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01-26-2008, 11:24 AM   #1
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Would you pay, and how much for software upgrades

To all pentaxians.

I's sure you all have a "wish list" or gripes about functionality of your pentax cameras to some extent. Many of these are little things, that you have developed work arounds for, but which could be easily solved by software upgrades.

Since pentax has not been overly responsive in sorting out these little issues by releasing new software, I have a thought:

Would you pay for an upgrade to get these functions? If so, what would this upgrade be worth?

My list is quite reasonable, and no I am not going to ask for things I know I cant have, but here are the biggest ones.

1) allow users to enter a teleconverter conversion factor so that the shake reduction correctly compensates for focal length

2) allow for input of minimum and maximum apature so that the camera can use K mount lenses in AE modes, allow use of P-=TTL flash, and to help correct (K10D) exposure error with manual apature lenses

3) allow for customizable file names.

4) allow alternate green button function of meter reading without changing camera adjustments

added in first edit

5) front / back focus adjustment and lens database like K20D


Edit note

COncensus seems to be $25


Last edited by Lowell Goudge; 01-30-2008 at 02:47 PM.
01-26-2008, 12:00 PM   #2
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Not a bad idea Lowell. That's how software companies work, and this is after all a piece of hardware running software. I would definitely be willing to pay for upgrades. It certainly bodes well for the preservation of the hardware. Surely Pentax realizes that although the initial investment in the K10D wasn't monumental, it is assuredly a great instrument. Although my Spotmatic II is over 30 years old, it can still take remarkable pictures. Will I be able to say that about the K10D in 30 years, probably not, but adding life by providing software upgrades, great idea.

Note to Adam...What about a poll on this idea?
01-26-2008, 12:04 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
Would you pay for an upgrade to get these functions? If so, what would this upgrade be worth?
First, I think your list of desired improvements is a good one. I would especially like to be able to tell the camera that I'm using a teleconverter and what the magnification factor is, and have it then store the adjusted focal length in the EXIF data. (I do not know if this would involve a technical misrepresentation.)

Second, would I pay for this? Well, I guess I would, although I think that these changes ought to be provided by Pentax to all users via a firmware update that is free. It would be a great way to thank existing customers.

Third, what would I pay? Not much. I might cough up as much as $20 for all of these enhancements. I'd pay more than that if they would give K10D users the ability to switch from P-TTL to normal TTL flash metering but I don't know if that's even technically feasible; I suspect it's not.

Will
01-26-2008, 12:12 PM   #4
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I have been think about this for a long time. I mean paying to upgrade the K10 by say sending it off for a price and getting back with better features. Heck the iTouch could be upgraded to pretty much an iPhone less the phone for $20.00. I would much rather pay (not to mention easier to convince the accountant) $200 to upgrade my current model with features of new model instead of dishing out anoth $1200. I see in my crystal ball that being the next camera of the future. One you can do just that. Back to the iPhone (sorry best xmas gift I ever recieved) people are crying every day in forums, should I get it now or wait. It doesn't matter when you get it in 9 -12 month it will be old and outdated anyway. Same with camera's. I could not wait, had to have K10 convinced my wife and paid $950ish. Could I have waited a few months when the price dropped to 7-6-5 Hundred dollars. Sure I could have, but then I would have been around the point of rumors of the K20D. I would have been saying should I wait.... It is a vicous cycle. Will I get the K20, more then likely no. Do I want it YES. Sorry that got off the subject a bit. Yes I would gladly pay a hundred to few hundred to upgrade the K10D

01-26-2008, 12:20 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
I'd pay more than that if they would give K10D users the ability to switch from P-TTL to normal TTL flash metering but I don't know if that's even technically feasible; I suspect it's not.

Will
Will

re the P-TTL, the problem there is that they deleted the light sensor that was in the *istD to read reflected flash off the sensor (AKA off the film in film cameras)

Would I like them to put the sensor back, you bet, but they wont. so making a manual apature K mount work in auto mode is the next best thing.
01-26-2008, 01:00 PM   #6
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To your list, I would add being able to manually adjust front/back focus for individual lenses and store these settings such that you can bring them up for each of your lenses. I know this is not much to ask...because it's a feature of the K20D.

Would I pay for these upgrades? Hmmm...maybe I would, although I think it would be a nice touch for Pentax to make them available for free. For those who say they would lose money, I disagree; how many people are going to upgrade to the K20D just because of a few firmware upgrades? Not that many, I'm sure. If you decide to upgrade it will be for other features that have to do with the hardware, rather than the software. Plus, updating older firmware when new models are released is the kind of thing that makes current customers really happy; and there's no better publicity that happy customers.

As a side note, back in the late 90's I used to have a Boss effects pedal for my electric guitar. It was an awesome piece of kit, with better build and sound quality than the competition, but it was not as popular because the other companies spent a lot more on PR (does this sound familiar?). Anyway, at the time manufacturers were starting to realise the potential of being able to hook up your music equipment to your computer and the leading pedal in the market came bundled with a software program that allowed you to control the pedal via your computer. Not only that, but it added functionality and versatility that you just couldn't achieve with the limited buttons on the unit itself. And what's more, they had set up an online forum where users could exchange effects settings in small files, and there was a repository for them, so if a novice wanted an effect to sound like Jimi Hendrix he could download a patch and was ready to go. All this was free, of course.

Boss, however, had no such software, and they were losing customers because of it. I thought they would work their arses off to create such a software, but they didn't. So, some smart guy saw an opportunity and wrote the software himself. It wasn't as flashy as that of the competition, but it worked extremely well. He sold it for $25 I think, and every few months he would release a free update. As you can imagine, it sold extremely well.

Yes, there is a point to this loooooong story: Although we would like Pentax to keep updating their old firmware, they are unlikely to do so, and if someone is capable of offering an alternative firmware with these desired upgrades, there will be plenty of people willing to pay $25.

I'm not sure about the legal ramifications of selling modified proprietary firmware, but I'm sure there would be workarounds.

OK, you can all wake up now!
01-26-2008, 01:06 PM   #7
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One more thing. I've been thinking for a while that Pentax would be smart to create an online forum on their website where we could go talk about the issues we have with our cameras, both the hardware and the software. I have heard rumours that some Pentax people read this forum and others, but if there were an official forum, then there would be someone whose job at Pentax (maybe one day a week) would be to read the comments and complaints, summarise them, and present them to the engineers. I'm sure Pentax would win a lot of points with consumers for doing this.
01-26-2008, 01:47 PM   #8
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Has there been any indication that there will be a firmware update coming for the K10D from Pentax?

01-26-2008, 02:10 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by harv3589 Quote
Has there been any indication that there will be a firmware update coming for the K10D from Pentax?
I have asked this previously when submitting issues like this and unfortunately you get one of 3 responses, they know nothing about upcoming updates, and if this item will be addressed, they have passed the issue on to thier R&D or just plain NO.

That is why after the latest response, "we have passed to our R&D team in Japan. It is their decision as to whether or not they want to add them to the camera, not ours."

What ever happened to"we are pentaxians, we listen to our customers"?
01-26-2008, 02:12 PM   #10
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I'm really surprised and a bit disappointed that someone hasn't hacked the firmware already. I guess there are no genius programmer's who are photographers:-(. If the K10D was a video card or a DVD burner or a Logitech mouse we would have had these features and more last August.
Hardware guys can put out awesome stuff with a lot of potential.....but without the software guys to take advantage of it most of the potential falls by the wayside. Or the software guys are controlled by the money guys who won't let them explore the potentials of the hardware for one stupid reason or another. The money guys have their heads up their<beep>.
If Pentax was REALLY a company who looked after their customers they would give us these features but I bet a dollar to a dough nut we never see it. They think by not providing them we will instead rush out and buy the K20D. I'd love to but I want the DA* 300/4 and I can't afford both!
01-27-2008, 04:19 AM   #11
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Nice wishlist of (probably feasible) updates, Lowell! In response to your primary question, I'd prefer to have firmware updates free, but if the monetary enticement would keep the Pentax software engineers employed on squeezing more value into our existing cameras, I'd be willing to pay $20-25 per "major version" upgrade. Fixes of the sort that came in v. 1.30 (activate SDM) shouldn't cost more than $5, IMO. Better free with first purchase of an SDM lens. That's my 2 (US) for now.
01-27-2008, 05:58 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eaglerapids Quote
I'm really surprised and a bit disappointed that someone hasn't hacked the firmware already. I guess there are no genius programmer's who are photographers:-(. If the K10D was a video card or a DVD burner or a Logitech mouse we would have had these features and more last August.
Hardware guys can put out awesome stuff with a lot of potential.....but without the software guys to take advantage of it most of the potential falls by the wayside. Or the software guys are controlled by the money guys who won't let them explore the potentials of the hardware for one stupid reason or another. The money guys have their heads up their<beep>.
If Pentax was REALLY a company who looked after their customers they would give us these features but I bet a dollar to a dough nut we never see it. They think by not providing them we will instead rush out and buy the K20D. I'd love to but I want the DA* 300/4 and I can't afford both!
People have been trying to reverse engineer the firmware, read this thread at dpreview:
Of firmware and some images [Page 1]: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

The question is; would it be a smart business decision to do this?
What are the costs associated with custome firmware development?
Let's do the math:

- 0.5 FTE engineer salary (assume 6 months development time): 6 * $6,000 salary * 1.5 overhead = $ 54,000.
- An in camera development environment + test setup,... wild guess: $ 15,000
- Adds, processing the orders, admin, website, etc... another wild guess: $ 6,000
Adds up to a total cost of $ 75.000, add a before tax profit margin of 25k and you are talking $ 100k investment.

How many people would want to have this? 500? 5000?
With 5000 payed for downloads (hoping that it will not be copied to P-to-P download sites...) you will need to charge appr $20,- for it.

- Bert
01-27-2008, 06:11 AM   #13
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to all those who have responded so far, thanks, and I believe the responders have set the market price at $25, Now only if pentax will stand up and take notice.

With respect to "hacking into the firmware" I discourage this, it boarders on theft and should not be the point of discussion for this forum..

Perhaps there is another route. In many instances companies are required to provide firmware to the customers, but the firmware contains proprietary knowledge of the developer.

The reason for delivery of firmware is to insure that if the supplier becomes insolvent or fails to support the product the customer has the technical means to support his product.

It is generally held in escrow, and can be released with proof of default of the supplier.

Maybe pentax should consider a similar possibility here. Make the firmware available on the basis they are no longer interested in supporting thier camera
01-27-2008, 06:27 AM   #14
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Hacking into the firmware of a product you own not only isn't theft, or approaching theft, it's actually a protected action under US law.

Anyway, I'm not sure I really like the model of firmware updates costing money. It rewards releasing buggy products and withholding features solely to increase sales of the next version. This goes down a spiral of ever increasing company-customer antagonism.
01-27-2008, 07:52 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by mattdm Quote
Hacking into the firmware of a product you own not only isn't theft, or approaching theft, it's actually a protected action under US law.
true until you try to sell it
QuoteQuote:
Anyway, I'm not sure I really like the model of firmware updates costing money. It rewards releasing buggy products and withholding features solely to increase sales of the next version. This goes down a spiral of ever increasing company-customer antagonism.
It depends, I guess. Some of what I have asked for are really enhancements, others fix bugs. Bug fixes I agree, we don't want pentax to behave like microsoft, but I don't thnk they have the market share to do so.

BUT where this got started was with the custom file name option. Pentax claimed for ever that they could not do it because it violated international imaging standards, then have it listed as a feature on the K20. They just didn't want to.
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