Be Careful Lumix Lens Firmware Updates On Olympus Bodies
One of the many benefits we have shooting the Micro Four Thirds system is the ability to mix and match our lenses with either Lumix or Olympus camera bodies. That can be a convenient option but unfortunately it has a downside.
Both Olympus and Panasonic have been very active at keeping their respective camera and lenses updated with improved software and firmware. That’s a huge plus since we all get new features that at one time would have required the user to buy an entirely new camera. But the danger of getting those firmware updates installed, when it’s an Olympus body to Lumix lens, is what this post is all about.
Panasonic’s firmware update process allows us to download the newest firmware updates directly to our computers. Once we download the file, we can then place that file on the SD card which we then insert into the camera and install with the menu update process. Doing it this way allows the file to be downloaded in full before we install it into our cameras or lenses. The video below was shot using the Lumix GH4 with the Olympus 40-150mm zoom.
Olympus has a different process which requires your camera be connected to your computer via a USB cable. The file is then downloaded from the Internet and imported directly into the camera, as it’s being downloaded from the Internet. Unfortunately, this can be very dangerous, since, if the Internet connection stops, for even a split second, which we’ve all experienced, the downloaded file can become corrupt or create corruption.
There are numerous posts across the web of photographers having their connection die while downloading a firmware update for Olympus. Several photographers that experienced this issue find that often their camera or lenses are damaged to the point of needing repair. The reason for this post was an email I recently received from an Olympus user that experienced firsthand this frustrating issue. I’ve copied his email below:
Hello Daniel, I found your email in the Blog regarding Panasonic lens firmware. I need some help. I own OM1 Mark II with Panasonic lens 12-35. I upgraded the firmware on the Oly with the lens. At the end, the camera is working fine, however, the lens doesn’t work. I tried it on different camera but the lens doesn’t work. Black display black viewfinder. Any suggestion?
I emailed one of my contacts at Panasonic, the US Lumix head engineer, to see if there was anything we could offer. Unfortunately, the response was basically the lens will need to be repaired. Here is the exact quote, “Oly updates firmware via an Internet connection. During that process, if the Internet connection is lost or interrupted, the update will not be installed correctly. It “bricks” the lens – the memory board in the lens usually needs to be replaced.”
So the moral of this story is be very careful when updating a Lumix lens via the Olympus camera body updater process. There are many great reasons to shoot all or mostly all Panasonic lenses and bodies. The difference in how each camera company issues their firmware updates might just be enough to make you choose one brand over the other. Obviously, you would have to decide how important this difference is. I love the fact we can mix and match cameras and lenses but nothing is ever perfect. Just an FYI.