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05-08-2010, 10:24 PM   #1
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Would you pay an annual "firmware" fee once your body is out of warranty?

First all number here are just wild assed guesses (WAG) so no nit picking the numbers, rather simply yea or neigh. And if yea, how much?

We all want to get as much life as possible from our gear but, as things are now, a company makes nothing substantial (maybe some income from lense sales but likely nothing worth mentioning on their bottom line) from updating the firmware for older bodies. So, in a sense of giving to get...I think I would pay $40-$50/yr or whatever makes sense for at least one update/yr and compatibility with any new lenses or whatever. And say put a cap on the length of time from the date the body is discontinued...say 5-7 yrs? Or ??? however long ya think makes sense.

Yeah this sort of screws the late adopters but then again they may benefit from not spending as much on their body. Also there is the issue of NOS sold from many smaller retail shops though likely not many shops will still have a d/c'd body in stock 5yrs after it's out of production.

We already get a $20 cleaning job every year while under warranty so why not have a subscription service for getting firmware updates longer?

Or Pentax could setup way for a 3rd party to license access to keep firmware going after production and support stops. Either way this gives Hoya a way to make money from those who would otherwise not be upgrading their bodies during this period. Plus I have a sense that 5-7 yrs is likely the max lifespan of a consumer grade DSLR anyway (just WAG on my part.)

This might not be as organized and cogent a question as I would like or many might feel they need, but the idea is there so....????

05-09-2010, 12:04 AM   #2
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This has been discussed quite a bit here and the answer is: it depends.

The subject is worthy of an MBA thesis - lots of trade-offs regarding new bodies versus SW upgrades, how R&D investments would be allocated to create a rational pricing structure, what "rational" means to Hoya versus the consumer, effect on retailers (hardware is sold via retailers, SW would almost certainly be downloaded from Pentax USA or a similar organization - cutting the retailers out), Hoya's competitive position, disincentives to development of new bodies, design and cost implications of building a system that can handle increased demands for processing power and memory, etc.

I'd pay for new/better capabilities delivered via download. Maybe. It depends on what I'd get for what I'd pay. Nothing new or interesting in that answer.

Does it make sense for Hoya? That's the key question. I'd wager that anyone here who knows the business model well enough to give solid answers isn't permitted to post in a public forum.

So let the idle speculation begin!
05-09-2010, 12:42 AM   #3
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See e.g. this poll: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/90449-what-would-y...es-if-all.html

And currently, the answer for me is NO. Bugs and small 'issues' (an improvement in AF speed) should have been fixed while the camera is in production. The camera is bought as is, with it's current functionality and I will buy another camera if I really need another functionality. Any firmware updates for extra functionality are welcome, but I will not pay for them.
05-09-2010, 02:29 AM   #4
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You can say you shouldnt have to pay for firmware updates, but for an older camera, ie K10d, most manufacturers wouldnt even bother, seeing as its outdated and they wouldnt make any more money off it. In a few years i would pay for a firmware update for my k7, as that the fact that you are paying for it means that more time and effort would be placed in the final product. While it wouldnt be anything substantial, i would definately pay $10 for a small yearly update, as long as the increased features/improvements were there

05-09-2010, 03:35 AM   #5
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I don't think it works that way! It should be incorporated in a Maintenance Agreement which would include Firmware updates, IF ANY.

Rui
05-09-2010, 11:04 PM   #6
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by supplying firmware updates for older cameras they are buying goodwill that might get them a sale when you finally upgrade.
05-09-2010, 11:07 PM   #7
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My answer is no. I will not pay for a firmware update.
05-09-2010, 11:38 PM   #8
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With the likely delivery method being downloading from a Pentax web site, as at present, the only cost to Pentax is the R&D. Thus I'd expect it to be a pretty nominal amount: $10 per annum, say.

I'd be more interested in a more radical approach: user requested modifications, or define the buttons as _I_ see fit. (Must get involved in the Pentax hack project.)

05-10-2010, 04:46 AM   #9
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I think there are 2 issues, one of which pentax already does.

Pentax has upgraded firmware well beyond the product life several times on cameras.

Cases in point are the recient K10D update, and the *istD update for higher capacity CF cards.

They have done thif for free, therefore setting the standard for free updates.

BUT...

What most people associate with firmware updates are really software modifications. Pentax has not done this (neither has any of the other companies to my knowledge).

It would be nice to think that you could get continuing support for things, but I doubt that pentax will play along. It would be a great way to get good will and to try new features, but sadly they don';t seem oriented to this direction
05-10-2010, 11:51 AM   #10
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WOW ... a big $10 a month for a software maintenance agreement, that's "mighty generous"

Software maintenance is the best fleecing deal there is, a license to print money! In the government sector where I do some consulting work, the customer pays more per year for software maintenance and support than they pay for the software to begin with, and largely with nothing to show for it - it's not like the vendor is installing a new version every 6 months, or even fixing bugs found unless they're very serious.

Bugs in the firmware should get fixed for free, and as a sign of good will from the manuf. New features should only be included with new bodies, not shoe-horned into old ones. Gotta give the manuf. a bone, doesn't make sense for them to keep people happy with 2-5-7 year old bodies.

With the amazing resale prices on camera gear, there's no reason you can't upgrade your body every year or two if you want; selling your old one for exactly what you paid for it, it's like renting the camera for free, the payment was just a security deposit. I wish other consumer electronics held their value like cameras do!
05-10-2010, 12:26 PM   #11
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Just make the firmware open source after a while There are a couple features that I'd like to add. Would have to put some hefty disclaimers in there against liability issues when people start bricking their cameras.
05-10-2010, 03:36 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by arpaagent Quote
Just make the firmware open source after a while There are a couple features that I'd like to add. Would have to put some hefty disclaimers in there against liability issues when people start bricking their cameras.
but that's the issue isn't it?

Its not a question of support and extended warranty for bugs, it is a question of people wanting custom features.
05-11-2010, 07:43 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
but that's the issue isn't it?

Its not a question of support and extended warranty for bugs, it is a question of people wanting custom features.
You are exactly right. That's why it would be nice for outside developers to be able to do some work with it.

I, for one, would be highly interested in improving the cooperation of Pentax cameras with the legacy 'M' and 'K' lenses.

For example, just as you specify a focal length for the SR mechanism, you could allow the user to specify a Maximum Aperture when an 'M' or 'K' lens is attached. The user would also be required to specify the currently selected aperture like you are shooting in Av mode. Knowing these two things, and assuming the user keeps the setting in sync with what the lens is set to, the camera should be able to meter just as well as any 'A' series lens. This would also allow the camera to do a Tv shift using the green button when in manual mode without having to do the whole stop-down thing. So it would essentially turn into an 'A' series lens that requires the user to maintain the setting on the lens with the setting of the Av on the camera.

That's pretty much the main feature that I would like to add.

05-11-2010, 07:50 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by HGMonaro Quote
by supplying firmware updates for older cameras they are buying goodwill that might get them a sale when you finally upgrade.
There is a lot to be said about goodwill. If Pentax wants a loyal base, Hoya better encourage them in that direction.

Nikon replaced a sensor in a camera for me over 2 years after it was off of warranty because it had been under recall for sensor failure.
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