Why doesn't Nikon have cool firmware updates?

nerwin

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Fuji releases some really good firmware updates that can make the camera feel like a new one. They add features and improve performance like ISO and auto focus speed. It made my X100 so much better.

Canon also has released good firmwares too. I remember when they released a firmware update for the 7D that added a whole bunch of new features.

I have no idea why Nikon doesn't release cool firmware updates that actually adds features and improvements.

Do you think Nikon should start making really cool firmware for their cameras? Ever since I've shot Nikon, the only firmware updates I've had were for lens profiles.

What do you think?
 

coastalconn

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Well if they had really good firmware updates, no one would buy the next version of the camera.. For the most part most new versions are the same camera with firmware tweaks and a hardware change or 2.. :)
 

Derrel

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What do I think?

I think that, if the camera is developed right, firmware updates are not needed except to fix bugs or errors of omission. Nikon has issued a few firmware updates for cameras that needed them, over the years. But generally, Nikon gets it right on the first release, and then it will do a very minor firmware update that encompasses all the bug reports they've managed to get after a model has been in wide release; a second firmware update is about all they have done for individual model d-slrs, at least to my recollection. I think that the longer a company has been building on the SAME basic platform, the fewer engineering failures or blunders that will need to be corrected a month, or four months, then eight months, then 18 months, then two years, after the camera model was released. Cough,cough...

If you take the Fuji X-series and look at the huge litany of screw-ups and weak areas they failed to see before having their users beta-test expensive cameras, it's kind of an embarrassment to the company--a long list of f**k-ups and oversights and design failures they didn't know their product had until users told them about the problems they were experiencing, and how poorly their tools were performing. But Fuji-friendly web sites and forum users like to spin the issue as "cool new firmware". But in one way of looking at the Fuji X-series-- the frequent firmware updates are BUG-fixes.

Nikon doesn't "release really cool firmware updates" because their products simply do not need or require many of them-they release a NEW model, or iterate to an "s" or "h"--they started this in the 1960's; the F-metering variants were many. Nikon N90; Nikon N90s. FM, FM2, FM2-n,etc.

The Fuji X100 OTOH for example was deeply flawed when it was released because, well, FujiFilm runs its camera manufacturing segment as a money-losing "hobby business", and the X-series was basically Fuji's first entry into building its OWN AF system, using its OWN new lens mount, and so on. The X-series was Fuji's entry into an ALL-new camera platform created in-house. Throughout most of the decades of the 2000's, Fuji USED TO buy Nikon film bodies to make its d-slr cameras, buying stock Nikon bodies for the Fuji S1 Pro, the S2 Pro, and the S3 Pro, and then their last d-slr the S5 pro was build off of the Nikon D200 cameras that they hacked. Fuji never "partnered" with Nikon on the body hot-rodding they did...they bought and modified cameras, but did not do much themselves, so their X-system really had a huge,long list of features and issues they needed to sort out, over time, with a relatively small division in a HUGE company, a division that didn't have nearly the resources the mega-camera companies have.

Microsoft: It's not a bug-it's a FEATURE! Fuji: we're following Microsoft's marketing ideas!

Same with the Fuji X-Pro 1...multiple screw-ups they had to fix with, "Cool new firmware updates." Like the X-100 before it...first of its kind, from a company without say, a 50-year history of building the same basic thing...an SLR then a d-slr, using the same lens systems, built in-house. If you look at the X-Pro 1 and compare it to the X-Pro 2, you'll see that Version 2.0 is a fantastically-spec'd camera that is basically, that platform-but done right! The Nikon D1, intro'd in 1998 was the same: awful in many sub-systems and control ideas; the D1h was hugely improved, the D2x also markedly better. The D2x was magnificent for its day and age--2004. The D3 was another almost perfect camera for its era...but it was actually the 8th iteration of its lineage: D1, D1h,D1x,D2h,D2Hs,D2x,D2Xs, D3... which is exactly what Coastalconn stated above when he wrote, "For the most part most new versions are the same camera with firmware tweaks and a hardware change or 2.."

If you want the few Magic Lantern-type hacks for the Nikon platform, see Nikon Hacker • Portal
 
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Braineack

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For my money I'll take solid performance over cool.
I'd take useful software any day.

you cant even set a shutter speed longer than 30sec without having it either hold a button, or use an external timing device.
that's stupid. (they still call it bulb referencing an outdated unused legacy system -- and that's dumb too)

there's no 1 button 100% zoom.
that's stupid.

Nikon even takes firmware features (like bracketing or fine AF-fine tune) out of the low-end bodies for no reason.
that's stupid.

Nikon has put highlight-weighted metering in the D750 -- they could easily port than into other bodies, but they haven't.
so that's stupid.

Nikon still adds in silly in-camera Picture Controls and Retouch Menus that no one ever uses.
that's stupid.

there's a whole bunch of crap that could actually improve the picture taking experience, otherwise we all just set the shutter/aperture/iso and press a button.
 
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nerwin

nerwin

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For my money I'll take solid performance over cool.
I'd take useful software any day.

you cant even set a shutter speed longer than 30sec without having it either hold a button, or use an external timing device.
that's stupid. (they still call it bulb referencing an outdated unused legacy system -- and that's dumb too)

there's no 1 button 100% zoom.
that's stupid.

Nikon even takes firmware features (like bracketing or fine AF-fine tune) out of the low-end bodies for no reason.
that's stupid.

Nikon has put highlight-weighted metering in the D750 -- they could easily port than into other bodies, but they haven't.
so that's stupid.

Nikon still adds in silly in-camera Picture Controls and Retouch Menus that no one ever uses.
that's stupid.

there's a whole bunch of crap that could actually improve the picture taking experience, otherwise we all just set the shutter/aperture/iso and press a button.

I'm still waiting for the flat profile for my D610 for video! They said they would and never did.
 

Derrel

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nerwin said:
I'm still waiting for the flat profile for my D610 for video! They said they would and never did.

Have you heard of cineflat? They have a version of their hacked software for the Nikon D610. A good article here shows how the tone curve response was altered to create the low-contrast image characteristic.
Cineflat : A Nikon Flat Picture Control for Cinematography
According to their web page, Cineflat is available for download from DropBox, at this URL:
Dropbox - Photographio's Cineflat.zip

This works a lot like the older Nikon D2-era custom tone curve files that you could load to the camera using Nikon software, a very tiny little 4kb file, I just downloaded it myself. I used to use a custom tone curve in my D2x, one that maximized the total DR I could get, and allowed me to have very snappy SOOC JPEG files--AND it allowed (well,required!) me to set the meter to Minus 1.3 to Minus 1.7 EV when shooting in the field, building shutter speed nicely, AND setting a nice black point, AND lifting my mid-tones, while setting the highlights at right under clipping on most subjects; I used to use the exact OPPOSITE of a flat tone curve...I used a snappy tone curve.
 
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Solarflare

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Same reason why they dont have sensor based image stabilization or design cameras like Pentax does (if you have a cool feature, put it into all cameras, not just one of them).

They're used to do it that way.

Personally I would want them to give me a D750 firmware upgrade that:

- Allow fast selection of AF point in lifeview.
- Disable the nasty behavior of ISO: it always enables the monitor. VERY annoying if you have the eye at the viewfinder.
- Allow to automatically disable AUTO ISO when selecting M
- Actually have good WiFi support. Like, full remote control, and fully automatic backup to the smartphone or even "the cloud" aka internet.




Nikon has put highlight-weighted metering in the D750 -- they could easily port than into other bodies, but they haven't.
Thats actually the D810.
 

Braineack

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Nikon has put highlight-weighted metering in the D750 -- they could easily port than into other bodies, but they haven't.
Thats actually the D810.

from nikon:

Highlight-weighted metering is a new metering mode that is offered in select Nikon DSLR cameras including the D810 and D750, in which the camera meters the highlights to ensure that they are properly exposed and not blown out or overexposed. Use highlight-weighted metering to meter highlights when your subject is in motion, and to meter subjects lit by spotlights or colored lighting.

Highlight-weighted metering is the go-to choice when you’re photographing a spot lit bride in her wedding dress, a dancer or singer on stage, or whenever you’re faced with uneven lighting and a background that is much darker than the subject.

To select highlight-weighted metering, press the metering button on the far left dial on the camera body, and while holding it down, rotate the main command dial until the highlight weighted metering icon is displayed.
 

Solarflare

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Ooops.

I should read my user manual more.
 

PropilotBW

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Personally, I have really enjoyed and appreciated some of the software updates for the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II. I guarantee the Olympus OM-D E-M1 shooters do as well. That camera has been out for a long time, and some of the ideas they've created for the E-M10 and newer models were better than their flagship model. I don't think of them as screw ups, I think it shows good customer support. I don't WANT to buy an E-M5 Mark II "S" or whatever comes next in order to get a small updated feature. I want to be able to shoot with my camera body longer.
 

jake337

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nerwin said:
I'm still waiting for the flat profile for my D610 for video! They said they would and never did.

Have you heard of cineflat? They have a version of their hacked software for the Nikon D610. A good article here shows how the tone curve response was altered to create the low-contrast image characteristic.
Cineflat : A Nikon Flat Picture Control for Cinematography
According to their web page, Cineflat is available for download from DropBox, at this URL:
Dropbox - Photographio's Cineflat.zip

This works a lot like the older Nikon D2-era custom tone curve files that you could load to the camera using Nikon software, a very tiny little 4kb file, I just downloaded it myself. I used to use a custom tone curve in my D2x, one that maximized the total DR I could get, and allowed me to have very snappy SOOC JPEG files--AND it allowed (well,required!) me to set the meter to Minus 1.3 to Minus 1.7 EV when shooting in the field, building shutter speed nicely, AND setting a nice black point, AND lifting my mid-tones, while setting the highlights at right under clipping on most subjects; I used to use the exact OPPOSITE of a flat tone curve...I used a snappy tone curve.

I never shoot video but never really saw the need for a flat profile when you can just make one yourself with nikons picture control utility.

Is the one they load on certain cameras somehow different than one you can create yourself?
 

Derrel

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The Cineflat article is nice, since it has some good info. And yes Jake, users can make their own flat profiles. I linked to the article because the folks at Cineflat made the free profile they're offering using Nikon Picture Control Editor software, and for the illustrations and data they post.

As they wrote, "Although you could manually dial down contrast and saturation in camera, one of the most popular Nikon flat picture controls out there for cine isTassinflat mady by Ulysse Tassin. While shooting using a flat picture control will look flat and contrast-lacking straight out of camera, flat footage will actually retain a greater amount of detail and dynamic range when it comes down to editing and color grading later on, which is great. Another popular profile is Alvaro Yus."

and they continued---"Don’t get us wrong; Tassinflat and all other profiles out there are still excellent flat, logarithmic picture controls. However, Tassinflat’s custom curve was specifically engineered to prevent highlight clipping, at the expense of dark shadows. Alvaro Yus, another flat cine profile, improved on Tassinflat’s shadows by focusing on shadow detail instead, at the expense of highlights. We thought, why not combine both?"

and " Therefore we launched Nikon Picture Control Editor (an unofficial, online version) and modified Tassinflat’s curves (which is itself based on Nikon’s neutral profile) for a better shadow response while still maintaining the reverse curve in the highlight zone. Our goal here was to do a logarithmic curve while still preventing highlight clipping. Theoretically at least, compressing both the highlights and the shadows should yield the best results in terms of dynamic range. After measurement, we found out that Cineflat indeed brings up about 1 extra stop of dynamic range compared to Tessinflat."
*************

So, yeah, the folks at Cineflat basically are offering a free, tone curve and gamma correction profile, a flat profile, that users could make and load themselves, using an online version (!) of FREE Nikon software. And they also point users to the Tassinflat flat profile, the Alvaro Yus flat profile, and their flat profile, as well as telling people a bit about flat profiles, and providing some valuable illustrations of the curves and the numbers to enter,etc..

This might explain why Nikon did not feel the need to release a firmware update for a Nikon D610 flat profile, as the OP asked about: Why would they need to, when Nikon Picture Control Editor allows anybody to make any kind of profile they want, and when video enthusiasts world-wide can create 4kb size images to make flat profiles with freeware that comes with every new Nikon since what, was it the the D40, in 2007?

Again...in this thread we have a member saying that , "Nobody uses the picture controls anyway,"....uhhhhhh....not really an accurate statement. The picture controls system is part of the core of Nikon color adjustment for serious workers who want to adjust the way the camera writes images to the memory card...
 
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jake337

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The Cineflat article is nice, since it has some good info. And yes Jake, users can make their own flat profiles. I linked to the article because the folks at Cineflat made the free profile they're offering using Nikon Picture Control Editor software, and for the illustrations and data they post.

As they wrote, "Although you could manually dial down contrast and saturation in camera, one of the most popular Nikon flat picture controls out there for cine isTassinflat mady by Ulysse Tassin. While shooting using a flat picture control will look flat and contrast-lacking straight out of camera, flat footage will actually retain a greater amount of detail and dynamic range when it comes down to editing and color grading later on, which is great. Another popular profile is Alvaro Yus."

and they continued---"Don’t get us wrong; Tassinflat and all other profiles out there are still excellent flat, logarithmic picture controls. However, Tassinflat’s custom curve was specifically engineered to prevent highlight clipping, at the expense of dark shadows. Alvaro Yus, another flat cine profile, improved on Tassinflat’s shadows by focusing on shadow detail instead, at the expense of highlights. We thought, why not combine both?"

and " Therefore we launched Nikon Picture Control Editor (an unofficial, online version) and modified Tassinflat’s curves (which is itself based on Nikon’s neutral profile) for a better shadow response while still maintaining the reverse curve in the highlight zone. Our goal here was to do a logarithmic curve while still preventing highlight clipping. Theoretically at least, compressing both the highlights and the shadows should yield the best results in terms of dynamic range. After measurement, we found out that Cineflat indeed brings up about 1 extra stop of dynamic range compared to Tessinflat."
*************

So, yeah, the folks at Cineflat basically are offering a free, tone curve and gamma correction profile, a flat profile, that users could make and load themselves, using an online version (!) of FREE Nikon software. And they also point users to the Tassinflat flat profile, the Alvaro Yus flat profile, and their flat profile, as well as telling people a bit about flat profiles, and providing some valuable illustrations of the curves and the numbers to enter,etc..

This might explain why Nikon did not feel the need to release a firmware update for a Nikon D610 flat profile, as the OP asked about: Why would they need to, when Nikon Picture Control Editor allows anybody to make any kind of profile they want, and when video enthusiasts world-wide can create 4kb size images to make flat profiles with freeware that comes with every new Nikon since what, was it the the D40, in 2007?

Again...in this thread we have a member saying that , "Nobody uses the picture controls anyway,"....uhhhhhh....not really an accurate statement. The picture controls system is part of the core of Nikon color adjustment for serious workers who want to adjust the way the camera writes images to the memory card...

Ok thanks. That's what I thought. We can make our own but their version is more than likely better because of the knowledge of the maker had going into it.

If I ever have a camera that shoots video I'll check it out!
 

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