April 18, 2021

Alphatracks

Sony and Minolta SLR Weblog

Alpha A700 firmware upgraded to version 3, upgrade appears Windows only

Sony has released another firmware update for the Sony Alpha A700, which will update the camera’s firmware to Version 3.

Sony says the new firmware will fix several issues with the A700. Sony discovered that occasionally an Alpha A700 SLR would stop responding with the Access lamp lit after capturing several images in quick succession. It was also discovered that turning the A700 off in the “MR” mode could cause some settings to carry over to other modes.

The new firmware resolves both of these issues, as well as

  • Sharper images for pictures taken under low contrast conditions
  • Reduced noise for pictures taken at ISO 3200
  • Improved flash control for objects closer than 1 meter with non ADI controlled lenses

Sony suggests all Alpha A700 camera owners upgrade their camera if the firmware version is less than 3.

The serial numbers of the applicable A700 dSLR models follows:

  • DSLR-A700 (body) with serial numbers 0500001 – 0508500
  • DSLR-A700P (body bundled with 16-105 lens) with serial numbers 800001 – 800200
  • DSLR-A700K (body bundled with 18-70 lens) with serial numbers 1100001 – 1105600

Unfortunately, Mac and Linux users need not apply. The upgrade utility is supplied as a Windows .EXE file, so you will need a Windows box (or an Intel Mac running Bootcamp) to prepare the upgrade.

I’m rather disappointed in this, as it appears the only thing the EXE file does is extract the upgrade application. I could be wrong, possibly it needs some system resources. But it seems you run the EXE file and it extracts a file called DSCA700.APP, which you then copy to a Memory Card. The actual upgrade occurs when you insert the Memory Card into the camera and follow a sequence of steps to upgrade the camera from the card. (There is also a provision to upgrade through a USB cable if you simply can’t afford a $7.99 card reader to upgrade your $1500 camera.)

Since the camera doesn’t need to be connected to a computer during the upgrade, I don’t understand why Sony needed to use an EXE file for this — couldn’t they simply have used WinZip or something similar? That way any computer capable of unzipping the file (which would include Mac and Linux boxes) could transfer the application to a Compact Flash card or Memory Stick and proceed to upgrade their camera. As long as you can extract DSCA700.APP, you’re in business. Why select an extraction model that will only run under Windows?

Hopefully, Sony will realize that a large number of professional photographers use a strictly Mac workflow. They aren’t going to be happy if they are forced to scrounge up a Windows machine every time they have to upgrade their camera’s firmware. Just put all the resources in the upgrade app, zip it up and provide it to the users.

You can find the Alpha A700 version 3 update at the Sony support site.