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Would you pay for a feature-enabling firmware update?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by riverr02, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. riverr02

    riverr02 Mu-43 Veteran

    258
    May 2, 2011
    New York
    Rafael
    Quick question for folks. Realizing that there are certain features we would like in our cameras, would you be willing to pay a small fee for a firmware that enables a feature upgrade? Now I'm not arguing for paying for firmware updates to correct bugs and what not. But take focus peaking, or customizing development of an improved SCP on Olympus to facilitate bracketing. Would folks be willing to pay to fund the development of new features to "upgrade" their cameras, while simultaneously providing an additional revenue stream for the camera manufacturers? This could, for example, be particularly useful given the recent negative economic news reported by Olympus. And while a follow-up post could be, if yes, how much would one pay, the truth is that would depend on the feature set offered.

    Just a thought, and apologies if this has already been discussed.
     
  2. ean10775

    ean10775 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 31, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Eric
    I suppose it would depend on what that 'small fee' was. My concern with this effectively becoming a revenue stream for manufacturers would be the risk that they would start crippling their cameras with the knowledge that certain desirable features could bring additional revenue.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. KVG

    KVG Banned User

    May 10, 2011
    yyc(Calgary, AB)
    Kelly Gibbons
    Full res silent shutter on the gx1:thumbup: Hell ya I'd pay
     
  4. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Sean Rastsmith
    I thought of it more as a Kickstarter kind of thing. Get enough people willing to pay $5, and have someone hack focus peaking into the firmware, or whatever else. If the hardware can handle it, all it needs is the programmers.
     
  5. datagov

    datagov Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 2, 2012
    New York
    Manufacturers should get out of the habit of being a single source for firmware. They should publish their firmware code under GPL licenses and allow an open source community to work on extending functionality so that we users can take advantage of more frequent updates, test new features, and see rapid bug fixes - at community expense rather than manufacturer expense.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  6. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    Jim
    Concur. Not that there mightn't be issues (Android is open source and it's possible to brick an Android device if one isn't careful :eek:) - but overall the open source community has proven viable over time. (Open Office and Linux being examples of such).

    Of course it's probably as likely to happen as Microsoft going open source... :biggrin:. Still...it would be fun :2thumbs:.

    Regards,

    Jim
     
  7. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    Margaret
    Yes, but I can't imagine camera manufacturers providing warranty coverage on cameras with hacked firmware. I run open source firmware (DDWRT) on my router and WAPs, but I installed it knowing I'd void my warranty. Then again, if any needed warranty service, I'd reinstall stock firmware. :wink:

    --
    Sent from my phone. Please pardon my brevity!
     
  8. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    Jim
    Yep - Google is pretty clear that if one "roots" a Nexus 7 that the warranty is pretty much null and void. On the other hand, what's life without a little excitement? :biggrin:.

    I'd be a lot more likely to muck about with 3rd party open source solutions than I would to pay Olympus (or Nikon, or Canon) for updating a camera I'd already paid for. (I fully realize that this wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea - I'm a semi-retired I.T. geek and am used to screwing things up at the most basic level :biggrin:).

    Regards,

    Jim
     
  9. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Jason
    As a software/hardware engineer, I know the value of both. Software in many cases dictates what a product can and cannot do. It's not free.

    Personally, I'd be willing to pay for firmware updates that are customizeable, so I wouldn't pay for things I don't need.
     
  10. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Jason
    While they could do that, I'd imagine the interworkings of much of their software and hardware is proprietary. I wouldn't have a job if my company made everything open source. I don't know how a camera company's architectual model for software and hardware development is laid out.

    I'd guess, for one thing, anything proprietary that wasn't part of the open source could be reverse engineered, and then we get into patent infringements. Secondly, much of my company's business is doing custom work.

    The closest thing I've seen in recent years is some of the panasonic hacks and Canon hacks that added features and improvments. If something goes wrong with one of these custom builds, then customers get mad because a) The camera didn't have the feature to begin with and b) now their camera is bricked.
     
  11. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    Margaret
    :smile: Heheh, I'm retired IT geek. :smile:

    --
    Sent from my phone. Please pardon my brevity!
     
  12. sin77

    sin77 Mu-43 Veteran

    243
    Dec 9, 2011
    Singapore
    I voted yes but on the basis that it is a third party firmware created by individual/company.

    If I pay manufacturer for special feature firmware, then something is wrong!
     
  13. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    I'm not sure how much I trust things like that. i know many do but I'm a bit squeamish about getting anything that "needs" to be hacked to work well.
     
  14. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    I doubt it would be cost effective. The additional complexity and support costs would dwarf whatever small bump in revenue they received. It's a relatively small fraction of users who even know how to update firmware in the first place.
     
  15. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Sean Rastsmith
    Maybe not needs, but if they are interested in adding things the manufacturer isn't, then it is a benefit to me. For the G3, focus peaking would be awesome, and something as simple as a reprogrammable record button (aka. fn3) and allowing a shutter speed of over 1/160 in manual with a flash turned on (even if it won't sync that high).
     
  16. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Yup, firmware developed sans clear understanding of what the hardware can do and how the parts interact is a waste. Pretty much giving away the house on this one so don't expect it to happen anytime soon. Reverse engineering is possible but easier said than done.
     
  17. woody112704

    woody112704 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    526
    Dec 13, 2012
    Iowa
    Jared
    For me these cameras cost enough that they should be sending them out with the camera able to do all of that or most of it. And when they've tweaked the features that they didn't get right for shipping, them firmware it but it should be free. As for it being 3rd party, I guess we might see some examples of that with the Samsung Galaxy Camera out and the potential for more cameras like that to come out.
     
  18. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Texas
    Interesting thread.
    Anyone care to wager that Olympus could make more from say for example a true firmware focus peaking update than it could from lens hood sales? :biggrin:
     
  19. woody112704

    woody112704 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    526
    Dec 13, 2012
    Iowa
    Jared
    I would bet they would, seeing as many people talk/want focus peaking. If that hack report was true, why haven't they already implemented it instead of having to use the key line art filter walk around...
     
  20. SteveNunez

    SteveNunez Mu-43 Veteran

    444
    Oct 11, 2010
    South Florida
    Steve Nunez
    If it extends the usefulness of the product- yes I would.