Camera Firmware Updates, A Good or a Bad Thing?
Thomas Fitzgerald
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Disclaimers: A- I am openly pro-updates for the following reasons, and I am talking as a Fuji user. I don’t know how other manufacturers will use that capability. And B- I am very optimistic by nature :)

on the positive side these updates

1- Help engineers to get wide feedback and allow them to rectify what could be an oversight or a wrong decision

2- gives them time to learn what a hardware platform can do when pushed to it’s limits — this takes time and cannot usually be done on a first iteration. (I am talking from a software engineer point of view: we learn all the time)

3- Gives them the ability to retro-port something they thought of for the next generation and then realise it was feasible on the previous generation. (e.g. AF algorithms or film emulation)

4- the previous usage (Nikon, Canon) was to do exactly the same, but with a newer body — hence forcing people to part with their cash more often.

I think, all in all, that people generally underestimate the time & brain power needed to master a new hardware platform. Look at the graphic quality of games released when the Playstation 3 was launched vs what was released 2 or 3 years later on the very same platform: it took years to really benefit from that new platform.

I see firmware updates as a way to extend the life of existing products which goes a long way to protect my wallet from early depletion

On the potential negative side

Now it is true that this could be tempting to be used as a bad marketing strategy — release crippled, then improved. Consumers are not stupid and will soon realise that I believe.

In the case of Fuji, I don’t believe this is the case as they often carry on with updates even when a newer body has been released

Just my 2 (euro) cents

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