it has largely turned into 2 segments, low end and high end,
From a user standpoint, what I see is a leveling off of the higher pixel still cameras.
Other than pixels, a little better iso and higher pixel count there is really no difference between my 1ds1 and my 1ds3's . Same with the p series backs.
With the Canons I could even mount a strong argument that the 1ds1's produced an overall prettier image.
Maybe Hasselblad has made the greatest strides in their product line by offering a bigger lcd and getting their software together.
The Pentax is kind of another matter because it's the only camera I've seen that attacks both the high end dslrs in usability (lcd, jpegs in camera, multiple color settings, price) and the high end european medium format backs (1/2 price).
All of this is conjecture because I haven't seen one in person . . . yet . . . but if the Pentax does what is says it does it probably will be hugely successful. If it tethered reliably I might fly to Tokyo and buy one.
But as far as the quote of the p65+ being out of the range of most photographers, that covers a lot of territory, but historically, some the world's best photographers, never rushed over to buy the latest camera, film or digital. They used what they used, found the workarounds and spent their efforts on the photograph not the camera. Actually most of the icons of our industry were married more to a film and a lab than they were a certain camera. Walk around the corner in NY and if you see Bruce Weber shooting, you'll see him and 4 assistants holding Pentax 6x7's.
If Mr. Weber loved shooting a 1ds1 rather than a 1ds3, those 4 assistants would be holding those, or if he thought a p21+ was just peachy, that would be the camera, regardless of final intended print size.
There is also other factors that come into play today with video and motion convergence. You may be a photographer that never "wants" to shoot video but some client will eventually ask/require some video capture which changes the lighting dynamic, from flash to continuous or a combination.
Start pricing HMI kits and they make buying any digital camera look like a bargain. If you want to be serious, starting thinking about putting $50,000 towards a grip truck. Your name on a 24' black gmc truck will wake up the neighborhood.
But as a professional, it's not what you can afford, it's what where you put your money to move forward. For some 10 to 20 more mpx may be the answer, for others the money is probably better spent in front of the lens than the box behind it, IMO.
I just had a conference call Friday on a portfolio we sent out. It's a large book, printing around 13" x 19" and it's full of images from the multiple cameras I've owned through the years, Canon, Phase, Leaf, Leica, Nikon and of course some film. Through the conversation the images that were mentioned had nothing to do with camera or format, the discussion was all based on the esthetics of the image, not the actual device, or reproductive size.
Obviously, that's important, but it's assumed at a certain level you know what camera produces what you need to deliver and I've never met a client that knew what a p anything was, including a pentax.
Now the interesting thing about this was the reason we are considered for this project is we previously shot the celebrity that will be the centered around the campaign. On the previous shoot we got her in and out with no drama, no issues and made her look good. That's the real goal. Had there been one hiccup, either in equipment, personalities, or final delivery of the "look", the portfolio would have stayed in the closet rather than on a conference room table.
What I'd love to see at this point is just better software processing to make all of these cameras look less digital and more film like, without moving twelve sliders in the raw processor and 10 layers in photoshop. The format is the least important thing to me, it's the overall look of the image and that "film like look". Film still has that magic.
Go look at Ellen Von Unwerth's beautiful $700 book, http://tinyurl.com/ylpcl4m
shot on film and then look at her latest work shot on digital.http://home.frognet.net/~mcfadden/evu/Elle...h_Lady_Bird.htm
There is a difference and my point is it really is the final look of the image that moves your forward. The digital camera that is the most "film like" IMO will be the one that wins.
I can make digital almost look like any film, but it ain't easy and it ain't fun.
But, talking high end , vs. the low end, it's not the costs of the camera. It's the price of the photographer that makes the real difference.
Of course I'm biased on that last thought. (insert one of those silly smiley faces here)
P.S. Sorry to ramble, but last night went out went friends in Hollywood for dinner, dancing (everyone else dances, I don't dance) and everything that comes with that. Took that little panasonic G whatever that shoots stills and video. Had a blast and shot some very cool imagery. It truly is the most complicated and complex menu system ever devised, (think Mars meets France) and even with that it's just amazing how cool that camera works. Low light, no light, video that's bluring, flash that blends, it's kind of magic and if I understood the menu better might be something I'd consider for a project. A real project. The beauty of this camera is it does look different. To some that's good, to others well, it's all personal.
At least when you get tired of it, tossing a grand in the bottom drawer doesn't hurt that much.