I can garantee you my MF days are over. Unless they come out with something in the 30-50 megapixel range, which is still over kill (for my work) and has leaf shutter lens', big LCD screen and Light weight and under 10,000us$. Forget it!
There nothing that cannot be done with the current 5DII if you ask me. and it cost 2600.00
I've gone through all stages of digital from the Kodak 760 to today owning two digital backs, three Nikons, three Canons, one Leica and probably have 100 terabytes to show for it.
The first Canon 1ds1's were magic and to this day I think the most ground breaking camera I've ever used, also the most profitable. We used those cameras around the world until I wore the paint off of them (actually I don't think they have paint).
I was zoned on that camera and could produce jpegs that were very close to the look of the final output which were perfect or web galleries and contact sheets. My studio manager and I would sit in restaurant patios and uploaded web galleries and laugh about how easy and inexpensive digital was. I never thought about upgrading until I started reading the forums, which concentrate mostly on pixel crops at 200%.
I knew then I should probably buy three more of those canons, put them in a safety deposit box and resist the urge to ever buy another digital capture device.
Then Ii got the bug for a bigger file and bought two 1ds2's. They dropped files, the jpegs for web galleries were very difficult to shoot without red faces, the 4pin firewire was a disaster to keep it connected to a computer and the AA filter was double strength. They did shoot faster and had a slightly bigger and better lcd, but compared to the original 1ds1's the workload doubled.
So then I moved to medium format and the workload tripled, the usability went down by 1/2 , the cost was (at the time 4x the price of a Canon) and the storage also doubled.
I made money with all of these cameras, but once again, the workload went from having an espresso in the hotel lobby and laughing to sitting in hotel rooms crunching through jpegs to three in the morning.
I also went from buying with that dreaded feeling of remorse. I just couldn't get it out of my brain, that bigger is always better, or if so and so just shot the Prada Campaign with a medium format back, I should be also, but I knew that this was more perception than reality.
Now I've come full circle back to the Canons and the Nikons for 75% of my work
We still carry the digital backs but they are only used a small percentage of the time and I don't think that most photographers that work in volume can just have one camera system that does everything.
I also don't have huge remorse about buying anything, because I've used and profited from everything I've purchased, except the 5d2 which I bought for video and have never taken out of the box except once. Actually that camera will be returned this week because it seems Canon will never give it manual video controls.
I didn't buy these cameras as a real estate investment, so I assumed they would drop in price, though I must admit I didn't think $30,000 cameras would go to $17,000 in weeks.
Today, regardless of the economy it's not the costs that will keep me from buying another medium format back, it's just the usability.
I find the 1ds3's almost magic again and honestly can't imagine going back to a medium format workflow of always having to be tethered, always batch processing jpegs, always dealing with the gltiches, the software upgrades, the hard to see lcd's and the sluggishness of the systems.
The Phase backs and solid, the version 3 software is stable for tethering, but when working under pressure these dslrs are bulletproof and so much easier to get to where I want to be with a lot less back end work.
I don't care about pixel peeping, or 16 vs. 14 bit. I don't mind sharpening a canon file to suit my style and I love the fact that I can hand hold, push a button and it just shoots and does so all day long, usually on one battery.
I sincerely hope that medium format continues, but I also sincerely hope they adjust their product to fit the market and not just on price. I have no desire to sell my medium format backs because I will still use them and honestly the prices have dropped so far that it's not going to change my life to dump them off on e-bay. I also have no desire to beta test or become the expert software guy. I'll probably use version 3 for tethering until Phase or Apple makes it non workable, but when I look at where medium format is today vs. where it was three years ago, I don't see a big enough leap in usability to justify spending more for something I am using less and less.
Medium format is always just "almost" there when it comes to workflow. they give is bigger lcd's but they're still challanged, they up the iso, but limit the file size, they offer shaprer files but constantly run the risk of moire and they give us some lenses we need, take forever for other lenses we must have. They give us better software, especially for previews, but then require weekly updates to get it right and at features like quickproof processing that takes a class to understand how to make them. Medium format requires a lot from their customers and it's not just the cost.
I honestly believe if you could transport yourself back in time and hand any film photographer a Canon and a medium format camera, say work for the day with each one and tell me which one costs $20,000 to $40,000 and which one costs $6,500 I am positive they would think the Canon is the more expensive camera.