Sony Announces New Firmware Update, New Imaging Edge Software

  By Kaitlyn Kerr

In addition to the
newly announced a6400 APS-C camera, Sony also had two new announcements in San Diego today. The first was new firmware updates for the a9, a7R III and a7 III, the first of which is expected in March of 2019. They also announced a new Imaging Edge software that will enhance mobile connectivity.

Sony has two major firmware updates planned for the a9. The first, version 5.0, expected in March, will introduce the new Real-time AF tracking and Real-time Eye-AF announced on the a6400 today. These new autofocus tracking modes use an artificial intelligence (AI) object recognition technology. The camera, with this AI-powered technology, processes colour, depth, and brightness to enable extremely accurate and precise tracking for both objects and a subject’s eye. It will also enable this precise Eye-AF with a half-press of the shutter button in all autofocus modes. Users will also be able to select the preferred eye, either left or right, as a focus point.

This firmware update will also have improvements for image quality, where subtle tone changes (such as sky gradations) will be more accurately and smoothly reproduced. A new auto-white balance algorithm has also been developed to produce more consistent images in burst mode.

Version 6.0 is expected in the summer of 2019, and will add Eye-AF for animals, a new development that is particularly exciting for wildlife photographers.

Also announced today was a firmware update Version 3.0 for the a7R III and a7 III. This firmware update will include the new Real-time Eye AF, as well as an intervalometer functionality for shooting time-lapses. Intervals can be set between 1s and 60s, for up to 9999 shots. The feature also lets you set exposure tracking to “high,” “mid” or “low” for smoother transitions in exposure.

Version 3.0 for the a7R III and a7 III is expected in April 2019. More information on the firmware updates can be found here.

Sony also announced a new Imaging Edge application software today. This is the successor to Sony’s PlayMemories app, and will now allow for easy wireless transfer of both images and 4K video from camera to phone. (Sony notes the video transfer will only be available for certain models: a9 with V5.0 or later firmware, a7R III, a7 III, a6400, RX10 IV, RX100 VI, and RX100 VA.) The desktop version will also be updated and provide support for the intervalometer function introduced with the updated firmware and in the new a6400.

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Kaitlyn is a craft beer enthusiast and self-labelled film nerd. Suitably, she is one of the hosts of Calgary's Beers & Cameras meetup group. She also drinks too much coffee and wants to see too many places. When not helping coordinate events or exploring whatever city, town, or backroad she can, she also works as a freelance photographer and assistant.