That is what I like about Hasselbald's new approach, and what Leica are saying: Their stuff will be off-the-shelf, available in any major camera shop. Which also means forget about al the backup issues, anything that fails daytime in any major city can just be replaced from stock.
Producing and shooting good photography, especially for commerce is difficult. Shooting very good photography is more than difficult and great photography is either luck or divine intervention.
Buying and using professional cameras should be easy. Actually, given the price it should be the easiest thing we do and in the 35mm world it is. For 6 years Canon has offered a professional camera that worked as easy, if not easier than a film camera. The 1ds was ground breaking. It took Nikon 6 years just to get to an even field.
I like quality products and the europeans give a tactile feel to their goods that the Japanese sometimes don't. I like specialty products that are different than what the consumer uses.
I love the look and feel of my Contax, only I wished it worked as easily as the Canons or Nikons, had high iso and a great lcd.
Then again when it comes to making photographs, it really is all about the photograph, not the camera and though the p30 gives better image quality, by the time an image goes through a lot of post production it's very hard to tell what image was shot with what camera. High iso is the great leveler and at 800, 1600 iso medium format starts to go backwards. Having a good lcd, even if you work tethered 90% of the time has more usability than anyone can know.
Try pointing most of the current medium format camera lcd's at a client and ask them if they would bet a few hundred thousand dollars that the photo they see on those lcd's are correct, the highlghts don't blow, the detail is sharp?
I find a lot of this talk and complaint about lower prices interesting, same with the brand loyalty that runs through all the blogs. It's nice that someone likes their camera and is proud of the purchase. It's nice to have new things, but as a working professional I have to look at these as tools more than luxury items.
Regardless, the moment the Japanese really get into medium format, you know things will definitely change. Medium format from that point on will become a no excuse format. You know the lcd's will be detailed, the in camera image processing fast, the build quality rock solid and the iso will be as adaptable as Tom Hanks.
And also at that point I bet the discussion becomes more about photography and less about megpaixels.
I don't see anything lately, including the Hasselblad price cuts as negative towards the industry, at least from my side of the industry. In fact I see this level of competition good, because in my profession I compete on a minute by minute basis and I know that drives me and others to be better, so given the world I compete in I find it hard to pull out the violins and start playing a sad song for the medium format makers, just because one of them lowered their prices. I'd feel different if the current backs gave me more of what I needed.
I'd feel different if the current medium format cameras were more impressive to my clients or the new ones were offering something I couldn't live without. No client knows the name, HY6, AFI or Phase. They do know Hasselbad, Nikon, Leica, Rollei and Canon.
Sure, somebody will buy a 60mpx back, probably the rental houses and use those numbers as the fear buy for their non digital savvy clients, saying you must use the largest, you must use the best, though I believe those days are coming to an end. Does anybody believe a client leaves the studio remembering that the camera had 60 or 39, 33 or 31 or 22 million pixels?
To me Leica, has the chance to fill a void between the Japanese cameras and the current medium format offerings, because they have the bling factor and are known to make great glass.
The problem is they announced something a year before they made it and you can buy it. In a year, everything can and will change, look at the Canon 5d2 and how it effected the Red Scarlet. In a year the Leica could be a full year behind and if they run the same medium format business model as what we're use to, they will be 6 months later than that.
In the film days, Kodak was large and to put it polite arrogant. Any question about price, or issues was responded to by saying, "you pros are just a small market with little profit for us". Then Fuji came in and the world changed and Kodak lost business hand over fist and never recovered the domination they once had.
Current medium format makers would do themselves a service and take note. Sure they aren't going to like having to lower prices and give real needed innovation but as a photographer most of us don't like carrying 350 lbs of computer carts, backups, drives and the fact we've become our own processing labs. The market dictated those changes and we had to evolve.
Same with the camera makers.