Based on feedback from large photo organizations, news photojournalists, and so on, Canon has delivered a significant firmware upgrade for the EOS-1D X Mark II camera. Firmware upgrade version 1.1 clearly targets professional users and organizations, but as you’ll see, some of these features may be useful to individual working pros or even serious photography enthusiasts. The new firmware is now available for download here under the "Firmware" tab. We’ll examine what’s new in this firmware upgrade in this article.
This new upgrade (version 1.1) addresses specific issues that professional news and photojournalism organizations have brought to Canon’s attention — we understand that not all of these will be important in more ordinary, everyday use to individual photographers. That said, the changes and new features that this firmware adds to the EOS-1D X Mark II camera are the ability to:
- Install up to 39 items of IPTC information into the camera, and to add data (or deliberately not apply it) to images you take
- Add set-up information for up to 40 new Wi-Fi® networks to a memory card, and load that data as a full set of possible Wi-Fi networks to select from for connection
- Transfer only “protected” images via Wi-Fi
- Retain GPS position data: Continue to apply last known GPS location information to images subsequently taken, even if GPS connection is lost (photographer went inside a building, etc.)
- Change LCD color tone (four pre-defined settings), to either approximate display from other cameras you’re working with, or to shift color tone based on ambient lighting as the LCD monitor is being used
The aim of these changes is to enhance a professional photographer’s workflow; improve on-location network and Wi-Fi operations (especially for photographers working at large events, with many Wi-Fi networks in simultaneous operation); and to smooth the process of transferring images and managing them with new embedded metadata. We’ll take a brief look at each, to shed some light on what changes and potential applications have been implemented.
Keep in mind that the EOS-1D X Mark II differs from other Canon EOS models in that it not only permits network communication and transfer of images via Wi-Fi (using the optional WFT-E8A or WFT-E6A wireless file transmitters), but also via wired ethernet connection — there’s a dedicated ethernet port on the camera for this purpose. This allows similar network connectivity, but without some of the variables users can encounter on-location with Wi-Fi transmission. Firmware v. 1.1 doesn’t change this; we only want to remind users of it here.
Initial versions of the EOS-1D X Mark II camera did not have this feature, often very useful to workflows in professional organizations. IPTC (International Press Telecommunications Council) data has been used with digital photos in the news photojournalism field for many years. It consists of text data which is pre-defined, and can apply additional, searchable information that can accompany an image file after it’s been downloaded to an organization’s storage and archiving system. This can include captioning information and so on, so it’s potentially more expansive than simple keywording — although it can be used for that as well.
With Firmware v. 1.1 installed, the EOS-1D X Mark II will now be able to add up to 39 IPTC items of information, separately and in addition to the normal EXIF shooting information the camera normally applies for each image that’s taken. Parenthetically, the EOS 5D Mark IV camera will have the same capability upon its release, with no firmware upgrade required.
IPTC information is pre-defined by the photographer, entered into a compatible version of Canon’s EOS Utility software, and then installed (uploaded) into the camera via USB 3.0 connection from a compatible Windows® or Macintosh® computer. Once installed in-camera, a new menu setting allows the photographer to add this IPTC data to each shot he or she takes afterward, or to disable it and have no IPTC info added. A few additional points about the IPTC data with the EOS-1D X Mark II:
- IPTC data cannot be viewed or edited in-camera…once installed, to change it you must re-connect the camera to a compatible Mac or Windows computer with Canon’s EOS Utility software installed, and use EOS Utility to edit or change the IPTC information.
- Once a set of IPTC data is entered, the same data is applied to each image. Unlike the camera’s normal shooting data, the IPTC data does not change to reflect different camera settings and so on.
- You can turn IPTC data on or off in-camera, using the Menu selection to enable or disable it. Disabling it does not remove it altogether from the camera…it simply means it won’t be attached to image files until you turn it back on.
- During image playback, you can see whether IPTC data is attached to an image, but you cannot see the actual IPTC data. Regular EXIF shooting data (date/time, shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and so on) is completely unaffected.
- To completely remove IPTC data from the camera (for example, if you were loaning a camera to another photographer, and didn’t want to risk that he or she would accidentally have your IPTC data added to their pictures), you must re-connect to a computer, and delete it via EOS Utility.
- Only one set of IPTC data can be registered and uploaded into the camera at a time.
Even though IPTC metadata is targeted at larger photo organizations, it has potential applications for individual photographers. Especially interesting is that some third-party software programs, such as Adobe® Lightroom®, have the ability to read attached IPTC metadata. Numerous possible tags and information could be used for searching, editing purposes, and so on. It’s beyond the scope of this article for Canon staff to explain how various third-party software can use IPTC data, but there’s no doubt that intriguing options are out there for interested photographers working with the EOS-1D X Mark II, once firmware has been upgraded to version 1.1, as well as for customers buying a new EOS 5D Mark IV camera.
Another real-world application for IPTC metadata for individual users might be to add precise copyright info to each image taken with the EOS-1D X Mark II camera. The IPTC input allows extended information, including the actual copyright symbol, to be part of the data that can accompany image files after they’re taken.
Similarly, the IPTC data could allow users to include not only their name, but contact information such as their personal or business web address (URL), which could have possible benefits not only for added copyright protection, but even encourage possible image sales to other viewers.
With an eye toward high-end professional organizations at large sporting and news events, Firmware v. 1.1 for the EOS-1D X Mark II will now allow users to save set-up information for up to 40 different Wi-Fi set-ups, and store them on a memory card for future access.
The EOS-1D X Mark II has always allowed users to create and save (register) set-up information for up to 20 different network connections, in the camera. The idea, of course, is to allow a photographer to quickly access and begin working with a pre-established wireless (or wired, ethernet LAN) network — as is often required by press photographers upon arrival at major venues and events.
And, users could store connection information (IP addresses, passwords, etc.) for 20 additional sites on a memory card, and access them independently.
What’s new with Firmware v. 1.1 is that the EOS-1D X Mark II expands the number of network connections that can be saved and then accessed on a memory card. Up to 40 separate networks can now be saved to a relatively low-capacity memory card, carried with the photographer in his/her camera bag, and quickly accessed as a full set of 20 networks any time he or she needs to work with them. This could allow a user to store personal network information (home, office, and so on) in-camera, and allow his or her organization to supply updated network information ahead of time, copied to a CF (or CFast) card, for use at an upcoming major event.
Either a CF or CFast 2.0 memory card can be used to save this information…as a practical matter, it probably makes sense for most users to use a lower-capacity, inexpensive CF card for this purpose, and rely on newer, faster and higher-capacity cards for actual image storage.