I'll just add a word on the education side. Most of the top photographic schools and university programs do have and use MF backs, because it will be just about impossible for someone to get a job as a photographer these days (I'm talking commerce – (snip)
The group of assistants I hire in Los Angeles went to that school that has the same name as the greeting card company, where upon enrollment each student is given their own medium format back and camera for use.
To a person they said at first they were wowed to be handed a "professional" camera, but later dismayed at what they couldn't shoot, because they had to have flash, or a tripod, and of course there was the added workflow, software issues etc.
They wanted to shoot, they wanted to experiment, not learn the ins and outs of version 10 point something software and shoot everything with a beauty dish. Actually if you asked them what they wanted to learn in school, a certain camera format was not on their list. They want to learn how to shoot, produce, sell and get a gig as a photographer because of their artistic abilities. They want to learn how to get real models for testing, how to locate and permit a location, find stylists that have access to props/wardrobe and most importantly how to estimate a project that gets them the job and a profit, (which is something most schools are very limited in teaching).
Two weeks of working in LA and NY these students realize that on most large productions photographers aren't required to be digital tech experts and are not hired because of the cameras they own. The photographer's roll is to direct the shoot, communicate with the clients and get to an artistic solution. There are many other people that will happily provide and do the tech stuff.
As far as learning the software, it all changes anyway. If these students learned V10, C1 version 3, it's now all different. The one only software that stays somewhat continuous is photoshop, where all the real post production is done anyway.
But these kids are smart, heck they're raised on x-box and ipods. They can pick up eos utility, dpp, and learn it top to bottom in an hour, (I know because I run them through the basic process and they work it without issue), but none of the people that assist me have long term goals to become a tech, they want to shoot.
Now as far as "learning" medium format to be a digital tech, I think that's probably the most viable market for the future of medium format in the professional world. Why buy a $40,000 back, a $50,000 system when the techs (at least in LA) are falling out of the trees and cutting deals on their package.
At the prices I'm quoted by tech companies I'd have to rent for 125 days straight to get to the price of a P45+ and a H2 with a few lenses and computer.
People can and should use what they want, but for commerce the pixel fear is over. Two years ago everyone I knew would struggle through a big project with medium format because they just felt they had to have the pixel horsepower. I know in my world, and the world of every photographer I personally know the latest Canon, Nikon and Sony changed that thought. Well that and the fact that every project is ramped up 5 fold in volume, has to be delivered in half the time and also requires some video.
In the end if you want that over sharp, non aa filter medium format look and don't want to drop the required $20,000 to $40,000 (new) or $12,000 (used) for the buy in, just get a Leica M9 or M8. To me it looks the same as my digital backs and is a lot easier to use. Or just have the AA filter removed from a 5d2. Once again same look, but at least you get higher iso.http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/experiment.shtml
But then again if anyone is looking at a photograph from 2" away, I believe they are looking at the wrong thing.
Added - There is this misconception in the professional photography world about what is real and what is urban legend. Urban legend dictates that every name photographer has millions of dollars of cameras, knows everything about them top to bottom and shoots editorial projects for millions of dollars in profit. Reality is a much different scenario and the photographers that work in todays world use what is appropriate and many know little if anything about the equipment. Actually some of the photographer's that were sponsored by equipment companies didn't know a polaroid from a hemriod, but that doesn't mean they don't have a roll because obviously they got the gig, they're in the room, the photograph get's shot and they hopefully are getting paid.
But it's not the camera that gets them into the room.