Whilst I believe that Sony has the upper hand with autofocus, I would still like to see some of the autofocus customisation options from Fujifilm offered on Sony. There are some aspects Fujifilm also gets wrong on the autofocus side so this isn’t to say Fujifilm is better, more that there are lessons to be learnt for both parties.
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.
I followed up with Sony after some question marks on the battery warnings they “hid” in their firmware updates. My issues were simple:
If this was to help users identify fake batteries, why is there no option to turn it off? There are plenty of after market batteries that are affected by this.
If Sony were honest about helping users, why haven’t they notified users of the functionality change in their firmware description? After all, this was an “honest” attempt to help users.
Whilst I do have an issue with manufacturers limiting third-party batteries as a whole, I have a bigger issue when they add the functionality through updates because what has worked perfectly is essentially handicapped by firmware. I also have an issue when they secretly embed this in an update, which can’t be reversed and don’t include the information in the firmware. That strikes me as pretty underhanded.
There has been a lot of fire and brimstone over the new Sony firmware that gives users an error message, sometimes at critical moments would could ruin a photo opportunity. Whether or not Sony intended it to manipulate Sony users into buying OEM, or whether it was simply Sony “helping” the public find “fake” Sony batteries is besides the point…it’s a massive inconvenience to Sony users who use third party batteries.
Some people may remember the “Don’t buy Pansonic” movement that kicked off when Panasonic disabled third party batteries. It’s a dangerous move from Sony, but they may expect to get away with it legally because they still allow the batteries to be used – they just give the users an annoying message to deal with everytime they start the camera.
Where Sony thinks they made a smart move is the cost to move systems is a lot higher than the cost of a battery, so whilst users won’t be happy, they also won’t have a choice.