Four Sony Alpha Cameras Get Huge Firmware Updates and C2PA Tools

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Back when Sony announced its groundbreaking a9 III camera in November, the company also revealed that the Sony a1 released in early 2021 and the a7S III launched in mid-2020 would receive a significant firmware update “next spring.” Spring has sprung, and the rumored firmware update, plus quite a bit more, has arrived.

Update 3/29: Due to an issue with the Sony a1 firmware update (version 2.00), Sony has temporarily pulled the update. Sony explains:

“It was confirmed that some products updated to Ver.2.00 may not be able to connect to the network. Due to this issue, we have suspended the update. (March 29, 2024)”

There is no word on when the update will be redistributed. Thank you to PetaPixel readers for the tip!

Update 3/28: The original version of this article said that the a9 III firmware update would arrive on April 9th. However, Sony says that it will arrive “later in April.” Once it is available to download, it will be featured on Sony’s Alpha Universe firmware website, like the other three updates that are available now.

Sony is not updating just two cameras, though. It is updating four, including the new a9 III — more on that one later. The Sony a1 (version 2.00), a7S III (version 3.00), and a7 IV (version 3.00) firmware updates are available to download right now, while the a9 III’s update will arrive later in April.

Those looking for all the nitty-gritty details of each new firmware update will need to go to Sony’s support website because there is a lot to unpack. So, instead of breaking down the dozens of minor and major changes, the focus here is on the biggest and most exciting additions and tweaks.

Sony a9 III Review
Sony a9 III

Content Authenticity (C2PA)

Before getting into specific camera firmware updates, a significant feature is coming to all four cameras: content authenticity tools. Recent image editing controversies in the news world have shown that these are desperately needed.

In the fight against fake and AI-generated images, Sony aims to make more cameras C2PA compliant. This joint mission between many technology companies, including several camera makers, is focused on creating the standards and tools required for news agencies and photographers to preserve image provenance and integrity.

Sony’s approach, which it has been developing in coordination with news agencies and photographers, will enable photographers to create secure digital signatures on images in real-time at the time of capture. These signatures will capture any editing data throughout the entire workflow, allowing end-users to verify the authenticity of specific photos. It is a digital birth certificate, showing that an image is real, plus a protected record of everything that happened to that file during its journey from camera to client.

Sony C2PA

Sony’s approach requires using the cloud and a validation site. This is a vital part of any viable C2PA workflow, as users must have some way to “check” an image against an unadulterated signature. This site will also combine the 3D-depth information captured by proprietary Sony image sensor technology in the compatible cameras to ensure that the image captured is really of a real, three-dimensional object and not a two-dimensional screen.

“There is nothing more core to our mission than listening to the voices of the photographers, videographers, and filmmakers who shoot with Sony Alpha cameras. We know this community has been asking for these updates, and we’re happy to deliver. Each of these updates are designed to promote ease of use for our creators and allow them to maximize the strengths of their cameras,” says Yang Cheng, Vice President, Imaging Solutions, Sony Electronics Inc. “We’re especially pleased to deliver C2PA compliancy with this update. This compliancy paired with our unique digital signature technology, allows us to offer the most secure and comprehensive solution to protect professional photographers, news agencies, and society from manipulated imagery.”

Sony a1 V.2.00

First up, the Sony a1. While the a9 III may have supplanted the a1’s position as Sony’s super-fast shooter, it remains an exceptionally powerful camera thanks to its blend of image quality, resolution, autofocus performance, and speed. With the new firmware update, what some still consider Sony’s best overall camera for professionals is now even better.

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Sony a1

Concerning professionals, they are the main focus of the new a1 update. Features new to the a1 include relay playback of images across multiple media, playback setting of multiple media, copy between memory cards, playback filters, automatic FTP transfer settings, synchronized release, focus frame display, menu support in the SDK, saving lens model to MP4 video files, cam ID and reel number support, being able to save up to 9,999 images in a folder (up from 4,000), among many other new features.

Beyond these new features, at least new to the a1 as some have been featured in newer camera models, there are also numerous improvements to existing features. Sony promises improved image stabilization performance, better autofocus assist, improved workflow options when using flash, 4K/30p UVC support, better breathing compensation during video recording, and more.

Sony a7S III V.3.00

The Sony a7S III is receiving many of the same new features as the a1, including the playback improvements and increased folder size, but it is also receiving DCI 4K recording at 24 frames per second through an upgrade license available through Creators’ Cloud.

Sony a7S III mirrorless camera
Sony a7s III

The a7S III is also getting some features that the a1 has had since launch, including front and rear dial customization, folder naming using any characters, forced file number reset control, and control over shutter behavior when the camera is powered off.

Sony a7 IV V.3.00

The Sony a7 IV is not receiving much this time around — although the C2PA system mentioned above is a big deal. However, the a7 IV gets expanded folders, improved network streaming, better video metadata support, and improved SDK support.

Sony a7 IV camera
Sony a7 IV

Sony a9 III V.2.00

As for Sony’s newest pro camera, the a9 III, it is receiving many of the same workflow improvements as the a1 and a7S III. The a9 III is also overcoming one of its notable shortcomings from launch — the way it handles shutter speeds during continuous shooting or when using fast-aperture lenses.

Sony C2PA
Sony a9 III

Once users upgrade their a9 III to version 2.0, they can shoot continuous images at shutter speeds faster than 1/16,000s, pushing the camera to its 1/80,000s limit. Users can also shoot at f/1.8 at the fastest shutter speed, although f/1.2 and f/1.4 apertures still have shutter speed limitations.

Cloud Improvements

By the way, all four cameras can upload images directly to Sony’s Creator Cloud app. Photographers can also more easily update their cameras through the app, manage video and LUT files via mobile apps, and transfer RAW files to smartphones.

Sony Creators' Cloud


The free firmware updates for the Sony a1, a7S III, and a7 IV cameras are available now. The Sony a9 III update is slated to arrive next month. As for the C2PA tools, these will be rolled out as part of a beta test for select news organizations and professionals first, before being expanded later to additional users. Sony has not provided complete details about the timing of the rollout, as it will depend on how the beta tests go.