Last week I picked on Fujifilm in first of the Sony vs Fujifilm series; Today, it’s Sony’s turn to feel the heat. The topic this week is “Kaizen” which is the Japanese word for “continuous improvement” or “good change”, I’m not 100% sure because different website say different things and I’m too lazy to research the exact translation.
“Kaizen” as a concept in the case of Fujifilm, is a series of firmware updates Fujifilm continues to put out for years after a camera is released to improve the functionality of the camera subject to the limitations of the hardware, something none of the other manufacturers I’m aware of do, where most of the firmware updates are solely to fix bugs and in some cases, not at all. As far as I know, the A7rii hasn’t had the star-eater issue fixed, somewhat of a disgrace if you’re an astro shooter.
Most of the camera manufacturers limit improvements to their cameras despite it being possible to add additional functional later, in a misguided attempt to protect their future camera sales. Ask A7 or A7r users when the last time they received an update and they’ll stare at you blankly like Bambi in headlights, the last update was more than 2 years ago.
Why would Sony want to add Kaizen to their cameras and would it impact sales of new cameras? LOYALTY! It shows the customer you’re committed to supporting them long term, and you’re not just walking away from them after the sale. Whilst adding features to older cameras might delay the purchase of new cameras for some users, it improves the overall experience for all users which guarantees they are more likely to stay with you long term than switch to another brand. Ultimately, you may delay sales but you gain sales you might not have had.
Happy customers are good from a marketing perspective because they sell the product to other users and they do so with a greater degree of credibility than advertisements do, and they do it better than ambassadors can. A Sony user who is not affiliated to Sony has more credibility trying to tell their friends Sony is awesome than Mr. Ambassador who is paid by Sony, despite whether what he is saying is true or not.
If I was running Sony, this is one of the first things I’d change. Sony is still selling some of these older bodies so retrofitting some of the newer functionality would improve the user experiences. Thom Hogan said he thought Sony should stop seeing these bodies as the cameras are sub-par by today’s standards, I disagree, I think Sony should improve them so the lower end users who buy them enjoy their Sony experiences more. These buyers could be tomorrow’s A9 buyers so you want to make sure they are buying the A9 and not a Nikon or Canon.
So, Sony, if you’re reading this, start showing some love to the older camera bodies. The users will love you for it, and I say that as a user who has the latest bodies.
Note: Fujifilm Kaizen image was taken from the Fujifilm Rumors Website. I could not find an alternative source for this image.