As far as finding a medium format camera in rental around the world in almost any market, first would be a hasselblad h body (probably with a phase back, with leaf a distant second) and then a few places will have Mamiya's afd 1's or 2's but very few AFDIII's if any.
I understand the Mamiya III is better, but it had nowhere to go but up so I don't now if that means that much. It's still a work a progress as firmware updates requires the camera has to be sent into service and shutter lag is still present, lenses and right angle grips are still waiting and it has a non removable viewfinder. It makes the Contax with Zeiss lenses look like a modern system and be realistic you can buy two Cotnax's and lenses for the price of the new Mamiya's and forget about rentals.
In regards to the Leica S2 other than the bling factor (and the red dot does has that), it makes no sense to me. I don't see what it does that a Contax with a P30+ will do for probably 1/2 the price, or for that matter a Hasselblad 31mpx III for probably less price also.
I know Leica is relying on tradition but with digital capture tradition is gone out the window and you would have thought that since Leica was starting with a clean sheet of paper they would have articulating lcd's, an evil finder, added video, cmos sensor and higher iso, because as it stands it's just another smaller medium format camera with good glass and low iso which means it's going after a niche in a already niche market.
I wish Leica luck, but compare to the S2 the Nikon D90 is space age in comparison.
In regards to Dalsa vs. Kodak chips and which one is more "film like", I find all of this urban myth. I've owned three Dalsa sensor mfdb's and three kodak sensor backs and depending on the convertor can pretty much move the files in any direction I want. Actually I see more innovation in 3rd party processors than I do medium format cameras and if the Hasselblad has any real issue it's their ever moving file format that first must go through their software before it goes into a 3rd party processor. I don't know who Hasselblad has been talking to, but on a professional level, every photographer that works with a retoucher has to send some form of raw file (even if the processed tiff accompanies it) and nobody has the time to explain to a retoucher how to download phocus of flexcolor, learn it and work it or go through the extra step of producing dngs.
Regardless of the topics in these forums, the only standard in the digital capture world is photoshop and if you can't process a file directly into cs2, 3 or 4 then your one step back.
Recession or not, medium format needs to get rolling to survive and deliver their product quickly. This last photokina was a buzz kill. Leaf announced a rotating sensor because for some reason they can't get their back to rotate on the hy6 though they finally figured a way to tether and see a preview on the lcd and the computer, though this does nothing for the previous Leaf owners, Phase announced alliances with Leica though what that means nobody knows and a full frame sensor hooked to a 2.2" lcd that is still in the league of 2001 cell phone quality. Hasselblad at least announced price cuts though I would have hated to have been the guy that just dropped $27,000 on a hdIII only to see it go to ten thousand less the next week and the only real announcement of substance with the 31mpx Sinar that promised a good lcd, in camera jpegs and a revolving back but since announcekina they have gone quiet on all fronts.
In other words no medium format company gave us a "must"reason to sell our digital backs for the newest ones and still clings to the theory of proprietary systems. Why every medium format back won't work on every medium format camera is beyond understanding given the small size of the market. Imagine how much more use you could get out of your Phase of Leaf back if you could snap it onto a H system, or an RZ, a Sinar Artech, a Contax and an HY6 just by changing the mounts and pushing a button. Instead it takes a twenty page schematic to understand what back works with what camera.
I don't know a photographer that isn't planning to buy some kind of new dslr, though the flip side to this I don't know a photographer that plans on buying a new medium format back if they shoot anything that moves. (though I am sure they are out there).
Since photokina Sony and Nikon have announced and shipped 25mpx dslrs that have double the features of medium format for 1/2 the price of the cheapest medium format,( actually 1/4 of the price with the sony) and I don't think anyone believes this is the end of dslr development as there are already rumors of 30mpx dslrs coming out next year.
From this day on, the world of cameras is gong to have to stop this constant incremental upgrade system and go balls out to produce the best and most featured product they can. Even the Japanese companies keep messing with their customers. Canon gives us a 5dII with video though locks out the manual functions, Nikon a 25mpx dslr without video and Sony a new camera without live view and slow focus. Since all of these companies have the expertise to probably make a real killer cam that shoots full frame video, 30mpx stills, a variable frame size and can climb to a real 1000 iso (whatever iso is), gives most professional photographers the impression that whatever we buy today will be worth pennies in a few years, probably less.
If you asked me today what I would rather spend $30,000 on to invest in my business, cameras of any format would be way down the line.
The one company that can break this silly cycle is RED though I know mentioning RED on this forum gives some of the purists cardiac arrest, (btw: how can anyone consider themselves a "purist" in the digital age?)
If RED can meet 1/2 of their promises and deliver without issue then they will move the industry to finally give us a modular system that has long term use and go from the business model of buying a camera we would like to own, vs. a camera we have to own.
Edit: Unlike some I would never predict on an open forum the demise of any company , camera or otherwise. As a professional we want and need to them all to survive and I think medium format has a place, I just wish they would step back from the knee jerk reaction of tradition and really see where the photography market is going.
As a photographer, we are required to shoot more per day day, quality and quantity, more setups, more variations and every penny we spend is scrutinized so every penny we invest must have a payback.
We must have excellent previews tethered and portable, we must have no glitches, jams or focus issues and as the market moves to video some part of the system will eventually need to be cross purposed for motion. Our workflow needs to be faster, more flexible and easier to learn, use and produce.
I wish the camera companies would get out of the standard mold of loaning out cameras for seminars and reviews and really put them in the hands of working, hard hitting professionals. Work in their cusotmers envrionment from pre production to finish and they would learn volumes and in turn probably get valid feedback that goes beyond shooting brick walls and trees and measuring the results at 200% on computer monitors.
Get feedback (Once again from pre production to finish out) from a photographer that doesn't want to take the shot, but must get the shot. There is a big difference.
I want all of these companies to do well as some of the people I know personally, dealers, reps, designers, engineers and I know their hearts are in the right place, I just believe from my experience that they are not exactly in step with what a professional photographer's clients demand in the 21st century.