Hello. This is my first post here but I've been lurking on and off for a while.
Something that seems to be under-represented in this discussion is value; what you get for your money. You guys with both top-end MF systems and DSLR systems make me jealous, and I congratulate you for making it work for you financially. But for most of us, we have to make do with less. Sales volume of pro cameras is proof enough of that.
FWIW, I've seen some output from the ZD back that looks wonderful, and others that show problems, but for the money it's pretty darn good.
I've also seen output from the better Phase One backs which beats it, hands down. As you should expect, given it's much higher cost.
And I've seen output from the H3D that slots somewhere in between. Their new closed system approach is a turn off, nevermind the price they charge for it, and it has some real problems for architectural work.
The next step down is the 1DsMk2. Depending on the lens it's capable of comparable, but not technically better output than a 16MP back. Again, this should surprise nobody, given the Canon's much lower cost.
The true output of a production 1DsMk3 remains to be seen. It's competitive with mid-level MF digital in pixel count so the resolution should be there, but will it look as good as a 22MP Phase back on a good MF systems with Schneider Digitar or Rodenstock HR lenses?
No way, it just isn't physically or economically possible for Canon to produce a same quality system with the technology they have.
So basically, it becomes a cost/benefit decision. Personally, as an architectural photographer primarily, I really need a view camera. Canon and Nikon don't make one though, so my only choice for now is to stick with my Sinar 4x5 and excellent collection of lenses, which is still widely accepted in the architectural market for those who can afford the substantial film and scanning costs.
Systems like the site owner's Linhoff/Phase/Rodenstock system would pretty much spell the end of my 4x5 system (with a P45 back), but I just can't make a business case for it; the debt service would take way too much out of my bottom line to make a living with it. I hope that changes in the near future, but for now the 4x5 is the highest quality solution I can offer, largely because of it's image quality, but primarily because of it's tilt and shift, which I heavily rely on to do my best work.
For detail shots on medium and high budget jobs, I used to use an RB67II. That's since been replaced with fairly complete D200 system which nets me better images, and is a 1000 times easier to use. It also allows me to make ends meet with headshots, event work, and motorsports work that the MF digital solutions can't do.
Does the D200, even with my excellent lenses and all the tricks and techniques I can throw at it in post offer the same image quality as a good MF digital system? Hell no it doesn't, but it fits my business model, and produces very good output if used correctly.
I think we can safely assume that the Canon 1Dmk3 will beat the mark 2 in terms of ultimate image quality and usable resolution. And I think we can safely say that the D300 will beat the D200 in image quality, with the D3 exceeding both in every respect. It remains to be seen of course, but the potential is very much there for excellent image quality at every ISO, with vastly superior results (compared to other Nikons) at high ISO's, where current Nikon's fall to pieces as we know. And I think it's safe to assume that an upcoming higher res Nikon will meet or beat the Canon system for top honors in the DSLR class.
As an architectural photographer foremost, I'm really interested in the new, digital capture optimized, 14-24 lens. It, along wih a D300 will certainly beat my D200 and 12-24DX, but by how much remains to be seen. Personally, I'll probably just buy the lens first and wait for a D3x, which should be everything I need from a DSLR.
Oh, and BTW, I hedged my bet that a FF Nikon would eventually happen soon enough when I replaced my stolen D200 system last summer. It would have been a pefect opportunity to spend a bit more and switch to a Canon 5D system since the whole kit was stolen, but the 12-24DX was already beating my old Nikon prime lenses, which have always been regarded as better than Canon wides. It was the only DX lens I bought, and picked up AF-D lenses instead of DX equivalents. Lucky me, but I feel bad for those who bought a full kit with DX lenses and regret it now.
Meanwhile, I'll continue to work on expanding my portfolio and client base using tools I can make money from, and eventually get the sort of jobs that will make my MF digital view camera dream system a reality. I'll also hope and expect that lower cost, higher res DSLR's will put downward pressure on the MF systems price of entry. There is no substitute for correcting optical problems at the camera than in the computer, so I'll always use a view camera for technical work whenever possible.
Thanks for listening to my two cents, and I look forward to participating on this board in the future.