Those promos got me interested in actually buying into MFD, but I got good advice that a P45+ would suit my needs better. Also, lenses for the H-series are not exactly cheap, while used V-series lenses are available at low prices. So I am in V-series and P45+.
A good dealer is obviously helpful, I would agree that Doug and Steve are most knowledgeable, honest and helpful. But, I was shooting SLRs and DSLRs for something like 40+ years and never needed a dealer. There is something called the manual.
Regarding sales of the Pentax 645D, some very happy owners posted on it here. I also got the impression they were selling well in Japan and possibly other places.
Obviously, the Pentax 645D has hard place in the market, competing head on with the Nikon D800/D800E and the Sony A7r. It also seems to have some issues with shutter related vibrations a problem it has in common with A7r. That kind of vibration would be most noted by landscape photographers, but far less in handheld shooting or using flash in studio. Leaf shutter system don't have that problem. A way to fix this seems to be electronic first curtain, but it seems the 645Z doesn't have that feature.
Electronic first curtain is great, by the way. Using live view, the shutter needs to be cycled before exposure, with electronic first curtain in live view exposure can start immediately and vibration free.
The Pentax 645Z is a new camera offering similar capabilities to top class DSLRs at a not much higher price. It also offers a live view implementation that is probably very good.
Ricoh also relaunches the 645 lens line, so it seems probable that they try to be a significant player in the market.
Personally, I guess that competition from high and DSLR and mirrorless will intensify. Zeiss, Sigma and may be even Sony are introducing high quality lenses for full frame 135 digital, and next generation sensors will probably be around 50+ MP.
MF backs for technical cameras will always make a lot of sense.
I guess I can pick at your facts - H4D40 promotions were all over the place at 10K+ Euros, over the past few years. The H5D was a price rise, but the H5D50 as a direct substitute for the H4D40 (yes, 25% more MP after a few years) can surely be sold at the *same* price without (m)any complaints from existing users.
As for opinions of the level of service, we may be so lucky as to have honest and helpful, seriously valuable dealers on this forum such as Doug and Steve, but there are also a good number of useless and snotty idiots out there, and in those areas Pentax will doubtless sell well. I have no doubt that Doug and Steve will fare well in the future, the goodwill they have now acquired is their biggest asset.
Re pricing and demand for the Z, Pentax seem to have been around for longer than Phase, selling well regarded consumer, prosumer and pro cams, and I'm sure they are big boys and can do the maths quite well. As Synn pointed out, they have a big corporation footing their bills so they can afford to invest a little without asking their bankers, and also they have real weight with Sony because of the huge number of smaller sensors they purchase.
Regarding the rental model, well I guess I would prefer to pay $8K for a Pentax or $5K for a used Hassy on this forum, or $125 for a rental Pentax, rather than pay $500 a day for a rental Phase IQ250. But then I don't get paid $10K a day or whatever for Kate Moss to smile for me