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Author Topic: MF cartel broken - new pricing coming?  (Read 28077 times)
eronald
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« Reply #20 on: June 12, 2007, 06:48:46 AM »
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Thierry, others -

 My criticism is constructive. Lower prices would help camera makers and back manufacturers sell *substantially* more.

 Look at what happened with the Canon 5D: Canon stripped the expensive 1DsII bare and halved the price. Cheap and very cheerful. Guess what ? The pros jumped for it.

 Everyone who has owned a Hassy would like to buy a new Sinar MF or Hasselblad system. At $10K for a complete system there would be a stampede. At $20K there is a deafening silence. A price point closer to $10K might make sense, no ?

 People who make "political" suggestions sometimes make them to be helpful. I think everybody on this forum would be happier if they had les difficulty in owning MF products, and MF manufacturers would be happier if their products had a larger customer base, and fluid sales. The cameras are accessible, the backs are not, and prevent you from selling cameras and lenses. Time to solve that.

 Your products work - it's time to price them to sell.

Edmund

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Thierry,

The price of Sinar, Leaf and Phase backs is to high that's why most pro photogrphers I know use Canon or Nikon and make it work.

I've recently been looking at MF digital again after leaving it for another year and waiting for the price to become more inline with what we can charge for the work vs. running costs on gear.

I'm surprised that it's still so much money for even the 22 MP backs out there.

Can I go to my clients and say I've had to double my rates to pay off a back that costs as much as a 35mm system with a backup body and a full and good set of lenses ?

Medium format always did cost more than 35mm, but nothing like it is now.

Everybody needs to stop trying to recover their full R&D costs on every sale, digital is not new anymore..
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« Last Edit: June 12, 2007, 06:59:33 AM by eronald » Logged
Graham Mitchell
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« Reply #21 on: June 12, 2007, 06:59:48 AM »
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The price of Sinar, Leaf and Phase backs is to high that's why most pro photogrphers I know use Canon or Nikon and make it work.

We would all like to see cheaper prices but don't forget that the MFDB makers are at the mercy of the sensor manufacturers.

I contacted Kodak a year or two ago to get pricing for the 22MP sensor and it was around $5K per sensor, and you had to buy 100+ units to get that price. Lower volumes were staggeringly more expensive.

When you add in the R&D costs, the sensor cost, and the production costs of all the other electronics and software that go into the package, then I don't see how Mamiya can be making money on the ZD back at this price. If so, then this isn't the start of a new price structure because it's unsustainable. It may pressure the other back makers to lower prices, but not to this extent. Their products are demonstrably superior and worth a premium.

Why would they sell at cost or even at a loss? Just to keep the brand alive and keep the existing Mamiya customers from jumping ship while the new brand owners plan future products.

Even if they lose $500 per unit sold, and sell 1000 units, $500K is a small price to pay to keep the company alive, especially if they expect to make several million profit on the next generation of back. They might also have calculated that they will sell enough new camera bodies and lenses to compensate for the losses on the digital backs. These digital backs tie you into Mamiya, and then they can make money from the other parts. Exactly the same well-known strategy as printer manufacturers selling printers at a loss but making high profits on the toner cartridges. Of course this is just my opinion...
« Last Edit: June 12, 2007, 07:01:02 AM by foto-z » Logged

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« Reply #22 on: June 12, 2007, 09:17:02 AM »
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The price of Sinar, Leaf and Phase backs is to high that's why most pro photogrphers I know use Canon or Nikon and make it work.

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I think its a matter of deciding what work you want to produce and getting the tools that will best help you do it. The deficiency of 35mm based systems isn't just the sensor, its the whole package, lenses,  speed of shooting, style. For a lot of images the technical quality is not that relevant and the speed and flexability of 35mm is what is needed.  The MF outfits are a different product, higher specs & lower volume, always have been. Just because modern 35mm digital systems can do a lot more in terms of resolution doesn't mean that the economics of producing MF outfits change, except that their market has been eroded and the economics are tougher. I don't see how this will  translate to a cheap quality product in response. I think if you were to take into account the equivalent amount of film you would have paid for during the life of a DB then its probably not expensive.
Mamiya has been through a turbulent time in the past couple of years, maybe their pricing at the moment is a short term cash flow generator and when they find their feet in the MF arena the pricing will be higher.
 David
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rainer_v
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« Reply #23 on: June 12, 2007, 10:52:43 AM »
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and everything is a question of when it appears on the market. no question, computers and digital techinc are increasing their capacities / decreasing their prices very fast.
if your work does not need to be on the best side qualitywise, if money is the limiting factor here or if your jobs dont require this  quality, ofcourse you can wait till the things are cheap, some months, some years waiting and you will be there.

i just came back from a 4 week architecture shooting.
finally the client was amazed by the images he saw ( printed with my epson 7800,- i think soon there wil lexist a cheaper 24" printer,- but i used it NOW ) and he ordered 17 images in a size
of over 2 meter each in best quality for a permanent exhibition.
not very good idea to have done a shot like that with a canon and afterwards not to be able to fit the needs of such an - unforeseen - demand ( these are not billboard prints, they have to be sharp ).  even if i could get in half a year a 22mp back for € 1000,-- it would have been a big mistake for me not to have it NOW.
this was even more true 1,5 years ago, at that time i already have had a 22mp back and at that time i already could have started to wait for the cheap mamiya backs ... which i still wouldnt have in my hand.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2007, 10:53:52 AM by rehnniar » Logged

rainer viertlböck
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« Reply #24 on: June 12, 2007, 11:18:13 AM »
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I'm a bit surprised about the level of ignorance of basic economic and business tenets. Selling a premium product at premium price - think Hasselblad, Sinar, Phase - is just one strategy to recoop high development costs - and I'd argue the worst. There are others:

- Sell at cost or below cost, and recoop development from sales of accessories. This is what Microsoft and Sony are doing with their consoles: they sell at around or even below cost of manufacturing, making the games people "have" to buy to use the consoles more expensive. Same can be done easily with cameras by selling lenses at premium. But this is of course limited due to interchangeability of lenses between manufacturers/backs/etc.

- Sell at "normal" price - ie. not the high premium price. Although margins are lower, the added sales due to lower prices and bigger potential market might very well mean higher overall revenues and ROI. This is apparently what Mamiya is doing and is more suitable for the camera world. The problem with this approach is that the MFDB market is quite limited, no matter what the price is. This is where thorough market research comes in, to find the sweet spot for pricing to achieve highest ROI - or whatever your company's metric is.

The recent Mamiya announcement convinced me to start saving for an MFDB system as a "serious amateur," something which I wouldn't even dream of a month ago. At least in my case, price does expand the market, and judging from the welcome on this board it's clear that I'm not the only one ecstatic about this development.

So, no, MFDB prices don't "have" to be ridiculously high. Blaming high R&D costs for premium pricing is mere marketing speak in an attempt to justify the high sale price, relying on the customer not to know much about economics or business.

(I'm ignoring quite a few factors, such as the intangible but very real value of positioning your product as premium product - Hasselblad cameras, Montblanc pens - to capture a certain niche market. But my main point remains: high R&D prices do not in themselves demand a disproportionately high sale price.)
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mattlap2
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« Reply #25 on: June 12, 2007, 11:25:34 AM »
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Thierry,

The price of Sinar, Leaf and Phase backs is to high that's why most pro photogrphers I know use Canon or Nikon and make it work.

I've recently been looking at MF digital again after leaving it for another year and waiting for the price to become more inline with what we can charge for the work vs. running costs on gear.

I'm surprised that it's still so much money for even the 22 MP backs out there.

Can I go to my clients and say I've had to double my rates to pay off a back that costs as much as a 35mm system with a backup body and a full and good set of lenses ?

Medium format always did cost more than 35mm, but nothing like it is now.

Everybody needs to stop trying to recover their full R&D costs on every sale, digital is not new anymore..
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David,

I am going to answer this as a photographer and also from a business perspective rather than an employee of a digital imaging company.

The R&D costs are a constant and digital continues to evolve.   I think as much as photographers dread the investment, they are always going to want the next step up in quality.   That quality can come either from new chip technology, the hardware inside the back, or the software.    I know as a photographer I would be angry if my equipment suppliers said this is the end of the road and as good as it gets.   Even in those long forgotten film days you were paying for R&D as portion of that price of sheetfilm.  We always wanted the next sharper film ...the next consistent film.  We paid for that in pennies multiplied over thousands of sheets of film.

I know paying for it in one chunk is hard to swallow and that the business model of photography has changed.   But if properly managed digital has given photographers a new profit center.   At a certain point that Return on Investment becomes greater than what film would be.   That 22, 33 or 39 megapixel back you buy today will continue to produce profits for you long after the back is paid off.    

Many photogrphers (not all by any means) fell into a trap of never investing money back into their studio once they purchased their equipment.   They bought their Hasselblad .....their Speedotrons ...their Sinar P2 .....and they were set.    20 years later all of these items were still working for them.    Then digital came along and along came with that came sticker shock.   It was a huge investment.   Now I think we are in a cycle where photographers have had to become better businessmen and continue to invest in their capabilities and equipment.

Don't think of it as a negative ...but make decisions on what are going to make your business more successful and profitable.   No matter if it is Phase, Sinar, Canon or Mamiya .......

Matt
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uaiomex
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« Reply #26 on: June 12, 2007, 12:01:36 PM »
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I said it before.

I don't buy it when I hear medium format photography is a "too small niche" for manufacturers to make real money.

30 years ago, we had Hasselblad, Mamiya, Bronica, Fuji, Contax, Rollei and another bunch of less known brands from East Germany, Rusia and China. I understand they all were profitable.

There should be at least the double in numbers of working professionals (in search of the best image quality available) in the world than 30 years ago. Yet, now we have only a fifth of those camera makers competing. I just don't get it.


Please somebody enlight me. But please don't tell me that the reason is because pros have gone with the dslr top guns. That is not the cause, it is the effect of ridiculous mfdb prices.

Best

Eduardo
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Gary Mulcahey
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« Reply #27 on: June 12, 2007, 12:26:32 PM »
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Many photogrphers (not all by any means) fell into a trap of never investing money back into their studio once they purchased their equipment.   They bought their Hasselblad .....their Speedotrons ...their Sinar P2 .....and they were set.    20 years later all of these items were still working for them.    Then digital came along and along came with that came sticker shock.   It was a huge investment.   Now I think we are in a cycle where photographers have had to become better businessmen and continue to invest in their capabilities and equipment.


Fell intro a trap?? Spare me this nonsense. Since when is investing in good solid equipment that will last 20yrs for your business, falling into a trap or bad business? The industry has changed and the digital players have had the photographer by the throat for the last few years selling over priced equipment that you had to pay a premium, and extra, for uptime warranties. I refused to pay $25-40 grand on a product that I need to pay extra on to guarantee it worked (and I can afford the backs). That is coming to an end thanks to the likes of Mamiya and there will be more to come from Japan I bet. It may not be the best back on the market but they will get my business and I will make it work. I can purchase it without feeling like I had just been bent over the table. Whether you are making a lot of money in this business or a just getting by, it's your money and you don't have to feel like you are making bad decisions because you don't shoot with the over priced flavour of the month.


G
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mattlap2
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« Reply #28 on: June 12, 2007, 12:29:16 PM »
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I said it before.

I don't buy it when I hear medium format photography is a "too small niche" for manufacturers to make real money.

30 years ago, we had Hasselblad, Mamiya, Bronica, Fuji, Contax, Rollei and another bunch of less known brands from East Germany, Rusia and China. I understand they all were profitable.

There should be at least the double in numbers of working professionals (in search of the best image quality available) in the world than 30 years ago. Yet, now we have only a fifth of those camera makers competing. I just don't get it.
Please somebody enlight me. But please don't tell me that the reason is because pros have gone with the dslr top guns. That is not the cause, it is the effect of ridiculous mfdb prices.

Best

Eduardo
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That is where you are very wrong ....  there are fewer photographers than there were 30 years ago.   By quite a large number.    The market has shrunk tremendously.   There was an industry study done by the Photo Marketing Association a few years ago ....I actually believe it was right at the Millenium comparing 2000 to 1970 ....and they found that the market had shrunk by almost 50%.

Businesses have consolidated ....eliminating many corporate photo studios.   Just think of how many colleagues we have watched close their studios and leave the business.  

It is definitely a shrinking market ....rather than a growing one.
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« Reply #29 on: June 12, 2007, 12:39:07 PM »
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Well here's my 2 cents !

For some photographers (especially those that do high value work at high day rates) the highly priced MF backs are still good value pieces of kit that are able to make them even more profit. They previously probably spent more on film and processing in six months than the cost of a P45 ! Also they can charge out for digital equipment hire on each job as well, so they can recoup the cost of the back in a very short time indeed. BUT these people represent only a small number of the total number of professional photographers. Most other pros do NOT do this sort of highly paid work and earn this sort of money. I reckon the majority of professional photographers throughout the world cannot afford to buy one of the larger sensor backs from Leaf, Phase, Hasselblad and Sinar and justify it on a business level. I'd be interested to know how many of those that have bought one of these backs get a R.O.I before a new model is announced and they put themselves on the waiting list.

In my opinion MFDB is at the moment a niche market BECAUSE of the practice of the big four back makers especially due to their policy and control of pricing and supply in the second hand market. I mean how do you control the price of your product to keep it at an artificially high level ?  You control the supply. The diamond industry are very good at that !

In order for MF digital photography to flourish EVERY photographer needs access to the kit, not just those that do the top work and can easily afford it. Mamiya have to be applauded for promising to do that at the moment. I think it can only be good for us all that medium format is alive and kicking at both ends of the spectrum, high and low.  

Barrie
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« Reply #30 on: June 12, 2007, 12:46:54 PM »
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That is where you are very wrong ....  there are fewer photographers than there were 30 years ago.   By quite a large number.    The market has shrunk tremendously.   There was an industry study done by the Photo Marketing Association a few years ago ....I actually believe it was right at the Millenium comparing 2000 to 1970 ....and they found that the market had shrunk by almost 50%.

Businesses have consolidated ....eliminating many corporate photo studios.   Just think of how many colleagues we have watched close their studios and leave the business.  

It is definitely a shrinking market ....rather than a growing one.
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Right you are.  I believe professional photography as we have known in the past is a dying profession...and quickly.  And digital is what is killing us.

 Companies are dumbing down their needs for photos taken professionally and giving the job to the guy in the next cubicle.  All they need are some photos that sorta say what they want them to say..generic, stock type thing.  

 As fast as the software applications are changing I don't think it will be too long before it will all be done within CAD.  The movie industry is certainly the harbinger on that one.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2007, 12:56:41 PM by snickgrr » Logged
mattlap2
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« Reply #31 on: June 12, 2007, 12:53:50 PM »
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Right you are.  I believe professional photography as we have known in the past is a dying profession...and quickly.  And digital is what is killing us.

 Companies are dumbing down their needs for photos taken professionally and giving the job to the guy in the next cubicle.  All they need are some photos that sorta say what they want them to say..generic, stock type thing. 

 As fast as the software applications are changing I don't it will be too long before it will all be done within CAD.  The movie industry is certainly the harbinger on that one.
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Too late ...  look at much of the work being done in the Auto Industry.   They are using CGI images taken from cad information and dropping it right into the ads.   When the Hummer H3 was introduced a few years ago the first brochure was all CGI images with the exception of a few lifestyle shots.
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« Reply #32 on: June 12, 2007, 01:11:13 PM »
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first: "normal" market economics don't really apply to the DMF market....if a phase P45 was 500$ my grandma still should not buy it...

second: the ZD is priced just right....above the canons and below the 16bit backs....there are still options out there and i am sure for some people (like myself) the P21 would be the wiser choice and it is in the same price class....anyone looking in this range would be stupid to not look at everything just to save a couple of 1000...because in the long run it just isn't worth it....

when the 14n came out, it was half the price of everything else....and it was actually ahead of the pack in the stats....canon could easily have lowered their price....but they did not have to....the 14n was a great camera with serious limitations.....the ZD is a great back with some limitations......

i still don't get the issue about price anyway.....compared to film/processing DMF backs are supercheap....i have a P30 that gives me better then MF quality with every click and as far as i know it will last forever.....so regardless of how little i shoot at one point i shoot for free....

does anyoone really think that phase, leaf or sinar are just making all these crazy profits? i honestly think that they are barely scraping by! look at leaf...they can't even get a decend software solution off the ground....none of them sell enough backs to really get the prices down!

we will see if mamiya is just selling the ZD backs off now (this is a 3 year old back) just clearing house, or if they are serious and will show th ZDII soon (which still could mean 3 years until it ships).....

competition is good, but this competition has been out for 3 years...the ZD camera has been selling in the US on ebay for a while (for a little more then the ZD back + body)....so i don't see the big rush to get this now......

i hope for mamiya's sake that this will be good for them....competition is good....

edmund: wonderful title, sounds like you are trying to start a revolution....
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« Reply #33 on: June 12, 2007, 01:41:02 PM »
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Oh really such thing exist?  Can you find me a super wide angle for my 5D that actually works at the corners?

http://www.16-9.net/lens_tests/

Amount of total real information = lens resolution (lprs/mm)^2 * sensor area, when the other things are equal and noise is not in the formula.

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There'll probably be a lot of crying in the digital MF camp when Canon announces a 22mp FF 35mm DSLR later this year, as everyone expects.

We should not forget that the 2nd FF DSLR that Canon proiduced (the 1Ds2) had the same pixel density as the 2nd cropped 35mm format DSLR (the D60).

In fact, I would imagine there's no fundamental reason why Canon can not deliver a 26mp FF sensor with the pixel density of the 400D.

Acquiring the small handful of Canon prime lenses that could really take advantage of such pixel density (if one doesn't already have such lenses) could still be cheaper than buying into an MF system.
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eronald
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« Reply #34 on: June 12, 2007, 02:10:52 PM »
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Here's my forecast of the day: We can expect a reaction from Hassy very quickly indeed.

Edmund
« Last Edit: June 12, 2007, 02:14:36 PM by eronald » Logged
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« Reply #35 on: June 12, 2007, 02:59:07 PM »
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I respect all the members of the MF industry, really I do. But they have over-priced their product and the return to reality will be painful.
First of all, while the list prices of the mainstream digital backs seem shockingly high in comparison to the Mamiya backs, no one that I've heard of pays those prices. I certainly paid nowhere near list for my P45+. MFDB's can be had, brand new, for shockingly large discounts off of list.

Second, the Mamiya back is a smaller sized chip with only 22 MP. After discounts, I doubt the mainstream backs with the same sized sensor would be that much more (OK, I'd guess maybe 50% more, but certainly within spitting distance).

Third, it will probably all be a moot point, since Canon will be releasing their 22 MP, 14-bit 1DsIII soon, and most people won't be able to see any real difference between the Canon and Mamiya images (just my opinion). Mamiya is only a small shock to the MF pricing compared to what Canon is going to do with the 1DsIII. I think 22 MP MFDB will practically disappear, or be sold at huge discounts, once the new Canon arrives. Once that happens, MFDB manufacturers will simply concentrate on even higher MP backs, since they can do so without the compromises that the 35mm format imposes.

Just my $0.02 worth.
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« Reply #36 on: June 12, 2007, 03:07:47 PM »
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First of all, while the list prices of the mainstream digital backs seem shockingly high in comparison to the Mamiya backs, no one that I've heard of pays those prices. I certainly paid nowhere near list for my P45+. MFDB's can be had, brand new, for shockingly large discounts off of list.

Second, the Mamiya back is a smaller sized chip with only 22 MP. After discounts, I doubt the mainstream backs with the same sized sensor would be that much more (OK, I'd guess maybe 50% more, but certainly within spitting distance).

Third, it will probably all be a moot point, since Canon will be releasing their 22 MP, 14-bit 1DsIII soon, and most people won't be able to see any real difference between the Canon and Mamiya images (just my opinion). Mamiya is only a small shock to the MF pricing compared to what Canon is going to do with the 1DsIII. I think 22 MP MFDB will practically disappear, or be sold at huge discounts, once the new Canon arrives. Once that happens, MFDB manufacturers will simply concentrate on even higher MP backs, since they can do so without the compromises that the 35mm format imposes.

Just my $0.02 worth.
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the ZD chip is the same size as the other large chips....hass would call it full frame...

i too think that this is more competition to the canon (without the handling) then to the other backs....

my experience is the same when it comes down to buying a back.....dealers are very careful with "tire kickers" ...because there are substantial price cuts....but also keep in mind that the dealers do provide services (tech-support, replacement, general hand holding) that don't usually come with DSLRs and probably won't come with the ZD.....
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« Reply #37 on: June 12, 2007, 03:28:32 PM »
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my experience is the same when it comes down to buying a back.....dealers are very careful with "tire kickers" ...because there are substantial price cuts....but also keep in mind that the dealers do provide services (tech-support, replacement, general hand holding) that don't usually come with DSLRs and probably won't come with the ZD.....
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I do not need the hand holding or the added service, now do I get a deep deep discount?

Now this is a remark with a wink but a serious undertone, I truly have had need for a dealer under 5 times in the last 25 years I use camera equipment. Naturally I do appreciate the efforts some dealers take but there are people that just don't need the handholding.

I constantly see things like, great dealer, excellent help, service etc.. Sorry, I just want a properly working product, this should not be too much to ask. It sometimes sounds like you are in a deep hole when you are unfortunate enough to have a lousy dealer. Fortunately none of the backs I have owned ever needed to see a dealer and that is how it should be. The whole concept of really needing to have a great dealer sounds too much like a patch for inferior products.

So either we get sold great product which (at least in my case) does not need 'dealers help' or we get sold a lousy product where a dealer is mandatory. The last thing is not my experience, I guess I am extremely lucky.

You ought to expect proper service with any product you buy, especially high-end equipment. I wonder now and than why this gets treated like it is something really special.

Besides that I am pretty sure the Mamiya will be covered by adequate service.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2007, 03:41:42 PM by Dustbak » Logged
Joe Behar
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« Reply #38 on: June 12, 2007, 03:42:40 PM »
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I do not need the hand holding or the added service, now do I get a deep deep discount?

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Sorry, I have to chime in here.

Dealer support and added service is a lot more than just tech support.

With a good dealer you can walk in, arrange a demo and compare three different models head to head. You can get information on different camera systems. You can get rentals of the more esoteric things, usually at a discount if you already own a MFDB from them. You have someone to go to when you're ready to upgrade or update. You have the convenience and security of a real contact that you can actually talk to not send an e mail and hope for an answer. You have someone that will make sure you get every last ounce of quality and efficiency out of your investment so that you end up making more money and you have yet another networking contact.

If you still want a deep deep discount, I'm sure there are plenty of gray market "dealers" out there that may or may not be around 6 months from now when you do need something else.

I'm getting off my soapbox now.
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« Reply #39 on: June 12, 2007, 03:49:14 PM »
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the ZD chip is the same size as the other large chips....hass would call it full frame...
You're right - my bad.
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