That sums it well up, James.
Well, thanks but there is a flip side to this.
Right now I think it's obvious that medium format digital capture is in a fight for it's life.
The market doesn't seem to be increasing that much (I have no figures that is just a guess) but the complexity, costs, of the systems don't seem to reflect the real world use in a lot of situations.
Now before someone shows me a 200% crop of a nose, or a bean can to prove a point, let me be really clear that I will probably use a medium format camera as long as they are made.
the value in a large file, the ability to tether professionally, rename, sort, batch correct, shoot on large multiple monitors from 30' away, the depth of the file, the sharpness of no aa filter, the ability to work deep in post production, far surpass the costs and the slowness of working with a medium format back.
Regardless of my preferrences and this is rarely mentioned here in this forum, professional photography is probably also in a fight for it's life.
Today there are more very good professional photographers than ever before and many come from schools with $200,000 educations and some form of personal finance that allows them to take a deep breath and mold their career in planned steps.
Starting photographers have the ability to instantly see what their peers and compeitors are doing weeks after the shoot, so the ability to learn, keep abreast of current trends, emulate, even copy is there for the looking and that changes the whole process. It now doesn't take 2 years to see what the best in the world are doing, it only takes a few minutes.
My website gets a million hits in a few months and I don't know (or care who's looking) but i'll bet the majority are aspiring photographers.
Right now there are more magazines on the stands than ever before, but the flip side is editorial rates and fees haven't risen for nearly two decades. Wedding photographers in marginal markets can make more profit in a day than someone that shoots the cover of an international fashion magazine. (Not in all cases, but in some).
There are also more shifting asthetics than ever before. The flicker Generation is among us and has pretty much thumbed their nose at crafted lighting and posed imagery. They are the free spirit run and gun types. Using a Canon 5D and on camera flash and this level of investment does not make for a growing professional photography equipment industry and don't think that this is not becoming part of our new visual base.
Still, and I mean this will all of the best intentions, I hope medium format raises their game.
I would love to hear a maker answer the lcd question with yes, in two weeks we'll have one that surpasses even the best of the dslrs. I would love to have someone really rock my camera world with a multiple format camera. turn in on it's side and it crops 2x3, turn it the other way and it's 4x3, set your color look and film in the computer and lock it into the camera, tethered or un tethered. Better yet, set the exact film look "in" the camera and wifi the preview to every type of hand held device sold.
I would just be all over myself for fast F2 lenses and leaf shutters, throughout the range and most importantly get a look from digital that really emulates film regardless of the lighting or the ambient color conditions without spending 45 minutes an image in photoshop, before we begin to retouch.
I could go on, but I'd probably just bore myself and everyone else in the room, but if one thing is clear about the professional photography business, is it's not easy and probably won't get any easier. Be realistic, print is slowly losing viewership and the web is gaining and if you've ever tried Apple TV you can see how close real convergence could be.
For medium format to continue in an ever tightening market it's going to take more than a price cut.
Yes, I'm glad to see the 30 something megapixel backs coming down in price but would be happier still, if someone offered something that I absolutely had to buy to make my final product better.
We all talk about price, but I don't want to see all of these backs come down to fire sale prices.
That's the business model for the stock industry and we all can witness how well that works.
So, if it seems like some of us are asking for the moon, well we are, but it's not just the moon, it's also the stars and everything in between, because as of today that's what our clients are asking us for.