03 Apr Camera Firmware Updates, A Good or a Bad Thing?

Source: Fujifilm Insider

There is a recent trend in digital cameras with manufacturers adding features after a model has been released via firmware updates. The most notable example of this is Fuji with their KaiZen updates. Fuji has gotten a lot of praise for this practice, and now other manufacturers are following suit. While this trend has generally gotten a lot of positive praise for manufacturers listening to their customers, I can’t help but play devil’s advocate here and present the somewhat cynical counter argument:

Are manufacturers trying to apply a variation of the subscription model that has been so successful in software to cameras? Shouldn’t manufacturers release cameras that are fully functional to start with?

Now I just want to be clear. I’m just presenting this as a counter argument. I’m not necessarily saying that I agree or that this is where I stand, except in the specific case I outline below. I just think it’s important to hear both sides of this argument.

Take Fuji for example. When the X-Pro 1 was first released, I was one of the first people to buy it. While it was an ok camera that received a lot of acclaim from a segment of the market that wanted a low-cost digital rangefinder, it had some serious issues with stability and functionality. It would lock up, the focus was slow and often inaccurate. Fuji released several updates over the course of the cameras life that added functionality and fixed the issues. I never agreed with the widespread praise of Fuji for this. In my opinion, they released a camera that had what amounted to beta firmware. I felt at the time that when you buy a camera, you should be buying it for what it was there and then, not what it might be a year down the road. And yet, it seems this idea of releasing a camera and then improving it later seems to have taken off….

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