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Alpha 700 Firmware v4 + IDC update official

SONY has, one week after the leak of a final version of Firmare v4 for the Alpha 700, placed authorised download links on their support websites along with an updated Image Data Suite 3 which can handle Alpha 900 raw files. Quick download links are given here with key features.

Firmware Version 4

Although Sony creates both Mac and Windows ‘versions’ the .APP file contained in the archives is identical and you can download the Mac version to any machine (Unix, Linux, Vista – etc) which supports industry standard archive extraction. This includes many PDAs. The Windows version is an .EXE file and can only be used on Windows machines. The Mac version can also be used on most modern Windows installations and may be a faster download if you find traffic heavy.

Windows download .EXE file

Mac/Universal download .ZIP file

The Alpha 700 is NOT country specific for firmware so downloading from the European site will work perfectly for readers in the USA, Asia or anywhere else.

The stated upgrade features are:

  • The choice to select auto exposure bracketing (single & continuous) with 3 shots in 2 EV steps has been added.
  • The choice to turn [Off] the High ISO NR feature has been added.
  • Improvement of the image quality in high ISO setting.
  • Improvement of the auto white balance and D-Range Optimizer performance.
  • Improvement of reliability for communication between camera body and vertical grip.

Some improvement in quality has been noted in low ISO raw files, possibly due to changes in the WB/DRO implementation. Both WB and DRO depend on the raw file being unclipped – headroom is needed for both functions to work properly. If Sony has been able to fine-tune the relationship between ISO (EI) setting, physical exposure (metering) and A-to-D transfer functions, a more efficient use may have been made of headroom. This would also have the effect of improving high ISO files. Since it looks as if around 1/3rd of a stop extra exposure may now be given (images are appearing slightly brighter in the midtones) the three middle points above (NR, high ISO, WB/DRO) may all be related to single ‘root’ change.

Image Data Suite 3.0

The Windows update is more comprehensive than the Mac update, and there are options for enhancing remote control (tethered) A700 operation including an intervalometer function which is omitted on the Mac. It can’t be that difficult as Konica Minolta had it for the Mac with the Dimage 7/A series!

The great news is that Image Data Converter 3.0 will process Alpha 900 raw files, despite the Sony download saying it is only for A100-A700 models. While the speed of IDC 3 has been enhanced and the controls improved with a Peripheral Shading function that appears to pick up lens data and set itself automatically, it remains painfully slow and processor-intensive, even slowing down other programs if you set it developing an image then switch tasks. You must set the program to Standard Mode, which is slow, if you want to open a full resolution image from the A900 into Photoshop; when set to Quick Mode, it not only views the image at a maximum of 50% size, it also sends it Photoshop as a 16-bit, 6 megapixel TIFF.

IDC 3 with an Alpha 900 image shot on the 24-105mm KM (D) zoom showing DRO and Peripheral shading applied – click the image to open a full 1920 x 1080 resolution screen shot JPEG.

Windows Version and Windows Intervalometer Setting Tool

Mac OSX Version

GPS Image Tracker update upgrades Windows-only Image Tracker software to recognise A200, A300, A350 and A700 JPEGs.


8 comments to Alpha 700 Firmware v4 + IDC update official

  • AlexShot

    Hi! I’m new here !
    I have a Sony Alpha DSLR 350 and I’m checking on the internet if there’s some firmware update.
    It seems there’s a firmware only for A700 and A100.

    Do you know why automatic exposure bracketing of 2EV steps has been implemented in this firmware and not in the other ones ?
    Will it be implemented ? Do you know something? Thanks in advance !

  • plr

    Perhaps someone here can save me some experimentation time … I’m wondering how many of these firmware updates affect raw files verses jpeg?

  • alexramos

    Thank you…

  • admin

    Yes, it’s identical, several people have checked it bit for bit. The download we provided last week is precisely the same item.

    David

  • alexramos

    This v4 is the same unofficial that was in the net days before??

  • admin

    Yes, but you have to wait for fair while for the image to rebuild. It is surprising that if you leave it in High Speed mode, you get a quarter size image datawise. The DRO is pretty good, I have had a chance to test a suitable Alpha 900 shot from raw and it works well without excessive noise, and with perfect highlight detail recovery.

  • sondermann

    With regard to standard and quick mode – you don’t have to develop the image in standard mode. You can edit it in quick mode and then switch to standard mode to send the TIFF to Photoshop (there is a switch in the lower right corner). For me the most important update in IDC 3.0 is the DRO functionality, which though perhaps not as sophisticated as the advanced DRO you get in-camera, nevertheless works quite well, even in auto mode.