Sony has released a firmware update for the Alpha 100 – version 1.04. This comes in four regional flavours and it is important to use the right one. Here are all the links you need plus instructions.
Officially this update just adds the 55-200mm lens to the lookups. But it does more. After updating, our A100s will no longer shoot 6 RAW+JPEG frames at 3 fps, which I am pretty sure we managed using the Extreme IV card despite the official spec being 3 frames. They will only shoot three frames regardless of the card speed including Kingston 266X UDMA. Something is slowing down the system for RAW+JPEG. JPEG only shooting remains unaffected – you get continuous until the camera overheats. RAW shooting in sequence is improved, which indicates that the actual buffer to card writing speed is better than Firmware 1.02 which was the last update on our two A100 bodies. I managed 27 frames RAW at 3fps before the camera slowed down, after installing the upgrade. That is exceptional. Focus speed appears to be slightly improved, card writing speed appears to be improved, and subject to further tests, I would guess that JPEG quality has been enhanced or better noise reduction implemented.
Whatever the case, it can do no harm to bring your A100 up to date with this long-awaited firmware. Some buyers will already have it installed, Asian and Australian cameras seem to have had 1.04 for a while. The last body we bought in the UK, in August, had Firmare v1.00. It must have been sitting around for a very long time on the shelf.
The web direct links for downloading the update are:
The file downloaded should be executed/opened and will unpack two files which need to be placed on a CF card which has been formatted in the A100. It is a good ideal to use a small CF card which has no images on. Do not format the card in your computer, and do not remove the DCIM image folder from the card.
Copy the unpacked files on the root level of the card – that is, OUTSIDE the DCIM image folder, and not inside any other folder or directory which your system may make visible on the card.
Remove the card from your computer.
Follow the instructions given by Sony for the earlier firmware updates:
In brief, with a fully charged battery, you place the card in the camera, switch on, and press the > plackback button as if reviewing images on the card. The camera will detect the firmware files, and will ask whether you want to update the firmware. Confirm this, and wait until the rear screen displays a message saying the update is complete. Switch off, remove the card, and that’s it. If you do not have a card reader, the URL above gives the procedure for tethered USB updating. I do not advise this, and suggest that if you want to do the update, you spend Â£10 on a card reader. They are pretty useful to have anyway.