Most digital camera manufacturers use the same body with few minor cosmetic changes from one year to the next. [I can't imagine I'm the only person to have noticed this!] So it's about time manufacturers offered chip upgrades to existing models. Of course, if you didn't know, Kodak are offering just this on their DSLRs - look an their website and it's ther for all to see!
It's far from impossible, and you only have to see how sophisticated the internals of a PC are, and yet easy to upgrade they are, to confirm the ease of such a move. I suspect the only reasons why they don't, are they've got stuck into the mentality of technology improvement=completly new model. Re-using an existing circuit is obviously cheaper than redesigning from scratch, and for years they have been doing just that, at our expense. The other reason, is that people and the photo press, haven't been pushing this idea.
Sam Chapman [England]
Tue Sep 21 00:58:40 PDT 2004
The only thing wrong with your argument is, well, the complete and total wrongness of it.
First, "Re-using an existing circuit is obviously cheaper than redesigning from scratch". They simply do not do this. In 4 years, Nikon has gone through four complete generations of circuitry, and the camera's throughput (megapixels/sec) has increased by a factor of six in that time period.
D1 12mp/sec (2.6mp * 4.5fps)
D1X 18mp/sec (6mp * 3fps)
D1H 32mp/sec (4mp * 8fps)
D2X 68mp/sec (12.6mp * 5fps)
Canon does cameras in pairs, a high speed low resolution, and a lower speed, higher resolution camera.
1D & 1Ds 32mp/sec (4mp*8fps & 11mp*3fps)
MKII 68mp/sec (8mp*8.5fps & 16.8mp*4fps)
Second, "Most digital camera manufacturers use the same body with few minor cosmetic changes from one year to the next". Well, Canon did this with their 1D and 1Ds, they used basically the same body when they went to the "MK II" versions. Aside from that, each generation has been on a totally different platform.
Canon's midline has gone through four platforms, D30, D60, 10D, and 20D. The first 3 were based on entirely different film cameras, with different shutter capabilities, metering, weight, size, chassis and body materials. 20D gos past this to a totally new platform (new prism, shutter, metering, mirror, screen, shell, chassis, and power system).
Going from D1H & D1X to D2H & D2X, Nikon completly changed the body, adding a faster, quieter shutter, reduced mirror blackout, upgrading the AF from 5 zone to 11, adding a hybrid white balance sensor atop the prism housing, reducing weight and size slightly.
Fuji moved from the Nikon N60 film SLR in S1 to the N80 film SLE in S2, and redid the case, power system, and finder for S3.
The Kodak example you cite is what I refer to as a "slipstream" change. Just a new sensor and power supply to address frequent complaints about the old one. Resolution, speed, etc. stay the same.
Wed Sep 22 09:42:39 PDT 2004
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