Isn't it ironic that while the remaining platforms struggle to be loved in this way the one that did it is out of the game?
Can someone resurrect CONTAX ??
Irony and digital medium format.
It doesn't seem to be in any companies best interest to build this type of camera. Instead we are offered $45,000, 60 million pixel Mamiya's, which is kind of like making a 1000 horse power Kia.
It can be done but why?
Why seems to always come up in every medium format discussion.
Why does Phase have a deal with Microsoft though their software will not tether in Vista?
Why does the Hasselblad file need conversion to DNG before it will work in third party software. Even Pentax figured that one out.
Why the hell didn't more companies adopt the HY6 or AFI or why is it even called an HY6 or AFI. What was wrong with the name Rolliflex?
I use to naively think the forums were a place where the manufacturers came to learn and by us users posting hopefully it would add thought, like someone would say, hmm, maybe we do need a lcd that is better than a Casio watch, but that was naive.
Obviously, these companies know what we are asking for and they know what the competition brings to the table because the users post the same "requests" today they we asked for 7
We ask for better batteries, we get more mpx. We ask for a better lcd, we get more mpx. We ask for higher iso and we get a camera that will do it, (maybe), but drops down to the file size of a 4 year old canon to get there. We ask for more accountability of delivery and instead we get software that is always in beta, wide angles that are "in the process" and a long laundry list of TBD.
We ask for a camera that has a full lens range and we get Russian tilt shifts or told to go buy a technical camera for wide angles and though I appreciate the dealers and manufacturer's participation it seems that online forums have become a place for a maker to defend their position and the dealers to sell rather than give across the board dialog about what is coming, what and when we should expect delivery from these heavy investments.
Instead of leaf shutter lenses or right angle grips, 90 degree finders or removable prisms, we are offered RRS plates with a hand strap. I have to laugh at this one cause I've had that on the Contax for 6 years.
It's not that information is hard to come by, it's just real information is vague.
Ask how much is the upgrade from a p30 to a P65+ and the forum goes quiet. In fact the only time you get real numbers is when a maker is having a close out on demos and then the dealers plaster the place with craig list type of want ads.
The head scratcher on all of this is Hasselblad because it seems they could be in the best position of any company to control their own destiny.
Hasselblad has a brand name that actually carries some weight, they have the only full lens line up of leaf shutter lenses, they have a better than Phase lcd (not much but better, but better) they seem to have a larger dealer network and from all accounts excellent service.
The best part is they have lowered their prices and stepped out of the silly upgrade game. The downside is the file format that must be processed through their proprietary software before it can go to any third party application.
That's crazy and obviously nobody at hasselblad has shot 1,200 frames a day on deadline and works with outside retouchers because no matter how or when you process a file the retoucher wants and needs a raw and every retoucher on the planet uses Photoshop to process in.
This might not seem like a problem until you amass many, many terabytes of images then it becomes an obvious issue of time and drive space.
Now the real ironic part of all of this is no user or buyer of medium format wants to see this segment go away. Most of us have invested many 10's of thousands of dollars and it's somewhat disheartening to watch what was a $30,000 back drop to less than the price of a D3x in three years. It's also quite an awakening to shoot a 5d2 and find that in many ways clients prefer the look to our previous 10x the costs medum format cameras that jam, burn through batteries like water and require 10,000 watts of light.
That's why we keep asking for more and offering suggestions, but it is beyond most of our understanding why a $30,000 camera back can't half even 1/2 of the functionality of a $3,000 dslr.
If you are a professional and make your living at "selling" the photograph, the camera isn't the goal, the photograph is and sometimes I think the makers believe it's the other way around.
We only "talk" about these things because we're not getting what we're asking for and I may be wrong but I haven't heard of any photographer asking for a $45,000 camera. People complain about the price of a D3x. You can buy 5 D3x's for the costs of the newest Phase and the Nikon comes with moderate high iso, a real lcd with live view, build quality that can withstand a downpour and about a million lenses.
Regardless, there is no wonder why so many professionals that earn their living in photography use a Contax, or a Hasseblad H1 or a V system? Because even out of production they are full featured and can be bought today without worrying about what probably will not come out tomorrow.