Sony A7 and a6300 mirrorless camera bodies, as well as many other Sony camera models, have some annoying software issues which can now be fixed with a free, aftermarket software tweak.
On another blog post of mine a couple of months ago, a reader was kind enough to bring the software to my attention and post a link to it. Bear in mind though, all bits of aftermarket camera software that people create could theoretically harm your camera, brick it if you don’t install things correctly, and/or possibly void the warranty.
That being said, I am very much in favor of using hacks like this and the risks don’t worry me. I have already installed this software on my Sony a6300 with no problems. I have also been using Magic Lantern for years (a free, open source hack designed for Canon DSLR camera bodies) and it has been very helpful for adding a lot of much needed functionality to where Canon fell short.
So what does this Sony camera software hack do?
For one, it fixes the issue of the “Running on NTSC” warning message when switching the camera to the NTSC region setting on Sony cameras purchased in countries where the region standard is PAL. This was a huge help for me.
Sorry, I am not going to get into all the details about why this can be a serious annoyance as I already covered it in detail before, but if you read my previous article “WARNING: Big Downside Of The Sony a6300 Camera” it explains all about the NTSC/PAL warning message issues.
So this software fix also allows you to disable the function that prevents you from recording video clips longer than 30 minutes long so that you can record video clips of any length.
So let’s get started on how to install the software. If you haven’t done so on your computer already, you will first need to install the PMCA Downloader plug-in which you can install by going here. Choose the version of the plug-in offered on the website based on your computer being either Windows or Mac.
After you install the plug-in I recommend rebooting your computer just to make sure it is fully detected by your system and running correctly.
Then connect your camera to your computer using a USB 2.0 port on your computer. USB 3.0 ports may work, but it caused me some problems with the software installation on my camera until I switched to a USB 2.0 port.
This tweak also seems to support about 40 different Sony camera models. You can click here to read a list of all the models supported.
Also, even though the USB cable, when connected to the computer, should supply power to the camera during the software installation process, I still suggest having a fully charged battery in the camera itself when you perform the installation. This precaution should reduce your chances of an error occurring while installing the camera software and causing any kind of a camera crash.
Then go to this link here and click on the button that says Install OpenMemories Tweak:
On another webpage discussing the installation of this software, there is the suggestion that accessing the above link be done by using either Internet Explorer or Safari, but perhaps other browsers like Firefox, Chrome, and Opera will work too.
Then, once you have installed the software successfully onto your camera, I suggest powering off the camera and then turning it back on to make sure the installation is running correctly.
Then go into the settings menu on the camera. Go to the “Application List” menu and select the first application icon which says “OpenMemories: Tweak”. In the first tab you will be able to set the video time limit to either 5s for testing, keep it at the 30min default setting, or set it to maximum, which is basically unlimited.
Then go into the Region tab. To disable the PAL/NTSC warning message just uncheck the second box. Apparently some Sony cameras also come locked into just one region setting, like NTSC, and on those cameras it doesn’t even let you change the region to PAL, even if you wanted to. So if you have one those cameras then this software will remove the region lock as well so that you then will be able to change the region setting if you want to. See the menu screen shown below for changing the region setting between NTSC and PAL.
By enabling the first box in the Region settings you can also enable all 30+ languages for the menus on the camera if you want to. Some Sony cameras happen to be locked with just one language setting like Japanese or with only just a few of the many language options available. So this optional language setting will remove any language limitations your camera may have.
So that’s about it. Make those changes and you should be good to go. If you have any questions or comments on the tweaks please post them below and I will answer them.
*UPDATE #1 / 5-August-16* Sony just released a firmware update for this camera which Sony states addresses the following issues:
1 – Improves overall stability and operability of the camera
2 – Improves stability in picture shooting mode by optimizing temperature control (effects vary according to temperature).
You can go here to download the new firmware from the Sony website. First select your operating system on the Sony website and then click on the firmware drop down menu to reveal the firmware download button.
Make sure you have a fully charged battery in your a6300 before you start the firmware update process and remove your memory card from the camera.
On my a6300, I applied the firmware update, after having already installed the software tweak mentioned in this article on my camera, and I experienced no problems applying the firmware update.
Note that this firmware update does not address or fix any of the issues being addressed by the software tweak.