Sony Cameras Get Firmware For C2PA And New Workflow Features

Several key Sony mirrorless cameras are getting a cascade of updates that improve their shooting functionality, and workflow and add C2PA compliance.

Sony claims that its “highly anticipated” firmware updates are coming to the brand’s flagship Alpha 1 camera and also to the Alpha 7S III, Alpha 7 IV and Alpha 9 III cameras.

Respectively, these firmware downloads are numbered ver. 2.00 and ver. 3.00. Firmware version 2.00 will be going to toe Alpha 1 and Alpha 9 III (As of April 2024), and version 3.00 will be going to the A7S III and A7 IV cameras.

Both of these updates will add key pieces of workflow and shooting function to the above cameras.

They’ll also add in Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity’s technical standard for content authenticity, or C2PA.

Two illustrated scenarios of photo verification, with one labeled as an example of 3d image verification and the other labeled as fake.

For those of you who don’t know what this means, the C2PA standard is a firmware (and in some cases hardware level) content authenticity tool designed to ensure the genuine provenance of photos as real images that haven’t been modified by fakery and AI manipulation.

Other camera brands that have joined the same initiative include Canon, Nikon and Leica among others.

Leica in particular has even gone as far as to implement the same technology via hardware to at least one of its camera models. Other brands have pledged to do so via firmware, as is the case with Sony now.

More immediately and practically useful are the other features that come with Sony’s new firmware updates.

These include new shooting functions, better post-shoot workflow and more advanced video recording features. One of these, for example, is breathing compensation.

Sony is also adding new remote control capabilities to the cameras mentioned above and expanded Sony cloud services applications too.

According to Yang Cheng, VP of Imaging Solutions at Sony Electronics,

“There is nothing more core to our mission than listening to the voices of the photographers, videographers, and filmmakers who shoot with Sony Alpha cameras. We know this community has been asking for these updates, and we’re happy to deliver. Each of these updates are designed to promote ease of use for our creators and allow them to maximize the strengths of their cameras,”

A person holding a sony mirrorless camera with a flip-out screen extended.A person holding a sony mirrorless camera with a flip-out screen extended.

Specifically, the functionality and performance updates from the new firmware for the above-listed Sony cameras include the following:

  • Relay Playback: For seamless sequential playback from one memory card slot to another on the Alpha 1, Alpha 7S III, and Alpha 9 III.
  • Playback Filter Condition: For letting users categorize image playback based on select criteria including date, folder, file format, and more on the Alpha 1 and Alpha 7S III
  • Breathing Compensation:  Breathing Compensation is now available on the Alpha 1 and Alpha 7S III.
  • Upgrade DCI 4K / 24.00p Upgrade License on Alpha 7S III: via a free downloadable license through Creators’ Cloud.
  • Sync Release function: For simultaneous shutter release with two or more multiple cameras connected to the main camera on the Alpha 1 and Alpha 9 III.
  • Focus frame display: Focus frame will be displayed on the Remote Camera Tool screen on the Alpha 1 and Alpha 9 III. ​
  • Enhanced image stabilization: The camera body and lens effectively work together to correct larger blurs on the Alpha 1.
  • Increased upper limit of recordable images in a folder from 4,000 to 9,999 on the Alpha 1, Alpha 7S III, A7 IV, and Alpha 9 III.
  • Matching the time code with other devices is also available through a dedicated, separately sold adapter cable for the Alpha 1 and Alpha 7S III.
  • 20 IPTC presets for the Alpha 1 and Alpha 7S III.

For post-production, the firmware updates add File Transfer Protocol (FTP) transfer usability and better overall cloud upload functions that let users send their images directly to Sony’s Creator’s Cloud.

In the case of the Alpha 7 IV, users can even enjoy network streaming of live content directly to streaming websites.

Owners of any of these cameras can download their respective firmware updates for the specific features they unlock from these links:

Sony A1 Firmware update

Sony A7S III Firmware update

Sony A7 IV Firmware update

Again, the firmware update (v.2.00) for the Sony A9 III will be available as of April.

As for the details of the C2PA updates that the new firmware is bringing to these cameras, Imaging Solutions VP Yang Cheng states,

“We’re especially pleased to deliver C2PA compliancy with this update. This compliancy paired with our unique digital signature technology, allows us to offer the most secure and comprehensive solution to protect professional photographers, news agencies, and society from manipulated imagery.”

Since last year, Sony has claimed to be on board with the C2PA initiative.

This joint project by the Content Authenticity Initiative is being spearheaded by Adobe in an effort to fight manipulated imagery and AI-generated deep fakes in photography.

With C2PA, cameras can create a chain on evidence for photos taken with them to demonstrate that the images in question are fully authentic and of genuine manipulation-free provenance.

With the addition of C2PA via the above firmware updates, photos taken with these cameras can be certified for authenticity from capture to publication.

Most of the camera brands that have joined up to C2PA deliver their digital signature technology to their cameras via firmware.

Leica has taken things even further by introducing the authenticity standard via hardware to one of its newer cameras, the M11-P.

According to the Content Authenticity Initiative, camera makers can implement C2PA support in different ways. It can be done via dedicated chip technology as Leica did with the M11-P, or it can involve firmware updates.

In Sony’s case, the company is implementing in-camera digital signature technology for certifying the authenticity of images in real-time in select cameras from the brand.

Diagram explaining sony's camera authenticity solution, featuring steps for shooting, editing, and validating photos with a focus on c2pa-compliant workflow.Diagram explaining sony's camera authenticity solution, featuring steps for shooting, editing, and validating photos with a focus on c2pa-compliant workflow.

As Sony explains, this digital signature technology gives a photo a “digital birth certificate” that it will indelibly keep despite multiple revisions down the line.

Inside this signature is metadata and even 3D-depth information taken from a Sony camera’s sensor. The purpose of this 3D information is to show that an image truly was taken of a 3D object in real time.

Another aspect of Sony’s C2PA-related digital signature technology is what the company calls an Image Validation Site.

This lets an image be verified with C2PA-compliant editing software even after the photo has been edited by other means. Again, this also helps verify a photo’s authenticity.

Sony claims that this latter service will first be offered to select new media agencies and expand from there later.

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