But unfortunately, that is the hand we have been dealt. It's up to you whether you like the cards (choices) or not.
Steve, don't take offense to my editing of your quote but this pretty much sums it up.
It's funny, these medium format discussions have been going on since the RG days.
It was obvious early on that Hasselblad and Imacon had plans that would exclude competitor's digital backs.
It was also obvious that Phase, Leaf and Sinar would have to find some type of platform to put their backs on because as you have said time and again, the money is in the back, not the camera and that is why Contax is out of business. (Though how F+H can stay in business only selling cameras seems to counter this statement).
You sell Leaf, Sinar and Hasselblad and might see some advantage in this strategy though I doubt seriously if many photographers are jumping up and down with joy for any of these developements, especially the photographers that invested in an earlier H system (which also includes CF39 users).
Now in my view the main thing that all of these companies should address is that as of today, every new camera back combo that is offered does little for improving the quality, ease, or status of my work.
No client is asking me for a new camera because once again, all of these new offerings are just slight variations of a past theme and most come with a higher price tag.
I don't have a client asking for 50mega pixel captures, or cares if the sensor is square or finds it important I look down a waist level finder. I've never had a client say, hey, isn't that the new HY6, AFi7 or H3II?
I do know that clients would love to see real breaktrhoughs like instant wifi to multiple devices, easy backup of files, higher iso that allows for more continuous light souces, faster lenses, wider lenses, better in camera processing, instant web galleries, easier software, really better camera lcd's and a very hard look at the final cost.
P.S. I use what I use because first and foremost it's stable and proven. Out of production contax's don't register with a client, becuase none of them know if Contax is out of production.
Whether 3.78's inteface is white or dark grey doesn't change a thing as long as the software doesn't crash and the colors on the computer are good enough to continue, the files can be quickly edited and corrected and jpegs can be processed on the fly.
The price I pay for the cameras and backs doesn't concern the client, though the cost to them does. If I can do two bodies and camera systems for the price of one that gives me a better profit margin, or better still allows me to hold down the final costs then that is a real "upgrade" that a client will notice.
Do you think a client knows that the sensors I use us has 1.24 crop ratio vs. a 1.14, heck I can't even tell anymore.
And for the record, I've recently shot for phase in Paris for a new campaign and no it wasn't a big for profit situation for my studio. (Actually the opposite). Regardless, It was fun, creatively rewarding and I enjoyed doing it but make no mistake in what my intentions are because if the Phase stopped working for me tomorrow, software, or hardware I would switch systems in a heartbeat.
Anything less would be penny wise and pound foolish.