4.03.2021

That eerie feeling when your recently purchased camera starts messing up, freezing and shutting down. But deep down it's really ALL YOUR FAULT.

Breathing a sigh of relief because the sign doesn't say, 
"See Good....." 

I was looking forward to a nice walk all morning. When the opportunity presented itself I grabbed the Leica SL (the older model, not the new one...), put the Sigma Contemporary 45mm f2.8 lens on it and headed out. The camera and the lens are both products of the L mount alliance so I never thought twice about compatibility I just assumed they'd work together flawlessly.

I was twenty minutes and maybe 15 frames into the walk when the camera started acting up. I'd bring the camera up to my eye to shoot only to find nothing in the finder and a frozen image of something random; like the sidewalk, in a state of infinite review on my rear LCD. I figured it was a one time glitch and pulled the battery, waited ten seconds, re-inserted the battery and kept on walking. I'd take five or six frames and everything would be okay but if I went to turn off the camera that would cause it to take another random frame and then freeze. Very frustrating. 

After I got to the halfway point the camera didn't seem to be getting any better so I went for the full Monty and did a full reset. But after ten minutes or so it became obvious that the reset was NOT going to fix the issue. I finished the walk and headed home to do some troubleshooting but I had the feeling that I'd be sending this perfectly beautiful camera back to the dealer and take advantage of their 30 day warranty. Sadly....

When I got back to the studio I did a quick Google search for: "Is the Sigma 45mm f2.8 incompatible with the Leica SL?" I instantly got links that all said the same thing. And that was that the original firmware in the lens caused an erroneous reading of battery levels in both the SL and the SL2. You could mount the lenses and they would work in a fashion but here was a known fault. A rent in the L-mount armor. 

I checked the firmware in both of my copies of the Sigma 45mm f2.8 lens. One was parked at 1.0 and the other was mildly updated to 1.1. The current software for the lens is 1.3. I downloaded the latest software and updated both lenses. Now they work flawlessly with both Leicas. 

But it illuminated my blind spots for me. I'm pretty quick to update the firmware in cameras because it usually fixes an obvious fault or, on the other hand, adds some new feature I'd really like. But I never have kept up with firmware evolution for my lenses. It just didn't seem vital.

I am now a new convert to lens firmware enhancement as often as I can get it. Both lenses work charmingly well and I no longer have to harbor doubts and insecurities about what is quickly becoming my favorite camera. At least my favorite camera of the week. 

The moral of the story is to make sure all your firmware is up to date before you start pointing troubleshooting fingers at your gear. It may be that you are the limiting factor in your system's overall performance. And it's crazy not to stay up to date since the cost is zero and the time commitment is minutes, not hours or days. 

Do I like the Sigma 45 on the SL? You betcha.

Yeah. So the 45mm is pretty awesome when you shoot it at f5.6 in the 
middle distances. Not at all "soft." 

My mannequin girlfriend changed outfits and I know she wanted 
me to document the new look. I even found and angle that 
allows me to selfie the whole thing at the same time. 







That's all folks.

 

13 comments:

Rich said...

Sometimes, Kirk, your pix "sing" to me. & today they don't

Unknown said...

Live and learn. Really like the b&w treatment. That camera and lens really get along well.

Kirk Tuck, Photographer/Writer said...

Gee Rich, That stings like a thousand wasp stings rubbed with salt and lemon juice. I guess I should throw in the towel and learn to play shuffle board. I'm crediting your account for today's work. I hope the writing was at least passable....

David Enzel said...

A nice post, Kirk. I always forget to check for firmware updates for lenses. I even forget that lenses now have firmware, I have a brand new Canon zoom lens and they just updated the firmware to add manual focus. I did the update :).

TMJ said...

The combo does B&W well.

I normally update firmware only when I have to as I don't need any more door stops if it goes wrong.

Rich said...

your writing is always good; you are after all my fav blogger. But you know I seldom appreciate B&W. LOVE your portraits always

Michael Matthews said...

That’s pretty amazing, capturing detail in the blazing reflection from the top of the Frost Tower while maintaining the soft shadows on the pedestrian sign lower left. Ah, for another Smugmug gallery, this time featuring black and whites. I’m sensing a bit of a Ming Thein vibe in the even more impressive shot of the building highlight paired with the traffic signal. Too bad about the building lower right. I can clone that out with my hand as I look at it on my iPad. Maybe if you carried an 8-foot ladder with you on your walks about town.....

Craig Yuill said...

Not trying to take a shot at anyone here, but I really like your B&W photos today. Honest!

Kirk Tuck, Photographer/Writer said...

Thanks Craig! It's all good. A little good-natured push back is always healthy. And, actually, appreciated.

Ronman said...

I'm liking these B&W images you've been dabbling with. Sometimes there's nothing quite like a simple tonal contrast to create a favorable vibe. And I just checked for firmware updates on my lenses..... I'm good. Thanks for the reminder.

Anonymous said...

I always update camera firmware -- but was not aware that it is possible to update lens firmware. So -- how do you update lens firmware?

DavidB

Greg Heins said...

I have ALWAYS been "the limiting factor in [my] system's overall performance."

Kirk Tuck, Photographer/Writer said...

David B,

If you are familiar with upgrading the camera body firmware it's pretty much the same. Go to the firmware update site and search for your lens to see if there's anything available. Download the file to your computer. The format a card in the camera you'll be using to do the update > drag the file into the top level of the memory card; don't put it in any folder! > put the card in the camera with the lens mounted on the camera. > go thru the firmware update procedure and the camera should show you the option to update the lens firmware. > Follow the usual instructions. It helps if the lens and camera are made by the same company. In the L-mount alliance system I can upgrade in Sigma, Leica or Panasonic cameras as long as they are L-mount and the lens is mounted on the camera I'm using to do the update. Hope you have success. Sometimes makers fine-tune accurate AF, increase overall focusing speed or just make them more reliable (as in the case I wrote about here).

Best, KT