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Old Feb 22, 2006, 3:22 PM   #1
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I know panasonic is last on that list...
Next time I buy a camera I also want to be able to updated the software in it to improve it as it is possible.
It´s not ment I must be forced to buy a brand new camera each year as Panasonic recomends...

So, any brand that care´s about there customers?
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Old Feb 22, 2006, 3:38 PM   #2
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I dont think any manufacturer updates their firmware "regularly". Updates are made to correct for problems as they are found, if they can be corrected at all (not tied to the physics of the hardware that is) Your not going to get a firmware that gives you 8 Mp instead of 6 for example.

You can also find some hacked firmwares, because for instance electronics manufacturers have a habit of using the same electronics in both a higher and lower model of camera, and limiting them through the firmware as this is cheaper than manufacturing 2 seperate sets of chips. For example he original canon rebel has hacked firmware that enables ISO 3200 and modes found in the higher level camera at the time (10D?)

whats wrong with your camera that you think can be fixed?

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Old Feb 22, 2006, 5:11 PM   #3
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Last thing I want is more MP's so even if it was possible I wouldn't bother… There is already enought noise as it is.

I've got the Panasonic FZ5.
Imho, the drawbacks of the camera are the LCD behavior in low light, black out in continuous shooting and I really need more then 8 seconds as the longest exposure.
Also when the camera goes in "power save" mode I would like the lens to stay at "ready" mode, not go all the way back to its "turned off" mode.

I really believe that these things can be fixed with an updated firmware…
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Old Feb 22, 2006, 8:16 PM   #4
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The first three"upgrades" are likely hardware limitations. Firmware upgrades usually only occur to fix a bug or issue, or change/improve menu navigation. I can understand wanting a little more from your camera, but firmaware upgrades are not all that common. Typically you'll see upgrades occur in future models, as most point and shoots have a rather limited life cycle.
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Old Feb 22, 2006, 8:58 PM   #5
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As already mentioned, most firmware updates are for bug fixes.

Sometimes you'll see updates to improve things like memory card compability, too (for example, a model may not work right with memory cards that weren't available at the time they were designed, so you sometimes see firmware updates to improve this kind of thing).

You'll sometimes see updates designed to improve things like white balance, exposure algorthms and AF reliability, too.

Minolta has a pretty good reputation for offering updates that improve performance. For example, they came out with a free update that dramatically improved write times to media with the Maxxum 7D.

Getting new features is much rarer.

Minolta once offered an optional firmware update to DiMAGE 7 owners to give them a LOT of added features and functionality for a relatively small price ($49.95). But, I don't recall a similar upgrade from any other manufacturer (they'd rather you buy a new camera instead, since that's likely to be more profitable compared to all of R&D they'd need to put into a firmware update of that magnitude).

The Kodak DCS Pro 14n should probably fall into this category, too (Kodak offered an optional hardware update for it, which involved replacing the existing sensor and electronics).

You'll find a review of the optional update to the Minolta DiMAGE 7 by NHL here (scroll down and you'll see the features added via this optional firmware upgrade).

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2001_...e7_firmup.html

BTW, Minolta still offered free updates for bug fixes to the original DiMAGE 7 firmware, even though you could get an optional ($49.95) firmware update with lots of new features if desired, too.

But, I wouldn't hold your breath expecting updates with new functionality from camera manufacturers. It's too costly from an R&D perspective to add features to existing models, since they wouldn't be able to recoup the cost, and they'd make more profit by selling you a new model when you need more features than you've got.


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Old Feb 23, 2006, 2:45 AM   #6
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JimC wrote:
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Minolta once offered an optional firmware update to DiMAGE 7 owners to give them a LOT of added features and functionality for a relatively small price ($49.95).** But, I don't recall a similar upgrade from any other manufacturer (they'd rather you buy a new camera instead, since that's likely to be more profitable compared to all of R&D they'd need to put into a firmware update of that magnitude).
Don't forget big writing speed upgrades to discontinued prosumers.


Fact is that makers doing firmware updates are few, and updates have been done mostly to top end cameras.

I don't see much chances for firmware updates to me-too Point&Shoots. (regardless is it small pocket camera or that media sexy unwide angle ultrazoom)
Makers of those do these updates by stamping bigger number to camera and selling it as new model.
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Old Feb 23, 2006, 5:44 AM   #7
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rjseeney wrote:
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The first three*"upgrades" *are likely hardware limitations.* Firmware upgrades usually only occur to fix a bug or issue, or change/improve menu navigation.* I can understand wanting a little more from your camera, but firmaware upgrades are not all that common.* Typically you'll see upgrades occur in future models, as most point and shoots have a rather limited life cycle.
How can they be hardware limitations?

If the brightness of the LCD is adjusted trough software you must be able to put higher values, instead of -3...0...+3 tweak it to -3...0...+10?
And the exposure time, 8 sec changed to 60 sec just like the FZ7, cant be that difficult for the manufacture?

I tweaked a lot with PC's, BIOS and drivers and so on and I know that it's possible to squeeze a bit more out of hardware. Shouldn't be any harder with a camera, those rusky guys did the Canon 350 successfully.
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Old Feb 23, 2006, 6:47 AM   #8
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Lcd's do not have unlimited brightness, and the brighter you run the LCD, the more you shorten its life. Since this is a matter of personal preference, I doubt it would be addressed with a firmware upgrade.

Longer shutter speeds result in hotter sensor temperatures, temperatures perhaps the sensor is not designed to handle. Also, as shutter speeds get longer, noise progressively worsens, which may result in unusable images at such long shutter speeds. The target user of this camera is not even likely to use even eight second shutter speeds, so the associated hardware was probably designed with this is mind. Again, not a likely candidate for a firmware upgrade.
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Old Feb 23, 2006, 4:17 PM   #9
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rjseeney wrote:
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Lcd's do not have unlimited brightness, and the brighter you run the LCD, the more you shorten its life.* Since this is a matter of personal preference, I doubt it would be addressed with a firmware upgrade.

Longer shutter speeds result in hotter sensor temperatures, temperatures perhaps the sensor is not designed to handle.* Also, as shutter speeds get longer, noise progressively worsens, which may result in unusable images at such long shutter speeds.* The target user of this camera is not even likely to use even eight second shutter speeds, so the associated hardware was probably designed with this is mind.* Again, not a likely candidate for a firmware upgrade.
The sensor (and lens) is the exact same as on the FZ7, funny the sensor doesn't "burn up" there... And on the FZ7 it's up to 60 sec despite the fact that the camera has a tendency for more noise due to more MP...
What I'm trying to say is that there is a real benefit if Panasonic put some effort on updating the firmware but they won't do that... They want us to buy a brand new camera instead... Well I'll do that, not too soon but much later and it's not going to be a Panasonic again, that's for sure.
The FZ5 is a great camera and as a newbie you don't lack anything. But with time you realize there are some limitations and it's really sad to see that a hug company like Panasonic doesn't seem willing to fix this... Most of the software standards on the FZ7 can be applied to the FZ5 as long as the hardware is the same, and in most cases it is.
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Old Feb 23, 2006, 4:54 PM   #10
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Just offering some possible reasons:!:. However, the most likely reason is marketing. There needs to be some clear differences between the two cameras. Some of the corners cut justify charging more for the better model. If they made both cameras with the same features, there would be no need for two cameras and they would miss a price point they were trying to hit to capture more market share.

Again as was said its not just Panasonic....most manufacturers don not regalurly issue firmware updates.
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