Thanks to Don Hergert for discovering it and Steve Sanders for publishing it, there's a new wa to upgrade the firmware of your Coolpix 950 / 990 by simply placing the firmware file into a special directory of a CompactFlash card, inserting it into the camera and turning the camera to Play. Why on earth Nikon didn't make this method publicly available is beyond me, it's much more straightforward (and less prone to mistakes). Note - you'll need a card reader to upgrade using this method.

Coolpix 950/990 firmware upgrade-by-card method:

  1. Be sure camera has fully recharged NiMH, new alkaline batteries or you have it connected to the AC power adapter before performing the update.
  2. Format the CF card in the camera.
  3. Go into camera Setup menu, change Auto Off value to 5M or 30M
  4. Turn off camera, remove CF card
  5. Put CF card in reader, create a folder called "Firmware" off the root directory of the card. (Using Windows Explorer simply highlight the drive letter of your card reader and click on File - New - Folder. Once it's created rename it to Firmware)
  6. Unzip the (or appropriate file for your OS) and copy the firmware.bin file to the Firmware directory of your CF card.
  7. Put the CF card in the camera and turn the Mode dial to Play.
  8. A screen comes up telling you the current firmware version and the upgrade firmware version and asks to proceed Yes/No. If the upgrade firmware is a higher number than the current firmware (and you want to upgrade) answer YES.
  9. The next screen warns you not to turn the camera off until upgrade is complete. Be patient even if screen goes blank for a moment...
  10. Final screen says "OK Complete" - you can now switch off camera
  11. Wait a few seconds, turn it on to Play again and both the Current and Upgrade firmware revision numbers should be the same - that's it !
  12. Turn Mode dial to A-Rec or M-Rec and format the CF card to erase the firmware upgrade software and use your camera normally.