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How to update the software on your camera or camcorder

How to update the software on your camera or camcorder

Updates to camera or camcorder firmware—the on-board software that runs an electronic device—take place just as frequently as smart-phone firmware updates, particularly for advanced cameras like the Nikon D5200. But the process is a little different, since updates don’t show up automatically on your camera, as they do on your phone.

Camera or camcorder firmware updates can be minor: A recent one for several Fujifilm Finepix basic and advanced cameras simply tweaked a panorama feature. Some are more significant, though. For example, Sony said that an update to the firmware on its Action Cams improved a host of features, such as the ability to shoot “smoother video of fast moving scenes with a higher frame rate.”

Find the best model for your needs and budget: Check our digital camera buying guide and Ratings.

Since updates don’t arrive automatically to your digital camera or camcorder, you’ll need to check for them (try the support sections of manufacturer websites), then update the camera or camcorder manually. This generally involves following a few steps like the ones below. (Some manufacturers may have different steps or a different sequence of steps.)

  • Make sure your camera or camcorder is fully charged.
  • Visit the device manufacturer’s website and download the firmware update file to your computer.
  • Either upload the firmware update file from your computer onto a memory card, which you’ll then insert into your camera (you’ll also often need to connect the camera to a computer) or connect your device to the computer and upload the file from your computer directly to the device.
  • As with any firmware update, follow the on-screen instructions (either on the device’s LCD or the computer screen) precisely and carefully.
  • In almost all cases, you’ll also need to reboot, by powering off the camera or camcorder and then turning it back on.
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