Sony Releases Major Firmware for a1, a7S III, a7 IV & a9 III


Teased during the a9 III launch was that some major functions were slated to come to Sony’s other mirrorless cameras via firmware updates in the near future. That future has arrived with today’s official release of firmware V2.00 for the a1, V3.00 for the a7S III, and V3.0 for the a7 IV along with the imminent release of V2.00 for the a9 III after April. There are a ton of new and upgraded functions coming to all these cameras, though some of the highlights include the implementation of content authenticity technology, upgraded remote control functions, and enhanced SDK support.

Flagship a1 Receives Massive V2.00 Update

Still holding on to its title as the flagship mirrorless in Sony’s stable, the a1 is receiving its first major firmware update with V2.00. This list of updates is massive. We are going to have to break this down into many sections to get a better handle of everything that has changed.

Content Authenticity/Digital Signature Upgrade License

The past few months have shown us that image manipulation is so commonplace and easy that we basically can’t trust any photo we see. The Content Authenticity Initiative is trying to help solve this problem and bring trustworthiness and authenticity back to photography though the use of verifiable metadata. This update brings a Digital Signature Upgrade License that unlocks a C2PA-compliant workflow with select cameras.

What is the Content Authenticity Initiative? What about a C2PA-compliant workflow? Well, I would highly encourage you check out this article from the Leica M11-P announcement that covers the CAI in depth

A quick summary is that it uses advanced, encrypted metadata that is signed by the camera at the point of image creation, is retained and holds a history of editing history in C2PA-compliant software (e.g. Adobe Photoshop), and then can be independently verified with image validation tools. In theory, this information can’t be faked and therefore should tell users the provenance and history of the image and show that it hasn’t been manipulated in a way that is misleading.

While Sony is beginning to unlock the function via a Digital Signature License Upgrade on all four cameras mentioned they are still implementing it in a closed beta right now with a limited number of contracted agencies and professional photographers. The benefits should become apparent to all as we start to see newsworthy images with a verification signature.

Movie Features

We aren’t going to see hugely enhanced functions when it comes to video—the a1 already has class-leading features—but there are some very nice-to-have features on the way.

  • Saving lens model name as MP4 metadata
  • Cam ID and Reel No. support for playback
  • 4K 30p support for UVC streaming
  • Shot mark function
  • Breathing compensation
  • Subject recognition frame display
  • Timecode sync

The breathing compensation, timecode sync, and 4K 30p UVC streaming are of particular note.

Shooting Functions

This section covers a ton of new functions and usability enhancements coming to the a1:

  • Relay playback of images in multiple media
  • Playback setting of multiple media
  • Select copy between memory cards
  • Addition of [Playback Filter Condition]
  • Improvement in [Display as Group]
  • Preset Focus/Zoom function
  • Remote release with electronic shutter
  • EVF ON regardless of rear LCD position
  • Max number of images in a folder

Remote Control & Post-Shooting Workflow

Remote control functions have been improved in this update with a sync release function, focus frame display, serial number display, and IPTC preset remote settings (up to 20).

The V2.00 update also adds Auto FTP transfer setting options and SFTP support. Other existing features coming to the a1 include restart of Auto FTP, rating during FTP transfer, and support of the WPA3 Wi-Fi security standard.

Creators App, SDK, and B2B Services

Sony has revamped their mobile app with the Creators app that provide new and improved functionality for their mirrorless cameras. Among the bigger changes coming with the app improvements are the ability to upload directly from the camera to the cloud and enterprise support.

Their Software Development Kit (SDK) for more niche applications is now unlocking entire menu control, key control, and screen capture. Also, users can make use of the paid custom grid line license.

That is an extensive list of upgrades and is a true V2.00 update.

Download Sony a1 Firmware V2.00

DCI 4K & True 24.00 fps Comes to the a7S III with V3.00

The video powerhouse that is the a7S III receives a similar slate of features as the a1. However, it has one unique feature that will appeal to videographers and filmmakers—DCI 4K and true 24.00 fps. Already seen in the FX3 and FX30, the a7S III seemed to be falling behind. Now, via the free DCI 4K / 24.00p Upgrade License this videographer’s favorite is reclaiming its place in the conversation.

Other video changes include saving lens name as MP4 metadata, an Cam ID and Reel No. For playback.

It gains a smattering of features that were brought out first in the a1, including having the shutter close when the camera is powered off the protect the sensor, additional front and rear dial customization, the ability to create a folder name with any characters, force reset of the file number, and transfer of raw images to a smartphone.

Beyond these changes the full change list for V3.00 is very similar to the a1’s update mentioned above. Check out the a1’s section for a full overview of the a7S III’s changes. The only exception is that the a7S III is not getting the 4K 30p UVC streaming capabilities as the a1.

Download Sony a7S III Firmware V3.00

a7 IV Receives Modest Changes in V3.00

Certainly not as long or flashy a list of upgrades, the a7 IV V3.00 update is still worthwhile for photographers and filmmakers who picked up Sony’s so-called “base” model. It is getting some flagship functionality with the addition of the same Content Authenticity verification technology with C2PA compliance and Creators’ App support. 

Beyond that is a small list of features we have already covered in the other camera’s updates:

  • Network streaming
  • Cloud upload direct from the camera
  • Saving lens model name to MP4 metadata
  • Cam ID and Reel No. support for playback
  • SDK & B2B enhancements with entire menu control, key control and screen capture, and custom grid license support

Download Sony a7 IV Firmware V3.0

a9 III V2.00 Unlocks Even More Potential

Even though the camera just started shipping a few weeks ago, the a9 III is getting its first major firmware update after April. Many of these functions are being added to other cameras mentioned today, the a9 III V2.00 firmware has the distinction of unlocking even more potential of its revolutionary full-frame global shutter sensor—including the ability to shoot continuously at the maximum shutter speed of 1/80,000 second.

Compared to the a1 and a7S III, the a9 III V2.00 update is not as extensive. Part of the reason for that is simply that the a9 III is newer and came already loaded with many of these functions. There are some other functions that are being added that bring all these cameras in line, such as Auto FTP transfer settings, updated SDK support, Content Authenticity, and more. One interesting note is that the movie shooting function does have a distinct addition for the a9 III alone in that you can extract still images from a movie now. Don’t worry, the a9 III has all the same goodies as the a1 with this update and then some of its own tricks on top of that.

The a1, a7S III, and a7 IV firmware updates are available to download now while the a9 III is coming after April.

What do you think about these major firmware updates? Let us know in the Comments, below!