You gotta love MFDB makers.
I think they've all just booked a week the same Spa where the AIG execs hang out...
If medium format execs are at the spa they are probably talking about Hasselblad prices and Canon 5d2's
Don't think for a moment that the Hasselblad announcement didn't rock that industry and for whatever reason Hasselblad has just yanked $10,000 out of the purchase price for their cameras.
Canon even went further and offered better image quality than their top end camera for less than half the price and threw in video for free.
Medium format is caught between a rock and a hard place and it's all their own doing.
They've locked themselves into specialty, value added dealers because the systems were complicated and needed a lot of support for the new user, so unlike other forms of electronic goods the margins were fat.
Medium format didn't invest in support and allowed their dealers to be the first line of defense. Other than Leaf Of America, no medium format brand has a system like Canon's CPS where you can get direct customer support and repair. Does anyone really want to deal with a problem that requires them to call the dealer, who in turn files a report with the maker, who in turn responds to the dealer, who in turn calls the customer with a support number and an address of where to send the camera?
Medium format has also limited their popularity by controlling the market for used backs. At this stage, entry level digital backs should be $5,000, not 12, 15, or 21 thousand. No other electronic product is controlled this way. A used Apple G4 does not sell for just a few points less than a Mac Pro and is not limited to purchase by a few value added dealers.
Does anyone really want to buy a used 39mpx back for $21,000 on Ebay that might not have warranty when they can buy a new Hasselblad Camera Body and Lens for the same price. At $7,000 it's worth the risk, but not at 21 thousand.
The market has changed and most photographers have increased their knowledge of the digital process 10 fold. Medium format has changed in the fact the systems are less complicated.
If you can work Canon's DPP, you can probably work Phocus, C-1, LC11 or Capture Shop by just taking a few hours and watching a tutorial video and you don't have to sit next to a value added dealer to do this.
Bottom line is, if Hasselblad continues down this path and keeps prices low the other makers will have to respond with lowering service, or dealer margins, or god forbid, actually selling their systems in traditional camera stores to increase shelf space.
Shelf space, real or virtual makes all the difference in the world. Ask any manufacturer of any consumer product what they desire most and it is always increased shelf space at a retail level.
The world is changing in many ways, the photographic industry has to keep up. I have this feeling that in two years the way you buy a professional digital camera system will be much different than you do today.
Hasselblad seems to recognize this, obviously Canon and Nikon have always known that price and ease of purchase is the key.
So Steve, since your the forum Point Man for Phase how about a few questions;
Does Phase plan on cutting their prices to match Hasselblad?
Does Phase have a system for offering their cameras in more stores?
Does Phase have a real timeline on when new lenses and accessories will be produced and if so will they live to it or will it be like wi-fi and V4.5 pro, which is years late?
Does Phase plan on offering direct customer support?
What is the plan for the Upgradable P65+. Is it software upgrades, hardware upgrades or both and if so, when, how much?
What is the real truth on Phase/Mamiya/Phamiya lenses. Will they offer leica, Russian tilt shift glass, new Mamiya lenses with leaf shutters and if they plan on it, how soon, how much?
Will Phase allow you to answer any of these questions?