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The Importance of Firmware – X-T1, GH4, NX1 and More


Chris Niccolls and Jordan Drake from the Camera Store in Canada look at a subject that does not get a lot of coverage typically – firmware updates.

For many years firmware updates in the photography industry were mostly tools for fixing bugs with cameras. Canon and Nikon never bothered to release much more than fixes for their cameras once you got them unless they felt there was something wrong with the camera (and even than fixes were not always very quick).

When mirrorless cameras started to appear things gradually started to chance. This is particularly true for Fujifim and to some extent Sony and Panasonic. Fujifilm realized pretty early on that in order to create brand loyalty it will need to keep its costumers happy – and what better way is their of keeping your costumers happy than updating their existing cameras with new useful features.

Many of Fujifilm’s advanced cameras got a long series of firmware updates that didn’t just fix problems (although in many cases they did just that) but also added new functionalities. Now, we do have to admit that when released Fujifilm cameras typically have more bugs than other cameras we have used (surely more bugs than Nikon cameras for example). On the other hand after a year or a year and a half you get not just a  more mature camera but one with many new and important features that you did not have initially.

To some extent this is also true for Samsung (with the NX1 and less so with a few other cameras) and Panasonic (mostly with the GH4). Sadly, Nikon and Canon still feel that they don’t need to add anything to their cameras through firmware and if users want new features they should just wait for a new camera (although again, to be fair most of Nikon/Canon DSLRs are more mature and less buggy when released).

So what is your take on this? do you prefer a more mature camera with less bugs but no features updates or a somewhat less mature camera which will improve over time and gain new features? (and why can’t we get both!?).

More photography related technology videos can be found on our photo-tech section here on LensVid.

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