The availability of a significant
firmware upgrade for the EOS 7D
created a lot of interest. There are
upgrades available for most EOS
models. We show you how to
download and install the file on
your Canon camera.
Downloading the firmware
To obtain the latest firmware update for your camera visit the Canon Support page. Select your model from the list, then navigate to the 'Firmware' tab.
When you have downloaded the firmware (we recommend you save it somewhere obvious, like your desktop), open the folder and you will find it contains a file and a folder (Windows screen shown here; the Mac screen is similar).
The file has the extension .FIR – this is the firmware update. Do not try to open it. The .FIR file can only be processed inside your camera.
Inside the ‘update-procedure-pdf’ folder are five files. You only need the one ending ‘-en’. This gives you detailed installation instructions in English.
Fully charge your camera battery before you begin. If you run out of power before the firmware update procedure is completed you might disable your camera – which means it stops working and has to be returned to a Canon Service Centre to see if they can rectify the problem. Canon suggests running the camera from a mains power supply using an AC adapter kit. This is an expensive option (from £70 to £140 RRP) if it will only be used for firmware updates. In our part of Oxfordshire the mains power supply is so unreliable that we prefer to place our trust in a fully charged battery – no problems so far.
Formatting a memory card
If you plan to use the first of the two methods we're explaining, then you need to format a memory card for use. Copy all the images you want to keep from a CF card (or SD card for cameras using the smaller card) – or use a new card. Insert the card into the camera.
Go to ’Format’ on the settings menu (above left). Press the ‘SET’ button. The next screen (below left) will show you the amount of storage used on the card and remind you that all data will be deleted if you continue.
If you are sure all the images you want have been copied from the card, select ‘OK’ and press the ‘SET’ button. The card will be formatted and you will be returned to the ‘Format’ menu. Check that the formatting has been successful by pressing the ‘SET’ button.
The screen should now show that very little storage has been used. Just a few kilobytes (KB) will have been reserved for the card directory. Always format the card in the camera you are going to update. Never format the card from a computer and never in a different EOS camera.
Ways to update
There are two methods of updating the firmware in your EOS camera. One is with a memory card (via a card reader or compatible slot in your computer). The other is with the EOS Utility software (either from the CD supplied with your camera or downloadable from the Canon website).
Both are equally good and both activate the ‘Firmware update program’ on the camera.
Using a memory card
1) Connect a card reader to your computer and insert the card you have just formatted (or insert your card into a compatible slot on your computer). The card will appear as a hard drive on your computer screen. Drag the .FIR file you downloaded on to the card icon. This will copy the file to the card.
2) The .FIR file must be at the ‘root’ level of the card. This means it must not be inside any folder. Double-click the card to open it. The contents should look like this (below).
3) Take the card out of the card reader and insert it into the camera. Turn the camera on and go to the settings menu. Find the ‘Firmware Ver.’ item and press ‘SET’.
4) You will see a screen with details of the current firmware version and asking if you want to update. Select ‘OK’ and press the ‘SET’ button.
5) The firmware update will begin. You will see the screens showing the progress.
Using EOS Utility
1) Open EOS Utility on your computer. Now connect your camera to the computer using the mini-USB cable supplied with the camera. The USB plug goes into the computer. The mini-USB plug goes into the ‘A/V OUT Digital socket on the side of the camera. Switch the camera on. Click ‘OK’ in the window which comes up asking you to confirm the camera model. Then click on ‘Camera settings/Remote shooting’.
2) This panel will appear. Select the ‘Set-up menu’. Then click on ‘Firmware’. The panel will change to ‘Firmware update’. Click on ‘OK’.
3) A window will open allowing you to find the .FIR file you downloaded earlier. We are updating an EOS 5D Mark III, so we are looking for the ‘5D300113.FIR’ downloaded from the Canon Download Centre.
4) A confirmation window will appear giving details of the current firmware version on the camera and the version of the firmware update that will be installed. If these are correct, click ‘Yes’.
5) Another confirmation window will appear telling you to press the ‘SET’ button on the back of the camera. This will start the firmware upgrade process.
1) You have reached the point where the camera begins to take over. Here, data is being loaded ready for the update process to begin.
2) We are updating the EOS 7D in this sequence, so the .FIR file the camera has found on the card is correct. Press the ‘SET’ button on the camera to continue.
3) This is your final opportunity to abort the process. However, if the data for the current firmware and the firmware to be installed is correct, press the ‘SET’ button.
4) You are now committed to the update. The screen shows you the progress – it normally takes just a few minutes. Take heed of the warning!
5) At the end, a confirmation will appear to confirm that the update is complete. Press the ‘SET’ button, turn the camera off and remove the battery for a few seconds.
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