Proceed at your own risk: Sony issues warning regarding third-party firmware

sony warns camera firmware cyber shot rx100 iv
It is not uncommon these days for talented individuals or collectives to write custom firmware code for cameras and other electronics. These custom firmware packages often remove limitations placed on a camera by the manufacturer, sometimes even adding new features. Unfortunately, the risk that you take when installing one of these third-party firmware packages is great, with the potential of rendering your camera useless if something goes wrong.

When it comes to the effect of these installations on warranty protections, Sony has issued an official statement, a warning really, that clears up any confusion that users may have had regarding the use of third-party firmware on Sony cameras. Simply put, installing a third-party firmware package will automatically void your Sony warranty. In other words, should you install a third-party firmware and it ruins your camera when you send it into Sony to repair they are going to charge you for it — and that is if they can even repair it.

Sony Alpha 6300In the statement released by Sony Japan, the company notes that it has recently been made aware of a software suite making rounds throughout various internet forums that gave users the ability to install or change the firmware of their Sony cameras. The company did not mention any specific third-party firmware packages, nor any specific camera models, but just offered the blanket statement that using third-party firmware will void the warranty.

Other companies have less strict policies in regard to third-party firmware. Canon has been famously lenient with Magic Lantern, a popular firmware hack for Canon DSLR cameras that expands their video features and removed limitations, like the video recording limit. But Sony isn’t the only company to take a hard stance against third-party firmware, and it’s not a stretch to see why.

A warranty, in general, is meant to cover the user in case of a fault or issue with the camera as it came from the manufacturer. Clearly a third-party firmware rendering a camera useless is not an issue or faulty caused by an error in manufacturing or design, and as such it makes sense that Sony wouldn’t want to cover it.

So just be warned that if you shoot with a Sony camera and feel the urge to try out that new third-party firmware you see floating around — unless you want to pay for any repairs on your camera out of pocket, resist and stick with the stock Sony-developed firmware.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robots that eat landmines and clean your floors

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Product Review

Sony’s Z9G paints a bright, beautiful future for 8K TVs

The Sony Z9G 85-inch 8K TV is majestic to behold. No doubt, this TV is a looker, and you’ll know what we mean when you see it. Does this TV make sense, though? Should you buy it? We have the answers.
Product Review

Microsoft’s $350 Surface Headphones are a good first try, but not good enough

Microsoft’s Surface Headphones are stylish, comfortable, and have great noise-canceling, but at $350 a pair, they’ll have a hard time matching the industry leaders like Sony and Bose.
Product Review

The Xperia 10 Plus feels great in your hand, but you'll still want to put it down

There has never been a better time to buy a smartphone with an unusual design, and one of the cheaper models out there vying for your attention is the Sony Xperia 10 Plus, with its 21:9 aspect ratio screen.
Photography

Panasonic Lumix S1R vs. Sony A7R III: Which pixel-shift powerhouse is better?

The Lumix S1R and Sony A7R III are different in design, but similar in performance, and both offer pixel-shift high resolution modes which pull even more detail out of their already high-resolution sensors. Here's how they compare.
Photography

Earn more likes on your photos with the best cameras for Instagram

Looking to snap better Instagrams? Instagram doesn't demand high-resolution files, but upgrading your camera can deliver better bokeh and low-light quality. Here our the best cameras for Instagram.
Photography

Capture life in every direction with the best 360 cameras

While 360 cameras are still a new technology, that doesn't mean there's not a few that are worth a look. Whether you want to shoot from the middle or just need a simple, affordable option, here are the best 360 cameras on the market.
Photography

These point-and-shoot cameras make your smartphone pics look like cave paintings

If your smartphone camera isn't giving you the results you want, maybe it's time to step up your game. The latest and greatest point-and-shoot cameras offer large sensors, tough bodies, and long lenses -- something no phone can touch.
Photography

These are the best action cameras money can buy, from GoPro to Garmin and more

Action cameras are great tools for capturing videos of your everyday activities, whether it's a birthday party or the steepest slope you've ever descended on your snowboard. These are the best money can buy.
Photography

Starting your very own vlog? Here are the best cameras to buy

Any camera that shoots video can be used to vlog, but a few models stand out from the crowd thanks to superior image quality, ergonomics, and usability. When it comes to putting your life on YouTube, here are the best cameras for the job.
Mobile

Which smartphone has the best camera? We found the sharpest shooters

They say that the best camera is always the one you have with you and that makes your smartphone camera very important indeed. Join us for a closer look at the best camera phones available right now.
Photography

Wet or dry, these rugged waterproof cameras capture your every adventure

Rugged cameras are designed to withstand nature's elements. These waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof shooters can go wherever you take them, making them the perfect travel companions.
Photography

Free your digital memories, and frame them, with the best photo printers

Printed photos are experiencing a revival at the moment, but you don’t need to go to a special lab. Here’s our favorite options for making quality prints, from pocket-sized printers to wide-format photo printers capable of spitting out…
Photography

When you're ready to shoot seriously, these are the best DSLRs you can buy

For many photographers the DSLR is the go-to camera. With large selection of lenses, great low-light performance, and battery endurance, these DSLRs deliver terrific image quality for stills and videos.