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Author Topic: MF Entry with PhaseOne ?  (Read 7661 times)
PaulSchneider
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« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2013, 09:53:53 PM »
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I think that from a purely economic point of view, it isn't really a wise choice to buy a MFD system. You can get by very well with saya Nikon D800. But it is a pure joy to be able to shoot with MFD and the look of the files as well as the pace of work is different than 35mm digital. The fact that you can use the MFD system as marketing proposition with clients is a bonus too.

Just be aware that you WILL lose a significant amount of money down the road if you think in terms of reselling your gear in two years. But if it is your job and the camera is your daily tool - so in that regard, and considering that you might get tax deductions for the investment, go for it.

I think for professionals, who earn hard good cash with their MFD systems, a Phase system is a no-brainer. After two to three years, you can usually upgrade for c. 10-15k USD to the next best system and you can also deduct the investment from your taxes. So in the end, depending where you are, the upgrade cost is reduced.

If you earn 100k per year and invest 7k p.a. for an upgrade - in my view this seems pretty reasonable.

On the other hand, if you are a hobbyist, rich dentist or a retired guy shooting flowers in the garden, then you must decide more on joy terms if you want such a camera ... because then, economically, it surely will make a lot less sense.

In the end, you only live once and you WILL have a lot of fun with your system!

« Last Edit: March 31, 2013, 10:08:47 PM by PaulSchneider » Logged
KLaban
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« Reply #21 on: April 01, 2013, 04:59:38 AM »
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@ sebastian_kubatz

Iím not going to telephone you to convince you to choose one system over another. Youíre on the right road in testing for yourself before coming to any decision. There are more than enough folk out there who willingly follow the herd or the Messiahs pedalling their polemic. What I would try to convince you to do is to go down your own road, think for yourself, be your own man. Find out for yourself what it is that you love using and then use it.

There are plenty of examples here on this forum of successful photographers doing their own thing and in doing so differentiating themselves from the pack. I donít doubt Chris Barrett could get a tune out of any camera but he chooses to use his Arcas, loves to use his Arcas, and makes them sing. James Russell loves to use cameras and digital backs that many here would consider prehistoric but that love shows and is evident in his work. RobC followed his dream and despite the odds made it come true. Rather ironically perhaps, but put a big Fuji loaded with film into the hands of FredBGG and he can deliver...

Whatever, success in this industry isnít dependant on camera choice, but rather itís about individualism, talent and determination.

I wish you well.
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fredjeang2
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« Reply #22 on: April 01, 2013, 05:34:08 AM »
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Finaly some sense!

Keith, thank you.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #23 on: April 01, 2013, 06:18:25 AM »
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Hi,

I sort of presume that cameras are tools and not investment objects. I don't think cameras age very rapidly. A five years old camera still will make images that are just fine, but it may have been worth a lot a few years ago and that price you never get back. I would also guess that few digital cameras turn into collectors item.

It's a bit parallel, I have bought a couple of Zeiss lenses for Hasselblad V for a couple hundred dollars each. They are quite nice.

I guess I could put together a Hasselblad 500 kit with 3-4 lenses for the price I paid for my Sony Alpha 99 body, but I would have little use without a decent digital back.

Best regards
Erik


A wise friend of mine put it this way: "Today, a camera is just a computer that takes pictures. Would you buy a four years old computer? What's it going to be worth in three of four years?" 

He's totally right.  I recently looked at an H2/39 kit that I would have given my left arm for when it came out.  The price was under $5K, yet I knew within seconds that I couldn't stand working with it in the field, for exactly the same reason I recently threw out a seven year old laptop that was state-of-the-art when I bought it. Value = zero.

Sad, but that is the modern world.  My Leica M6 and Mamiya 6.....those are still worth something  Wink Wink

Cheers,

- N.
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BJL
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« Reply #24 on: April 01, 2013, 12:44:56 PM »
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I am with Ken R and FredBGG on this point: no camera impedes a competent, serious photographer from working slowly and deliberately if and when that is what one wants, so that should never be taken seriously as an argument for buying a bigger, heavier, more expensive camera, or in favor of a camera that lacks automation and convenience features that can easily be ignored, but which might help to catch some fleeting opportunities.

People who know me will vouch for how frustratingly slow I can be with any camera, even just getting the composition right when the only camera I have with me is the phone in my pocket. (Or maybe that because of another canard: "prime lenses are better because they force you to think about camera position, framing and such".)
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #25 on: April 01, 2013, 01:48:47 PM »
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Hi,

I am a bit doubtful that D800E can produce images twice the size a Canon 5DIII. The 5DIII has 23 MP and the D800E has 36MP, that would give a 25% advantage, so if Canon does 20x30" Nikon would do 25x37.5". Now, the nikon D800E lacks OLP filter so add a few inches or increase capture sharpening on Canon. Now, that is theory, practice is something else.

Don't misunderstand me, I think that the D800/D800E is a game changer, I'm just saying that it should not change the game so it offers undiminished quality over four times the area.

I made a quick check on test images from Imaging Resource and run Imatest on a central slanted edge. If we require SQF=95% we could have a 31x46.5 cm image from the Nikon and 24x36 cm from the Canon. MTF50 values for Nikon was: 3944 and for Canon: 2937, a 34% advantage. So Nikon has an advantage but twice the size? Not in my humble opinion.

While I am at it I also run the corresponding test on the Pentax 645D on data from Imaging Resource and got 5446 LW/PH and print size 34x45.4 cm at 95% SQF. These were all calculated wit "Landscape preset" in Lightroom 4, you can push the limits with more sharpening, see the figures below and check out "standard sharpening".

Here is a good introduction to QSF: http://www.bobatkins.com/photography/technical/mtf/mtf4.html

I can also mention that Diglloyd compared the Leica S2 with Nikon D800 (not E) using the Zeiss Macro Planar 100/2 on the Nikon. The Leica was perhaps a tad sharper at center but the Nikon quite a bit sharper in the corners.

Best regards
Erik

Yes, before you jump into medium format test out the D800e. Also, try to take your current gear to the limit of its performance. That means using the best lenses available at optimum apertures with perfect technique and then printing it as large as possible in increments and looking critically close at the print. Usually that means working methodically slow on a tripod. No matter which camera.

IMHO, on a 20x30in print you might be at the limit of any Canon DSLR. (I am talking single image capture) The D800e can print much larger, about 40-60in, and has at least similar quality to all but the 60-80MP backs in regards to resolution but its amazingly clean and deep shadow detail makes it superior in some situations. Keep in mind that not all of the DSLR lenses are up to the task.

That is where the Leica S2 rules supreme. Lens quality. So do not rule it out if budget is not an issue. If it is, check out the Pentax 645D. Huge lens selection on the used market. If you work with flash and mostly tethered the Hasselblad is a great choice and also the Phase. If you work with technical cameras the newer PhaseOne IQ Backs are unbeatable. Also, the upcoming IQ260 is probably the best all around MFDB ever made from what I have seen posted (including some full quality files).
« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 02:24:18 PM by ErikKaffehr » Logged

ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #26 on: April 01, 2013, 02:27:25 PM »
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Hi,

I think that putting the camera on tripod is what slows down. A good tripod with a good head slows down and let the photographer concentrate on composing instead of holding the camera. Personally I have a geared tripod head and I feel it is one of the best investments I ever made.

But, that just me! YMMV!

Best regards
Erik

I am with Ken R and FredBGG on this point: no camera impedes a competent, serious photographer from working slowly and deliberately if and when that is what one wants, so that should never be taken seriously as an argument for buying a bigger, heavier, more expensive camera, or in favor of a camera that lacks automation and convenience features that can easily be ignored, but which might help to catch some fleeting opportunities.

People who know me will vouch for how frustratingly slow I can be with any camera, even just getting the composition right when the only camera I have with me is the phone in my pocket. (Or maybe that because of another canard: "prime lenses are better because they force you to think about camera position, framing and such".)
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FredBGG
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« Reply #27 on: April 01, 2013, 03:01:22 PM »
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I am with Ken R and FredBGG on this point: no camera impedes a competent, serious photographer from working slowly and deliberately if and when that is what one wants, so that should never be taken seriously as an argument for buying a bigger, heavier, more expensive camera, or in favor of a camera that lacks automation and convenience features that can easily be ignored, but which might help to catch some fleeting opportunities.

People who know me will vouch for how frustratingly slow I can be with any camera, even just getting the composition right when the only camera I have with me is the phone in my pocket. (Or maybe that because of another canard: "prime lenses are better because they force you to think about camera position, framing and such".)

There is more to it too.

At times I will use the D800 with live view and a broadcast HDMI monitor attached ... either small of large.
This beats and live view over Firewire or USB3. It gives you more than any viewfinder would.
You can also use smaller HDMI monitors attached to the camera in the same position as a waist level finder.

Shooting live view is slower, but you can still do bursts.

I highly recommend using a spiral HDMI pigtail to avoid damage to the HDMI socket on the camera.



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eronald
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« Reply #28 on: April 01, 2013, 03:09:41 PM »
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Why slow down? Is the smile on the face of the girl going to get sunnier if I need another 2 seconds for a Mamiya to focus?

Edmund

Hi,

I think that putting the camera on tripod is what slows down. A good tripod with a good head slows down and let the photographer concentrate on composing instead of holding the camera. Personally I have a geared tripod head and I feel it is one of the best investments I ever made.

But, that just me! YMMV!

Best regards
Erik

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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #29 on: April 01, 2013, 03:10:07 PM »
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In theory I should be able to hold to a healthy diet regardless of whether my apartment is full of junk food or completely free of it. In practice I find I eat more junk food when there is more junk food available. Maybe someone can have their grandma's cookies lying on the counter and only eat one a day. I am not such a person.

Likewise in theory cameras should have no impact on shooting style. In practice any digital tech or assistant will tell you that most (nearly all?) photographers shoot faster and looser with a camera which is capable of shooting faster. If you do not fit in this category, great. But don't make the assumption that all photographers are like you when all the evidence in my experience suggests otherwise.

It's definitely not everyone. I have seen shooters using a D800 like an 8x10. It's just rare.

Logically this should not be the case and shooting style would be dependent only on needs and desires, not on capabilities. But humans are not logical machines.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 03:16:06 PM by Doug Peterson » Logged

DOUG PETERSON (dep@digitaltransitions.com), Digital Transitions
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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #30 on: April 01, 2013, 03:20:59 PM »
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A wise friend of mine put it this way: "Today, a camera is just a computer that takes pictures. Would you buy a four years old computer? What's it going to be worth in three of four years?"  

He's totally right.  I recently looked at an H2/39 kit that I would have given my left arm for when it came out.  The price was under $5K, yet I knew within seconds that I couldn't stand working with it in the field, for exactly the same reason I recently threw out a seven year old laptop that was state-of-the-art when I bought it. Value = zero.

They key to this though is when you said "I couldn't stand working with it in the field". It's NOT that the kit is x years old, it's that it doesn't suit your needs.

In comparison we still sell a good number of pre-owned H25 backs (2003) each year, to still-life/product photographers. It has NO LCD, no CF card, and you have to tether it to a computer to take any picture at all. It makes a very poor on-location solution (relative to any recent option) and would hold almost no value to a photographer with those needs. But for the still life photographer it still produces better color, tonality, sharpness, and detail than a brand new 5D3 and offers full compatibility with view cameras and specialty cameras well suited for still life.

Likewise we sell a lot of P45+ (2007) for those who want long exposure. We likely still will for several years as it's the best long exposure option in it's price range.

I'd argue an IQ1 was, at release, several years ahead of the competition in terms of interface and image quality. It will be a valued and sought after back for many years. Also buying used and selling used will reduce your loss of resale value. If resale value is just something you're looking at as part of your overall consideration then I think a medium format system might be a great path for you. If resale value is your #1 priority I think you're barking up the wrong tree; these are cameras meant to help you generate creative, compelling, interesting, profitable, enjoyable imagery - not an investment asset class.

By the way, Fred's examples (which should not surprise anyone that knows Fred) are not really a fair representation of examples of resale value. For instance he puts the list price as the point of comparison when there is almost always a "street" price lower than the list price that the person would have paid in the first place. Also, the largest possible hit (versus what you might expect if you expect a linear depreciation) you can take is by buying the top end product new and then selling it very quickly. The market for the top end backs is a market that strongly prefers to buy from a value added dealer. The market for mid-tier and low-end backs is much more open to the risk of purchasing from an individual on eBay or via a forum.

It's really about needs, capabilities, and alternatives. Not age.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 03:35:28 PM by Doug Peterson » Logged

DOUG PETERSON (dep@digitaltransitions.com), Digital Transitions
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bcooter
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« Reply #31 on: April 01, 2013, 03:22:36 PM »
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@ sebastian_kubatz


Whatever, success in this industry isnít dependant on camera choice, but rather itís about individualism, talent and determination.



I was going to write this long essay on why one camera is different than the other, ccd vs. cmos, lens choice, weight, tethering, whatever and it doesn't matter.

You should test whatever you want and use whatever you want.

Personally I like the cameras I use, probably because they're different, probably because I use everything I buy.

The project I'm on at the moment is a motion commercial of mixed stills and motion media and I'm using my panasonic GF 1 with a (gasp) kit lens.  

Because I can in camera crop the still frames to 16x9, and go straight and seamlessly to motion.  I have other reasons, but it doesn't matter.

Would I suggest this for you . . . nope . . . wouldn't actually suggest it for anyone, but I don't need the validation of anyone to tell me what's right or wrong and I'm not in the camera selling business and I definatley don't have a negative agenda to diss any brand, or to prove that my way is right.    I'm also not trying to convert anyone to my way of thinking.  That's high school crap.

I may be an insecure photographer, but not that insecure.

The only real advice I can give is don't get caught up in the electronic buy it now BS.  Or for that matter the more megapixels only matter, or the live view is the only way or whatever else someone feels they can't do without.

Great photographers have used all kinds of equipment to make great photographs and the best I know do not follow the herd.

I do know for me, I like medium format cameras and have used my old phase backs for a long, long time and will continue to.  

I also know the next camera I buy will be medium format and will probably be the Hasselblad H5.  I haven't had time to test and decide and I could list all the reasons why the H5 is on my list, but it would raise too much of a shit storm with the Nikon evangelists that have turned this forum into a d800 sales tool.

Buy what you want and make beautiful photographs and I wish you the very best of luck.

Seriously.


IMO

BC
« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 03:29:52 PM by bcooter » Logged
theguywitha645d
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« Reply #32 on: April 01, 2013, 03:26:42 PM »
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I have a Pentax 645D and a Nikon D800E. The Nikon is a really nice camera, but I use the Pentax much more because of the better image quality. When the light is good, any camera can make a nice picture. When the light is less than ideal, then you can start to see differences. I also have a P25+ back. No 24MP 35mm sensor produces as nice a file. The 35mm sensors have better ISO, DR, and such, but the images from the P25+ still come out on top as far as sharpness and contrast.

My 645D is two-years old. I am not limited because it is an "old computer." It makes marvelous images and is a very competent camera. No product release ever changes that. True, I don't have sweep panorama and focus peaking, but I have never needed them before.  

You can think of photography as an economic problem. Return on investment and such. You can think of it as purely an quantifiable technical exercise--how much DR, maximizing MFT, etc. I like to think of photography as an art form. I do so much better with tools that inspire me. Any limitations to those tools are for me to compensate for--there is a difference between a sharp cut and a skilled cut. If photography is a labor of love and you can afford it, then go for stuff that inspires you--no one has ever asked what camera I use in my books or exhibitions; I have never been chastised for not having enough DR; I certainly do not present my balance sheets.

I would get my hands on these cameras and shoot a bit. Find out how they work. I think MFD is a great format for any type of photography--I use my 645D for studio, landscape, street, documentary, and astrophotography.
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fredjeang2
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« Reply #33 on: April 01, 2013, 05:43:32 PM »
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... panasonic GF 1 with a (gasp) kit lens.  

I have filmed with a GF2  that I gifted to a friend who broke his camera. It was a very nice camera. They even made a hack for it with different flavours as the GH2 and it could climb to pretty high bitrates, takes PL lenses. Unfortunatly the footage even hacked couldn't stands with the Hacked GH2 and a real hassle to mix with because outputs were too different animals, but for a web it was perfect as I was doing 25p. I had one GF2 unit for filming in remote Little corners like inside a fridge etc...it worked brilliantly and now I sort of miss it because it was really usefull and could fit in a pocket and allowed crazy takes. (the kit lens, as for being a kit lens, is not as garbage as other brands kit lenses IMO). It also had some fancy color modes that could really look nice pre-graded footage just out-of the box with a Little bit of tricking the menu.
I by-passed the AVCHbloodyD because this horrible codec bands more than a Vasarely painting and hacked it in motion jpeg and it had a fantastic cine 16mm look. But the buffer didn't like it at all and takes had to be short.
Nice cameras the GF line.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 06:04:41 PM by fredjeang2 » Logged
FredBGG
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« Reply #34 on: April 01, 2013, 11:05:14 PM »
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By the way, Fred's examples (which should not surprise anyone that knows Fred) are not really a fair representation of examples of resale value. For instance he puts the list price as the point of comparison when there is almost always a "street" price lower than the list price that the person would have paid in the first place.

Well I was not far off....

Quote
This digital back package cost me $43,990 brand new, not including Value-Added warranty, and it's still in pristine condition. I'm selling it for $22,500.

$21,490 loss and that is without knowing the extra what he paid for the value added warranty that he says was not included in his original purchase.



« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 11:48:08 PM by FredBGG » Logged
torger
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« Reply #35 on: April 02, 2013, 06:22:17 AM »
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First of all I thought electronic prices in that price range would be a lot more stable. Like when buying a TAGHeuer, IWC or Breitling.

Unfortunately not. This are expensive tools for the professional photographer, not exclusive luxury items. The MFD business model is designed for photographers that get paid for their work and relate the gear cost to that. Actually I'd say that the business model is designed such that you should follow the trade-in programs and stay with the latest as long as you are in MFD. Many stay with older gear anyway as it's very expensive to stay with the latest, and often the newer generations don't provide much new in terms of image quality.

Problem is that electronics age much faster than purely mechanical items. Although some claim it I doubt that digital backs are designed to last any longer than any other electronic gear. I've seen 5-6 year old backs losing their time since the clock battery is out, something that would not happen for many more years if the back was designed to last. Official support for a product usually ends after about 10 years, so if it breaks after that you can throw it away. And even if you could repair it the repair costs as much as if the back was new, ie more than the resale value is after 10 years. When you get problem with an older back it's very dependent on dealer how good support you get, my experience is not that great. All this affects the value. It starts at $30-40K, after ten years it shall be down at ~$0K. Usually it falls steeply in the beginning and then evens out. It's only $4K a year if you see it over the full 10 year life span, but a pro photographer would typically upgrade more often of course.

Also make sure when you make calculations, look at the absolute value of money, not percentage. A $30K product losing 50% is $15K down the drain, which is more than 100% of a $10K product.

Future product launches within MF and to some extent within the DSLR world will affect resale value. It is hard to predict what will happen after CMOS backs start to appear, and when Canon also enters the high MP game. I would guess that technology breakthroughs in the MF products will affect pricing more than competition from the smaller formats. I'd say that the coming five-year period is likely to be more dynamic in terms of technology affecting MF than the last five, which also makes resale value more difficult to predict.

It could become more unstable due to new interesting and very desirable technologies, but it could also become more stable due to that the image quality and usability is now in absolute terms is very high, i e when you gain very little in terms of usability and image quality from having the latest the price of second hand will be more stable, and probably more related to product life cycle status than feature set.

If you want to try out for a few years buying pre-owned (or on the private market if you dare to take the risk) and selling again to the private market may be a better alternative.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2013, 06:33:15 AM by torger » Logged
theguywitha645d
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« Reply #36 on: April 02, 2013, 09:50:21 AM »
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$21,490 loss and that is without knowing the extra what he paid for the value added warranty that he says was not included in his original purchase.

Huh How much did he make with the gear? A $21k loss is really not bad if you made $200K. How much do you make reselling your seamless paper backgrounds after you finish using them? If you are running a business, it does cost money. Just think of all the electricity you use that you cannot resell to make your money back.
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Guy Mancuso
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« Reply #37 on: April 02, 2013, 10:14:57 AM »
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People also need to remember these are HUGE tax write offs for Pros.  Grin

Just FYI and I know all the dealers there is no such thing as list price when you actually WRITE the check. Yes the depreciation is heavy sometimes and lately our economy has had a lot to do with that not to mention new backs especially Phase IQ series sales have slowed down since the initial release which is pretty normal. There is also a big run on used backs and when new products come out people will eventually trade the used backs bought during this time and upgrade to new backs. Its a cycle and MF has been at the bottom end of that cycle maybe a little longer than expected. Value added warranties have been around 4k I believe but they also help a great deal in resale and its the first question a dealer will ask when trading up because it has value over a non warranty back. And much easier to resell. 
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« Reply #38 on: April 02, 2013, 11:25:33 AM »
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Huh How much did he make with the gear? A $21k loss is really not bad if you made $200K. How much do you make reselling your seamless paper backgrounds after you finish using them? If you are running a business, it does cost money. Just think of all the electricity you use that you cannot resell to make your money back.

The OP clearly asked the question of resale value....

So I've been thinking about making the move into the medium format world for about a year at least.
Living in uncertain times right now I'm not sure if it is a good idea to spend so much money.
I'm just finishing my bachelor thesis in about 2 months and from there on everything still seems doubtful in terms of future work or internship abroad.
I'm not a starving student are anything like that. I do have to money for a medium format system and I do not need to raise a credit to buy me into the medium format world.
But with all that in mind I was thinking about how good the resale value of a PhaseOne medium format system is right now.
It might be the case that I'll need that money in one or two years and will have to sell the whole system.
So does anyone of you know anything about the resale value? Any experiences?
Sebastian

What is wrong with giving him an answer with an actual example...

I gave the numbers. Did I say that the resale price was unacceptable... no.

I think that it will help the OP in making his decision either way he decides to go.

As for how much the seller of the gear made I'm not sure, that would be a question for the guy that sold the gear.
However regarding the OP he is a student just out of school and I think he is asking himself some realistic questions
as we all know it takes a fair bit of time to get a free lance career going. Looking at the economical situation
and the state of flux in both the media and camera technology he seems to be proceeding with care.

Also making assumption of making tax deductions on equipment without knowing the tax system of the country the OP is
not good advice. In some countries items that cost more than a certain amount have to be put on a multi year
tax deduction schedule. This becomes problematic if the photographer needs to sell the items say after a year or two.
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JoeKitchen
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« Reply #39 on: April 02, 2013, 11:55:48 AM »
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I have to agree with Fred here.  Although it probably could have been put in a less confrontational manner, there is nothing wrong with listing the resale value if that is of importance.  The question really should be is it important.  

As a student/enthusiast who is not going to be able to write off the purchase price of the equipment, I can see it being a very big deal.  For us pros who can write it off, the importance would depend on you personal situation and how much you bring in.  I think it is very important to take into consideration that you will not be able to magically charge more because you use this equipment.  
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Joe Kitchen
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"Photography is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent moving furniture."  Arnold Newman
ďDon't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.Ē  William Faulkner
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