Frequent firmware updates - good or bad?
It's no secret that Ricoh releases a lot more firmware updates than other brands. The models that lead the pack are the GR-D with 9 firmware updates and the R5 with 6 updates. I think that only Kodak, with its discontinued FF DSLRs line, released more updates (too many to count, including many beta ones).
Is this a good thing? I think in some cases it is.
On one hand one could say that cameras are released to the market half-baked. This is true with the R5. I personally went through 5 of the 6 firmware updates before I gave up on the camera and returned it for the more dependable GX8 (only 2 updates with this one). It seems that nothing in firmware could fix the R5 AF issues.
On the other hand, the GR-D was a good camera right from the start, and the firmware updates keep making it better and better with new features, long after it was released to the market.
My opinion is that all basic functionality should be there right from the initial launch - and in satisfactory state. However, I do think that frequent firmware updates for AF and AE optimizations/refinements, new features, as well as compatibility with new media are very much a blessing.