

    Really, Olympus should have (could have) engineered the system to take a firmware update off the SD card. It reminds me of the sorts of hoops I used to go through in the cellphone industry when we had to update Motorola Startacs and Timeports. A lot of time was spent crossing fingers and hoping it worked.
     
  4. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I believe that with on-line updates it reduces the chances of file corruption, as I think there's a checksum process that occurs before the update commences. That's probably why there's that waiting period. I seem to remember that for people with cameras that used the SD card system, it wasn't unknown for a corruption to occur on the card and the camera would be bricked when trying to update. I also don't understand why the angst over a short wait for an update, is life such a panic? When software updates happen on your computer, they aren't instant and the updates happen in pretty much the same way.
     
  5. fortwodriver

    fortwodriver Mu-43 Top Veteran

    959
    Nov 15, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Frank
    Not at all. Depending on the situation, computer updates can download in the background. Or a status bar of some sort shows you something that indicates something is happening. Such is not the case with the Olympus software until the very last stage of the update.

    I never had a bricked camera in the 10 years I did software updates to them. The firmware update systems on those cameras also check the validity of the file. That's the easy part. I highly doubt the Olympus software requires up to 10 minutes to validate a few megabytes of data and I know there are people out there who actually start to panic when, after 10 minutes the update software looks like it has frozen and the camera is essentially doing nothing.

    So really, Olympus could stand to update their UI... But you know, before Aperture supported the E-M1 files, I was using Oly's RAW processor - I felt like I was back in 2003! Eek...
     
  6. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I have never had an update that takes 10 mins, all it takes is usually about 2 mins and the slowness is probably to do with the server that's being accessed. And when I'm doing an update, it's at home, I don't suddenly have an urge to see if I can connect somewhere out in the bush to see if there's an update available. That's why I can never understand the angst over the current system; it's especially easy for those that are not sure of things, because it's a simple matter of connecting the camera and following the on-screen instructions, like any other computer update.

    Not being an Apple user, I have no idea of the trials and tribulations involved with that system.
     
  7. fortwodriver

    fortwodriver Mu-43 Top Veteran

    959
    Nov 15, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Frank
    ...and yeah, on a 25Mbit connection it took about 15 minutes for my E-M1 and 17mm f1.8 to update.

    Their UI is just as bad on the the PC... I have used both. I was just giving an example of how far behind the Olympus software is when you compare it to other software in the same generation. There have been other issues with the firmware update procedure that probably don't matter to many people - like the ability to mass-update a set of cameras. I remember techs for a local paper walking around with compact flash cards and mass updating 20 Nikon D2x cameras one time. Pretty easy to do. Not so much if each one has to be plugged in and pulled through an Olympus-like update procedure.

    Anyway, horses for courses. Firmware updates don't happen THAT often - and Thom and his gang always find something to make good blog-fodder.

    ;-)

    :hide:
     
  8. WasOM3user

    WasOM3user Mu-43 Veteran

    458
    Oct 20, 2012
    Lancashire, UK
    Paul
    I think if the Olympus update software actually told you what it was doing then most people would be much happier with the process.

    For example when the dots are going round and the camera is blank it says it's updating the software - BUT it is not. It's actually contacting the Olympus servers and downloading the file to the computer (which is why the camera is blank). If the software said "contacting sever" and " X % of Y downloaded" during this phase I don't think the doubts about the camera having problems would start in your mind.

    It's only the last 60 secs or so when the icons appear on the back of the camera that the camera is actually being changed/updated.

    Now that I know this what happens I don't feel the rising sense of panic I used to get with the process (and am I lucky to have a 50MB+ fibre optic link!!). If I had a slow connection I don't know if my nerves would stand up to the process.
     
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  9. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    No, it increases the chance of corruption dramatically, since there is an indeterminate period during which having your connection between your computer and your camera go down means getting a bricked camera/lens. With the SD card approach, the vulnerability period is significantly shorter, and you know exactly when it is. My last E-PM2 update attempt failed the first time - the software just sat doing nothing for nearly an hour - and I had no way of knowing whether disconnecting it would brick my camera or not. In the end, I did disconnect it, and nothing bad happened, but if I were unlucky, it could easily have required a $150 repair.

    Plus, we have empirical evidence of how the two systems perform. Search for 'Olympus firmware update bricked' and you'll get a decent number of hits. Search of 'Panasonic firmware update bricked' and you get nada.
     
  10. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    From what I understand (and as you found), if the download is interrupted, the update won't proceed; it's only when the download has been successful and verified that it commences to install in the camera. That's why there's a warning that the camera battery needs to be fully charged, for if that part fails, then you have a brick. I searched as suggested and there aren't too many links showing the Olympus update bricking cameras; so considering how many cameras there are about, the stats don't tally up as this issue being significant as well as what actually caused the problem. And to be completely fair about the update processes, Google 'firmware update bricked camera' and you'll find the SD card system isn't without its issues.
     
  11. Muntjack

    Muntjack Mu-43 Veteran

    200
    Jul 26, 2010
    I can only agree that the Oly way can be VERY scary. Depending on time of day and server activity I have seen the upgrade process take anywhere from 15 mins to 1hour and 15mins. All the while you have no idea if the process is actually working.
    I dread the new firmware upgrades as much as I welcome them
    M
     
  12. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    I found more than a dozen cases of bricked Olympuses, vs. just one Panasonic. No system is perfect, but the Olympus system is inarguably more prone to disaster. Then there's the fact that there are an order of magnitude more posts where people can't update the firmware because of bad OS/Olympus Viewer interactions, or unclear instructions or what have you.

    Precisely. And given the non-trivial chance of failure, I choose only to update firmware when something I need is not working.
     
  13. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I suspect that the time is solely due to the Olympus server in Japan, as I don't think the update are coming through any mirror sites. So the fastest internet in the world isn't going to be of much use if the server isn't delivering. Since I live in Australia, which is closer and downhill from Japan, the updates seem to go pretty fast.

    And people have been complaining of this update process since the E-1; a new generation of users will just need to get used to it.
     
  14. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    I think there's more to it than that. I ran a network monitor throughout the upgrade process and the network traffic stopped long before the process hung. The firmware site IPs are in Japan, but the actual downloads were are fairly short part of the process.