Firmware for… flashguns? Sony updates a pair of flashes for global shutter support

Sony GN60
(Image credit: Sony)

I have written a lot of news stories on firmware updates over the past few months, but this is the first for a flashgun. I'm not even sure I was aware that flashguns received firmware updates, but Sony has just released two in preparation for its new sports camera.

The flashes being updated are the Sony HVL-F60RM2 and HVL-F46RM, two of Sony's flagship wireless radio control external guns and the best Sony flashguns on the market. The updates are the same for each flash, and offer an update on stability when charging along with compatibility with the global shutter on the Sony A9 III.

The firmware update notes for the HVL-F60RM2 (Ver 2.00) and HVL-F46RM (Ver 2.00 read:

"Adds support for Global Shutter Sync photography in all shutter areas: By using an HVL-F60RM2/ HVL-F46RM flash with a camera equipped with a global shutter image sensor, flash photography can be synchronized with the entire range of shutter speeds available on the camera and enable more effective flash exposures than conventional High-Speed Sync photography (HSS).

Adds Flash charge Priority setting: When CHG PRIORITY is set to STABLE on the MENU screen, although the charging time is longer compared to when it is set to NORMAL, it allows for more stable firing."

(Image credit: Sony)

This update comes shortly before the on-sale date of the A9 III, hotly anticipated due to its global shutter and ability to sync with flash up to a mind-boggling max speed of 1/80,000 sec! It will enable the flashguns to support these new capabilities, syncing through the entire range of shutter speeds. 

It is not mentioned if this would mean all other flashes and strobes would need a firmware update to work with the A9 III's max sync, or if it is just the two Sony flashguns. However, if you own a third-party flash, I would keep an eye out for any updates over the coming months.

Sony recently released a mass update on many of its lenses that prepare them for the imminent arrival of the A9 III, ensuring that they can keep up with the new specs.

With the continuous shooting power of 120fps and the seemingly unlimited flash sync speed, it is understandable that existing equipment may need updating to enable faster speeds. It is great that Sony has foreseen this and issued the firmware updates before launch, meaning that new users get to enjoy the new camera features from the moment it comes out of the box.

If you are unsure if your equipment has a firmware update, I recommend visiting the manufacturer's product support page – which will provide more information on if an update is available and how to install it.

See our helpful guides for more information on the best flashguns, the best lighting kit, and the best softbox lighting kits.

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Kalum Carter
Staff Writer

Kalum Carter is a UK-based photographer, writer, and photo editor. Kalum has been working as a freelance photographer for the best part of ten years, covering a wide range of assignments for well-known brands and publications in areas including portraiture, fashion, and documentary. 

Between commercial assignments, Kalum is currently working on a personal photography project exploring his connection to the Gower region of South Wales UK, as part of an MA in Photography from The University of West England.