snip.........photographers see the cameras as money making tools, the absolute IQ is only part of the considerations. The supplier's incentive program can easily win over.
That's somewhat true, but for most professionals if they so wish they could (and some do) shoot with almost anything, at least on digital and with lower priced dslrs though some people change them out every 2 years of less.
Medium format cameras (cameras not the digital film) we're never designed to be traded in every two years like the current thought of the digital world.
Most Medium format cameras were designed to work for decades. The Contax(s) I use came out of the box with a digital interface, way before most of us thought it would be a completely digital world and they work as well today as the day I bought them.
I've had very few glitches or freezes, especially with the Phase backs and I guess they will run for another 10 years if I so desire and I've shot about a gazillion images with these cameras. If I have any issue with the Contax it's the lenses are sometimes too sharp.
When Contax went belly up, I got a little paranoid and bought about 4 of everything, though have had only one repair which was user error, not the design of the equipment.
When you look at the current and past medium format cameras still in use with digital from new hasselblads, Mamiya 645s even the Pentax they all have their design and roots based in 15 year old film camera design and except for the newest crop of H's, Pentax and Mamiyas all the prior versions accepted film backs.
These images were shot with the Contax 645 and a two different digital backs with continuous light sources and worked fine, no issue. One is 30mpx the other 20 something.
The reason I show these images is to illustrate how so much equipment in the real world is still based in old tech.
These were shot on an LA movie lot and the grip dolly weighs about 900 lbs. It was actually used to move bombs and ballistic material during WW II.
The shot in the lighting dept. shows some Moles that were made before anybody but the some secretive government agency was even thinking about digital capture.
In fact when I work on movie lots I laugh as I think 75% of their equipment and hardware is based on 1940's meat locker technology and movie studios NEVER throw anything away that is still working, or repairable.
The thing is all of it is still used on 100 million dollar productions every week and nobody thinks anything of it.
Just because it's been around a while doesn't mean it doesn't work.
In regards to the Contax, it's more scarce than some of the other brands, but if I had to I could replace every piece of my Contax system, including backs in about two days of searching. It's all still out there and it all still works, sometimes better than the newest.
At the time, with all the arguing going on about Hasselblad closing off their system, the good thing about the Contax is nobody ever said the firmware needed to be updated or Contax changed something that didn't allow the backs to work, because there was no more Contax to change anything. I think this made for a more stable system.
For what it's worth, I think Contax was a camera that all the makers wished would either go away or continue forward. Forward because they could have all concentrated on selling backs, or away because they wouldn't have to worry about building back mounts for it.
FWIW 2 I think the biggest error the back makers did was not making every back interchangeable with every camera and making that a standard from day 1. I know there is something to be said for integrated design (at least that's what we're told), but with digital the tale wags the dog.
It's kind of hard to imagine any analog film being successful if it only worked in one camera body. No film maker would have dreamed of that idea (on a professional level), though digital came out on the market with that thought in mind.
Nobody talks about cameras, they all zoom in and talk about the digital film like that's the only component that matters.
FWIW3. I'm not a camera collector though I have about 6 digital and 6 film cameras that I don't want to use in heavy production as I like to keep them. They don't set on shelves or glass cases, they're still in their travel cases, but I like them and they mean something to me. One of them is one of my Contax.
But, back to the original question. If you buy what you need and make sure it's what you LIKE, in medium format backs and cameras there is no real reason to change anything out for a long time, so finding some dealer incentive that gives you a few thousand in savings really isn't worth it unless it's something you really like using.
Don't discount the "like" part of the equation.