But the only real honest fact of what camera is best "for you" comes when you write the check. If you write the check you've proved your commitment.
so it's still about the money? Resolution, image malleability, sharpness, quality of skintones (and conversely low-light performance, capture speed, autofocus)...so these things are not honest facts? I don't want to belabor the point...but is your argument that what camera you use isn't important, that if you commit to buying at a certain price well then congrats you have a great camera, but that doesn't affect your photography, or "what you produce"?
I don't care what any camera anybody buys, I just know that it's not about the camera, it's what you do with it and what you produce.
I remember being told this in school, and for the most part I agree with you in a very general way. It's a great way to teach people the value of technique, ideas, and creativity over tools, resources and opportunity. On the other hand, I know that when I made my first true "professional" leap into digital...a Canon 10D...that I was not producing work that was as strong technically, but also creatively as I was on 120 film. There were simply too many compromises in the system at that point, and my work (whether my clients knew it or not) suffered. Today, the range of compromises in photographic systems of varying prices has certainly narrowed. A canon g10 can be used to produce files of a highly refined and indeed commercial and artistic nature, yet it is no replacement for the H3D I use in the work that I do. (fashion for retail clients--yesterday alone I enlarged nearly a dozen images at sizes from 2x3 ft. to 5.5 x 6.5 ft.)
I have a friend who is a cabinet maker, and he recently plunked down about 20 grand for a new "edge-bander" (which puts wood veneer down the edge of a panel). Now cabinetry is a craft that is certainly much older and traditional than photography. And edge banding, while a relatively new technique, has probably been practiced for at least the past 60 years or so. This technique can be accomplished with little more than a table saw and some spray glue, so why would someone spend easily 10 times that amount on a machine that does what "some" would say is exactly the same as the low-fi technique. Well, Dave would tell you that not only is the machine faster (and therefore cheaper)...but that it does the job better than one of his guys could do with a simpler tool. And because of this expensive machine...they can work successfully with a greater variety of materials and thus create less compromises to the artistic vision of their clients and themselves. For him...it's about so much more than the money he spent on the damn thing.
I work with a lot of fabricators, in wood, steel, concrete, plastics etc... and I can tell you that most of the ones who do the best work, simply have the best equipment...and that it goes along side their commitment to quality...not just a commitment to the equipment because they have money burning holes in their pockets.
I spent some time with the photographers from VII in Cambodia a few years back. Gary Knight was carrying around an old Leica, and a 500c/m. Alexandra Boulat had a 1ds, and Antonin Kratochvil an Olympus OM-20! It was funny, Gary hated DSLR's because they're too big and heavy (he's about 6'5" and pretty solid), Alexandra was about half his size, but would come back from a days shooting with a couple thousand images..which you could never do on Gary's Leica....Antonin was usually just flirting with the girls and making sure he was in everyone else's shots...then once it a while he'd pick up his beat-up camera and fire off a round or two. The thing is...these photographers all could afford whatever cameras they wanted, but chose the tools that worked best for them. Their work reflects that choice. Today in advertising there is a huge demand for work that is big, sharp and technically precise. Medium Format gives you that. In the art world there has certainly been one trend towards large, technically precise imagery...Thomas Struth, Gregory Crewdson come to mind. Medium Format gives you that. It doesn't give you Antonin's grainy, shakey, scary, amazing, haunting beautiful images. That's his eye and some crazy magic doing that. Yet it's hard to imagine Crewdson's elaborate film sets captured on Antonin's OM-20 instead of the 8x10 he typically uses. Sure you could do it...but it wouldn't be the same...and certainly not be a good match for Crewdson's vision. It's hard to imagine Avedon's "In the West" portraits being as successful if shot on a 5dmarkII (yet I know from many years of imitating and emulating him that my hasselblad is up to the challenge (and that none of my Canon's is).
So when you say "it's not about the camera"...I have to say, that in a very specific way..:~), I respectfully disagree.