When Will the Upgrades Stop?

I've recently heard a lot of complaints about the constant updating of camera bodies. The D6 is number ten in a line that dates back 20 years (don't forget the s models). Even in mirrorless the models are starting to stack up, as the recent Fujifilm X-T is, after all, number four in its line.

So what I keep hearing from some is "enough is enough." 

Well, no. Because the other thing I keep hearing is "[Fill in camera maker name] needs to do more and add [fill in requested feature]."

Products are like sharks, they need to keep swimming to stay alive. Sometimes they don't swim very fast, sometimes they leap forward, but a good company will try to keep their products as current as possible and progressing forward, not stagnating. The only other options for a company would be to diversify (e.g. make different products), or to die (stop making products).

So, no, the upgrades probably won't stop until the last camera maker closes its doors sometime in the (hopefully distant) future. 

If you've been paying attention, though, the right question to ask is "are the camera makers making the right upgrades?" 

I'm getting tired of silly and stupid product decisions. I'll take Nikon to task on this because I know their details better than any of the companies, but every camera company has its own variation of this problem:

  • The Z50 can't save/load settings on a card
  • The Z6 and Z7 can save/load settings on a card, but don't save U1/U2/U3 settings
  • The D780 can save/load settings on a card, and saves U1/U2 settings when it does

And in all cases, the Nikon settings files are hard-coded nightmares that have obscure names that have to exactly match. 

What photographer doesn't want to save his or her settings? What photographer doesn't want to save all of their settings? What photographer only wants to save one form of their settings?

The answers are no one, no one, and no one. So in all three camera of these most recent cameras, Nikon is wrong!

Yet this issue has been present in Nikon cameras for two decades now. They have never really upgraded this function correctly. And that's because those designing the cameras aren't photographers, nor do they talk enough with photographers. 

Let me point out something to the product managers in Tokyo: the only customers that are still buying in the camera market are photographers. The casual consumer is not walking into a Big Box store and buying a camera much any more, if at all. So if you don't upgrade products well to the needs and desires of the true photographers, you're not going to get a lot of upgrade purchases. Or at least not as many as you could. 

So here's what I would say: we need upgrades more than ever before. But upgrades that are targeted to address clear user problems, not just an increase of megapixels or another random number that the terrible marketing department thinks makes it easier to market. 

It's more important than ever to clear the handling and workflow flaws of cameras in upgrades.  

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