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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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02-15-2010, 12:59 PM   #1
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What would you pay for firmware updates, if at all?

Hello,

Many people like myself look at firmware updates as possible solutions to some features and/or tweak requests to existing base dSLR models.

I suspect that we do not know the limitations within such firmware updates so some of the requests may simply be impossible, a perfectly reasonable explanation. In other cases, I suspect that whilst possible, the development costs prohibit development. After all there is no incremental revenue gain from a firmware update. So I wanted to suggest a different model, in which owners pay for firmware updates, say by annual license. But this would also give value for money:
  • 1 guaranteed update per month
  • Feature requests polled amongst users to see which had greatest support
  • Email notification of updates
  • Greater detail and explanation regarding updated features (ie a detailed readme with say some bumpf online in a PDF or something)

Now personally I would be ok paying up to say $50-100/year for something like this as long as it delivers the goods. It'd have to be good though. But your mileage may vary and perhaps this is forbidden territory.

I'm kind of surprised this has not already been thought of because it a) creates revenue to do firmware updates and b) makes the company closer to the customer, a good thing. And c), ongoing revenue - a great thing for a smaller company like Pentax. Anyhow so there you have it, simple idea, simple proposition, perhaps I'll be shot for even suggesting it but I thought I would in the unlikely case that some pentax bod actually reads this.

Thank you.

02-15-2010, 01:25 PM   #2
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If it meant regular and significant updates to improve the system then I would be all for a small annual subscribtion. How though would you cater to the people that doen't want to pay? Leave them with the base model firmware? There would have to be some updated features for them like there is at the moment.
02-15-2010, 01:35 PM   #3
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I wouldn't pay a single cent. Firmware updates are needed in every model to fix problems. We are sold cameras on the belief that they are going to deliver as advertised and when they don't Why would I want to PAY for a fix of something I've already paid for?

02-15-2010, 02:10 PM   #4
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Jeff -- I think there is a difference between firmware updates for bug resolution versus new features. If they could bundle a new feature -- like say, better video support -- wouldn't it be easier to pay a few bucks rather than wait for K8 release and shell another thousand bucks? I personally don't want to upgrade for a while, but if I can obtain tangible benefits from the next generation of cameras, I think I would be okay with paying a bit to keep my current model more up-to-date.

02-15-2010, 02:42 PM   #5
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Such an update usually has both new features and bugfixes. Asking money for bugfixes is poor style, but asking money for substantial additional features is OK with me. A practical solution would be to sell licenses to non-free aditions by some challenge response system but let all users benefit from bugfixes and minor improvements. I am sure Hoya engineers could come up with a secure licensing method. If not - I would be glad to help.
02-15-2010, 03:02 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by JeffJS Quote
I wouldn't pay a single cent. Firmware updates are needed in every model to fix problems. We are sold cameras on the belief that they are going to deliver as advertised and when they don't Why would I want to PAY for a fix of something I've already paid for?
A degree of healthy scepticism about firmware updates is called for. I would tend to support this position that nothing should be paid by the consumer for firmware updates whether they fix problems or introduce "new" features.
02-15-2010, 03:11 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by K7er Quote
wouldn't it be easier to pay a few bucks rather than wait for K8 release and shell another thousand bucks?
Which is exactly why the idea will never happen.
02-15-2010, 03:17 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by K7er Quote
Jeff -- I think there is a difference between firmware updates for bug resolution versus new features. If they could bundle a new feature -- like say, better video support -- wouldn't it be easier to pay a few bucks rather than wait for K8 release and shell another thousand bucks? I personally don't want to upgrade for a while, but if I can obtain tangible benefits from the next generation of cameras, I think I would be okay with paying a bit to keep my current model more up-to-date.
You see, that's my position too.

Seems to me these days because of technological change we live with products which have a shorter shelf life and don't get repaired as much. Broken gizmo? Buy another. I'd far rather live with a gizmo a bit longer but also have a programme of continuous improvement built in. Breeds much more customer loyalty too I'd have thought. It would from me at least.

On another note, yes this is a clear distinction. Bugfixes are free. But anything new or additional over and beyond the advertised model, I'd pay extra for it. There's no such thing as a free lunch.

02-15-2010, 03:32 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by K7er Quote
Jeff -- I think there is a difference between firmware updates for bug resolution versus new features. If they could bundle a new feature -- like say, better video support -- wouldn't it be easier to pay a few bucks rather than wait for K8 release and shell another thousand bucks? I personally don't want to upgrade for a while, but if I can obtain tangible benefits from the next generation of cameras, I think I would be okay with paying a bit to keep my current model more up-to-date.
I understand your point and understood the intention of the OP. I think back however to the K10d which undeniably suffers from focus issues (FF and BF). Someone discovered a way into the firmware to access the fine tune and Pentax's response was to issue another firmware (v1.11) to close that door. Instead, they could have gained some considerable customer loyalty by releasing an update that just allowed us the use of that feature. It would have at least shown that they give a damn about their existing customer base.

The reason batted about, though I don't think any official statement from pentax was ever released, was there was no room in the software for Additional features. I don't really buy that excuse because there is a lot of empty space in the firmware but whatever..

Since they cannot alter or introduce new hardware to introduce new features, I think it would be of little use to buy the right to update the camera. I half fear that if something like that were introduced, we would then have to pay for the software to fix what should have been working to begin with. How many have asked for a way to turn off the SDM for dual focus lenses that have failed SDM motors?

To modify my original answer, on a piece by piece basis, some Changes might be worth a couple dollars to me. For instance, Mappable buttons. I Absolutely HATE where they put the AE-L button on the K7. I never use it in practice and would like to just turn it off all together. Since the K10d, the RAW button has been completely useless to me. Let me use it for something else. Still though, additional features I would really like to see, require a completely different camera to be produced. If the K8 doesn't bring it, I'll still be happily shooting with the K7.

02-15-2010, 04:03 PM   #10
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Will not pay half a cent for a firmware update... Firmware are necessary fixes and updates. If I paid a lot for something, they better not try to pull a Micro$$oft in my pocket.
02-15-2010, 07:16 PM   #11
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It is not as though I have seen Pentax rushing to include new features on a camera after its release. Firmware has been used to fix problems (poor SR, green line issue, etc). The only time I have seen it unlock a feature was when it allowed for SDM on the K10.

Anyway, I vote free, unless I can be shown that there are features that I desperately need that have been locked up without my paying for them.
02-15-2010, 09:46 PM   #12
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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.
02-16-2010, 03:32 AM   #13
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Cant vote for any of the given options.

Fixing firmware bugs is essential and I will never pay for that (except maybe after gurantee expired, but I would think about this more then twice for sure).

When it comes to feature enhancements supplied with an optional non-bugfix-update, I would only want to pay for it if I really require or simply want it. No annual fee or something. E.g. I dont need any of these in-camera post-processing gimmcks on a K-7.
02-16-2010, 04:23 AM   #14
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To me an annual fee wouldn't be of interest. Maybe I'm happy with the cameras I have now and don't want some tweak they have added. But if there were a menu of items that had a one time fee attached, sure I'd go for that.

I voted $10-25 only because if a major upgrade were available, I'd make a one time payment for it. I wouldn't expect them to invest R&D and resources into a discontinued product that would impact sales of current gear. IE if there was an AF upgrade for the K20D to make it match the K-7, they wouldn't release it free if it would slow sales of K-7's

Bug fixes should be free though.
02-16-2010, 07:42 AM   #15
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I voted 10-25 like peter on the basis of a one time update, somewhere just after the end of normal support (i.e. when the next model is released) where the ajority of comments etc are taken into account and implemented.

We ran a thread like this back about 3 years ago if I remember correctly. (I think actually I started it)

there are only a fet things that really bug me about functionality but one of them was lack of p-ttl support and poor metering on the K10D.

I offered pentax a working solution that would have been great if they implemented it, Also on the K10D they disabled exposure compensation in manual. it is the only camera they sell which lacks that feature.

As I said, some simple things, possible but not done that I would even today pay for as a one time release on the K10D.
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