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Worst tech support call in history? Canon HF10 Firmware Upgrade 1.0.3.0

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Lee Mier
Worst tech support call in history? Canon HF10 Firmware Upgrade 1.0.3.0
on Apr 3, 2012 at 10:22:47 pm

I think this is interesting. It's basically how I spent my entire day yesterday. Maybe it isn't interesting, but it should help anyone interested in the HF10 firmware upgrade:

I have three Canon HF10 camcorders that I hadn't upgraded the firmware on (they were on 1.0.1.0). I use a iMac computer. Canon released a firmware upgrade (1.0.3.0) that supports the use of class 10 SDHC cards. I really wanted to start using 32 GB flash cards in the HF10s, so I decided to upgrade.

Yesterday I was offered a great "Gold Box" deal on Sandisk 32 GB class 10 SDHC cards, so I ordered them. A few hours later I called Canon to ask some questions about the firmware upgrade.

The rep I spoke to immediately began to explain to me that there is no advantage to class 10 cards in the HF10. Worse yet, she told me something about the class 10 cards often not being as fast as class 6 cards (which my HF10s already accept). She said something about the buffers in the cards not being adequate, and that the whole class 10 classification being a sham.

This really concerned me, and it was contrary to everything I've heard (most of it in a tech support call with a Canon rep a few months ago). She explained to me that she had been at Canon for almost 10 years, and that this was new information that they had. She was shocked by it, too, but insisted that it was absolutely true. She advised that I leave the firmware alone and get a 32 GB class 6 card, which she said would definitely work where as a class 10 might not be fast enough.

I asked her about the firmware upgrade, anyway, as I couldn't find instructions for the 1.0.3.0 upgrade.

There is also a 1.0.2.0 upgrade, and the instructions for it automatically appear when you download the file. She and I both couldn't find the 1.0.3.0 instructions, but she said they would be the same. She also insisted that I would have to upgrade to 1.0.2.0 before upgrading to 1.0.3.0. I told her that didn't sound right. I got another lecture on her experience and expertise.

(For anyone thinking about the upgrade, the Mac upgrade instructions for the 1.0.3.0 upgrade appear as a thumbnail when you mount the firmware upgrade download .dmg file. And you don't need to upgrade to 1.0.2.0 first. In fact, you don't want to and it seems you can't.)

Anyway, I got off the phone with her and scrambled to cancel my Amazon class 10 SDHC order before it shipped. That's a fun process that took over an hour.

I then started looking for class 6 32 GB cards, only to learn that many HF10 users have problems with them. And Sandisk doesn't make any, so I'd be left paying more for a lesser brand. Meanwhile, I read more about the class 10 cards, and couldn't find anyone who had upgraded the firmware who had a problem with them. So I reordered the Sandisk class 10 cards. A couple of more hours shot.

Then I set about upgrading the firmware. The Canon rep had very specifically and certainly told to upgrade to the 1.0.2.0 firmware first, so I set about doing that. I kept getting a message that the firmware wasn't for my camera. You have to attach your camera to upgrade to the 1.0.2.0 firmware. I tried and read and tried and read. I tried all three of my HF10s and all three of my SDHC cards (you have to use a card to upgrade). Nothing worked. A couple of more hours shot (tech support was long closed by this time).

So I decided if the tech was wrong about the class 10 cards, maybe she was wrong about the firmware. I proceeded to try to blindly upgrade to 1.0.3.0 (the newest HF10 firmware, blindly because I couldn't find the instructions), but was concerned I was going to screw up my camcorders (I once fried an expensive device trying to upgrade its firmware, through no fault of my own). I mounted the firmware upgrade, and, lo and behold, there was a PDF with instructions.

I open the instructions and they clearly state that you only need to upgrade to the latest firmware. All of the functionality of the earlier upgrades was included in the newest version. I finally start the upgrade process on all three cameras. Success! Another few hours down. Time spent: at least seven hours.

Thanks to the woman at Canon tech support! Your years of experience cost me hours of wasted time and much frustration!

For anyone thinking about the upgrade: Do it. It is simple. All you have to do is download the file (you have to choose your OS), copy a file to an SDHC card using any card reader, insert it in the camera, and follow the included PDF instructions for how to install the upgrade in the camera.

I recommend the upgrade because there aren't many class 6 32 GB cards being made right now. With the upgrade, you should be able to get a good name-brand class 10 32 GB card for just under $30. And, from what I've read, it should work fine. I'll post back if I have any problems when the cards arrive.


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Bob Dix
Re: Worst tech support call in history? Canon HF10 Firmware Upgrade 1.0.3.0
on Apr 4, 2012 at 11:25:43 pm

I am in Australia and only use Pro Tech Support from Canon, other than that level of support they are not with it.However, send say a Canon HV20 for service and or a Canon 5D mark II and they update it for you automatically, not bad.

Freelance Imaging & Video
AUSTRALIA


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Lee Mier
Re: Worst tech support call in history? Canon HF10 Firmware Upgrade 1.0.3.0
on Apr 5, 2012 at 2:40:13 am

Yes, they offered to do it for free if I sent them in. But that idea doesn't thrill me. I own five Canon cameras, and there is not a single scratch or mark on any of them. I have a seven-year-old point and shoot that I could box up and return tomorrow (if it was a current model). In fact, I just cleaned the lens on it for the first time three months ago. I've never cleaned the lenses on the other four, because I've never gotten them dirty. I'm to particular about them to send them off.

I've never heard of the Pro tech support option. I guess that's because I have inexpensive equipment.


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Bob Dix
Re: Worst tech support call in history? Canon HF10 Firmware Upgrade 1.0.3.0
on Apr 5, 2012 at 10:25:00 pm

Maybe just Australia,good luck !

Freelance Imaging & Video
AUSTRALIA


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