Do not know what market you all are in but where I live the clients are .................
Forget the old days. The more you do for the client, the deeper your involvement, the more you've become a creative partner, not just a freelance supplier.
The "bill the client" thought process is like buying a car with a vinyl top. Some still think that way but it's old think and way out of fashion.
Years ago I dropped the "day rate, bill the client" thought from my brain and started working off of the bottom line.
Since our studios is the production company and produces from conception to finish, essentially we are the client in regards to services we provide for "our clients".
This isn't a single thought process business and even photographers that tell me they do not want to be concerned with numbers or costs are just talking to themselves because in commerce it's all about numbers, costs and ROI.
What quality you put in front of your lens goes a long way to determining what you will deliver and if your going to continue to move your business and art forward you better know how to negotiate the best resource for the given budget.
Photographers do themselves a great disservice if they think they are only there to produce the photograph or their roll is to only make it pretty. Our role, like it or not, is to sell goods and services for our clients or our clients, clients.
Our role is to contribute to the concept, the production, the shoot down to final delivery. We're a much larger part of the equation today than we were 10 years ago and though it may be hard, expensive and consuming, that's the process and it's not going to get any easier, at least I hope not.
Nothing on this planet is sold without interesting imagery, still or motion and nothing will build an international brand without some form of mass media, whether it's You Tube or a Conde Nast magazine.
Now back to the original post of this thread and the 100k lost through being an early adopter. I've done it, I've suffered a few bumps and bruises by jumping in, but I've also moved my business forward by knowing how to work in the modern era.
If you are working and producing then that 100k is a good investment, if you are just fixated on cameras and equipment and not taking in the whole process, then that's another story.
Whether film was easier than digital, whether it was fun to go to the lab and have a few hours off, is the past. Today we can and do produce in ways never dreamed of before and it requires more time and capital investment, though the returns are greater.
I hear of photographers that know only about the photograph and have heard the comments like EDP that say they don't have a cell phone, take plenty of time to relax and recharge, etc. etc. and if they can do it and be profitable then more power to them, but I've found this is an 18 hour a day business and it is all consuming. If you love what you do then it's not an issue, but I've found in the past if my golf game gets good, I have plenty of rest and my feet don't hurt, is the year my billings will be down.
When I am uncomfortable and exhausted then I am doing well and if I am in a room where I don't understand the language, even if that language is my native English (actually native Texan), then I know I'm moving forward because I'm learning.
In fact our busiest times is when we are not shooting because that is when we invest and push forward.
This isn't an either/or industry. If you invest in equipment it doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't invest in advertising, producing personal work and traveling to and learning other markets. Obviously you have to be smart about where you put your resources, but unless your producing new work and moving forward then you will get passed by. This is not an industry where you can hold position, waiting for the storm to blow over.
To move forward in this business you have to be available and complete. Sunday I was working on post and took a call from a new client. My producer answered the phone and the conversation went on with the client for one and a half hours and it wasn't just about art or "my style", but how we produce, deliver and work in world markets. It was about the complete process, all the way down to the bottom line.
As far as cameras, cameras are just tools and some do more things than others, some work fine in a specialty sense, but if medium format has a liability it's not in the build quality or costs, it's the usability. If the P65 (or every new medium format camera) that was just announced had live video, a 4" lcd as good as an iphone, went to high iso, had a full range of fast lenses and a way to fine tune the image in camera for quick jpeg processing, then 40 to 50k wouldn't be an issue. But to spend that 40k it has to give me much more than I have today. I personally think medium format has got to get that megapixel
thought process out of their minds and move to usability.