It seems Canon is quietly updating firmware on multiple EOS R cameras. The first camera to be updated was the Canon EOS R6 Mark II, as we reported a new version 1.1.4 being installed on customer cameras earlier this month.

Now we have reports that the Canon EOS R5 is returning from service with firmware v1.8.2. The current downloadable firmware version is 1.8.1, which was made available in March, 2023.

We have seen this happen before, but once these reports start rolling out, historically, an update soon becomes available for download. That's not the case here, as the updated EOS R6 Mark II still hasn't received a downloadable update.

We don't know what these firmware updates are addressing, or why these versions haven't been made available for download.

If we had to guess, and we could be wrong. They're fixing a bug that exists in both cameras, but its not widespread enough to release the firmware to the masses, and they continue to work on other things for a new firmware version coming in the future.

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18 comments

  1. Quite strange, interesting and unknown behaviour from Canon with these FWs.
    I really would like to know the strategy behind it.
    If I had to guess, two reasons come to my mind:
    1. Slightly different internal HW design needing an adapted FW (e.g. a different IC on the main board needing different code).
      That wouldn't be necessary for older cameras.
    2. I hope they're not using new customers as limited number "beta testers" before giving that FW to download.
    I suppose we'll never know...
  2. I hope they're not using new customers as limited number "beta testers" before giving that FW to download.

    It is common practice to do a staged release like that. For example, Microsoft doesn’t offer major feature releases of Windows to everyone at once (as distinct from security updates). Given the several instances of Canon sending out bad firmware, it would certainly better to have the damage limited to users whose contact details you have. If the firmware does brick the camera, it’s already with Canon:D.
  3. I hope they're not using new customers as limited number "beta testers" before giving that FW to download.
    I suppose we'll never know...

    Why the concern? What is exactly wrong with releasing it to a controlled batch of cameras that canon is exactly aware of which ones have there newer fw, vs giving it to the masses to download with zero knowledge of who installed it? What would you suggest?
  4. Quite strange, interesting and unknown behaviour from Canon with these FWs.
    IIRC, such behavior was reported on this site in the past.
    I really would like to know the strategy behind it.
    If I had to guess, two reasons come to my mind:
    1. Slightly different internal HW design needing an adapted FW (e.g. a different IC on the main board needing different code).
      That wouldn't be necessary for older cameras.
    Canon has made silent changes to lenses, but I doubt it. A camera sells for a shorter time, and has more firmware. If the firmware has to take the different IC into account, any future firmware release would require Canon to at least test future firmware on cameras with both new & old ICs.
    1. I hope they're not using new customers as limited number "beta testers" before giving that FW to download.
    As hollybush noted, it's probably a staged release. Stable release might have bugs as well, so software is released to a small audience, and if nobody comes back screaming, it's released to the public at large.
  5. Quite strange, interesting and unknown behaviour from Canon with these FWs.
    I really would like to know the strategy behind it.
    If I had to guess, two reasons come to my mind:
    1. Slightly different internal HW design needing an adapted FW (e.g. a different IC on the main board needing different code).
      That wouldn't be necessary for older cameras.
    2. I hope they're not using new customers as limited number "beta testers" before giving that FW to download.
    I suppose we'll never know...
    If someone brings a camera in with a problem that the firmware fixes then I imagine they have to install it.
  6. Why the concern? What is exactly wrong with releasing it to a controlled batch of cameras that canon is exactly aware of which ones have there newer fw, vs giving it to the masses to download with zero knowledge of who installed it? What would you suggest?
    Changing the operation of a tool that many use for work without telling the user is concerning. Many users deliberately hold back on firmware updates to favour known stable function.
  7. Changing the operation of a tool that many use for work without telling the user is concerning. Many users deliberately hold back on firmware updates to favour known stable function.
    I've taken my camera for service at Canon in their site in Ginza. They ask you a LOT of questions about what to do and not to do. I had the latest firmware so they didn't ask me about upgrades but I imagine they would if one was available. As you say, people hate things being upgraded without notice.

    (I had a fingerprint on my sensor--first time since switching to digital in 2002. Their service fee cleans one camera and one lens as a package. Interestingly, with appointment they give you one-hour service but they only give as many appointments per hour as they have service staff. You can just walk in and maybe get the one-hour, but due to my luck it'd be 4 hours. There's no way I can kill that much time in that part of Tokyo, and I didn't want to make a second trip. Mailing the camera back was free though, so that's what I had them do.)
  8. I've worked in a manufacturer where we prepared software releases for our goods. I'll add one more theory to the two suggested so far:

    1. a staged rollout of the upgrade, so they can beta-test with a larger group. This is VERY common.

    2. it may be that the users getting the upgrade had a problem they need the upgrade to fix??

    3. (my contribution) companies often have policies about how often they want to offer upgrades for any given product. The web team might agree to do 4 upgrades per year for each product--and then hire a number of staff that lets them do that. That number may also feed into decisions about whether to do such updates mostly by hand or take time to write automated scripts and so on. Even if the upgrade is changing a single letter of a single menu entry it could be a couple man-days to write a new cut of the documentation for the upgrade, put the upgrade on the QA test system, let them test it, then put the same new files on all the Canon web sites around the world. You may also need translations, etc. You may also need legal to sign off on published docs, and so on. It sounds like annoying bureaucracy but if you put yourself in the shoes of the manager of the websites it suddenly starts to make sense.
  9. Changing the operation of a tool that many use for work without telling the user is concerning. Many users deliberately hold back on firmware updates to favour known stable function.
    Yeah but in this case I agree with the written article. It's probably being used to address a bug that the customer sent the camera in for in the first place. So it literally is the fix, and not just being done frivously.
  10. Does every repair come back with the latest FW release? I can understand it from a certain perspective but the user may (for whatever reason) prefer a previous version.
    Would Canon save a settings file and then reload it after upgrading? Would it be true that a setting file is specific to a FW release and may not be compatible with an upgraded FW version?
  11. I've taken my camera for service at Canon in their site in Ginza. They ask you a LOT of questions about what to do and not to do. I had the latest firmware so they didn't ask me about upgrades but I imagine they would if one was available. As you say, people hate things being upgraded without notice.

    (I had a fingerprint on my sensor--first time since switching to digital in 2002. Their service fee cleans one camera and one lens as a package. Interestingly, with appointment they give you one-hour service but they only give as many appointments per hour as they have service staff. You can just walk in and maybe get the one-hour, but due to my luck it'd be 4 hours. There's no way I can kill that much time in that part of Tokyo, and I didn't want to make a second trip. Mailing the camera back was free though, so that's what I had them do.)
    Do you remember any of the questions?
  12. Do you remember any of the questions?
    Sorry, no! Maybe I misremember the actual number of questions and what I'm really remembering is how much time and effort it took to just give them the camera. They labelled and bagged the battery, the lens cap, the hood, made me remove the Arca Swiss quick-release plate, etc. etc., sign multiple things like this that I'm sure all owed their existence to some problem at some time in the distant past.
  13. Maybe one of the forms was agreeing to install firmware?
    I'm sure that they checked the firmware revision in the camera, and that I was on the latest. Because of that they wouldn't have needed to do an authorization to upgrade the firmware with me. It's possible they gave me an authorization to sign that wouldn't do anything; I doubt I'd remember that.
  14. Changing the operation of a tool that many use for work without telling the user is concerning. Many users deliberately hold back on firmware updates to favour known stable function.
    Or the firmware is being used to fix the problem the camera was sent in to service.
  15. Does every repair come back with the latest FW release? I can understand it from a certain perspective but the user may (for whatever reason) prefer a previous version.
    Would Canon save a settings file and then reload it after upgrading? Would it be true that a setting file is specific to a FW release and may not be compatible with an upgraded FW version?
    I sent an R3 to the Canon Factory Service Center in Newport News, Virginia twice this year. Both times the camera was returned with factory settings. There was no change to the firmware since the camera had the latest firmware before the service. So save the settings to a card and also note the settings in a text file just in case the settings file fails to load.

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