sorry if this seems to be a dead horse, but I guess I have to beat it again
I was talking this over with a close friend who has just gotten a used P45+ from ebay(actually from Calumet I believe, ex-rental back)
he really enjoys shooting portraits, and has been shooting 8x10 since school(art center, here in Pasadena) some years ago. recently, he's been asked to NOT shoot film, mostly due to turnaround issues(this being for editorial work mostly), but also because the quality of and 8x10 isn't needed. the cost of film, processing, and drum scans(he won't go near a flatbed with his film) seems to be a little too much for most budgets right now. so, he picked up his back for some insanely low price(~$9000 i believe), and so far, has really liked it.
but the one thing he said that he misses the most however is the extremely shallow DOF that he gets with the 8x10 capture. now, he generally shoots on color neg, so the res. of neg's aren't as good as chromes, or b/w(he shoots 400nc), but the shallow DOF(generally working at 5.6(wide open) or f/8 to minimize the background, and bring more attention to the face of the subject.
he has stated that he JUST can't get that in MF digital capture, straight out of the camera. he's currently using a H2f with the 100mm 2.2 lens, he considered trying the Contax, cause it has the 80mm f/2, but it isn't all that different from 2.2 really....
he doesn't print big, his portfolio is only printed at 11x17, so the 8x10 res isn't all that important, MAINLY the "look" of the extremely shallow DOF that he is able to achieve with the 8x10.
I'm just getting my feet wet with 8x10(b/w only right now, soon to be contact printing on AZO, silver chloride paper). I don't plan to shoot color for a while until I get used to the camera. Its easier though than 4x5, the bigger g/g makes things MUCH easier to focus, hell, I don't really even need a loupe most of the time!
so, its really a horses for courses thing here, some people like shooting 8x10/4x5, if it gets them WHAT THEY WANT. besides, its all about the END RESULT, right?