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Author Topic: The end of medium format ?  (Read 47314 times)

Steve Hendrix

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #260 on: December 12, 2012, 12:24:41 AM »

Please feel free to point out any mistakes in information I post and refrain from these personal attacks.


Fred -

I am willing to clear the air. I will say that recently your posts have been more helpful in pointing out some very useful 35mm features (which I see are being cross posted on the 35mm forum). But you have had some posts in the past that I felt were unnecessarily provocative, so as to purposely paint medium format digital in a negative light. This has made it hard for me to trust your motivations.

If you read my posts, you will see that I spend most of my time hear providing information that is factually correct or indicated as accurate in our testing and in the context of our tremendous comparative experience with medium format digital backs, which covers many years and many more different products than just about anyone else on this forum, users or otherwise. You will have a difficult time finding a post that I have written where I attempt to portray a product in a negative light, or where I initiate the idea of question marks that are not grounded in actual results when it comes to choosing to use a product.

I feel that photographers, while some may see themselves as craftsman, others as artists, and others as a combination of attributes, are first and foremost individuals. And as individuals, they have their own subjective preferences for the tools they use to complete their task. I highly respect those preferences.

As a result, when someone questions the use of a tool for photography just in general, and continues to produce information that seems to be pushing them away from legitimate tools, I find that of questionable benefit to photographers.

So, when you took my data offering on ratios and blithely asked for my annual unit sales, I was suspicious of your motives. I wouldn't provide such data to anyone - certainly not on a public forum - and nothing is being hidden by not doing so. There's no great conspiracy for dealers hiding their medium format sales numbers. The annual sales numbers for medium format worldwide have been in the 5k - 7k range for most of the past 10 years. I was rather shocked when Simon Harper stated his projection as 100 units worldwide for P1/Leaf. I will tell you the sales numbers from CI alone are way higher than that. But here is a respected and talented photographer posting a guess of 100 units worldwide. Perhaps he missed a zero. But such is the ease in which misinformation can be spread. I don't blame Simon at all, as I trust his track record as an honest advocate of whatever he is using or not, it was just a guess or a typo.

The fact is, photographers like to think they know all the other players. In reality, they do not. I've been told by a well known photographer that there are maybe 5 or 6 guys in the city he lives in who might shoot medium format, when in fact, we'd been selling more than that every year in that very same city (obviously to photographers he doesn't know, or doesn't know well).

If Simon asked me for my annual sales numbers, I wouldn't be offended and I would simply state that I respectfully decline to share those numbers. I don't have a reason to not trust Simon. Maybe you now have a different approach in contrast to some of your prior posts. If so, then I will try to keep that in mind going forward. You have some very positive insights into the practical use of cameras and I hope that those continue.

I hope that my frank explanation of my perspective on this issue is not considered an attack.


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« Last Edit: December 12, 2012, 12:30:36 AM by Steve Hendrix »
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FredBGG

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #261 on: December 12, 2012, 12:28:13 AM »

Lets get back to the numbers regarding market share.

Okay from my seat which is a lot of workshop folks and of course the forum but a lot of hobbyists have bought into medium format maybe a lot more than Pros. It's not like a lack of money so throw that case scenario out the window it's simple not the case. Many of these hobbyist bought a IQxxx along with a DF since Phase and the dealers make a nice package. Buy a back get a DF and 80 LS to go with it. That is usually there first jump in than add a few lenses and graduate into the tech cams . Some go directly to tech cams. Now folks I can tell you this without blinking a eye they out spend me by miles. So lets not get into this D800 crap because this is a hobby for them and they want to play big and frankly photography believe it or not is a cheap hobby. Yes you heard it here, go buy a boat , sports cars , planes and such. This is chump change to a lot of these folks when it comes to a hobby, I play golf and that's dirt cheap compared to others. LOL

Now yes your talking about professional people , scientist, engineers, doctors and lawyers. I get them all on our workshops. Actually 18 workshops and I always had a doctor on board for instance. Thank god I may need one. LOL

The money argument does not always wash these discussions. To guys like me sure we worry about our ROI and use case but Pros are such a small minority here . We are seriously out numbered when it comes to photography. Frankly I would guess in today's world in total cams made we are maybe 1-5 percent of the total market is my guess. Love to know that number actually. Btw I'm not knocking the hobbyist at all I am if anything embracing them as without them we would still be shooting film. The market and technology may never have grown without them, they drive the sales. I agree with Steve sure there are departures both in 35mm and MF. That's just a natural order that has always been around. Some departures are also short term as well. The negativity towards MF is now resting on D800 shooters as the new holy grail. I'm not one of them I shoot it but I still love MF and hopefully will get back to it. The economy sucks and sure it's hurt a lot of things but if I was putting it on anything than that would be it. Maybe we will climb out I hope so, frankly its too freaking slow and let's be honest many of us are hanging on and some have already gone away. I work for big corporate clients and its slim pickings. It's rampant all through photography even for the top guns things are in adjustment periods both what you do and gear you have. Anyone tells you different is feeding you a line of BS.

I don't think Guy's estimate was intended to be a solid figure, but if the numbers are in the 1 to 5 % of total camera sales I think it would be safe to say that the MF manufacturers would be drowning in cash.

Consider this.

Canon in 9 months made 10,000,000 EF lenses. That would be about 13,000,000 in a year. http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/about_canon?pageKeyCode=pressreldetail&docId=0901e024806188ec&WT.mc_id=C126149
Canon sold 7 million DSLRs in the previous year and estimates sales of 9,000,000.

Just for ballpark lets assume canon has 40% of the DSLR market ( it's a bit less I think)

So that would roughly put the market at about 22,000,000 DSLRs

If MFDB cameras had just 1% of the totals cameras made that would be 220,000 units.

Then lets even assume that they only their less expensive 40mp Phase And Hasselblad bodies.  $21,000 and $17,000. And lets split the one percent between
the two:

That would be $ 2,310,000,000 for one and $ 1,870,000,000 for the other.

These are just very rough numbers. No intention of establishing accurate figures, but just give an idea of the magnitude of the market.

Sales are in smaller numbers that 1% of the total market. However if we consider the size of the DSLR market even a very small percentage or fraction of a percentage is still a lot of sales.
The real problem though is the costs of development in regards to significant image quality gains and significant functionality gains.

« Last Edit: December 12, 2012, 02:18:19 AM by FredBGG »
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Steve Hendrix

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #262 on: December 12, 2012, 12:55:39 AM »

What a tempest in a teapot.

For the record, literally millions of private companies disclose financial results.  D&B sells the data.  In some countries, the results are filed with regulators and made public ... albeit slowly.  




Well, we're Capture Integration Incorporated, so look us up. I would imagine our annual overall sales numbers can be found somewhere.

Again - as is my right - I respectfully decline to provide our annual sales numbers by category to the Luminous Landscape forum. Mostly by principle - because I'd like to know what it would mean to anyone. I can already see the armchair extrapolations and the resulting miscalculations from receiving - critically - a very partial view of the worldwide annual unit sales numbers. And to prove what, exactly?

You will never know precisely the total number of units sold. Nor do I know - precisely. But I have worked for 3 of the remaining medium format digital companies, and did indeed have access to sales numbers worldwide. And the numbers that have been established are approximately accurate, so far as I can tell. I mean - it's not very many. 5,000 - 7,000 units, maybe a bit less in recent years? That is not a lot. But it never has been - a lot.

I do agree that medium format digital has an interesting road ahead. I think that the numbers will be more interesting/relevant in say, 5 or 10 years from now. No one should not consider medium format digital because of concern that it is dead. (Note - this last sentence is just my opinion).


Steve Hendrix
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #263 on: December 12, 2012, 02:02:59 AM »

Hi,

My guess is that it takes about 100000$US to keep a person employed in the western world. So you need to sell like 5-10 backs/year for each employee making his/hers living of those backs, in development, manufacture and sales.

Best regards
Erik




Please feel free to point out any mistakes in information I post and refrain from these personal attacks.

EricWHiss

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #264 on: December 12, 2012, 02:11:36 AM »

Actually 5-7k of new MF backs sold last year is not a bad figure at all considering that older backs are still in use, even some many generations behind now.  To  me that means there are more and more MF users out there each year.  The problem MFDB makers have is these things don't wear out!   
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #265 on: December 12, 2012, 02:14:04 AM »

Hi,

I guess MFDB makers offer attractive upgrade packages in order to keep old backs of the second hand market.

Best regards
Erik

Actually 5-7k of new MF backs sold last year is not a bad figure at all considering that older backs are still in use, even some many generations behind now.  To  me that means there are more and more MF users out there each year.  The problem MFDB makers have is these things don't wear out!   

Guy Mancuso

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #266 on: December 12, 2012, 02:35:46 AM »

Lets get back to the numbers regarding market share.

I don't think Guy's estimate was intended to be a solid figure, but if the numbers are in the 1 to 5 % of total camera sales I think it would be safe to say that the MF manufacturers would be drowning in cash.

Consider this.

Canon in 9 months made 10,000,000 EF lenses. That would be about 13,000,000 in a year. http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/about_canon?pageKeyCode=pressreldetail&docId=0901e024806188ec&WT.mc_id=C126149
Canon sold 7 million DSLRs in the previous year and estimates sales of 9,000,000.

Just for ballpark lets assume canon has 40% of the DSLR market ( it's a bit less I think)

So that would roughly put the market at about 22,000,000 DSLRs

If MFDB cameras had just 1% of the totals cameras made that would be 220,000 units.

Then lets even assume that they only their less expensive 40mp Phase And Hasselblad bodies.  $21,000 and $17,000. And lets split the one percent between
the two:

That would be $ 2,310,000,000 for one and $ 1,870,000,000 for the other.

These are just very rough numbers. No intention of establishing accurate figures, but just give an idea of the magnitude of the market.

Sales are in smaller numbers that 1% of the total market. However if we consider the size of the DSLR market even a very small percentage or fraction of a percentage is still a lot of sales.
The real problem though is the costs of development in regards to significant image quality gains and significant functionality gains.



You need to read a little better, those are not sales percentage I am quoting. They are working Pros may only account for 1-5 percent of total sales worldwide compared to hobbyists buying all cams.
We are a a very small percentage of the market. Another words we count for shit. Lol


As far as how many backs sold annually by all OEMs I know that number but will not post it. It's immaterial
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FredBGG

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #267 on: December 12, 2012, 03:51:52 AM »

You need to read a little better, those are not sales percentage I am quoting.

Did not say you were referring to camera or solid numbers. What I was getting at is the magnitude of things.
That even if pros are a small percentage and that if a majority of those bought MF that that 1 % would still
be enough to generate revenues in the billion dollar plus scales. Back in the day medium format was essential to
a much larger segment of photographers and when I started out I never met a pro photographer that didn't have a medium format camera.



However I would not count out the importance of professional photographers to Nikon, Canon and the MF makers.
Enthusiasts look up to professional photographers .... your workshops are a clear example of that.
Enthusiasts want the features pros want and this makes the manufacturers pay attention to the pro market.

The other day I was discussing with a photographer friend the whole instagram and pinterest phenomena.
All interesting stuff. So I asked my daughter and a couple of her friends to show me around pinterest and instagram.
The kids in their late teens and early twenties are really into pinterest. What was most interesting is that most of the images in pinterest
are professional images. What used to be images just sitting on various fashion and product websites are now getting huge exposure
through things like pinterest. This increased exposure makes still more valuable to clients.. that it good for photographers.

I think that is is also important to note that this new form of exposure is in a big sea of images including armature snaps.
All the more reason for clients to invest in better photographers so as to stand out.


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Guy Mancuso

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #268 on: December 12, 2012, 06:39:43 AM »

Like a lot of industries Pros are very important to the market place. I do agree we are just a very small percentage on a global level. Now MF we maybe even slightly better on percentages, that would make sense. Nikon,canon, Sony and so on they have very big product lines so less so but no question people do look up to Pros and buy like them.
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Steve Hendrix

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #269 on: December 12, 2012, 10:00:08 AM »

Hi,

My guess is that it takes about 100000$US to keep a person employed in the western world. So you need to sell like 5-10 backs/year for each employee making his/hers living of those backs, in development, manufacture and sales.

Best regards
Erik






The most accurate way to gauge the numbers if you are going by payroll would be to assess the number of employees at the manufacturers themselves, not a dealer. Based on your numbers, the total sales figure for us would be substantially under represented. While we are known as medium format digital specialists, we sell a lot of other products. Even back when we sold less associative products, your numbers for compensation in a small company can be very skewed. The per employee compensation cost can be a good bit higher.
 
I don't think the numbers are any great mystery. In the healthiest years on record, perhaps 7,000, in recent years (like 2010), perhaps 4,000. From my experience, that is the ballpark range.

You guys can calculate percentages and such all you like, but you won't arrive at any closer or more accurate number than that, unless you focus on the manufacturer employment ranks, and even then, it's somewhat of a ballpark. Some manufacturers lay off in slow times, others hang onto employes until the good times. When you're not talking about thousands of employees, that is going to skew the numbers in a way you won't be aware of.

I would say - save yourself the trouble, just accept roughly 4,500 average currently (that may be a bit low, I don't know), and then do whatever you will with the numbers. I still don't really know what the objective is, once you think you know it.

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Guy Mancuso

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #270 on: December 12, 2012, 10:20:13 AM »


The most accurate way to gauge the numbers if you are going by payroll would be to assess the number of employees at the manufacturers themselves, not a dealer. Based on your numbers, the total sales figure for us would be substantially under represented. While we are known as medium format digital specialists, we sell a lot of other products. Even back when we sold less associative products, your numbers for compensation in a small company can be very skewed. The per employee compensation cost can be a good bit higher.
 
I don't think the numbers are any great mystery. In the healthiest years on record, perhaps 7,000, in recent years (like 2010), perhaps 4,000. From my experience, that is the ballpark range.

You guys can calculate percentages and such all you like, but you won't arrive at any closer or more accurate number than that, unless you focus on the manufacturer employment ranks, and even then, it's somewhat of a ballpark. Some manufacturers lay off in slow times, others hang onto employes until the good times. When you're not talking about thousands of employees, that is going to skew the numbers in a way you won't be aware of.

I would say - save yourself the trouble, just accept roughly 4,500 average currently (that may be a bit low, I don't know), and then do whatever you will with the numbers. I still don't really know what the objective is, once you think you know it.



This is really meaningless to know these numbers. They tell you nothing and more likely used in a negative way or worse OEMs use them for marketing reasons. The only people these matter too are the OEMs for internal use for hiring, there supply chain and budgeting reasons. All it tells us as photographers is that it is a niche market. I think we already know that. Do we really need to bring the format down to its knees. Look at this way there are REAL people behind this stuff that have family's and need jobs. If anything we as photosphere want to keep this industry in business as it gives us better products, support and hopefully lower costs. Besides all that BS its fun too shoot.

Now I will ask this stop taking the good post made here and turning it into subject to fit your desire to be negative . That's all I have seen in this whole thread. I say one thing it gets turned into something else to fill someone else's point. I ve seen this in almost every post to everyone's fine contributions. That is considered trolling by definition . It's annoying not fair and causes bad feelings among members. This thread has run its course IMHO and we should all move on. As a forum owner myself I can identify these types of threads a mile away and it just wastes good folks time. Frankly someone started a thread on improving MF I think that is far more productive to help shape its future. With that I'm out of this thread. Have a great day and Happy Holidays to everyone.
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sgilbert

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #271 on: December 12, 2012, 10:58:45 AM »

This thread points out the problem often found in internet forums:  a poster says something -- or a series of somethings -- that makes you want to tune him or her out.  But the poster is relentless, and appears to have time to post the same or similar messages over and over again. 

What to do?  Some people can't seem to help themselves, and need to respond.  Others, perhaps feeling that their livelihood is being attacked, feel the need to correct what they see as unfair or inaccurate comments about their product or business.  And then the guy who started it all says people are treating him badly. 

It's really unfortunate, but I doubt it'll stop:  it's the internet.
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #272 on: December 12, 2012, 11:24:37 AM »

Hi,

Those numbers are quite relevant, at least if there is a need to develop a new sensor or ASIC. Development and tooling costs need to be split over all sensors produced.

Stefan Steib suggests the vendors should sit down and cooperate on development of a new CMOS sensor. In my view an excellent idea.

Best regards
Erik

Ps. I checked out your portfolio this morning. A lot of great work there!


This is really meaningless to know these numbers. They tell you nothing and more likely used in a negative way or worse OEMs use them for marketing reasons. The only people these matter too are the OEMs for internal use for hiring, there supply chain and budgeting reasons. All it tells us as photographers is that it is a niche market. I think we already know that. Do we really need to bring the format down to its knees. Look at this way there are REAL people behind this stuff that have family's and need jobs. If anything we as photosphere want to keep this industry in business as it gives us better products, support and hopefully lower costs. Besides all that BS its fun too shoot.

Now I will ask this stop taking the good post made here and turning it into subject to fit your desire to be negative . That's all I have seen in this whole thread. I say one thing it gets turned into something else to fill someone else's point. I ve seen this in almost every post to everyone's fine contributions. That is considered trolling by definition . It's annoying not fair and causes bad feelings among members. This thread has run its course IMHO and we should all move on. As a forum owner myself I can identify these types of threads a mile away and it just wastes good folks time. Frankly someone started a thread on improving MF I think that is far more productive to help shape its future. With that I'm out of this thread. Have a great day and Happy Holidays to everyone.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2012, 11:38:32 AM by ErikKaffehr »
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design_freak

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #273 on: December 12, 2012, 11:36:04 AM »

This thread points out the problem often found in internet forums:  a poster says something -- or a series of somethings -- that makes you want to tune him or her out.  But the poster is relentless, and appears to have time to post the same or similar messages over and over again. 

What to do?  Some people can't seem to help themselves, and need to respond.  Others, perhaps feeling that their livelihood is being attacked, feel the need to correct what they see as unfair or inaccurate comments about their product or business.  And then the guy who started it all says people are treating him badly. 

It's really unfortunate, but I doubt it'll stop:  it's the internet.

I do not recall anyone in this thread has treated me badly  ::)
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design_freak

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #274 on: December 12, 2012, 11:37:39 AM »

Hi,

Those numbers are quite relevant, at least if there is a need to develop a new sensor or ASIC. Development and tooling costs need to be split over all sensor produced.

Stefan Steib suggests the vendors should sit down and cooperate on development of a new CMOS sensor. In my view an excellent idea.

Best regards
Erik



Of course, it's a good idea!!!
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Guy Mancuso

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #275 on: December 12, 2012, 11:56:54 AM »

Hi,

Those numbers are quite relevant, at least if there is a need to develop a new sensor or ASIC. Development and tooling costs need to be split over all sensors produced.

Stefan Steib suggests the vendors should sit down and cooperate on development of a new CMOS sensor. In my view an excellent idea.

Best regards
Erik

Ps. I checked out your portfolio this morning. A lot of great work there!



Yes and what I meant by internal needs. OEMs need to know what use case a new sensor and such would do for them in the market. This I do agree with but for us as Photographers they have no real value. I do agree with Stefans comment as well. Guess my big question on CMOS is what in the end would it bring us, but thats a another thread with a lot of questions to consider.
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FredBGG

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #276 on: December 12, 2012, 01:53:21 PM »

I really don't understand why such a strong stance against knowing the sales or production numbers of MFD.
Being transparent about the numbers (and I'm talking about the manufacturers, not dealer numbers) would give
the market more certainty. As the image quality between the formats has become pretty much equivalent
and the massive price advantage of 35mm DSLR I think that doubts about the longevity of MFD don't work in favor
of MFD sales. The uncertainty surrounding the numbers and the ever changing ownership of MF companies, mergers,
re-branding etc along with the demise of several MF companies and brands does not help in making a decision to by a very expensive camera.
Even more so if long term financing is needed to make the purchase feasible for many photographers.

Numbers don't have to be huge. Even small numbers with the appropriate company structure would be more reassuring
than no information.

It takes very little to tip a buyers choice towards something like a D800 vs MF. Lack of information is one of them.
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Nick-T

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #277 on: December 12, 2012, 02:08:38 PM »

Fred!
Seriously, enough already!

You have some really good knowledge around 35mm and large format film and I thank you for sharing that, but this relentless trolling around MFDB is just that, trolling.

The problem is lots of good data is getting buried under your prolific posts which are always slanted against medium format digital. I understand that you had a bad experience with medium format at one point but I don't think that gives you the right to continually attack the idea of medium format, please Fred move on.

I have been shooting Hasselblad (and before that Imacon) digital backs for well over a decade now, and I plan on shooting with them for a while yet (and yes I have a D800 and a 5D2).  I think that qualifies me to comment on Hasselblad threads and I do, but I tend to avoid commenting on say a Phase One thread as I don't know the product, if I do make a stupid comment Doug or Steve will advise :).

My point is do you feel you have a depth of experience in medium format that leaves you qualified to make these continuous attacks or are you just an angry man with an agenda?

FredBGG

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #278 on: December 12, 2012, 02:27:07 PM »

Fred!
Seriously, enough already!

You have some really good knowledge around 35mm and large format film and I thank you for sharing that, but this relentless trolling around MFDB is just that, trolling.

The problem is lots of good data is getting buried under your prolific posts which are always slanted against medium format digital. I understand that you had a bad experience with medium format at one point but I don't think that gives you the right to continually attack the idea of medium format, please Fred move on.

I have been shooting Hasselblad (and before that Imacon) digital backs for well over a decade now, and I plan on shooting with them for a while yet (and yes I have a D800 and a 5D2).  I think that qualifies me to comment on Hasselblad threads and I do, but I tend to avoid commenting on say a Phase One thread as I don't know the product, if I do make a stupid comment Doug or Steve will advise :).

My point is do you feel you have a depth of experience in medium format that leaves you qualified to make these continuous attacks or are you just an angry man with an agenda?



For your information I have been a photographer for 30 years, internationally publishes, work daily with the a-list and have owned two Phase One Digital cameras, many lenses for them and beta tested for several high end imaging apps. I have also used color suites that cost the production companies I sometimes work for $1,200 an hour. this being one of them http://www.efilm.com/inside-efilm/slideshow
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Sheldon N

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #279 on: December 12, 2012, 02:32:53 PM »

For your information I have been a photographer for 30 years, internationally publishes, work daily with the a-list and have owned two Phase One Digital cameras, many lenses for them and beta tested for several high end imaging apps. I have also used color suites that cost the production companies I sometimes work for $1,200 an hour. this being one of them http://www.efilm.com/inside-efilm/slideshow

Well that sounds like a much better use of your time than trolling the medium format threads.

As an outside observer in this thread (and someone who has owned both MFDB and 35mm gear and settled on 35mm gear) I tend to agree with Nick-T's post above.
The forum would be well served if you shared your knowledge in other threads, and didn't continually strive to create controversy in every medium format thread that came up.
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