We’re not big. We’re not fancy. We’re not particularly attractive in real life. But we are own people. We have no intention of conforming to cheap Chinese camera rules. A recent camera company stated their camera has ‘zero flaws’ but they will be changing lens after the first batch of cameras. This kind of practice is horrendous and sloppy, and I’m using kind words. We have no intention of behaving like that, in fact, the opposite. Building a camera is nothing like we have done before (as you may have read just once or twice in our blogs 😉 ) but what we have done before and no is good testing and production techniques.
We’ve had a few emails not being aggressive but saying something along the lines of: Will you ever release this camera, you hoped to release it by early Sept and now it’s looking like it’s October. Yes it is. Look at some camera’s recently that have been released and how terrible they have turned out. I mean really terrible. Like horrendously terrible. We have no interest in releasing a product like that. I’m sure our camera will have problems – all products do, but there are some key differences. One, we will NEVER knowingly release a product that has major flaws. We have beta testers, independent testers, production testers, company testers, and QC testers. That’s a lot of testers, but because all in all only about 7 people test each camera, and we also have 7 testers for hardware, our sample is small. That’s a limitation sadly, but we try to offset this by the rigorous QC we have implemented.
Whilst I never agree with slow and steady wins the race (try telling that to Usain Bolt), my motto is quickly becoming: plan for the worst, hope for the best. We test everything multiple times and in different scenarious. For instance, the first beta camera was getting up to 60c which whilst it is 10c within the operating guidelines (http://www.ambarella.com/uploads/docs/A7LS-Brief-121713.pdf) I believe this to be way to hot. As such, we looked at the internals again and have made gains, we are testing them now and hope these modifications will reduce the temperature to something far more bearable. We know, and knew when we first started this project, the camera would become hot due to the enclosed space the A7 chip is in. So, we designed this camera around that. We have ventilation grills that whilst may look blocked, allow heat to escape from the chip whilst accommodating the various other components of the camera. We’ve taken extra measures, redesigned the internals, added extra power distribution fail-safes, plus lots more, simply because we knew a problem could arise so we take every measure to prevent it. So this may have delayed the camera but we believe it will deliver better, more stable results.
Everything we do is to allow the camera to develop whilst allowing the customers to be involved as possible. When we started this project, we had such a narrow mindset about what we wanted to achieve. Now, we have almost too many ideas. We have 3 accessories lined up and ready to go once we have funding, and we have a firmware roadmap with some really exciting features. The app is developing nicely and will push the camera to the level we want it to be at. All the time, we have tried to include you – the customer – every step of the way. We want you to be involved, to know what is going on, to see how much we care and how we want this camera to be the camera you not only want and desire, but need. We’ve provided features (timed mode) that customers have been asking for, to make the transition from day to night far easier. We’ve optimized the hardware and altered designs to increase performance and reduce visibility. Whilst a lot of manufacturers shun this approach we endorse and outstretch our arms for it. We’re not going to reveal all the juicy details such as (woops better be quiet 😉 ) but I see no need on not letting you in on the journey.
Lastly, whilst (quite rightly) our customer service has ocassionally come under fire, we’re already implementing a new customer service model that I believe is the first one of its kind in any forum I know of and have checked and googled. This should revolutionize our customer service, and we’re almost ready to announce or warranty/guarantee guidelines that we believe the customer will enjoy. We may be different, we may be slower than some people would like, but we care and adapt. Most Chinese companies spew out 10-12 cameras a year if not more, and as soon as they are released, you’ll be lucky if you ever get a response to your support query. We want to hear your queries, we want to know what problems you are having – we want to get better and this is one of the best ways to improving. At the end of the day we’re here to stay. This is our business and our camera and we’re working our butts off for you.