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Camera World - What are we really paying for? - Discuss!

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Well-Known Member
A short while back I had a conversation with Vince in which I jokingly mentioned that camera maufacturers would charge double the price of a camera for adding a line of 'software code'.

The conversation went as follows -

Having said that, they are still doing some protection in that they are not opening their lower end cams to record compressed formats with higher bit rates than 28 Mbits/sec. Even if they are to open up, Sony won't do ProRes codec because they don't do Apple. And neither would they support Avid's DNxHD codec, given that those two compressed formats are very similar to their own proprietary HDCAM SR Lite in bitrate spread (highest quality@220Mbit/s to lowest quality@120Mbit/s).
They don't need to do either/or... Are you willing to pay at least twice the price of any of these cams? I didn't think so! As metioned many times if anyone needs a higher bit rate or ProRes let them stick on an external recorder... the solution is there. Simples!
I don't think the price will double, but it will be higher, of course. Sony will deffo bill the buyers for the codec and the technology but they won't double the price now the competition has really hot up.
So you don't think the price will double? You have quickly forgotten that when this very same Sony first released the F3 camera the S-log (What's that? One line of gibberish computer code??) did cost $3860 - Link. If they charge that for a nerd typing on a screen what do you think a physical module will cost?
Well you are right... the camera won't cost twice as much... it'll be quadrupled!!!
My question is why do firmware updates cost so much? Why do camera maufacturers purposely 'cripple' cameras that can easily handle much higher bit rates?... and then later sell updates to us as idiots for a high price?

Why am I asking these questions? - About 4 days ago or so Canon confirmed that the £10,000 EOS-1D C DSLR is the EXACT same hardware as the £5000.00 1D-X DSLR all that is different is a 'jack' plus the addition of 4K firmware... oh and of course a tiny red plastic button - of course this pretty much caused a bit of online yawa (The US price is also double).
The key things to look at are the 1D-C has full HD uncompressed out via HDMI with a 4-2-2 colour space at 1080 50/60p with internal (to CF cards full 4K resolution) while the 1D-X manages purported 1080 24/25/30p 4-2-0 dropping to 720p to get 50 or 60.

Even The BlackMagic Cinema Camera guys are hinting at a firmware updates to 'add' certain things... (even as good as their amazing camera is straight out of the box).
The Arri Alexa has an 'actual' 3.5K sensor size but outputs a 1080 image, you can buy a 'software key' for almost a grand & half to 'unlock' 120fps capability. So basically EVERYONE cheats the 'consumer'.

For quite a while we were led to believe that cameras couldn't perform A, B or C because of hardware limitations, however, with the work of MagicLatern (the Canon hackers) and Vitaly (the Panasonic hacker) we found out that it's not really 'that' true. Of course a firmware update will not change certain things but...

Makes you wonder what a simple basic off-the-shelf camcorder is 'really' capable of! What do you all think? Any other views?


Well-Known Member
That is how they make the extra buck, bro. They have always been billing the buying public exorbitantly for these firmware updates (especially if the devices are for professional users) since the beginning of time. Another such example can be found in the PC world. The debate between gaming video cards and their professional oriented siblings still rages on as the latter cost a lot more while it uses, at best, the same hardware as the consumer cards. What is the difference between the two? You guessed it. FIRMWARE!!!

Kala Lou

Well-Known Member
I still say we put too much emphases on gear...
I see stuff shot in the 90s on video that hold up better than some of these hi tech hd stuff of today, like the movie, Third World Cop was probably shot on a 3ccd video cam, long before all these HDSLR craze. We don't spend enough time learning how to use one gadget properly before we start hunting for the next best thing..


P.S. I'm in the process of hacking my GH2....don't know if a higher bit rate will eliminate the pixelation I sometimes get in low light..
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