Firmware Updates Preserve Our Investments

In large part, the digital age has been marked by parade of devices with two-year shelf lives before being shipped off to the local landfill or reseller. Based on what I see, we're upgrading hardware more frequently than necessary, when it's the brains that we should be enhancing.

The first examples that come to mind are our smartphones. Both Apple and Samsung tempt us annually with new devices that eclipse our current abilities to communicate with one another. But camera upgrades seem to be on a similar cycle. I know I spend a lot of time testing and reviewing the latest models.

But just because they're there, that doesn't mean we have to buy them. And thanks to consumer-friendly companies such as Fujifilm and Olympus, we can often enjoy new tech with older models. This seems particularly true with their flagship cameras.

Fujifilm release Firmware 4.0 for the X-T1 in June of this year. It's a substantial upgrade that once again improves an already excellent camera. Sony is in the process of bringing uncompressed 14-bit RAW to its A7 series. And Olympus just announced a mammoth firmware update for its flagship OM-D E-M1 to give it much of the same technology that was introduced for the E-M-10 Mark II.

Personally, I'm quite fond of the OM-D cameras. I have the original E-M5, the E-M5 Mark II (also getting a firmware update soon), the E-M10, and I'm testing the E-M10 Mark II. As happy I am with the updates that Olympus has released, I think they could do even more. I would add enticing features, such as silent shutter, to the original E-M10. And I don't think it's out of the question to enhance the original E-M5 with functionality that's compatible with its hardware.

Building trust with your customers promotes brand loyalty. I think Fujifilm, Sony, and Olympus are showing us glimpses the real promise of the digital age, which is better management of the earth's precious resources though intelligent software evolution.

It's a good start. Let's do more.