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Updated Quick Guide: How To Update Your Sony Camera's Firmware

UPDATED March, 2024

Updating the firmware on your Sony Alpha camera is a great way to keep up with advancements and enhancements. Historically camera firmware upgrades have been thought of as a way to implement minor “fixes,” some of which might be completely invisible to the user. More and more, however, Sony is leveraging mirrorless technology to create firmware updates that bring new features and dramatically enhanced capabilities to the camera. Some firmware updates are almost like getting a whole new camera. Firmware updates are also available for camera lenses.

To help make the updating process simple and stress-free for you, we worked with Sony Senior Training Manager Amy Koppmann to put together this quick guide on how to do it.

Camera Firmware Update Quick Guide

IMPORTANT: In order to perform a firmware update on a camera, ensure that the camera’s battery is fully charged. If the battery is not fully charged, and the battery dies during firmware updates, the camera may become inoperable.

1. Check the current firmware version of camera:

a. Turn on the camera.

b. Press the menu button, and navigate to the Setup Menu (toolbox icon). Find the VERSION option, and select it.

c. The current camera firmware version is displayed. Also at this time, note if there is a box on the screen that says “Software Update”. All cameras can have their firmware updated by connecting the camera directly to a computer with an HDMI cable. Cameras that have the “Software Update” option on the LCD Screen can also have their firmware updated by using just an SD card, so there is no need to connect the camera directly to a computer.

2. On your computer open the Sony eSupport webpage: esupport.sony.com

a. Type in the model number of your camera (e.g. ILCE-9) or use the “Select your product type” option on the screen to find the information for the particular model number of your camera.

b. If you are unsure of the model number of your camera, you can find this information on the tag located on the bottom of the camera.

To update your camera by connecting your camera to your computer, use the following process:

1. Once you are on the webpage specific to your camera, scroll down until you see the “Downloads” section

a. Using the dropdown box, choose the operating system that your computer is using.

i. To determine which Windows operating system you are using, hold down the Windows Key and press the letter “R”. When the Run dialog box pops up, type in “winver” and press enter. Your current operating system will then be displayed.

ii. To determine which Mac operating system you are using, click on the Apple icon in the top left corner of your screen, then click on “About this Mac”. Your operating system version will be displayed.

b. After the correct computer operating system has been selected, the link to the proper firmware will be displayed. Click on the link to the firmware for your camera.

2. On the System Software Update page that opens, click on the “Download” button. Download the software to your computer, and note where you put it.

3. Once the download has completed, find the file and double-click to start the System Software Updater.

4. Turn off the camera. Remove the memory card from the camera. Do not connect the camera to the computer until directed to do so.

5. Turn on the camera. Press the camera’s Menu button, select the Setup Menu (toolbox icon) and confirm that the camera’s USB Connection is set to “Mass Storage”.

6. Connect the camera to your computer using the USB cable that was supplied with the camera. If the camera has two USB connections (Micro USB and USB C), either may be used for the firmware update.

7. On the computer screen, the Camera System Software Updater window will appear once the USB connection is made and the camera’s screen displays the message “Follow computer instructions”.

8. Follow the directions on your computer’s screen to start the firmware update. IMPORTANT: Do not power off the camera or disconnect the USB cable until the update process is complete.

9. Depending on the type of firmware update, the update process may take up to 10 minutes or longer. A status indicator is shown on your computer screen. After the update process is complete, click the “Finish” button on the computer screen. DO NOT DISCONNECT THE USB CABLE YET.

10. Once the camera’s LCD screen displays “Camera Update Complete”, stop the USB connection. On Windows computers, click the remove hardware icon in the task tray in the lower right of the computer screen.

11. Disconnect the USB cable from the camera and the computer. Follow the instructions on the camera’s LCD screen to finish the update. This may include powering off the camera and removing and reinserting the battery, and powering the camera back on again.

To update your camera’s firmware using an SD card (Only for cameras that have “Software Update”  displayed on the “Version” screen on their camera):

You will need a blank SD card to complete the firmware update using this process. It is recommended that you format the SD card in your camera before downloading the firmware. Only one firmware version should be on the SD card at any time.

  1. Once you are on the webpage specific to your camera, scroll down until you see the “Downloads” section.

  2. Click the Download button and save the firmware update, with the file name BODYDATA.DAT, to your computer.

  3. Insert the formatted SD card into your computer and save the BODYDATA.DAT file in the root directory of the memory card.  Do not change the name of the file.

  4. Remove the SD card from the computer, and insert it into the camera.  If your camera has two card slots, you must use slot 1 (the topmost slot on the camera).

  5. Turn on the camera, select Menu, navigate to the Setup Menu (toolbox icon), select Setup Option, and then choose Version.

  6. Select Execute on the system software update confirmation screen to start the update. You will need to scroll the text on the screen to read the full text and select the Execute option.

  7. When the system software update starts the camera’s LCD screen will turn black and the SD card access light will blink. The light will blink 1 time →3 times →5 times depending upon the progress of the update. The process will take approximately 6 minutes to complete.

  8. When the update is completed, the camera will automatically restart. After restarting, the camera’s screen will display Body update complete when the firmware has been successfully installed. Select OK to complete the update.
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