shame on you Nikon

Started Feb 26, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Re: shame on you Nikon
In reply to draacor, Feb 26, 2013

draacor wrote:

I wonder how upset people would be if say Microsoft would do the same tactic. What if in order to get a new version if IE you had to just buy it? To get any new features added to windows you just had to buy the next version of windows. I'm pretty sure people would be awfully outraged by that, but that's because we have been conditioned from the start to expect regular updates to the system and then every now and then upgrade to a new version by purchasing.

In fact I think cameras are the only device that comes to mind that uses software to control its primary functions that hardly ever comes out with improvements to it without buying a new model.

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50mm 1.8D

Draacor, that's the way pretty much every software company works. They establish some limits on firmware updates - bugfix only, etc., and then when a major new feature gets finished, up the revision number and charge an upgrade fee. Microsoft plays this game with all of its products as well, you just don't always see it that often and because their major product - their operating system, has to be constantly updated because of its complexity and the unfeasibility of 100% testing prior to launch. Also because Microsoft is in the business of enabling you to use their products on the strength of their operating system. It's the Gillette razors and blades models - give away the razor, charge like **** for the blades.

Even worse now is the subscription model. Long used in the industrial software market, this model forces you to pay a monthly "maintenance fee" on top of a hefty "purchase price" for what is effectively the R&D costs for the next generation. And with some manufacturers, you can't just upgrade your software and avoid maintenance; you have to pay back maintenance as well. Adobe has just instituted this model and it's causing hideous screams from their user base. On the other hand, it's about the only way a company can survive once the point is reached that a particular product does all and more than any user can think of using. Cameras are pretty much at that point right now.  Would you be willing to pay a firmware rental charge for the updates you want?

It does make some sense to consider a camera body as a platform in some regards, because for many users the camera is a long term purchase. Thom Hogans Communicating, Modular, Programmable camera idea, and the NEX-6's camera apps store address this idea. However, the reality is that cameras are not considered a durable good in the same way that cars are, for example. They are a disposable consumer good. If Nikon were to make a Hoganesque CMP camera, I would guess that a large fraction of its new body sales would disappear...even though its sales of software and compatible ecosphere products would rise. However, that increase in software sales wouldn't make up for the loss of camera sales, and, as importantly, a lot of the profit from those software sales would go to someone else than Nikon. Notice how Sony isn't permitting 3rd party software for its app-enabled NEX-6?

The u4/3 folks are providing firmware updates and iterating like mad because they're trying to establish market share and a unique presence. Nikon and Canon already have that presence. When u4/3 matures, it'll start playing the same games that Nikon and Canon are.

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Olympus XZ-1 Olympus Stylus 1 Nikon D90 Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR +5 more
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