I enjoyed this article very much, and having seen a sample of Mark Dubovoy's large size prints, I readily relate to the quality standard from which he is appraising these systems, and I do not doubt his observations. The main issue with medium format photography which needs to be emphasized is that it is more demanding "per unit of quality" than FF-DSLR photography. What I mean by this is that it takes more patience, more premeditation and more precision to achieve the image quality it can deliver when everything is "done right". This in turn means that one will achieve a higher success ratio not only the more experienced the user, but also the better the ergonomics and technical reliability of the equipment. As an owner of a Phase One system, and having been involved with the testing of both the Leica S2 and the Pentax D645, the latter two have a clear edge. It has been my view from day-one using a Phase system that the weakest link is the camera body. The sooner Phase One starts from scratch and puts their fine backs and fine lenses on an ergonomically imporved, energy-efficient, and technically reliable body, they will do themselves and their clients a huge favour. I don't think they have much choice but to improve the camera body and reduce their prices. The latter has already started.
I also appreciated Mark's comments on the inevitable shake-out this industry is facing. He wasn't too specific about what he thinks will happen, and that is wise. We can be surprised by all kinds of things manufacturers may have up their sleeves, and predictions are very hazardous at the best of times, especially without the data. With that caveat behind us, I shall jump right into it based on what I think is *somewhat* compelling logic. Here's roughly the way I see things based on current, known data: Pentax is offering quality well within the range of a 40 MP Phase One system for half the cost if not less; Leica, with lenses, is costlier than a comparable Phase One system, but it appeals to the high-end, very demanding purchasers who have the resources to buy the best in its class. Hence the Hasselblad and Phase One families get squeezed from the top by the flight to quality for which Leica is having a hard time meeting the demand, and they get squeezed from the bottom by the attractive price/quality point of the Pentax, and perhaps some DSLRs to come. Therefore I see the biggest onus of structural adjustment falling on the Phase One and Hasselblad groups. They will need to reposition themselves on the price/quality spectrum, the one big factor giving Phase One an on-going niche, however, is the detachability of its backs - this is the only way, for example that Mark could implement his Alpa/P65+ combo. And the quality of the back is really what makes Phase One what it is.
Speaking of quality, just a footnote on comparing apples to apples. I appreciate the foregoing comments on stitching medium format frames. I've done it, and I've achieved results which definitely surpass what would be achievable with stitched Canon 1DsMk3 shots - of that I have no doubt. That said, I'm not nearly as hard as Mark Dubovoy is on the better FF-DSLR systems - for the image sizes I usually print, I find my 1DsMk3 with the 24-105 L lens to be capable of delivering very high quality results (in terms of sharpness, tonality, shadow detail etc. etc.,) with great ease of use. I really do appreciate what the Phase One can deliver, but I won't be giving up my handy, high-quality 1DsMk3 any time soon.