The fact is there are millions and millions of photographers worldwide who have no problem shooting with a 35mm DSLR. Is it so hard to imagine that annually, some 6,000 - 8,000 prefer to shoot with a different camera?
So how do you make a larger user base?
In fact (if your allowed) you can answer these following question probably better than most working photographers.
None of us pick up a camera to become a scanner operator, or a computer technician, at least none that I know. Digital or not, we still try to select cameras to express an idea, a unique visual and we do it because we enjoy it, regardless of pay, regardless of effort and most importantly regardless of what anyone thinks.
At the "professional-earn a living segment" of using a camera, a lot of what we do is just damn hard. From the vast amount of creative treatments, multiple estimates, weeks of 18 hour pre production, down to the final delivery one of the most enjoyable things we do is shooting a camera you like, using one that feels special.
So why is it that nobody makes a RZ designed for a digital back. Obviously not 6x7 because it seems no company will invest in a sensor that large, but I'm not talking about backs I talking about the cameras. I'm talking about the dog wagging the tail, not the way it's become where the little digital stuff in the black boxes, seems to get the attention and I assume most of the profit.
The kids that work for me all buy either Nikon 800's (or is it 8000) or Canon 5D threes. Most of them have a TR style yashica or Contax rangefinder they mess around with and shoot a roll of film per month for fun, but for their portfolio and the jobs they sometimes get, they use a Canon or Nikon.
Is there no market for professional cameras THAT professionals buy?
I think most photographers . . . we're kind of lost in our own world with our client's projects, our personal projects, who we work with and for, so it's difficult for us to gauge where the professional photography market is going. Up or down.
Every week I use to know. If I went to A+I at midnight to pick up snips and if the parking lot was overflowing into the alley, I knew it was a good, busy time. Or if I went to a rental house and there were pallets of equipment going out the back, I knew things were cooking.
Now we spend so much time in front of the computer, in our own offices and studios I can't tell, because I don't rent a lot and I obviously I'm not at the lab.
I've noticed Phase and Hasselblad (mostly phase) have directed a lot of their marketing effort towards "serious" amateurs. I know the few times I go into a camera store, at the medium format section the customer to my right is not asking about skin tones or fps, they're asking if they can get more detail in their nature shots, how long will the batteries last in the mountains, is the sensor dust proof if they shoot in the desert.
So is that the group professional cameras are designed for, the weekend warrior? Has the professional gone to second tier on the sales effort?
Regardless, I do understand the push back to reacquire some feeling of analog and the computer operated feel that is lost in cameras compared to their analog cousins.
Hell I'm still using my Contax(s) because the f stop falls next to the focus on my left hand, the shutter is next to the release on my right hand and I can shoot and adjust most of the day without ever looking at a dial or especially a blinking lcd. Also I have a strange set of lenses that give a lot of different looks. I can do that in post with a Canon, but it's always in Post and kinda looks like post work.
So why not a digital RZ, or a square camera that the back really rotates (not one you have to take on or off) that has cropping blades that let you know if it's horizontal or vertical. How about a miniature Fuji with the bellows and tilt shift, or glue three sensor together and make a panoramic camera?
Was it the chicken or the egg that made the HY6 or Rollei or F+H (whatever it's called) become so marginalized? Did that camera just kinda of hit the skids because Phase, the biggest digital film maker didn't jump on board, or since Hasselblad already had a camera they saw no need to add their back to the HY6. Or did these two companies not get involved because there was no market for this camera?
Did this experience just leave us with a Hasselblad and a Mamiya that were the only new medium format cameras produced, because everyone was afraid to take the plunge? ( I guess I should add Pentax and would add Leica if I thought that was a viable camera for my work.)
The Mamiya and blad have been warmed over, but they are still 10 year old designs that haven't changed that much and IMO way too much digital interface and interference and not enough of as you say "driving the car yourself".
Or is the professional market just about cost vs. megapixels? Once dslrs got to over 20 something megapixels and costs under 4 grand did that become good enough, so why bother with anything else?