“Thanks for the lecture, but your points are off the mark.” Lecture? What a friendly thing to say. Disagree, sure, fine, but the sarcastic condescension is uncalled for. To suggest a counterpoint is (in part) what a productive discussion is about – unless of course one is expected to agree with another or say nothing…
“Insurance is insurance. What's the point?” The point? What was the point of doing a cost comparison with film 4/5? The context should make the point obvious; a $40k system will cost ten times more to insure than a $4k system. At 5% (roughly) of equipment value for international professional insurance the difference per year between the two is $1800. Or, in terms of film and processing @ $5 per frame, 360 frames… whatever the precise numbers they are surely not so insignificant as to merit no mention.
“Field mainteneance is done with gaffer tape and a lens wrench. I can swap shutters between lenses in the field in about 3 minutes. Try repairing your Nikon's shutter in the field.”
I was kinda sticking with 4/5 so, unless you refer to a Nikon LF lense that is a redundant thing to say and misses another point (am I that vague??). Let me explain a little: I have worked with CCD’s for 19 years a an endoscope repair technician (colonoscope, gastro, bronch etc.) and have seen first hand what can go wrong with a CCD and what it can cost to repair. Things like fluid invasion, wafer separation, static electricty blow-outs and so on. Do you think the digital backs are maintenance free? Don’t you do even a rough annual budget that includes maintenance? Having never owned a digital back I can’t say what the deal is but would tend to err on the side of possible equipment failure. Generally the point was that a folding wooden view camera film system has the advantage of being maintenance-free (that is unless you are really hard on the film holders).
As the 2 update paragraphs seem to directly address some of the other things I wrote may I respond in kind?
“Immediately upon publication of this article I heard from several people questioning the field-worthness of a system like this. My guess is that these questions are from people that have never shot with a large format or technical camera, and / or who have never used medium format digital”. In other words such people should be quiet ‘cause they don’t know… not much of a communicator are you? Is it not possible to disagree amicably? I have shot 35/6x12/6x6 and 4/5 and have done so since 1976. So what? If an idea or suggestion has some merit it can be discussed regardless the source. Practicality isn’t so esoteric that you have to get your hands dirty to understand it theoretically. Again, why be condescending about it? Not having had aspirations to shoot digital LF I can humbly say I am a neophyte in that regard and would hope to learn from reasonable responses to valid questions.
“There have also been several emails from people expressing their dismay that equipment such as this somehow gets in the way of, or is a substitute for creativity. My response – rubbish!” Here I get to quote myself: “in case it isn't obvious by this point it is my very strong belief that the equipment has as much chance to inhibit the creative vision as it does to enhance it”.
Can’t say I’d be much surprised that somebody could actually be “dismayed” by another’s way of thinking. Each to their own. However, since I did explicitly say that it may be possible the equipment can affect a shoot or creative vision it’s not unreasonable to assume you were addressing my reference as above. I merely suggested a possibility with both positive and negative implications. What you think is that it is not possible - “rubbish” … well, sir, my response to that is similar. How can you think so narrowly and call yourself creative at the same time? Or communicate so arbitrarily and call yourself a teacher? There is nothing abstract in anything I write. Nor eccentric. Or is there? Maybe I’m being argumentative or contrary ‘cause I’m envious or embittered. But, no... sometimes you get into a thread in the hopes of hearing some original thought, stimulating the big muscle a little, learning something.
Constructive criticism is a good thing. I remain hopeful you can understand that concept Mr. Reichmann and not be so personal in your replies as will I in a reciprocal manner. We are after all just talking about photography… right?