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07-12-2017, 12:57 PM   #1
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Firmware updates

So I was updating the firmware on my newly acquired K200D and it occurred to me that this has become pretty much of a ritual with every Pentax camera I've owned. Every one of the nine Pentax DSLR bodies, including two Samsung clones, that I've owned has ever come into my hands with a firmware version other than 1.00. My immediate reaction to this realization was to wonder why the heck people are so slack as to not keep their firmware updated. Of course, that question is based on the huge logical fallacy that everyone is just like me, which I know they aren't. But as I've continued to ponder this phenomenon, I've come up with several reasons (in no particular order) that the majority of Pentax (and maybe DSLR users as a whole) don't bother to update their firmware:
  • They don't know what firmware is--A lot of casual users know surprisingly little about their cameras. That's why they shoot most of their photos with their phones while their real cameras gather dust until they get around to selling them on e-Bay.
  • They don't know firmware upgrades are available--Hey, it's not like the camera gives you upgrade notices on its screen like your computer does.
  • They don't care about firmware--Many casual users may feel like the camera's working okay and they've got a couple of 2GB cards for it, so why bother upgrading.
  • They may feel the hassle factor is greater than the benefits--Yeah, I can see this. I don't always immediately see any dramatic functional improvements after I upgrade. Often, it's more 'under the hood' type stuff.
  • They feel upgrading is beyond their technical expertise--If that's the case, a user is perhaps better off not upgrading or taking the camera to a local camera store to have them perform the upgrade--for a modest fee, of course. Oh yeah, that's right. The local camera store closed up about four or five years ago and there's a carryout pizza place there now. Oh well, best to just get a pizza and not worry about it.
  • They're scared to upgrade--Okay, I can actually identify with this one after having bricked my first Pentax, an *istDL a week after I got it. I refused to upgrade the next three cameras I owned and only relented about three years later when I got my K-x and had an annoying issue that could be fixed by a firmware update. After I successfully upgraded that camera, I went back and upgraded my K2000 and K100D, which I still owned. My girlfriend has the Samsung GX-1L and it has never been upgraded.
Today, I am officially over my firmwarephobia and have no hesitation at all to upgrade my cameras. Often, one of the first things I do when I acquire a one now is to check the firmware version to see if it needs upgrading but I also realize I'm likely in the minority on that. I also noticed that on my newest camera, a K30, the firmware version and update option were on a menu item instead of being accessed by a semi-secret button push at startup. I wonder if that has increased the incidence of firmware upgrades at all.


Last edited by pjv; 07-14-2017 at 03:31 AM. Reason: Remove swearing
07-12-2017, 02:07 PM   #2
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One more reason, which is somehow connected with your last point - "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." So, maybe not scared, but, well, a bit wary and trying not to wake up that leprechaun in the dark corner.

Said that, I have a fully updated unit. 55-300 PLM, ya know.
07-12-2017, 02:13 PM   #3
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You don't have access to a Firearm I hope!
07-12-2017, 05:00 PM   #4
bxf
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QuoteOriginally posted by E-man Quote
the majority of Pentax (and maybe DSLR users as a whole) don't bother to update their firmware
I'd question the validity of this assumption, at least when it comes to members of the various relevant forums/fora.

07-12-2017, 07:25 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by bxf Quote
I'd question the validity of this assumption, at least when it comes to members of the various relevant forums/fora.
I think most forum members, myself included, would fall into the category of enthusiasts, who would be among those who are statistically most likely to upgrade their firmware. I'm basing my assumptions on the general public, who would definitely be less likely to upgrade firmware than the average camera enthusiast.
07-12-2017, 09:10 PM   #6
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IMO the general public - most camera owners who never visit PF - don't know that firmware upgrades have been issued. It's not like an auto recall where the manufacturer seeks out owners.
07-12-2017, 10:24 PM   #7
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I'm normally scared of updating my firmware. But, with the new PLM I would do it if I have the lens. Still, I'm waiting for the update for the k-5II. I'm looking at buying a 55-300 plm in the future.
07-12-2017, 10:31 PM   #8
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Not scare but I deliberately wait to see if the new Firmware will introduce a hidden fun (bug).
Thanks Adobe for teaching me this.

07-12-2017, 11:48 PM - 1 Like   #9
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Having recently bricked a large and expensive UPS while trying a firmware upgrade, I'd suggest that there are benefits to leaving well alone after all.
07-13-2017, 01:13 AM - 2 Likes   #10
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Having spent 10 years as an IT Project Manager, I know all too well that applying an update 'because it's there' is a fool's errand.

If you are experiencing a bug that is fixed by the update, or you require a feature that is added, it might be worth the effort and risk. If not, it is at best a pointless waste of time, at worst could break something that was previously working.
07-13-2017, 05:23 AM - 1 Like   #11
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e.g. Windows 10
07-13-2017, 05:29 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by victormeldrew Quote
If you are experiencing a bug that is fixed by the update, or you require a feature that is added, it might be worth the effort and risk.
Effort!? Risk!? It's a 2-minute simple task. Crossing the road is more challenging, and more dangerous.
07-13-2017, 07:15 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Paul the Sunman Quote
Effort!? Risk!? It's a 2-minute simple task. Crossing the road is more challenging, and more dangerous.
Except that crossing the road gets you a clear destination and upgrading firmware often brings nothing but risk.

I'm with victormeldrew on this one. It's not a "2-minute task" if you need to spend a hour or more on the internet researching the PROs and CONs of the update and all the side effects (e.g., features, applications, or peripherals that no longer work the way they used to). Some updates are downgrades.

Camera firmware updates aren't so bad (all my Pentax camera's are updated) because they seldom make big changes to functionality or force other devices to be updated, too. But I've seriously regretted a number of OS and application updates that broke heavily-used features, ruined the system's performance, or forced me to install unwanted updates on other devices.
07-13-2017, 07:37 AM   #14
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"Nothing but risk"? Try bug fixes and new features.
The risk is small, if you do it correctly; and Pentax firmware updates are usually trouble-free.
07-13-2017, 07:45 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by E-man Quote
They're scared to upgrade--Okay, I can actually identify with this one after having bricked my first Pentax, an *istDL a week after I got it.
This is my situation. I cannot afford to replace my K3 if I "brick" it if something goes wrong during the firmware update!

Last edited by pjv; 07-14-2017 at 03:34 AM. Reason: Remove swearing from quote
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