A new firmware version for the Sony Alpha 700 was leaked two days ago via Sony's chinese site (for some reason, the leaks from camera makers come from their chinese sites most of the time). The firmware was later removed.
The firmware included the following:
Option to turn NR OFF, something long wanted by Alpha users. Took one year to happen but better late than never.
New bracketing options for those who shoot High Dynamic Range pictures.
Its also been reported that the AWB setting has improved performance with incandescent lights, no longer yielding a yellowish tone. This came from a thread in DPR Sony SLR Forum.
The weird thing however, is that the Sony Electronics Blog had the firmware update linked for a while and there was a post talking about it, saying how we found out about it in a way they didnt plan to and that the official release would be on September 16th, but now the post is gone, the firmware is gone and it just links to Version 3.
A lot of people (including me) installed this upgrade. I sensed something was up before I installed V4, but apparantly there was no reason NOT to install it. One day later, this happens.
All this made me wonder a few things:
The version a lot of us installed was a beta version?
Was it removed from those sites in order to focus attention on the A900 launch?
The V4 gathered a lot of attention, and maybe Sony wanted all of us looking at the new camera and not the upgrade.
The version we installed is incomplete?
Maybe there are other functions that are missing...
When Sony launches officially the upgrade, will it work for those of us who already installed the leaked version? Will it be a 4.1 or 4.01 version?
All signs point that Sony IS aware that a LOT of people installed the upgrade, so I hope they take that information in account and update the upgrade for those of us who installed it.
I never heard of something like this happening before, when V2 and V3 were released, there wasnt any removal from the Sony sites.
Either someone at Sony leaked a beta version of it for us to test and see if we were happy with it or someone screwed up and leaked it before it was done at all. Otherwise there isnt any point in removing the firmware from user's reach if everyone knows about it already.
The official launch of it is in 6 days, we'll see what happens then.
This is the original message removed from the Sony blog:
"A700 Firmware Upgrade Oct. 30, 2007 2:22am
UPDATE: September 9, 2008 Hello again from Mark Weir, in Sony’s Digital Imaging group.
Since yesterday, we’ve seen a number of comments in this and other forums regarding new firmware for α700. Although the news of this development didn’t happen quite the way we had intended, we can acknowledge that we’ll soon make available a firmware upgrade for α700 on Sony’s eSupport website.
We are always listening to your feedback, and we are aware of the concern expressed for α700 Noise Reduction and EV bracketing. Borrowing from some of the development for α900, we’ve developed new α700 firmware with expanded EV bracketing (±2EV/3shots) for High Dynamic Range composting, as well as Noise Reduction “off” for those who prefer the control of post processing NR. We will make these updates (and some others) officially available on Sep 16th at .
We’ll have more news available as we approach Sep 16th, and we appreciate your patience!"