Fred - I don't know what problems you have with your DF however I've none with mine. I used it last year in Jackson WY in very extream weather and again jsut a couple week ago while I was back there in very harsh, very cold weather and never had any problems. So, what problems are you having?
It may be possible to make a mass-market lower cost MFDB, but it would require massive investment and risk, something the current MF players can't do. The small MF companies can't do a mass-market business model, they must do it the high-end way.
Concerning features it requires a mass-market and huge profits to be able to develop a feature-set similar to what is found in a 35mm DSLR.
MF products will continue to be simplistic in feature-set and high cost because the market is the way it is.
I'm not sure how MF will cope in the future. People abandoned 4x5" film when digital became "good enough". Will we see the same move from MF to 135 DSLR when/if they become "good enough"?
I recommend MF format film and digital left right and center, but I am realistic about what you have to "put up with" for that increased image quality.
But I also think that it is important for a working photographer like me to share a realistic opinion on gear. In a discussion regarding pricing I think that features, performance and reliability are part of the debate.
Or do we just have to do nothing but praise MFD here?
Fred has a point, no pro works without a backup body and you could buy 1.5 D800's for the price of a backup DF and that's before the back. Although I'm sure there are clients who can tell the difference and will pay for it, I'd be very interested to see how much longer that argument can be used to justify such huge cost differences at the lower end of the MFDB market (20-30 megapixels). The MFDB market already lost rather a lot to the 5DII. There is only one goal with whatever system however some may to romanticize the process. The only goal is that final image. If it's good enough, if it fits the clients requirements, that's the goal accomplished. The hobbyist market doesn't count, hobbyists traditionally ignore cost craziness, it's the only reason Leica are still alive today.
My clients always like the fact I exceed their requirements. When you talk about the professional photographic artist, good enough is really not the criteria.If it's good enough, if it fits the clients requirements, that's the goal accomplished.
It is nice to say "this is what I do and think and therefore it is the same for the rest of the profession," but in all honesty, you are only speaking for yourself. Now, I don't criticize what works for you--it is a valid approach. But likewise, other photographers have come to different solutions which are equally valid.
If you need lots of features, then you may have to buy another format. Cameras are always a compromise. And price is one of those compromises.
Going far away from the original purpose of this thread...
I agree with Fred in that it's important for a working photographer to share realistic opinions on gear. The opinion expressed however must be from real-world experience and not anecdotal as it serves no purpose other than to mislead.
I too work without a net unless you consider having two different systems. There's just no way I'd entertain the thought of 2-DF's, 2-Cambos or 2-P65's. What about the lenses? Where does it stop? The most I do is have multiple batteries.
I also have a kickass great dealer to rely on if things go south....
This is most certainly a relevant conversation to the original thread. Build a MFD camera that's worth these prices and you won't need any marketing research!
Fred, I think you're misunderstanding me. You don't see me defending medium format here. I have no issue with anyone who wishes to discuss products, the good and the bad. We typically talk about the bad as well for any product we discuss.
Share your realistic opinion, by all means.
I am simply responding with the (FMP) realities of manufacturer pricing and what factors are taken into account that impact how they price products. From that standpoint, whether you personally feel the entry level medium format products are not up the quality standards of top end 35mm does not matter, unless your perspective is shared by enough buyers who do not buy for a similar reason in numbers that prevent optimal profit.
Please feel free to express your opinions about the product, but IMO they do not impact the pricing strategy of medium format, nor should they (unless as a result profitability is too heavily compromised as a result of lack of sales).
I am - in spirit and heart - all for making products affordable for photographers and pricing them based on their merit, regardless of how the market and costs impact the pricing. But - in my head - I have to also take into account the reality of how pricing is arrived at from the manufacturer side. I cannot just pretend that reality does not exist.
Oh, and in case I have created a new acronym, FMP is "from my perspective".
With both film gear prior to digital and digital gear today, there is a difference in price between medium format and 135 format gear. It is my impression that the difference is considerably larger with the digital gear.
My question is what accounts for this increased difference.
(Note that I'm not asking whether the difference is worth it - as with film, I assume there are pros and cons to different formats, and it's a matter of personal preference. Me, I like large negatives when printing, and I like printing large...)
The primary contributing factors are the development costs of the larger sensors and the smaller market for medium format digital (which is also smaller than the market was at its peak for medium format film).
The specialized or non-commodity dealer channel has a negligible effect on pricing. Let's say, for sake of argument, the margin for medium format products are 10% higher than 35mm. A Phase One P45+/DF Kit is $22,990. Reduce 10% and you are at $20,690. Not much of a difference and negligible effect on unit sales.
Further - and I have made this point before - those specialized dealer support resources will need to be replicated by the manufacturer, which means additional expenditure for personnel and infrastructure resources. If anything, eliminating additional margin for specialized dealers could even result in a price increase.
I'm less surprised to hear of the technical improvements. One of the great things about technology is that it tends to keep improving :-)
But do you think that the price of entry-level DMF kit is still going down these days, inflation notwithstanding?
I didn't realize that MF digital is smaller niche than MF film. That's a shame. I guess that begs the question whether the price is higher because the market is smaller, or the market is smaller because the price is higher!
This makes sense. I don't have the impression that anybody is making huge gobs of money in this business, so it would stand to reason that margins can't be all that large!The specialized or non-commodity dealer channel has a negligible effect on pricing. Let's say, for sake of argument, the margin for medium format products are 10% higher than 35mm. A Phase One P45+/DF Kit is $22,990. Reduce 10% and you are at $20,690. Not much of a difference and negligible effect on unit sales.
Thanks for your explanation.
Encroachment of 35mm DSLR into the commercial areas once dominated by MFD is more a function of a lowered standard of need and use. Internet applications are often seen as not needing MFD quality. However, there are still plenty of applications that do warrant it. Those people know who they are, and know how to build costs into their business model for purchase, (or job quotes in the case of rentals).
The Paradigm shift has been the migration of more advanced enthusiasts looking to move up. Some enthusiasts have the means, where others are more pressed.
So the grousing about costs and value for costs comes to the forefront. Or the endless debates that some less expensive, high meg DSLR is as good as MFD.
This stuff costs what it does. Either we pony up or we don't. But I seriously doubt that wishing it was 1/2 the price is a wish that'll come true any time soon.
I am just waiting for the buy one, get one free, President's day specials...
One thing not mentioned here is the yield factor on producing large senors its very low. From my understanding many sensors don't make it past the process floor so these low yields have a direct impact on costs. Also the process is smaller in production than lets say Canon making thousands and thousands . So
these kinds of factors have impact on price. It's much easier to pass a smaller sensor on the yields since defaults can be trimmed out but on the big sensors there is very little room for trimming out the defaults which drives costs.
Although the word value, has many meanings, as in its usefulness with respect to a purpose, or its worth compared to its price. Some advanced enthusiasts have evolved into full time professional photographers who might expect the equipment (MFD) to be worth its "value", or evolve too; which for many it certainly has not. I think the standard has been raised by these enthusiasts and not the other way around. Look how many generations it took for MFD, to finally get an LCD that actually has more usefulness than just to check the histogram, and how much does that cost?
Honestly I laugh when it comes to pricing , sure i want a good deal who doesn't and I think many things are well overpriced and not worth it to me but thats me someone is buying them and they don't give a rats *** what i think. I bought a IQ 160 i certainly know about price it was not easy to buy and took a lot of pain to get one. But I wanted one, so I took it on the chin and bought it. Does not make it a sane purchase or even a good one, it is what it is. But I'm not going to bitch about it , I knew what i was buying. Its the same old story for the last 10 years i have been on forums or however long the guy with the 5d thinks that he spent 1800 is the best damn thing on earth bar none, no matter how much proof you put in front of him he will defend that 5d till he is blue in the face. Someone please tell me I am wrong here, I dare you. LOL Its the same stuff everyday day in day out. The swan song has not changed in years when it comes to pricing. It goes back to the film days why buy a F3 when I got a FM2 its the same damn film in it. I'm I wrong here.
Hope everyone realizes I am laughing here but it is a daily thing about price. I'm over it , get what you want and no need to defend it in any way. Lets have fun and create Art.
Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.
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I have spent most of my career with cameras with only manual exposure and focus. Funny thing is I produced good work. My Pentax 645D is one of the fanciest cameras I have ever owned, but I don't miss that it does not have Sweep Panorama or those neat scene selector exposure modes. I even don't care if I have live view--I still seem to be able to focus.
Bottom line: if I can control the focus and exposure, and the camera can produce the technical quality I want, what else do I need? The rest is window dressing.
Short story I am 55 years old and my son is 14 years old. He wanted a dirt bike to ride. Well being a nice guy I went and bought him a nice used dirt bike because when I was a kid I saved up my money and bought one too. It was a great growing up experience. i take him over to a friends house that has a big backyard track and watching him trying to learn a clutch and 5 speed motorcycle a very hard task of good coordination to master. I see him almost hit a tree as i am watching this kid try his hardest. I realize the only real way to teach this child is actually be nearby on the trail with him. What good is it if i am standing two miles behind him, I can't teach him anything. So here I am at 55 years old out of shape and riding a dirt bike that I had to buy for me. Is this sane no freaking way is it sane. I already broke one rib in a fall and I am still on the damn thing and frankly having the time of my life and spending time with my kid. Thats priceless folks no matter how stupid of me to even dare get on one at my age and about the least sane thing i could do , the next fall I may not get up that easily. Now it maybe not smart, not sane and just flat out stupid of me. But you buy what you want and you live your life. Well hopefully I will survive this. LOL
That's a really insulting smiley. Are you suggesting that there's something funny about Guy on a dirt bike?
But while we'e on motorcycles: Many years ago I was looking for a new hobby. One friend suggested motorcycles. In two visits to dealers, I dropped two bikes, one through a plate glass window.
I took up the cello.
Too funny and yes wake up really sore this stuff is for youngsters, not sure what I am thinking. If at all. LOL
Hi Joris - we'll agree on some things and disagree on others. I don't think it's as simple as whether Phase One supports a 3rd party camera or not. If you consider that a false statement in terms of "open platform", that is your perogative. Open platform was never really trumpeted until Hasselblad closed theirs. So, I've always considered it opportunistic. That much is pretty obvious.
But not choosing to produce a compatible digital back for a 3rd party platform doesn't automatically make that claim false. Why would Phase One not produce a digital back for the Hy6? At the time of development and imminent release, Hasselblad had already begun their proprietary path, and this was still a good 2-3 years before the Mamiya investment by Phase One. They continued to make digital backs for Contax, and for Hasselblad H and V, and Mamiya. It begs the question why they wouldn't for make it for Hy6.
Perhaps they looked more closely at the financials of the company, as well as the likelihood of extremely slow to market production of lenses, etc, and foresaw trouble and as a result chose to not pony up to the bar. Any calling on the carpet for Phase One in terms of the Hy6 has to be taken into account back then. Their decision at this stage to not invest is simply based on the fact they have already charted their path with a different platform and don't see it as smart business to divert resources from that endeavor for whatever gains might be gotten with a Hy6 partnership.
Leaf, on the other hand, since they had already bought in from a legacy standpoint, and expended the resources, had no reason to not continue offering solutions for the platform, given that their digital back platform itself remained relatively unchanged.
So my bottom line is - spouting that you're open platform is one thing, but maintaining that philosophy even when it is not in your best financial interests is another.
Yes, the AFi is an awesome camera. If a great 35mm ever makes it to market, well sure that would be nice. Do you want to take any bets whether it comes first to the Phase One platform (no, they don't have a great 35 yet) or the Hy6/AFi? I would appreciate a more durable body, multiple focus points, weather sealing, an improved grip, and, oh yes, a complete modern auto focus lens lineup. For starters. I'm being picky, I know, but there is no product on the market I can't see improvements for.
Yes, but Joris, I must provide the best solutions for many photograohers, not just you!
Ok, so since you boldly asked (as I knew you would), and just to show you I'm no bs'er, what I would like improved on the DF (and it's actually easier to pick on the DF, isn't it Joris?
I'd like a waist level finder option, and a brighter, larger finder. I'd like better auto focus, multiple points would be nice. I don't have any burning feelings for build quality improvements, except for the battery grip, but then, we have this on the way:
New Ejji Lithium battery for DF
For the DF, I would also like weather sealing, ergonomically improved interface buttons that don't pinch your fingers, standard language (with complete words, sentences would be a bonus) for the custom functions, mirror up with the option to remain up after capture, and sharper wide angle lenses. And a completely revised shutter release mechanism that doesn't travel a mile from top to bottom. Everyone has their own list for the DF, I'm sure.
Of course, that is assuming the DF continues in some form, rather than being replaced by a freshly built from the ground up brand new 645 camera.
Yes, I am picky and critical with lots of products, not just your camera!
By the way, as my lovely wife can attest, I'm not easy to live with....
At 49 I bought my son a 125 Dirt bike. Three months later we were both riding customized Yamaha 450 bikes on a 14 day expedition with two motocross track stops during the trip. My life lesson to my son was to buy non functioning 450 bikes and rebuild them together. I showed him how to do it all right. You should have seen his face when after the rebuild the bike fired up on the second kick!
One thing I did though as soon as I knew I was having kids was to make a commitment to keep fit as I suspected what was comming
Thus, if I bring it back to the OP of medium format pricing, pricing and upgrade pricing along with focus problems etc with Mamiya 645 was why I gave up on Mamiya. Why do I need to pay same price as seemingly Hasselblad and Rollei for lenses made to lesser quality in Japan where cost is lower to produce??? Digital from Japan (count Mamiya, Canon, Nikon etc) seem to be pushing for upgrades. Mamiya seem no difference, with AFD, AFDIII, DF etc... so if I would have spent $$ on a DF, it would have led me to later upgrade to the new unannounced better camera which would have cost me no less $$$ than going Hy6. What Hy6 offered was the best on market already today, and I frank do not see ANYTHING on the Hy6 camera I would wish improved. My plan has been to get an Alpa also... but... it has been delayed due one reason that I simply enjoy using the Hy6 much beyond my expectations.
If there is one thing that I can bring fourth as can be viewed as negative with the Hy6 system, it is that the new Rollei lenses do cost alot $$$. The second is that the best ones ones 110/2, 180/2.8, 50/2.8 also weight much. Those are actually to me good negatives, since they keep me from adding lenses and not spending $$$ or adding weight to my bag. I only have a used 50/FLE and the 80/2.8 Xenotar AFD, but I enjoy the latter so much that I barely use the 50! It makes also simple and light weight to carry in a small camera bag on shoulder... It makes me feel free and not tied down by gear (or upgrades)!!!!!! So much for medium format pricing ...
David, it is impossible to really know everything that is taken into account when it comes to product pricing from a manufacturer. Does a client know why one photographer is more expensive than another? The P65+ costs more than the CFV-50 because it has been determined by Phase One that to obtain the desired profits based on the projected unit sales, the P65+ needs to be priced at X. Hasselblad did the same process when evaluating the CFV-50 product pricing. Does this mean Hasselblad doesn't feel they need to make as much profit as Phase One? No, of course not. They also sell the same size sensor used in the P65+ with a camera kit for $3,000 more than Phase One.
Pricing these solutions is not an arbitrary process. It is the same process any manufacturer goes through, raw and development costs, factored by time to market, projected unit sales and impact upon hard costs at launch and completed ramp up, factored by changing supplier costs, marketing initiatives and support, strategic positioning based on market response, factored by entire product lineup and product road map projected out X number of years, etc, etc.
There's lots of options for the Hasselblad V Series platform, unfortunately the largest sensors do come at a premium. But shy of budget-friendliness, there are great options for a Hasselblad V system -
*Hasselblad CFV - same styling as the camera and no sync cable is required, but no larger size options past 49x37 and 50mp currently.
*Phase One - requires a sync cable, but can be rotated to shoot vertically or horizontally, and available in 54x41 sensor sizes at 60mp/80mp.
*Leaf - requires a sync cable, but on the larger sensor models (56mp/80mp), there is an internal rotating sensor (so the back can be shot in vertical or horizontal orientation without exposing the sensor to the elements), and also features in-camera file cropping (including square format).
And many budget-friendly options with relatively large sensor sizes (49x37) at various megapixel counts and prices that can range from $7,900 - $19,990 for a new kit (not to mention pre-owned/demo/refurb, etc).