Yeah James is (as ever) right they all cost 'about the same'
I used to drive a really good BMW750 that cost half of those prices BTW !
It is to me interesting that you cant sell James a Hy6 - he would seem to be on profile - not wide obsessed and prepared I would imagine to pay quite a lot for a comfortable day shooting uprights at decent synch speeds with creamy lenses
Anyway about the Phase..
I'm good on talking numbers in this business, actually I run the numbers so often on production you'd think my profession was cost accountant.
Like a lot of people that do what I do I also have to invest in other areas, cameras being just one component. We're redoing a studio in Paris and 20,000 Euro for furniture will go a lot further for my business than switching out camera bodies.
As I mentioned that using the contax for $50,000 US, I have 4 bodies, 13 lenses and two digital backs a p21+ and a P30+ and no wide is not my primary lens and I need to use a 35 only about 3 times a year, but when I need it I really need it. Now a 18mp digital back may not seem like state of the art, though it's a very good looking 18mp and offers a different look to the P-30+ so this is a pretty good combination for the price.
I did have some concern going to a more cropped sensor size, but in reality never really noticed it as if you measure down the long side of the frame the A-22 is actually a 1.14 crop and the P-30 is a 1.24 crop so a 35mm is essentially a 39.9mm or the A-22 and 43.4mm or a P-30. Not that much difference to me, for some it might be a big difference.
I'm not saying what I use is right for everyone, but at the time I decided to switch backs, I looked at other brands and Hasselblad didn't have a P-30 type sensor(at the time) and both Blad and Sinar files did not work in multiple processors (at the time) without some form of conversion.
Also the real deal stopper was that Hasselblad and Sinar's new software was still in development and I had gone down the LC10 beta road and wasn't about to use anything until it had been out on the market for some time and had all the bugs worked out.
Now if I was starting fresh today I'd look at a lot of different cameras (though probably the same backs) and the new Mamiya would get my attention more so because it would go directly on the RZII than just the attributes of the 645. As everyone mentions (and they are correct) the RZ glass has a softer curve and is perfect for beauty and studio fashion work. A higher magnification finder would be something that is needed more than any other accessories for the RZ.
Also the RZ is just a great camera, sturdy, professional and well thought out. The only camera that feels as robust and strong as the RZ, to me,
is the Contax.
Still the ability to work in multiple processors for finish can have as dramatic an effect as different cameras and lenses and (once again at the time) shooting compressed
the P30 was the only file that went into RD, Lightroom, 3.78 and now V4, without having to do some type of decompression or conversion.
Shooting medium format adds a quality that the dslrs don't posses, at least when you work a file really deep. I don't buy into the 3dness of a 645 vs. 35mm frame, though I do see a difference in the capture and I think the absence of a AA filter has a much to do with it as the actually bit depth.
This topic is about cameras and everyone likes talking and comparing cameras and files, though once the real work begins, cameras fall way down the line compared to battle field workflow.
Since I work a lot and am always on some kind of deadline I break the digital process down to three parts.
The first is capture, whether tethered or non tethered and it absolutely, positively must be fast and rock stable. Nothing is a bigger buzz kill than a dead or jammed computer or back.
The second part and the most agonizing can be the editing, renaming, adjusting and processing to jpegs for web galleries. From a straight studio day with little light changes all of the cameras and softwares work pretty well, but on those 1,000 frame days when your shooting outside and the light, subjects and exposure is changing every few minutes adjusting thousands of files at midnight to 3am can be something that is paramount to torture if the software is not stable and the adjustments are not easy.
The third and final is processing to finish and though this is where everybody does their comparisons I've found that depending on processor, there really isn't that much difference between all of the major brands.
Still, step one and two are much more important (in my view) than the final step. When I test and learn a new system I do it as worse case scenario. I shoot fast, pull the cord, or purposely crash the software and see how easy or difficult it is to get the system back running. I intentionally shoot over and under exposures of thousands of files and then toss them in the software and see how easy it is to change color, tone, exposure, and how stable a folder of a thousand files is next to a folder of just 100.
Then in the middle of this process I pretend the client wants four images processed and put on the web for immediate review, (as we shoot) or wants to edit down a session for a rush deadline (as we shoot).
These scenarios come up much more often than I'd like to admit and the success of a project, or more important the client perception of success can depend on how quickly and professionally these challenges can be accomplished.
So I use what I use for a lot of reasons, but the worse case scenario is probably the most important.
My cameras are not new, though well proven and cost effective, my on set software v 3.78 is also not new but stable and though I could put more resource to newer cameras until something has really been tested to it's fullest under the most extreme conditions, I don't really want to know about it.