Micro Four Thirds firmware fun

While you're waiting for Thanksgiving dinner to finish cooking, you can spend the morning updating your Panasonic Micro Four Thirds camera and lens firmware.

The new Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 already up to its first firmware update. Sarah Tew/CNET

Updatable firmware is a mixed blessing. On one hand, it can help keep your hardware from obsolescing as new accessories ship; fix bugs; and expand feature sets on older models. But it's also beginning to feel like camera manufacturers have jumped on the (annoying) ship now/patch later software bandwagon.

More and more, companies seem to announce firmware updates within weeks of a camera's widespread availability: the Canon EOS 7D, Pentax K-7, Olympus E-P1 are all among the cameras that had firmware updates available within the first few months after shipping. The latest to add to that list is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1, which is barely out the door.

The camera update theoretically delivers improved autofocus performance during movie capture, better high-ISO quality, and enhanced auto white balance, among a few other things. Along with the camera, however, are a host of firmware upgrades for all of Panasonic's Micro Four Thirds-compatible lenses as well (you can find all of Panasonic's updates here.) Depending upon the lens, the update enables and/or improves autofocus performance while shooting movies.

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