I think it's relatively clear that the mega pixels alone aren't what's worth the upgrade. For studio work especially, I imagine that someone using a lesser digital back is more than happy with regards to size.
I do a mix of studio and location work, and I need my back to be flexible, and so what I'm very interested in are the high ISO capabilities of the P65. And I believe that this is what Phase One reps are saying is the main selling point of the new back.
As a professional photographer I have to make the decision as to whether I use medium format or DSLR. In the same way that I used to use my Pentax 67 on many occasions when I could have used 35mm, I now use my P45 on even more occasions where a DSLR would suffice. I do so because I just enjoy shooting medium format a lot more than shooting 35mm. I always did, and I always will. I'm also one of those people who think that the actual photos look better. Do I wish the price wasn't so high? Of course I do, but photography is also my job and I don't see the point in moaning about the cost of all my equipment. After all, as has been mentioned in other threads, it's not just the back, it's also the rent on the studio, lenses, computers, lights, coffee machine, etc.
Last week I had an unpleasant all day shoot on 5 different locations coordinating 15 people in front of the camera, because the client wanted to milk as much from the days shoot as possible. I was feeling negative to the shoot in the run up to it, and started planning to use a DSLR with the 24-70mm and just shoot away and not have to think about the photography so much, at least. Then I calmed down and thought about it a bit more and decided to go with my back after all. It was a horrible day weather wise and I have a significant amount of out of focus and/or blurred images. But, I did hit enough, and I have a handful of images I really like. However, the main thing I enjoyed that day was squeezing the shutter release on my contax 645, feeling the mirror slap a bit. And, being able to do so without missing every 17th frame because I had to change film backs. There is no turning back from digital, and for me Phase One allows me to enjoy my job. For others it will be leaf, or Hasselblad, etc. Price on that?
After 3 years using Phase One and Capture One I'm really very happy. Around five years ago, in that dark period when we had to switch to digital photography, but spent most of our time in PS making the files as nice as the little LCD made them out to be, what Phase One are now offering was science fiction. When I first moved to MF and Capture One, I kept on opening the processed files in PS expecting to have to do something to them, only to find that there was really very little to do, if anything.
There seems to be a lot of whining in recent weeks on this forum about the negative aspects of digital backs. I'm pretty excited about where photography is going. It's accessible to so many more people, and if you compare the bulk of work out there then the quality is far superior to what was around in your average magazine and advertising before digital. We can get into arguments over whether DSLR is as good as MF, and if you're one of the people who believe that DSLRs, or the G10 for that matter, takes as good a photo as the MF back then all power to you; go and shoot with what you want. A lot of my favourite photos of recent years have been of my family taken with my mobile phone, for that matter.
I don't believe that the people at Phase One (or Leaf and others) are sitting around complacently thinking that they've got a perfect product. I imagine Phase One are trying to resolve issues, but I think that they have a right to be pretty proud of what they can offer at the moment. I prefer to look at this glass as half full, because it's not getting emptier, but fuller for us as photographers.
Bearing this in mind I would like to agree with the poster who questioned the full frame marketing talk. It's still not. At least compared to my contax 645 negatives I dug out to check.
.....and a couple of practical questions from the spec:
- When it says "Live view: Yes", what does that mean if it's not apparently possible on CMOS sensors? This is misleading if it means that the live preview is only in the computer. Can someone clarify?
- Power: 8-33 V DC (from FireWire®). Does this mean that I can power the P64+ from my PC through firewire? That would be very handy