Olympus Release Firmware 3.0 for OM-D E-M1

Olympus-v3.0-Poster

After talking about the OM-D E-M1 firmware v3.0 update for some time now Olympus finally released this update yesterday. Im’m not sure why this minor update required a whole major version number bump from 2.x to 3.x as there are only 2 improvements.

Although I regularly check the 43 Rumours site I was actually informed of the new firmware availability directly from Olympus UK via email which is nice. I have had these kind of updates from camera companies before but usually they are many days or weeks after the release date. Nice one Olympus :)

The (two) features of this update are as follows:

  1. AF tracking during C-AF continuous shooting in continuous shooting H mode is supported.
    Previously, in continuous shooting L mode 6.5 frames per second was possible, but now taking a maximum of 9 frames per second in continuous shooting H mode is possible. It is recommended to set C-AF Lock as standard when using C-AF.
  2. OI.Share Ver. 2.5 is supported.
    Live view display when shooting movies is possible.

Olympus also detail what happens to your camera settings too:

  • When updating the firmware from Version 1.0/1.1/1.3/1.4 to Version 3.0, the camera settings other than the AF focus adjustments are reset.
  • When updating the firmware from 2.0 / 2.1 / 2.2, the camera settings are maintained.

Although there is a kludge you can use to update the firmware via the SD card, it is a kludge so not something I recommend and this was available at the end of last week. For the sake of a few days I saw no harm in waiting for the official and recommended way of updating the firmware using the “Olympus Digital Camera Updater” software that is already on my iMac.

I was having trouble getting the software to connect to the camera initially and it was because I forgot to remove the SD card first. There are some very good instructions on using the software on the Olympus UK site and these can be obtained here.

Details on the firmware can be found on the main Olympus (UK) site here.

I will write a follow up post later if the updates provide any meaningful improvements beyond increasing the firmware version number to v3.0 on the camera.

Family Photo Shoot

2015-02-21-JLSZ-PS-18
Last week was half-term week and we had the pleasure to look after my nephew Jack for the week. He was dropped off on Saturday by his Mum and Dad and collected the following weekend by his Mum (my sister – Louise). When he was here over Christmas we never managed to get any photographs of him and the ones that my Mum has are of a much younger Jack, she really wanted some more up-to-date photos of him.

So I decided to get the lights, stands and brollies out to take some professional looking portraits of Jack, with and without the dogs and as his Mum was here a few of them together – the best of which is the above photo that has been very popular on Facebook so far.

Anyone who reads my blog will know that I have used the same gear to take photos of the dogs with and without their Christmas Gear. They always like to be in on then action so here are a couple of shots of the dogs on their own taking during the shoot.

First we have Zara:
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And we cannot forget Seska too:
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The lighting setup was a simple affair; we had two Cactus RF60 speedlights and each of them were configured to fire into a reflective brolly, we had these set-up on light stands to camera-right and camera-left. They were controlled wirelessly with a V6 transmitter and adjusted to provide even lighting onto both sides of Jack’s face – a light meter allowed me to adjust the power on the lights indepdendantly until I had them providing a suitable amount of light on both sides of Jack’s face. Once this was achieved I noted the aperture and shutter speed for the ISO that I wanted to use; this was before a single photo was taken. I also had assistants (first his Mum an then my Mum) holding a silver reflector to provide a little bounced light to remove harsh shadows from under Jack’s chin.

With the shooting parameters noted I set the camera to manual, dialled in the appropriate settings (ISO 200, f3.5 and a shutter speed of 1/250 sec) and took one more test shot, Jack gave the thumbs up to proceed:
2015-02-21-JLSZ-PS-1

Jack being the age he is (9 going on 14 :) ) kept pulling faces and it was quite a challenge getting some nice photographs and occasional distraction form his mother and the dogs enabled more “non-staged” photos to be produced:
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However we also managed to get a few more poses from Jack. First we have the laid back:
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I then asked Jack to fold-his arms and look mean:
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Once he was less self-conscious I managed to get a much nicer photograph:
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Next we have, “The Thinker”:
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At this point the dogs decided that they also had to be in the picture again so jumped on Jack and we got a nice photo with no poses in sight:
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At times they were masking Jack, who struggled to keep in frame:
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Finally I persuaded Louise to join Jack and took a few of them together, all 3 of the shots in this post are nice but my favourite is the more candid one I have of them that is at the top of this post:
2015-02-21-JLSZ-PS-16

2015-02-21-JLSZ-PS-17

I was quite happy with the results and this goes to show that the Olympus OM-D E-M1 camera paired with the awesomely sharp 40-150mm f2.8 PRO lens is a powerful picture taking machine and I am frankly very pleased with the results I am getting. Whilst the general rule is that it is the photographer who takes the picture, it helps when you “connect” with the gear that you are using and using off-camera flash really helps provide the goods. My next exercise will to try out some dramatic lighting – I just need to find a willing subject.:)

Handling the OM-D E-M5 Mark II

OM-D E-M5 MkII - Front
Yesterday I had to go to the Firth road post office in Lincoln to pick up a couple of parcels. The post office isn’t far from the High Street branch of Lincoln’s London Camera Exchange so I decided to pop in on the way back and say hello if they weren’t to busy (I don’t get down to this end of Lincoln very often).

As I was walking past I noticed a familiar person standing next to the counter, it was Aiden form Olympus UK. I have met Aiden a number of times now, the most recent was on the Wedding shoot event with Rob Pugh. Aiden is a nice guy and a real asset to Olympus UK, he must meet literally thousands of users but he always remembers my name and remembers who I am; it was nice to see him again. I knew why he was in the LCE store and sure enough after saying hello he asked if I wanted to have a go with the E-M5 Mark II, naturally I couldn’t say no. :)

The E-M5-II had its grip and battery module attached, the lens was the new M.Zuiko 14-150mm f4.0-5.6 Mark II lens.

As soon as I had the camera in my hands I noticed how amazingly light it was, my E-M1 isn’t heavy but seemed a bit heavier that the E-M5-II, this could be due to the fact the the E-M5-II had the new 14-150mm lens attached whilst my E-M1 usually has the 50-150 f2.8 lens on it. The E-M5-II grip is essential in my view and made the feel of the EM-5-II just right in my hands; the camera isn’t as “tweeny” as the older mark 1. The buttons were all solid and not as spongy as the mark1 and the overall build quality of the camera is better.

The viewfinder looked smaller than the one on my E-M1 which surprised me as Olympus have fitted the E-M1’s EVF to the E-M5-II, the vari-angle screen is thinner than the ones I have seen on other cameras but is solid and will be excellent for video work. As a side note the 14-150mm lens felt very solid and had no sign of being a “kit” lens. This weather and dust sealed lens is an MSC model so will be a good all-round video lens too. I’m still not sure that it’s worth £550, if only they did a kit with this lens and the E-M5-II so that you could save a couple of hundred pounds?

m14-150-2_blk_stand

Aiden showed me some of the in-store shots comparing the 16MP photo’s with the new high megapixel 40MP (still JPEGS) and I was quite amazed about the difference and how much extra resolution you are seeing. He also showed me a video where you get a split-screen view of the video being shot along with what the videographer was doing, this showed how good the (improved) IBIS on the new E-M5-II is.

He reminded me that if I wanted one I should make use of the pre-order offer for the E-M5-II as you get the 5.5 year warranty and Olympus messenger bag for free. What I didn’t know was that you also get the new Leather Olympus camera strap and are entered into a draw to win a day with Damian Mcgillicuddy (at one of the Olympus Big Shoot experiences). I’m not sure if this is an LCE exclusive but made not pre-ordering one of these cameras very hard. The one in Silver look very nice…… must….not….buy!

When Aiden told me about the strap I instantly recognised it as the one he was using at both of the Olympus training events I had attended. He admitted that he had been test-driving it at these events and that the problem he had with it coming un-done had been re-designed and overcome; but this is why they are tested before being released.

Finally, Aiden and I had a chat about where they see the position of the E-M5-II in relation to the E-M1 as the differences were now very small and in some ways the E-M5-II is now better than their top model. He thinks that the E-M5-II will be positioned as a landscape camera whereas the E-M1 will be the camera needed for any photography where speed is more important. This tends to indicate that the 40MP feature will not be coming to the E-M1, a camera that from what I could ascertain won’t be getting its upgrade until late next year. We’ll have to wait and see what the E-M1- Mark II becomes.

I also asked about the new PRO lenses and whilst Aiden had played with prototypes of the 300mm and the 7-14mm had not seen the fish-eye lens at this time.

As it was my lunch break I couldn’t hang around for too long so after my brief play with the E-M5-II and a conversation with Aiden had to head back to work. :(

Fortunately both he and Damian will both be at the Photography show next month.

Other Olympus announcements

I have already blogged about the OM-D E-M5 Mark II here along with some of my thoughts. Whilst the updated E-M5 was the main news Olympus also announced or pronounced some other photographic goodies too. You can see a few of these at 43rumors here.

7-14mm f2.8 PRO Lens
This is the third PRO designated lens to be released and will complete Olympus’s “Holy Trinity” of f2.8 glass, similar to Nikon’s Holy Trinity (14-24mm, 24-70mm and 70-200mm f2.8), Canon have a similar set as does Sony now for their A7 series cameras. Panasonic have had their 7-14mm lens out for some time now; however it is only f4.0 whereas the Olympus variant is f2.8. The downside to being faster is that that the Olympus lens is much larger and heavier; in fact it’s about the same size as the their 12-40mm f2.8 lens. Even though it is larger than Panasonic lens it is much smaller and lighter than the 35mm “full-frame” f2.8 glass from Canon, Nikon and Sony.

8mm-FE-Lens2

Like the other PRO lenses the 7-14mm is fully weather-selaed as well as dust and freeze proof, it has the clutch mechanism for manual focusing and also sports the lens function button too. The petal lens hood is built in and although it does not internally focus, the bulging lens element does not protrude outside the permitter of the integral lens hood.

There are still no details on pricing and the release date is scheduled for this summer (2015). If the lens is priced competitively I would certainly like to add this to my lens collection but we’ll have to wait and see and to be fair I would rather have another lens that probably won’t be released until the end of 2015 – the 300mm f4.0 PRO lens.

8mm f1.8 Fisheye PRO Lens
This is a new lens addition to the PRO range and until just a few weeks before the announcement was unknown of. Whilst the lens is weather sealed, dust and freeze proof it does not have a lens function button and does not have the manual focus clutch mechanism either. However, this probably isn’t a problem as the depth of field of lenses this wide do mean that you won’t need to adjust the focus much if manually focusing.

7-14mm-Lens

Until recently if you wanted a fish-eye lens for your M43 system you had two real choices. One was Panasonic’s 8mm f3.5 lens which is an expensive lens at £555, this does provide full autofocus and on Olympus bodies is stabilised too. The other option is the Samyang 7.5mm f3.5 fully manual lens – there is not autofocus or metering, the aperture is controlled manually too, this lens is priced rather competitively at £256 and also comes in Silver or Black as required. Now we have a third choice and bearing in mind that this is f1.8 compared to f3.5 I suspect that it will be quite expensive, this lens is also coming this Summer too.

14-150mm f4.0-5.6 Mark II Lens
Olympus also released the second version of their extreme wide to telephoto M.Zuiko lens, this was no surprise as the previous original version had all but disappeared from stockist shelves. The lens will be available soon for £549 (ouch!!!) and is also dust and splash proof too.

m14-150-2_blk_stand

Lens Roadmap
With all of these additional lenses, Olympus had to update their roadmap too:
10_1

OM-D E-M1 v3.0 Firmware update
The final “big” announcement were the details that there would be another firmware update for the OM-D E-M1. Although I welcome anything that improves the performance of the camera I’m not sure that this warrants a major release number of v3.0. The firmware gives the following improvements:

  • 9-fps sequential autofocus on top of the OM-D’s benchmark Dual Fast AF, refocusing for each frame to deliver pin-sharp stills with zero blur
  • Compatibility with the latest version of OI.Share (v2.5), which in turn enables Live View control during video recording via a WiFi-connected smartphone

The upgraded firmware will be available from 24th February 2015 free of charge via the Olympus Digital Camera Updater. The updated Olympus Image Share app (v2.5) was released on 5th February and is already on my iPhone and iPad and now also supports iOS8.

Dot-sight Viewfinder
Olympus released a whole plethora of accessories for the new EM-5 Mark II (like the new flash, battery grip, usual cases, etc) but also an item first seen on their superior compact cameras, the externally mounted (via a hot-shoe) “dot-sight viewfinder:

PDP_EE-1_BLK_open_back

When shooting at full telephoto with a long lens it can be very difficult to ensure that the subject remains in the viewfinder particularly if that subject is in motion such as a bird in flight (or BIF as it is known); this is due to the very narrow field of view of telephoto lenses. This accessory assists in framing when photographing far-away subjects. The brightness and position of the reticle can be adjusted. Because it is powered by a coin-type battery, it can be used when attached to the hot shoe or cold shoe. This accessory has the following features:

  • Dustproof and splashproof dot sight
  • Compatible with any camera with a hot/cold shoe mount
  • Slide lever style opening mechanism
  • Reticle brightness and position can be adjusted
  • Perfect for super telephoto shots of wildlife

What is not known at this time is how this works in conjunction with different telephoto lenses, I will have to wait and see for reviews of the device which still isn’t listed on the Olympus UK site; the only mention is on the Olympus US site. The availability date and UK price are also unknowns at this time too. If this is priced correctly and is truly a useful device I may invest in one.

wrap-up
So after a very quiet time at CES earlier this year Olympus have pre-announced a lot of new stuff for the Japan based CP+ show, this runs from the 12th to the 15th February. There are more than a few items that I am interested in here but I will only invest in an item if it solves a photographic problem that I have, this is something that Moose Peterson preaches and is a rule that I have started to follow.

More Dog Photos

2015-02-08-Dogs-2

Earlier this year I took some photographs of the dogs with a Christmas theme called rather predictably “Christmas Dogs 2014″, you can read that post here. In that post I mentioned that the dogs would be trimmed in February and that I would take a few more photographs of them whilst they looked their best (well their best after 3 days that is).

So after their trim on Thursday I decided to take a few more photographs whilst they still looked decent but this time without the Christmas Theme. I decided I would like to have a photograph of them sitting together and for speed have them on their favourite sofa in the living room; I would then be at the other end of the room with the 40-150mm f2.8 lens on my OM-D E-M1. I went for another simple lighting effect with two Cactus speedlights, one on either side of the dogs bouncing out from umbrellas both at around 1/64 power.

This time I managed to take a meter reading and apply the settings to my E-M1 with the correct ISO and started to try and get pictures of the dogs together which is easier said than done. I picked the wrong time to take their picture as there was too much going on to have them sit for any real length of time on the sofa.

Zara was her usual photogenic self:
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2015-02-08-Dogs-3

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Seska (when she was around) also looked very cute – it’s a small dog thing:
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Eventually I managed to get about 3 shots of them together looking in the general direction of the camera, only two of these had the dogs eyes in focus, one is at the top of the post, the other is at the bottom:
2015-02-08-Dogs-5

The cactus speedlights performed flawlessly with no mis-firing and when fired independently from the trigger worked as required. I just should have taken photographs in the morning when Zara and Seska are a bit less frisky.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II

OM-D E-M5 MkII - Front

After many leaks over the last few weeks, Olympus have finally announced the replacement to the then revolutionary first digital OM camera – the E-M5, this is called the E-M5 MarkII. This helps keep the divisions between the three OM-D cameras.

Whilst a few of the features are simple updates that were first seen in the OM-D E-M1 and the OM-D E-M10, there is a whole lot more to this camera including a few firsts for the mirror-less market.

Ergonomics
It is no secret that I didn’t like the E-M5, I always thought that it was too small, the controls had no logic to them and the buttons on the camera were really spongy. Olympus have fixed the issue and the new buttons are a lot better, the controls are now very similar to the E-M1 that I own and include the mode dial push-button lock, as well as the 1-2 position toggle switch. The two control dials and Fn buttons are very similar to the ones on the E-M1 including the location of the On/Off switch just to the right of the faux pentaprism.

The front grip and rear thumb rest have been redesigned and look like they will allow a firmer and more secure hold of the camera, they have even re-posiitoned the camera strap lugs to make them more useful when a strap is attached.

OM-D E-M5 MkII - Top

The camera still uses the same battery as the E-M1 and the older E-M5 and yeah I like the fact that the battery and memory card compartments are separate.

Video enhancements
The camera now supports many frame rates including 1080/60pp and has a reasonable high 77Mbs throughput, the support for All-I rounds it out nicely. The slightly improved 5 axis image stabiliser can be used during video recording as can focus peaking. This camera puts to shame many of the DSLR cameras on the market today.

One addition I am very happy to see is a fully adjustable vari-angle rear screen – like the Panasonic G/GH series, this is still a touch screen too (Sony take note!). The camera also gains a microphone socket; a headphone socket is absent from the camera but fit the optional HLD-8G grip and then you have one, this allows you to set and monitor the audio whilst recording. It’s nice touches like this that I like Olympus for.

OM-D E-M5 MkII - Back

Olympus have removed the accessory port under the hot-shoe.

Accessory Flash
Like its predecessor and the E-M1, the new E-M5II does not have a built-in flash which given the fact that the E-M10 does is rather strange, I guess Olympus wanted to maintain the sleek lines from the previous OM-1 cameras. However instead of supplying the clip-on flash that comes with the EM-1 and EM-5 a more powerful and better featured FL-LM3 flash is now part of the standard kit. This flash not only has the ability to bounce but it can rotate too and is therefore a much better and useful flash to have.

As the accessory port is no more, Olympus had to find a way of powering the new flash so an extra pin has been added to the hot-shoe making the flash incompatible with any other Olympus camera. Interestingly the pin layout is now identical to Canon’s so any Canon E-TTL lead can be used to take the flash off camera.

1/8000 shutter and 1/16,000 electronic shutter
The camera has had it’s top shutter speed increased to 1/8000 sec just like the E-M1 and also has an electronic shutter that can go as fast as 1/16,000 sec. the electronic shutter is totally silent, the E-M5II also has a new silent drive mode which switches off all of the audible sounds. Rob Pugh is going to love this for weddings and it will be a good street shooting camera too.

Built-in WiFi
I didn’t realise this but the original E-M5 did not have WiFi so adding this ensures that the entire OM-D range now have WiFi and hence the ability to be wirelessly remote controlled; the WiFo also enables the transfer of images too.

40MP exposure mode
I have saved the best for last. The camera has an improved 5-axis sensor stabiliser and one of the features of this is that it can be moved a pixel at time up and down to take multiple shots and combine them into 40MP image; this is substantially higher than the native 16MP resolution of the micro-four-thirds sensor. You can have not only a 40MP JPG but you can have RAW versions too. Because the camera is taking multiple shots the feature is only suitable for static subject matter and you really need to be using a tripod but this is amazing technology – watch the Camera Store TV video as they demonstrate the feature.

Pricing and availability
The OM-D E-M5 is being released at £899 body only and two lens kits are being offered , one with the 12-50mm lens and one with the 12-40mm f2.8 lens. All kits and bodies are available in Black and Silver. The camera should be available in early March and there is a pre-order offer on that gets you a free Olympus messenger bag and free 5 1/2 year warranty if you pre-order before 1st March.

My thoughts
I have not handled the E-M5 yet and it seems that I’ll have to wait a few weeks before they are available in the UK. It may be that I have to wait until this year’s Photography Show at the NEC in mid-March before I can handle one.

From what I can gather from the videos, photos and documentation and previews out there this is very desirable camera and it has a lot of features that are not present on my E-M1, however my E-M1 still has a better focusing system and a faster frames per second rate. I also like the native size of the E-M1, the new E-M5II may still need a grip to work nicely in my hands – this is where physically handling the camera is needed to see if the size of this camera is just right for me. I could see me adding the new OM-D (most likely in silver) to my kit as a second body, I would like a better video camera and the 40MP feature would be fun to use.

The jury is still out on the image quality for RAW photographs and we now await Abode to update Lightroom.

I have one problem and this is one that Olympus need to fix and that is the price, the body is now the same price as the E-M1 body (at least in LCE it is), so when it comes to getting my second body I will have a tough time making a decision.

Details and Reviews
You can find more detail at the UK Olympus site: http://www.olympus.co.uk/site/en/c/cameras/om_d_system_cameras/om_d/e_m5_mark_ii/index.html

DPReview already have the first look preview that can be read here: http://www.dpreview.com/previews/olympus-om-d-e-m5-ii

And there is a lot of information out there at all of the other sites too – it looks like Olympus know how to treat their pros as well as the review sites.

Olympus also announced a new PRO fisheye lens, a firmware update for my E-M1 as well as a few other nice items. Hopefully I’ll write a post about them in a few days time.

I’ll finish this post with three Youtube videos, one from The Camera Store and a couple from Jamie McDonald who is an Olympus Trailblazer in the US:

Camera Store:

Jamie McDonald’s Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II HANDS ON! (first look):

Jamie McDonald’s Menu Walkthrough:

Updating the firmware on Cactus devices

I have been meaning to write this post for a few months but for one reason or other I never got round to it. However after using the RF60 speedlights and the V6 transceiver in a real-world(ish) situation over the last couple of days I decided that enough was enough I was going to update the firmware and document the process too since there was no a lot of detail out there.

You can access the Cactus firmware update software and the latest manuals at the following website: http://cactus-image.com/downloads.html. Downloading the software is as easy as clicking the appropriate link; both the flash and transceiver update software links download the same software:

Cactus-Downlaod-Page

I also thought that the situation has been made easier than before since Cactus have now created a Mac version of the updater software; currently this is at version 1.01 (the PC version is v1.13) and although it works with Mac OS X Mavericks, it does not work with Yosemite, you can read about this by clicking here. I found out the hard way by downloading the software on my Mac and then getting an error about the file being corrupt.

Fortunately, I also have access to a Windows 8.1 PC in the house too. After downloading and installing the software (simply running a single setup.exe file) seemed to work but it would never recognise that the flash gun nor the transceiver when plugged in via a USB cable. A quick read over the FAQ revealed that the badly written software had to be installed in a very specific way, you can read the FAQ here. However someone on YouTube (called “Dyeless”) has created a good video that shows you the process of installing the software visually. If you have Windows 8 I recommend that you watch the video:

So after successfully installing the software correctly I went onto getting the latest firmware onto my RF60 speed lights and the V6 Transceiver.

The Process for the v6 transceiver:
The V6 transceiver has a mini-USB port that allow you to connect them to a computer via a suitable USB (computer end) to mini-USB (V6 end) cable, when using suitable updating software you can upload various bug-fixes and new features too.

To check the firmware version of the V6 you need to press and hold down the “A” and “D” buttons and whilst holding them down then switch on the V6 in TX or RX mode. The LCD display will then show you the current firmware version that is installed. The LCD display will return to the main screen after 3 seconds.

My v6 Transceiver’s firmware version was v1.0.156 which is 10 versions behind the most recent version 1.1.007

Run the Cactus updater software, it should have an icon like this: Cactus-Icon

The software is very simple and looks like this when running, you will note the complete lack of any proper Windows conventions, I assume that the Mac version looks very similar if or when they update it to support Yosemite:
Cactus-Screen1

Make sure that you V6 transceiver is switched off and then remove the two batteries; I’m not sure why but the manual does have lots of warnings about plugging this in with the batteries connected. Remove the cover over the mini-USB port and connect this to the a mini-USB end of the USB cable to this, connect the other end to the computer.

You now need to press and hold the “menu” button on the V6 and then switch it on in Tx or Rx mode (it doesn’t matter which), the Windows computer I was using made the familiar doo-doo noise that means that the computer has detected something plugged into the computer. The Menu button can now be released; the V6 is now in firmware update mode. The status LED at the rear of the V6 blinks in red rapidly and the computer screen will now look something like this:

Cactus-Screen2

Click on the “Check for Latest Firmware” button. you will be presented with a list of firmware choices:
Cactus-Screen3

The most recent or latest version is at the top of the list. In this case it is v1.1.007 that was released on 18th December 2014; click on the “SELECT” button to the right of the date. This firmware will download to the computer, in this case it was the version suggested when the V6 was first plugged in.

Click on the “UPDATE” button to transfer the firmware update to the V6, this only takes a few seconds:
Cactus-Screen5

Once the software has been installed onto the V6 all of the LED channel lights and the display will light up, you can switch the V6 off and disconnect it. I recommend that you run the firmware check again to ensure that the latest version has indeed installed (one you have refitted the two AA batteries).

The firmware update will set the V6 back to factory defaults so you will need to change anything you set previously. For me this was the EV setting to 1/3 stops to match the OM-D and also enabling the Zoom/Power change toggle mode too.

The Process for the RF60 Speedlights:
Like the the V6 transceiver, the RF60 speedlights also have mini-USB ports too and they can use the same software to have their firmware updated.

To check the firmware version of the RF60 you need to press and hold down the “Next” button and whilst holding this down then switch on the RF60. The LCD display will then show you the current firmware version that is installed. The LCD display will return to the main screen after 3 seconds.

Both of the RF60 speed lights were only 1 version out of date, version 123 when the latest is v124

Before you can update the firmware on the RF60 speedlight, you will need to remove the 4 AA batteries first and unlike the V6 the flash unit will be recognised as soon as you connect the unit to the computer.

Assuming that the software is already running on the computer, when you connect the RF60 the screen will look similar to the one below:
Cactus-Screen7

Click the “Check for latest firmware” button and you will be presented with a list of available firmware choices for the RF60 speedlight, select the most recent which in this case is v124 dated 21st July 2014:
Cactus-Screen6

Click the “SELECT” button to download this to the computer. If this is the version you are downloading there is a discrepancy in the date on the next screen, here it shows a date of 8th December 2014? The version is however the same, i.e. V124. Click the “UPDATE” button to install the firmware onto you RF60 speedlight.

Cactus-Screen8

Once the software has been installed, the software will display this screen and the entire display on the RF60 will illuminate and it will simultaneously beep three times:
Cactus-Screen9

The firmware installation on the RF60 is now complete, unplug the speedlight, install the batteries and ensure that the firmware is now the latest version (v124), you will also need to perform the same process on any other RF60 units you may have.

Did it fix my issues?
In a word “no”! But it seems that whilst one of the RF60 speedlights is always OK the second one sometimes needs to think about any changes you make. I have found a way to make it work, but it’s more of a work-around than a proper cure. I will have to keep on eye on it and see if a firmware fix comes out for it. Unfortunately I have had the speedlight for a couple of months now and sending it back would be a pain as I’m not sure if there is a UK based place to send it to.