I've asked the same questions over and over again. Why don't they do agressive pricing? They should proceed a hostile takeover on Dalsa!
1. Why are DMF backs so expensive? Because the market is too small!
2. Why is the market so small? Because the DMF backs are too expensive!
Yes, the proverbial hen and egg which was first.
But really, do you believe number one? I don't. For many reasons. It is true that the MF market shrunk considerably with digital but also the world's population almost doubled since 1975 during the medium format film golden era. The world then was 4 billion. Today we are 7 billion. In 1975 there was Kodak, Fuji, Agfa, Ilford, Konica, etc., true powerhouses of film manufacturing and some other lesser ones. We also had Hasselblad, Mamiya, Bronica, Fuji, Rollei, Contax and some others I can't recall right now. They all were doing just fine competing for the same markets in a world of 4 billion.
Today, we have only 2 commercial sensor manufacturers. Dalsa and ISS ex-Kodak. MF cameras makers is mainly about Mamiya/P1 and Hasselblad. (Leica, Hy6 and Pentax market shares are still too small, they're newbies) So, how in this world (of 7 billion) 2 contenders in sensor making and 2 contenders in camera making can't find their ways to have substantial profits by selling enough gear to lower prices to human levels? I beats me, really.
I know there must be some other explanations to this riddle but in the meantime I have a (dreadful) theory. DMF manufacturers know their days are counted. (they know better than us, don't they?) They know that the smaller formats will eventually win the commercial photography race entirely. They know that in order to compete tomorrow they have to invest today impossible amounts of money and nothing guarantees success. So, they're just enjoying life to the max until lady in black knocks at the front door. This could also answer question number one.
Crazy? certainly, but let's remember that the main contenders are just survivors (remnants) from the film era and that mf sensor manufacturers main income is not from commercial photography but from science and the military.
But I dearly love medium format photography. So, I'd like to think and believe that the survival of MF resides somewhere in answering question number 2. If this is true, the only thing lacking is will and balls.
To all DMF manufacturers:
Please, form a consortium and fight for better and cheaper sensors (Stefan's idea). Get to be more creative, more intuitive, bolder. Do a real effort. Slash prices by half tomorrow and see how sales increase 10 fold the day after tomorrow. Hasselblad: Stop neglecting the V cameras. Just imagine how many CFV39 backs with a built-in rotating sensor would you sell at half the price. Phase One: Push in newer products the technology inside the P45+ back. It is the only back in the world that can do long exposures.
Please, please, make me a failed prophet.