The Upware Firmdate

MinionI used to wrestle taipan snakes barehanded while tied to a buzz saw suspended over a volcano. It got tame after a while so I decided to take up something exciting – I update the firmware on my Fujifilm cameras.

That popped the beads of sweat out on your brows, didn’t it? It does mine. And I don’t sweat cheap…

Fujifilm are renowned for Kaizu…the aftermarket tweaking of their cameras and lenses to get longer life out of the existing gear. Oh, they want you to buy the new stuff too, but they cannot stop themselves from fiddling with the controls long after the things leave the factory. It is seen as a good thing, and can be used to sell more new lenses. It can also be seen as a way of correcting things that have gone wrong, but when they do it the factory looks more like angels and less like Minions.

But the warnings. Of course they tell you to clean out your memory card…presumably lest you overbear the firmware with selfies…and charge up your battery fully. They do not want the thing to stop evolving halfway in the midst of something. There is also an edict to not open the battery door and not to turn anything off. I was wondering whether they would tell me to lay back and think of the Empire while it was all going on…all very well, but WHOSE Empire?

Ah, well, it is do-able. You go to one of their certified Fujifilm, we-know-what-we-are-doing website pages and download a file. you pack the file into an SD card. You plug the SD card into the camera and turn it on – specifying whether you are updating the camera body or a lens attached to it. The files to do these disparate things are separate files, and you need to do the two operations at two separate times.

Anyway, once started, the whole process takes about 90 seconds. The screen at the back of the camera cautions you not to do anything untoward while this is going on, but by this point you are too frightened to touch any thing. Eventually the camera grunts, rolls over, and you can shut it off. Then clean the memory card and start out with whatever new facility has been programmed into the camera.

The terrifying thing is the warnings that if you do not do it right, the camera will not work at all until you send it back to Fujifilm…and even then they might be unable to resuscitate it. And it’s all your fault…

Jeez, the old 35mm Pentax was never this nerve-wracking. Film in – film out, and whatever it did when it left the factory it continued to do. It was cooked egg once it was sold.

I can’t help thinking that a great many of the new digital cameras are spit off the assembly line slightly damp and spinning like tops. It takes a year for them to harden.

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