could not agree more...after owning both leaf and phase i have to say that the difference between all the backs is nothing compared to the difference between systems (that are still available) and the improvements being made (also goes for software) to these backs is way beyond that of the camera makers...the H1/2 is the only "new" system and i find it laughable that THIS is what mf has come to...really they are the only one left..mamiya's future is more then uncertain and rollei is (unfortunately) just a side note in the big picture (at least they still have the collectors)...and what does hasselblad do as a "marketleader"? they charge 2000 for a film back...in times when canon can come up with a camera like the new rebel xti for 799, no wonder the whole mf industry is dying...
maybe that is the problem, there are no systems to compare, so we try to find the little differences between the only gear that is actually advancing the backs...even if these differences really come down to simple personal preferences anyway...
Actually, right now today is probably the golden age of medium format cameras.
As stated only the H-1, Rollei and Mamiya are still in production, but v series blads, contax's, RZ's, Fujis, Bronicas are still viable and nearly all the DB manufactuer's make mounts and some kind of digital connection to the cameras and/or llenses.
Some like the Contax integrate easily as they were developed for digital in mind, others require a cable, but they are all still as viable today as they were with film and can be bought at 1/2 to 1/10th the original price.
With my Contax system I have 7 lenses from three manufactuers, which include tilt shift, F 2.0's, wide angles, auto and manual focus and including the lenses, extra bodies, finders, grips etc. am under 9 grand in total cost. New I would be way over double that and for all of these cameras there are enough supply through places like KEH for probably another 3 years.
In the case of my Contax the prices are slowly creeping back up and it digital integrates better than most of the three cameras that are still in production.
I get questioned as to why I would invest in an obsolete system, but for the price it is almost gauranteed that I won't lose near the money in depreciation as I do on the dslrs that drop to 1/2 price every 12 to 18 months.
As far as useability, I don't really think any medium format camera can be enginnered to operate as fast and easy as a dslr, but I see that as a plus rather than a negative.
with the dslr's it seems i work almost to fast, too off the cuff and with medium format I seem to slow down just enough to get more useful and thoughtful images.
There are rumors of new medium format cameras coming out and being announced soon, but even if they are delayed by a few years, we still have virtutally all the camera options for digital that we did with film, short of the range finders and the Pentax 6x7.
There must be some validity to all of this as medium format back sales are at record numbers and new product is still being designed. Leaf's Aptus 65's and 75's are back ordered, so I guess there is a strong market.
I thought at one time, with the origianl 1ds that I would never move to medium format, but after the 1ds2 and my diffiucltly with that camera and the files, I went bakc to medium format and realized how much I was missing.
Not just in image quality or even aspect ration, but in the total package of camera, framing, lens selection/look and working one system for everything.
Plus the added benfit of a 16 bit file, larger file sizes for crop and just the feel of using a camera and back that was only designed for professional use.
It is just something that has to be experienced to really understand.