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View Poll Results: How much would you pay for firmware updates, if at all?
Never! Free always 3566.04%
US $10-US$25 per year 815.09%
US $25-US$50 per year 815.09%
US $50-US$100 per year 23.77%
Voters: 53. You may not vote on this poll

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02-16-2010, 07:51 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aniyn Quote
If Pentax wanted to destroy their brand loyalty they could do that. But after I spend a around thousand dollars buying their product if they started trying to nickel and dime me for functionality I'd tell them where they could stick it. The video game industry started doing things like that years ago and trust me, it hasn't worked out in the customers favor.
So you would prefer they put software based major updates into the next camera model for you to spend $1K for, rather than a $20 feature upgrade? (I don't think anyone is relating this fee business to bug fixes, which are a necessary part of any product)

I am in the same park as Lowell and Peter myself.

02-16-2010, 08:14 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by pxpaulx Quote
So you would prefer they put software based major updates into the next camera model for you to spend $1K for, rather than a $20 feature upgrade? (I don't think anyone is relating this fee business to bug fixes, which are a necessary part of any product)

I am in the same park as Lowell and Peter myself.
I must say I'm surprised too

The point being that if say 5000 people paid $50 that'd be more than enough to keep a technician working on firmware enhancements fulltime... and better firmware for the next model too when it was released... and a closer user/manufacturer relationship...

I'd jump at it if it meant an extra optional setting to completely disable DFS for > 30 seconds for example. That sort of thing wasn't advertised in the original specs so it's an extra, and stuff costs money
02-16-2010, 08:27 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nass Quote
I must say I'm surprised too

The point being that if say 5000 people paid $50 that'd be more than enough to keep a technician working on firmware enhancements fulltime... and better firmware for the next model too when it was released... and a closer user/manufacturer relationship...

I'd jump at it if it meant an extra optional setting to completely disable DFS for > 30 seconds for example. That sort of thing wasn't advertised in the original specs so it's an extra, and stuff costs money
while there may be enough to keep someone employed, what is the business model you are using, to employ people or to sell cameras?

let's assume that there are 10,000 people who want a new release (i am lazy that's why I picked a really round number)

since most would only want to pay $25, then that is $250K.

a software release, is not just about paying a person, there is a substantial development platform that he uses, and other overheads, then there is all the validation testing, to isnure it is stable before release.

I am not sure that 10K people at $25 would, int he first place pay for it, and while this would help to some extent in future product, where is the money better spent.

Unless you could get more than 50% of all bodies out there to upgrade, as much as I would want the changes, I doubt there is profit in it for pentax to do it.
02-16-2010, 08:43 AM   #19
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I don't have access to their internal statistics so I don't know the true costs etc. But, with $250k, having worked in the software industry at least myself, I'd be surprised if that didn't cover it and provide some GP. Not only that but they already pay someone for firmware work, so that would be ameliorated, as would product development R&D costs.

At the time of writing, 15/46 people here seem ok paying something. I wonder how many dSLR units are sold annually by Pentax - if it's about 5% of the dSLR market, that's roughly 500,000 units? If we call just the k-x 20% of this, that's 100,000 k-x consumers. If 15/46 of those k-x consumers follow the ratio here (15/46) paying $40(?), that's $1,304,347

That's based on my profoundly unscientific guesstimates and for just the 20% which are k-x users. If 100% of Pentax owners followed this poll's ratio that creates US$8,000,000, to produce new functionality out of nothing, introduced through firmware upgrades, across all our models where possible. I doubt Pentax would sneeze at that and it would sure make for some nifty firmware upgrades. The envy of every camera owner I bet.

Would it undercut new model sales? I doubt it because of Moore's Law, and physical limitations preventing upgrades on models?

Seriously, I'd be amazed if this isn't the norm in a few year's time. There are many other industries in which this model is already employed. I'm not neccessarily a huge fan of paying out ongoing money either myself, but surely the current situation isn't exactly so great either - nobody knows what's in a firmware upgrade, everyone expects something, they're unscheduled, badly documented, unpredictable...


Last edited by Nass; 02-16-2010 at 10:12 AM.
02-16-2010, 09:40 AM   #20
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I dont know if I would want to pay a subscription.... but I would happily pay for "a la carte" for new options and functionality.... as has been said above... fixing bugs or problems should always be free...

For it to be "workable" I think however that the technology would need to evolve... I can never see it working in the current process of downloading firmware from a website and loading via the SD card... if there was some kind of payment it is a system completely open to piracy (where something is sold.. you will always get the majority trying to get it for free...)

Now... if the camera had WIFI through which you could connect to your "pentax" account and direct download the firmware/program/update (a la iphone)... I think that would be cool...
02-16-2010, 12:29 PM   #21
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I agree with several people here, if another model replaces the current one then I would pay for the updates, otherwise as long as it's still in production and supported then I expect it to be free.
02-16-2010, 12:41 PM   #22
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I think as great as this would be for the end user, it only really works with something like apple's ipod touch. The hardware has essentially remained static (I think the first gen was missing gps capability, and there have probably been incremental hardware upgrades, such as storage space), but from what I recall (I could be wrong), when they have released the newer touch generations they have offered any software upgrades to existing owners for a fee of $20 or so. The model only works to the extent that the hardware isn't changing very much. I doubt that is the case with dslrs, which would be where this argument (or request) falls apart.
02-16-2010, 01:08 PM   #23
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Open sourcing the firmware for the K10d is not going to happen, but it would create an instant classic. All manual film cameras sell used for many times the price of late model AF cameras with lots of bells and whistles. People want a tool that is fully under their control. It is almost a crime that a camera from four or five years ago is becoming as worthless as a cell phone from that time.

02-16-2010, 01:34 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by paulelescoces Quote
I dont know if I would want to pay a subscription.... but I would happily pay for "a la carte" for new options and functionality.... as has been said above... fixing bugs or problems should always be free...
I would pay for things like this too. For example, if I wanted full manual control while in movie mode to set ISO, shutter, aperture, etc, I could pay $25 for this functionality.

The camera's serial number is probably programmed into the ROM so at the time of payment, I would input my serial number and the new firmware would be compiled with it to allow installation. This would prevent one person from paying for the feature and then turning around and posting it on a forum for everyone to use.
02-16-2010, 02:29 PM   #25
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Why not go straight to a tiered functionality pricing model, where Pentax produces one camera, but the software enables more features and has less bugs the more you pay? Certainly would simplify things. For $600 USD you can get a K7-l limited to 6MP, 1/1000 second top shutter speed, sync at 1/60, and PTTL accurate to within 4 stops. K7-m bumps it to $800, and you get 10MP, 1/120, 1/2000, and 2 stops. And if you decide later you need more functionality, you can upgrade a K7-l to a K7-m for only $300.

I think it's great for a manufacturer's bottom line, miserable for consumers. Companies should not have to need an incentive to get their products right, or improve them if possible. Not doing so isn't a reason to reward them, it's a reason to switch brands. And realistically, I'm not business partners with Pentax, so I shouldn't need to "help" them improve a product that they took full payment for in the good faith understanding that it was the best product they could make, and something they would stand behind.

Maybe I'm paranoid, but I see paying manufacturers for updates as the first step in guaranteeing products get released with the minimum feature set, and everything else as a extra cost add-on. And it would be different if we were talking opensource, and you could go to a third party if you didn't like the options from the OEM, but that isn't going to happen, so we're essentially talking about paying a company for software modifications (and I could tell you stories about how difficult it is to cleanly separate "defects" from "modifications" with software, especially if you don't carefully negotiate up front) sight/need/quality unseen.

QuoteQuote:
The camera's serial number is probably programmed into the ROM so at the time of payment, I would input my serial number and the new firmware would be compiled with it to allow installation. This would prevent one person from paying for the feature and then turning around and posting it on a forum for everyone to use.
It would also mean that if you had multiple bodies you probably would have to pay multiple times for the same update.
04-01-2010, 05:34 PM   #26
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They should just make the firmware open source...
04-02-2010, 04:55 AM   #27
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Some time ago, somebody suggested Pentax should make DSLR's running some sort of open OS platform, Chrome or something.
It would make download of Pentax and third party apps possible.

I am not prepared to pay for bug fixes etc.
I am prepared to pay for extra functionality.

- Bert
04-02-2010, 06:18 AM   #28
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for the most part I am with junyo here. however, if Pentax were to take the K-7 for example, and decide to add some new functionality to the camera that wasnt part of what I paid for when I purchased the body, i would happily pay for it if I thought it was something I could use. I love my K-7, and I think given its body design, and features, its the closest thing to the longevity of a manual film camera as we can expect in todays market. myself, and im sure many others plan on keeping the K-7 for as long as possible and new functionality at a small cost (say adding something to the K-7 that has been designed and implemented on newer camera models) then I would go for that and I think its a good idea, and a real possible new revenue stream. but it would I think have to be something that is done on a small scale and only with quality new functionality. subscription? umm NO. tiered functionality, HELL NO.

offer users who are happy with their current body and no need to upgrade to a newer one, quality new features that can be implemented in their current camera body for a small fee and you could have a winner. anything beyond that and its a terrible idea.
04-02-2010, 10:07 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eruditass Quote
They should just make the firmware open source...
Yeah!

I would love to compile the firmware on my own.. like on linux, where I can decide what gets into the kernel, and what not.. crap digi-filters adieu..
And imagine what nice features would be made by the folks! Just look at the Canon-firmware-hackers, they are pulling serious stuff..

And honestly.. I think the K-7 reached a level where the HW-capabilites are more then sufficient (at least for me).. now all is up to the SW extensibility.
04-02-2010, 10:18 AM   #30
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open sourced firmware is never going to happen. Imagine Pentax Support receiving support calls and thousands of dead DSLR from failed firmware updates.
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