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Thread: Phase One => not for photographers

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    Member Hauxon's Avatar
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    Phase One => not for photographers

    Since everyone here is so extremely excited about the new backs I like to spoil the party with boring discussing about marketing/price policy. This just NEEDS to be discussed. To me Phase One is heading in the same direction as Leica. The targeted customer is a wealthy amateur and few hundred pros working for corporate organizations (able to justify extreme expanses). There's no vision of expanding the business to the mass of photographers who might actually benefit from owning such an equipment. I'm partially wrong about Phase One not wanting to expand their user base, they bought Leaf! With the current price structure the only way to get more customers is buying the competition. The upgrade policies are a joke and a result of overpricing. The market for worn novelty items is small to non existent. You buy something for $45.000 and a year or two later you want to buy the new model witch also costs $45.000. The only possible buyers of the old back are other rich guys, and they don't want old stuff. The only way for Phase to continue selling backs is allowing people to trade-in (and accepting a car price depreciation ).

    I understand the discussion may not be popular since since many users of this forum users belong to the target group. I belong to the group who sell prints and occasional image for advertising to finance the my gear (+ salary, rent etc. ). I might of course buy some old back some rich guy has no interest in anymore and will probably do someday. What bothers me is why companies like Phase One seem to have no interest in selling their products to me (me being most people ) .

    Please do not feel offended, many in here are fine photographers and even some have enough business to pay for such equipment. I just feel something is wrong when the best photographic equipment in the world is marketed as novelty items rather than a tool for talented photographers.

    Hrannar Orn Hauksson
    Hrannar Hauksson
    http://www.hauxon.com

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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    I think one interesting question would be, how much was it to upgrade from a P45 to a P45+ and how much was it from a P45+ to a P65+? Sure it would be great to buy a 40MP back for 10k or a 60MP back for under 20k, however that is not happening as long as there is no real pressure. I have the feeling that phase one will do really well with these new back and I'm not sure that they would make more money by selling it at lower prices.

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    Member Hauxon's Avatar
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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    The upgrade/trade-in system is just a result of how wrong the original model is. It's just like selling an old BMW 750, nobody want's it.

    You are true about not being a pressure from competition to lower the price since there is (almost) none. The price point will continue to be sky high unless they plan to sell more units. Maybe it's just too much of a risk for Phase to change their business model.

    The only price vice competition is the Pentax 645D. I could never justify to my business buying the IQ140 for $22.000 when I can have the same quality for $10.000. But like I said before, I have never been a target customer for Phase.
    Hrannar Hauksson
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    Administrator Bob's Avatar
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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    I tend to disagree on the basic premise.
    Anything you can but just about is offered in a range from top to bottom of the market.
    It is not clear to me that there exists adequate market elasticity for top-of-the-line digital medium format gear to provide for profitable operation at significantly lower price points. Sure a bit of a lower price would be nice, but in order for the gear to be "mass market" it would need to be priced at only a fraction.
    Have you looked at the prices of the newer Canon and Nikon lenses? They are about the highest volume one might expect, but as they are revised to perform better in critical digital applications, their prices are increased and often nearly doubled.
    You as a consumer have the choice of buying wine at six bucks a bottle or at almost any price you can imagine. You pays your money and you takes your choice.

    It would be great if I could get a new Bugatti Veyron for $40,000 but it just won't happen.

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    Member Hauxon's Avatar
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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    Bob here you are comparing a photographic instrument to luxury items like Bugatty and expensive wine, proving my point. Right?
    Hrannar Hauksson
    http://www.hauxon.com

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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    well no, you could say the same about any good German car :-P A BMW, Mercedes, Audio, Porsche is more expensive than a lot of other cars. However, they are doing really well.

    Oh and they are not just selling to a few people, who have lots of money, they actually sell lots of company cars.

    For some, who need a real Tech Camera, the Pentax is no option at all, they could sell it for 5000 and I would not be interested. It just sucks for some photographic approaches.

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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    Well, the typical answer of a Phase One rep. with regard to your criticism seems to be: "Then our product is not for you, go buy something else". It's the arrogance of the market leader. They know you want their product and they know you can't get a compareable fix elsewhere and they know they can ask a pretty penny for it too.

    The only salvation now would be some competition. But as far as I can see, Hasselblad will not be able to compete with its backs in the near future. The fact that they lost the anti-competition lawsuit puts them in an even more dangerous situation, since they must now allow Phase One's backs to be compatible with their camera bodies.

    Only if Hasselblad innovates, re-invigourates its lens line (which comes to its limits with the new sensors), and puts forth a competitive price point will we see lower prices. Phase One will now reap the benefits of its R&D and hence some sweet margins on their products. Leaf is effectively relegated to a second-class seat now.

    ...

    Hasselblad, where are you, come back and kick some ***!

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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by Hauxon View Post
    Bob here you are comparing a photographic instrument to luxury items like Bugatty and expensive wine, proving my point. Right?
    Not really.
    Some photographers actually have a need for the new high end backs.
    For some it is a luxury.
    For some it is a convenience.
    Same can afford it due to assets.
    Some can afford it due to cash flow.
    Some can't afford it and just need to buy what they can.
    If your personal photographic equipment depreciation budget is in the range of $1000+ per month, than you may be able to afford it.
    If not, then you can't.
    There are used and lesser backs available on the market for much less that still do a great job, just not as nifty keen as the latest greatest.

    Personally I do a lot of shooting with a sub $1000 Panasonic kit which gives me super usable images of moderate resolution and nice files, although not nearly as nice as the Phase files.
    When I need BIG on the other hand, then I need to pay for it.
    Be assured that technology will trickle down over time, you just have to wait for it to hit a price point that is acceptable for you.
    The biggest, fastest, best, most elegant, most capable stuff has ALWAYS been more expensive and always will.
    There are photographers who drink beer, some who drink single malts.
    The volume at the high end is never very large, which forces the enormous r&d and expensive distribution channels to be amortized over fewer units. Economies of manufacturing scale just don't happen at these volumes.
    I would think that perhaps a Nikon D3x might be just as much if not more "overpriced" than a high end Phase One back or a Leica S2.
    Lots of folks get annoyed when new nifty stuff is announced that they can't afford.
    -bob

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    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    Greetings,

    Off topic: Iceland awwww.... how I long to see this neighbor of mine.

    On topic: Your main point is what? P1 not going for the broader market in terms of pricing right?

    Imho, the past few years were shaking up the entire market, long established players were on their knees, others survived by the skin of their teeth, and on top the IQ gap between MFDB and DSLR got somewhat smaller. This shake up is anything from over, and it is a constant battle to make it in this market. yes, P1 made some very good decisions that allowed them to gain and maintain market leader position in my opinion, and on this position you have many benefits, but extreme risks at the same time to deal with.

    You are not most people btw. You sell prints to make a living if I understood that correct.

    In this position you have to ask yourself a question. Can I afford not to buy into a Phase One system? This questions should not be answered by you, but your prospective buyers, if you get my drift.

    Personally, I am convinced that photography as we know it is going to change so drastically in the next few years that our work today might be the work of a species on the brink of extinction. The reason I am saying that has a historical example, when photography came up in Paris, in one year alone around 30,000 street artists lost their entire income.

    I think we are moving towards such an extinction event eventually as well. But this is just my own line of thinking for possible future scenarios.

    Back to the present, I would say that phase one is very much for photographers for one reason, it is made by people with a passion for it and people who are very much into photography themselves, this might sound like a natural assumption for a company in this business, but trust me, it is not!

    The dilemma you describe however, I can understand well. Got the T-shirt, have the cap. I imagine a musician who has a very good standup Piano at his disposal, longing for that Steinway. I am tempted to say to him, 'Look, Scriabin stays Scriabin, or does the composition improve if you play it on your Piano or a Boesendorfer or Steinway, it does not!'

    Having said that.... walking in Iceland with my headphones on listening to Scriabin and shooting for weeks....awwww.

    Best
    Georg

    P.S. Please send my warm regards to Birgitta J. if you happen to know her.

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    Super Duper
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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    Ahh, my favorite current events subject.

    Pricing is based on what the market will bear and level of demand, not our own personal wish list. I'm sure Phase One will be able to sell everything they can make for a good while ... and if that was a miscalculation then the prices will drop ... but I doubt it. These things aren't Canons or Nikons, the quantity is minuscule in comparison.

    Frankly, most of the professional photographers I have known, and worked with as an art director, aren't on the must have the latest greatest, merry-go-round. That is far more the domain of the enthusiast market IMO. Sure, Pros buy the best ... if they consistently need it for the job at hand, but not as many as one would assume ... rentals being the more financially sane option.

    The trade up notion is a stroke of genius, but its value relies on used prices in the marketplace dropping like a stone with a barbell chained to it. In reality, if you buy a $20K, unit and a year or two later pay an additional $20K to upgrade it ... you've sunk $40K into photo gear ... whether you needed it or not. Fear of losing even more used value drives a lot of these trade-up purchases as much as actual real world value received as it relates to applications.

    All this hubbub and frenzy made me stop and personally reevaluate what the Hell I was doing. I had a H4D/60 on order ready for delivery, and then I read reviews saying the H2F/39MS I already own produces as good or better IQ for the applications I use the camera for.

    Time for a total rethink.

    I also do not agree that Phase One is headed for Leica Land either. Frankly, I wish it were. Leica nut job enthusiasts, ever increasing prices, and scarcity keeps used prices very solid for many of their high ticket items. I've never lost much on the red dot.

    Anyway, around and around we go, and where it stops nobody knows

    -Marc

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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    The first time that I ever looked at a photography forum was about 3 years ago. I surfed through the endless galleries and conversations and couldn't figure out how anybody could possibly be making money shooting any of it. It was as if every discussion revolved around types of photography that I knew to be a loser in terms of making money. (decent executive lifestyle type income etc)

    Then it dawned on me that the average photo enthusiast isn't really seeing much of the commercial photography that makes money so maybe they don't even know it exists. Maybe they aren't aware of it simply because they aren't the audience. For example, a really competitive architectural photographer might be shooting some of best jobs in the country but the work will only be seen by a handful of potential buyers for the buildings. Or maybe a competitive product photographer might be shooting some of the best products in the country but the audience for the products is so small that only a few thousand or tens of thousands of people will even see his work in the catalogs.

    Many of the higher paying and exclusive photography jobs are designed for and only seen by a small audience. Maybe this is why there is often a disconnect between what some of the more exclusive photo companies are doing and the opinion that exists about their decisions in the forums.

    There are many thousands of photographers around the world shooting these jobs, but they are doing it mostly anonymously. They aren't famous, and most people don't know who they are and have never seen their work. These are the people that really need certain types of exclusive gear to meet their demands. They can't function without it, and while there aren't that many people with the demand they certainly have the money to pay for it and just think of it as another business expense. What is a 40,000 dollar camera in a studio space worth 7 figures already packed with 500k worth of lighting gear? The cost of a new camera system is just another drop in the bucket. There aren't a lot of photographers out there like this, but there are enough for a handful of camera makers to do just fine if they are accommodating to their needs.

    Maybe the bottom line is that a hobby is a hobby and business is business. Try not to imagine that what's seen in mainstream advertising, photo hobby magazines, blogs, forums etc is all that there is to the commercial photo industry.

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    Super Duper
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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Spinnler View Post
    Well, the typical answer of a Phase One rep. with regard to your criticism seems to be: "Then our product is not for you, go buy something else". It's the arrogance of the market leader. They know you want their product and they know you can't get a compareable fix elsewhere and they know they can ask a pretty penny for it too.

    The only salvation now would be some competition. But as far as I can see, Hasselblad will not be able to compete with its backs in the near future. The fact that they lost the anti-competition lawsuit puts them in an even more dangerous situation, since they must now allow Phase One's backs to be compatible with their camera bodies.

    Only if Hasselblad innovates, re-invigourates its lens line (which comes to its limits with the new sensors), and puts forth a competitive price point will we see lower prices. Phase One will now reap the benefits of its R&D and hence some sweet margins on their products. Leaf is effectively relegated to a second-class seat now.

    ...

    Hasselblad, where are you, come back and kick some ***!
    I wouldn't hold my breath on that competitive comeback. They'll do it in their own way, in their own time. In the meantime, none of this will make a wit of difference to the vast majority of photographers out there making photographs. Nothing new there.

    BTW, they already have started the reinvigoration of the lens line ... 50 MK-II, 120 refresh, 150N.

    There are literarily thousands and thousands of MFD users slugging it out to make a living in a shyt economy that couldn't care less about the latest greatest from anyone ... compared to the microcosm these forums constitute.

    I think Phase One is to be lauded for moving upstream ... but it means nothing to me personally, and won't until there is a different camera platform. However, it means a lot to a segment of their captive audience ... just like the H4D did for Hasselblad's captive audience.

    -Marc

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    Well lets go back a bit and I will use the P40+ as an example since I bought one i followed it very closely. On release of the P40+ the back price was 19900 and that was two years ago or so. Today with new tech with this sensor and that is about the only left over part it comes in at 22900. Thats a 3K difference between than and now and you are getting a whole lot more tech with it. Honestly and i am about to buy it AGAIN or move up that really is not that bad. Now lets also remember you can still buy the P40+ as it is still on the market as well as the P65 but the P40+ new today is 17900. So like anything else the price has gone down some to get in.

    On surface that all looks very normal and expected. I think what some of us are faced with is the current user group not the guy buying in the first time although it is not considered cheap nor is buying into a S2 system or Hassy for that matter. The issue comes down to upgrades , laterals and such. I guess I am very much faced with this as are many others and I know a few of my friends jumped right in already one right after another. JEALOUS LOL

    The hard part here is just like anything else even buying a car and the same car 2 years later. You going to lose value as soon as you drive off the lot and the value of the newest car most likely went up in price with more stuff added . Just not a lot of difference between the two products here.

    Now would I agree it hurts like a SOB to buy again. Yes I do trust me. LOL
    But it is also not of line either. I say that knowing i have no chance in hell getting a IQ 180 and the IQ 160 looks really doubtful for me as well.

    Anyway love ya all but I need to get on a airplane and get to San Francisco so Jack and i can see all this new tech and hopefully help you all make some decisions on what to do and see if it is worth your money to move up or not.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by Georg Baumann View Post

    Personally, I am convinced that photography as we know it is going to change so drastically in the next few years that our work today might be the work of a species on the brink of extinction. The reason I am saying that has a historical example, when photography came up in Paris, in one year alone around 30,000 street artists lost their entire income.

    I think we are moving towards such an extinction event eventually as well. But this is just my own line of thinking for possible future scenarios.

    Thanks for example of the Paris street artists. You're right, there is an extinction event coming. The photographers that are excluded from the culling are the ones with the mechanical background to shoot "boring" technical and didactic work.

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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    And here I sit with an ancient ZD ...... Love the looks of the files, hate the ergonomics

    Maybe some of those rich guys will upgrade, and a few P40's will hit the market at a price I can actually afford. We are still talking about a well used compact car price wise though.

    Sadly, it's a matter of diminishing marginal returns ...... I can get a brand new Sony that folks on this board admit is just "this close" and probably will net out at about 0! High tech just costs more and delivers less per dollar. Ever look at a high end hard disk subsystem? A 2TB consumer drive bare is about $79 ..... 2TB in an industrial IT setting sets you back well over 2K these days .... it's all about the technology. Those last extra RPM of the platter, and the fiber channel interface, really expensive low volume stuff. Luckily we make lots of money by being fast!

    Sadly I make $0 with my camera .... very hard to justify that 7K upgrade when I could be somewhere shooting instead! Maybe I'll hit the lottery!

    Dave

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    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    Interesting discussion. What's not clear to me is whether the high end camera makers are being accused of arbitrary price fixing or if in fact the cost of high-end cameras reflects the cost of production plus a fair margin.

    As a young man doing product photography with a Toyo-G, I lusted for a Sinar but could never afford one. I resented them for being so arrogant as to price their cameras so much higher than what I could justify.

    But hey, maybe the best costs more to produce. If we accept that new ground is be broken with every new sensor or camera model, then we must also accept that a company has to invest a lot of time and money in the development of that new and "best". Is the profit margin fair or reasonable? I can't really say.

    I know from my own design business that I don't accept jobs from clients who aren't willing to pay what my established fees are. Some of them get pissed, claiming their nephew (or someone) has InDesign and he's offered to do the same job for a fraction of my quoted price. Why should it be my fault if they don't have the budget for my product?

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    Member Hauxon's Avatar
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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    I'm not surprised by the fact there is a market for insanely expensive products, like many of you have already pointed out. The interesting question is about Phase One ambition and focus. Do the want the industry to use their products or the guy who has the Bugatti?

    I just watched the "famous" interview at luminous-landscape.com where Yair Shahar of Leaf says "...the profile of the typical customer has changed over the years ". One would assume hes saying the average pro is not shooting medium format anymore.

    A medium format back does not work as a novelty item like Bugatti, or even Leica since it will not have a collectors value when it gets old, the novelty wears off. That's why we have the clumsy upgrade system to make up for the unrealistic pricing.

    I would like to know why the professional/semi-pro photographer is no longer of interest for companies like Phase and Hasselblad. I know lot of professional portrait photographers (including some relatives) all who have an old Hasselblad camera, their workhorse. They would NEVER pay $45.000 for a digital back (or even $25.000 for that matter).

    Hrannar
    Hrannar Hauksson
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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike M View Post
    There are many thousands of photographers around the world shooting these jobs, but they are doing it mostly anonymously. They aren't famous, and most people don't know who they are and have never seen their work.
    As you would expect the highest-end product that Phase One makes, the IQ180 is targeted only at the highest-end commercial photographers and non-pro users who have the ability and desire to own the very best system in the world.

    But you're forgetting the rest of the range. The IQ140 is $21,990 - a high price, but by no means a "luxery" item. And the P+ series of backs is still being produced for the very reason of offering a range of pricing and products.

    In addition, good Phase One dealers have used and refurbished products that make that range extend lower than a 1Ds III or D3X. We have 22mp options starting at $3500. You would not believe the number of photographers/studios that we work with that still use H25 digital backs. Those were released in 2003 and still far exceed the best dSLR at base ISO (which many photographers never need to exceed) and can be used on view cameras in addition to SLR systems. It's very reasonable, IMO, to expect that someone buying an IQ series back will still be using it in 5 years.

    Doug Peterson (e-mail Me)
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    Member Hauxon's Avatar
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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    I'd like to add, I have nothing against successful photographers or even rich people. :P

    Have these companies accepted the idea that they lost the average working photographer over to Canon/Nikon? A product needs to be expensive when the production volume is low, not because the parts are expensive (it's electronics), but because design and marketing costs. One would assume that some aspects of the R&D have been covered by sales of early equipment making it possible to lower the price and reach greater audience. It's not like they were inventing the wheel when an updated back hits the market.

    Hrannar
    Hrannar Hauksson
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    Senior Member yaya's Avatar
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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by Hauxon View Post
    I just watched the "famous" interview at luminous-landscape.com where Yair Shahar of Leaf says "...the profile of the typical customer has changed over the years ". One would assume hes saying the average pro is not shooting medium format anymore.
    Hmm...what I meant is that there are more MF cameras being sold to non-pros in recent years compared to 5-6 years ago.

    Many pros still shoot MF and LF and many of these people re-invest in their business every 3-4-5 years, if the need arises and if their business justifies it.

    Saying that, it is true that many pros, for various reasons (economy situation, changing business model, changing creative needs etc.) have gone the DSLR route (exclusively or not)

    At the same time and because of the growing pixel count and improved image quality, there are several other market areas that are now buying MF that were not using MF before (aerial, industrial and archiving to name a few)
    These are not represented on these forums and come with different sets of needs and expectations but they are no longer a small, niche market.

    BR

    Yair
    Yair Shahar | Product Manager | Phase One | Mamiya Leaf
    e: [email protected] | m: +44(0)77 8992 8199 | yaya's blog

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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    ah...I understand what the OP is referring to now...he's referring to the "average" pro ....in other words...the guy in the middle....

    The guy in the middle is kaput. He is the dead man walking. He's what was referred to earlier as the victim of an extinction event. There is a bottom and a top and not much in between. Welcome to "late capitalism."

    So yeah...If I understand the OP correctly...The guy in the middle doesn't matter anymore. The guy with the 35mm DSLR is competing against everybody else in the world with the ability to read a strobist tutorial and a few hundred dollars for a rebel kit. He's not the middle anymore. He's the bottom now.

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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    Hrannar - no one 'needs' to pay that kind of money.

    but let me say from experience - Leicas and MF cameras are a LOT cheaper than racing motorbikes, boats, yachts, private planes and helicopters.

    my friend - if they keep me away from wild women - they are also great preventative medicine!

    the truth is that anyone can buy a CaNikon or a 30 megapixel MF back now for the same price - if not less. I don't think you can say that these companies are ignoring ANY demographic - except perhaps the camera phone. -

    If I didn't live in Australia - Iceland would be my third choice! Your country is so beautiful - you can make fantastic pics with a $20 Holga!

    Cheers.

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    Super Duper
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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post

    but let me say from experience - Leicas and MF cameras are a LOT cheaper than racing motorbikes, boats, yachts, private planes and helicopters.

    Cheers.
    Yeah, it seems like I did make this calculation with a different set of toys as I was deciding about an upgrade and yes I am these days.

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    Member Hauxon's Avatar
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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    Thanks Yair for replying. Good to hear backs are selling in greater numbers. I work for a company in aerial photography and know expensive equipment. Interesting to hear the shift has been from working photographers to companies in the measurement business.

    I guess Mike M is right about the middle layer missing. Maybe someone should begin producing what the Mamiya ZD attempted to be with new updated computer hardware. For me an IQ122 would be nice, especially if would be in the Pentax 645D price region.

    Best, Hrannar
    Hrannar Hauksson
    http://www.hauxon.com

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    Administrator Bob's Avatar
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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    Yeah, it seems like I did make this calculation with a different set of toys as I was deciding about an upgrade and yes I am these days.
    Yup

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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    but let me say from experience - Leicas and MF cameras are a LOT cheaper than racing motorbikes, boats, yachts, private planes and helicopters.
    I can personally confirm this as well. If photographers think the depreciation hit they take when selling their used MFD gear is high, then they don't want to know about the size of the hit that is taken when selling a used race car and especially if it's a car that doesn't have a winning history...

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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by Hauxon View Post
    For me an IQ122 would be nice, especially if would be in the Pentax 645D price region.
    Best, Hrannar
    Yeah it's called Aptus-II 5 and it's actually cheaper than the Pentax
    Yair Shahar | Product Manager | Phase One | Mamiya Leaf
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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by yaya View Post
    Yeah it's called Aptus-II 5 and it's actually cheaper than the Pentax
    Yes, and if you've ever used an Aptus, any Aptus, you'll also quickly realize what a joy they are to use too vs a button driven DSLR.

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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike M View Post
    Thanks for example of the Paris street artists. You're right, there is an extinction event coming. The photographers that are excluded from the culling are the ones with the mechanical background to shoot "boring" technical and didactic work.
    Nope. Those technoids are already going the way of the Dodo ... CGI made that happen.

    The survivors will be the concept makers who happen to use a camera. Those able to conceive of, and express, ideas that solve problems, provoke action, or motivate decisions. Unlike now or the past, it'll require problem solving skills of a totally different kind, and versatility in turning those solutions into images.

    That is already happening.

    -Marc

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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by yaya View Post
    Yeah it's called Aptus-II 5 and it's actually cheaper than the Pentax
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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    Doug and Yair make very good points that are overlooked too often on this and other forums: the older MFDB are very serviceable, take great shots and are still good to use. The P20 still takes lovely shots... and isn't expensive to get into, or a CV 16 either. Yes, the advantage of the newer ones is their portability, with more ISO range, and that makes them all the more attractive - the better integration and resolution are touted, but its their usability that makes them more attractive.

    But like the old days of view cameras, if you are willing to work patiently with a tripod or in studio, the cheaper gear from a few years back is an extremely viable option. That our lust for "newer, better, greater" obscures this may be one fault of the 'net and our new era, but its true just the same. And it should be emphasized for the younger, less fortunate photogs.

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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    "you pricing sucks" is argument against every single photo- manufacturer out there.
    Nikon users complain about high prices for Nikon gear, Olympus users biting their nails looking at prices for E-5 now, and Pentax lot.... dont even get them started how much they hate to overpay for loyalty.

    Point is - photography is not a cheap hobby by itself. It still cheaper than bikes or cars though. Professional-side wise..

    Do every single wee 'pro' studio need MF gear? Nope..

    Its a fine balance between need/want.

    Business class airtravel should be cheaper too, you know.. I am sick of traveling in economy/economy+ across the world..

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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    Good thread! I'm not a Phase user and probably never will be ... the Leica S2 pretty much maxes out my needs and I can use the lenses for Cine work. So that will be the MF camera I will buy and use for a long time. They might tempt me someday with an S3, but it will probably be a "want" decision not a need ...

    One thing that's interesting, Harannar, is that on other forums and threads I've heard people actually happy about the same thing you're complaining about -- regarding Leica. They like that the rich guys and enthusiasts in Asia buy up their cameras ... because it's allows Leica to grow, enhance, improve, ultimately produce more products. I mean, I don't ever really see their production getting mega-fast or huge, just not their model, and so their prices will have to be high. But there are literally countless enthusiasts (and pros) overjoyed with their M9's now because there is a market for their stuff, even at the high prices.

    I would think likewise with Phase, their sales and growth has helped fuel these latest innovations. I'm impressed ... again, not going to buy, but impressed and their innovation will force others to work to catch up. Right now, given the demand and readiness of people to buy, they are clearly selling at the right price point. I guess that makes me a capitalist. Sorry

    I do understand your frustration to an extent though ... in the world of Cinema, Arri and Panavision have been the leaders for many years. Then Red cameras came around offering 4k for a lot less money, and disrupted things. Since then, Arri responded with a 2k camera (Alexa) that has some cool features ... but is a whopping $70,000-80,000 and still not even the resolution of the original RedOne (although resolution is not everything.) Now, Red is about to release a new camera called the Epic that's technologically superior to anything there is ... it does 5k raw ... HDR ... high frame rates, low compression, the list goes on. It's been used on the latest Spiderman, Peter Jackson's coming film, and many other huge blockbusters. And it's smaller and ergonomically superior to the Arri cam.

    So given all of this, you would expect it to be more expensive than the Arri Alexa, right? I mean ... if Red were like many companies they would charge huge bucks for it ... and yet Red is going to be selling it for $28,000 -- less than half the Arri cam. And they are offering their customers amazing upgrade options as well.

    So all this is to perhaps echo your frustration that Phase is not being more like Red ... catering to the needs of mid-level pros who own their own gear, while also producing technology/innovation that can be used at the very highest level of the profession.

    But I guess that's just not their business model.

    Anthony

    P.S. -- As far as the mid-level guy being dead, last I checked you could get an H4D-31 with lens for around $12,000 ... that's pretty attractive and I think there's a LOT that any professional could do with that camera/megapixel combo ... I don't think many clients would reject you because you used that camera rather than a Phase 140 or 160.

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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Nope. Those technoids are already going the way of the Dodo ... CGI made that happen.

    The survivors will be the concept makers who happen to use a camera. Those able to conceive of, and express, ideas that solve problems, provoke action, or motivate decisions. Unlike now or the past, it'll require problem solving skills of a totally different kind, and versatility in turning those solutions into images.

    That is already happening.

    -Marc
    A lot of what currently passes for the commercial arts is an imitation of the corporate work environment. There are a lot of people sitting at desks all day long and aren't really producing anything. The same thing is happening in the arts. There are a lot of people that think they can do everything... But when it comes down to it, few of them are experts at anything. Concepts, ideas, problem solving, solutions...bla bla bla...That's all corporate speak for producing nothing. The people that pull that off are salesmen more than anything else.

    The audience is getting more sophisticated and they aren't falling for the same old tricks. CGI works for some things but not everything. I've shot stills for animators...so it can create work as much as take it away.

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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post

    Pricing is based on what the market will bear and level of demand, not our own personal wish list.
    Just wanted Marc's quote repeated since it is a PERFECT answer...

    And then Pete's:

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post

    but let me say from experience - Leicas and MF cameras are a LOT cheaper than racing motorbikes, boats, yachts, private planes and helicopters.
    All you have to do is calculate the depreciation hit you take driving even a $30,000 car off the lot, let alone a $50,000 car. The latter is about the same cost as the P65+ > IQ180 upgrade...
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    ...
    Pricing is based on what the market will bear and level of demand, not our own personal wish list....
    -Marc
    At the end of the day, this is what it comes down to. If nobody (or enough people) would buy those backs, Phase would either decide to stop making them (not profitable) or lower the price.

    I would love to have a MFDB but I can't justify to have a business expense that large (and I'm not wealthy enough). My max that I would pay is in the neighborhood of $3,000. The back that I like and fits my criteria is 3 times of that (P30+). Obviously, I'm not a Phase customer.

    I make my living from photography. Many people can't afford me. That's the way capitalism works.

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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Just wanted Marc's quote repeated since it is a PERFECT answer...
    Well, I was rather wondering if the working photographer were no longer the target market for digital back makers.
    Hrannar Hauksson
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  38. #38
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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    >So all this is to perhaps echo your frustration that Phase is not being more like Red .

    Maybe Pentax could be the "Red" for medium format if they pull it off.
    Uwe Steinmueller
    -------------------

    Editor&Owner of Digital Outback Photo
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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by Hauxon View Post
    Well, I was rather wondering if the working photographer were no longer the target market for digital back makers.
    Obviously it's not -- I bet the majority of the Phase buyers (past, present, future) are still pros, they haven't reached "collectible" status and very few people would recognize a Phase or consider it prestigious in the same way they would a Leica ...

    See my previous post. It's just that they are more using the Arri business model (where they charge as much as humanly possible, let the "middle guy" rent) ... rather than the one Red is using, which promotes ownership for pros of all levels/financial means. It's their choice, and if they truly have unnecessarily high margins ... then ultimately they leave themselves open just like Arri did for someone like Red to come in and produce an equal or better product at a lower price.

    But until then, they will be the leader in the MF market ... though I have no idea if their unit sales/revenues are higher than Hasselblad.

  40. #40
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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    I've been reading an awful lot of these threads every time we have a new upgrade announcement be it Canon with a new 1Ds, Leica with the M9 or Phase One back when it first announced the P65 and now with the newer backs. A lot of what I read and continue to read is people calling their equipment "toys". If you continue to feel your equipment is a toy then you'll continue to feel they are overpriced and the manufacture is gouging and money suckers.

    I've never felt my equipment was a toy - rather they are tools to help me capture the light and beauty of landscape. They are the same as my computers which I either replace or continue to upgrade as time goes on. They are also the same tool as the software I use.

    I've upgraded my laptop to 16GB RAM, my studio computer now has 40 GB RAM. I upgraded one of my studio monitors to a 30" and will in every likelihood get another. My software has all been upgraded - I'm now using C1 Pro 6 and have been using CS5 the minute it was released.

    Tools each and everyone of them. They are a means by which I capture an image in order to process that image then print it in order to either fulfill a clients request or in hopes of someone likening it so much as to be willing to buy it.

    My main computer (Dell Precision 690) is 5 years old and running very well. One monitor is less than a year old while the smaller is around 3 years and time to be replaced for several reasons. The laptop (Dell Precision M6400) is 2-years old and max'd to the gills with 2-ssd's and 16GM RAM and so far is working as it should.

    Camera gear? My Cambo WRS and associated lenses is working well and I figure I've got many many more years of useful use out of them. My Leica is just a years old and it should hold up just as well so long as I keep it away from taking a bath as I cross streams.

    All this leaves me with the main component, the P45+. Bottom line is I'm still making money with this back - heck I'm still making money with the P30+ which I haven't had since 2008. There's a lot to be said about the new upgrades being offered. I never felt the need or urgency to upgrade to the P65 and while I still feel that way with the new backs they look inviting. It almost appears that Phase had someone like me in mind when they engineered these things; internal leveling, focal masks and somewhat of a live preview are all things I'd love to have for my tech camera. All in all not bad at all for a tool. I also like the idea of 45% off which isn't too bad in my book.

    Will I be getting one? The short answer is yes. The longer answer is not right away but soon. This answer as I write it is easier decision than attempting to justify going with a P65. Again I'm speaking about a tool.

    There's been a lot of back and forth about cars and cameras. I've got just one more thought before I go back to work. I have another tool only this doesn't fit inside a camera bag. My jeep. I've had this jeep now for less than 2-years and already have over 35,000 miles and anticipate well over 50k by the end of the year. I claim mileage only for the IRS and this currently this is being used over 75% of the time for my business. Just another tool at my disposal.

    Okay I lied - I have one more thought. If you do consider your equipment a tool and live in the US then think strongly about Section 179. $20k upgrade is expensive no matter how you look at it it's still $20k out of our pocket. However under Section 179 you can deduct the entire cost in one year and hopeful either reduce you tax obligation to close nothing or close to it either way saving you money.

    Tool or toys. I guess the ultimate definition is up to you.

    Okay back to work...

    Don
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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by AnthonyFlores View Post
    Obviously it's not -- I bet the majority of the Phase buyers (past, present, future) are still pros, they haven't reached "collectible" status ...
    I've always thought I'd hit the "collectable status" 5-minutes after I'm dead!

    Don
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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by Hauxon View Post
    Since everyone here is so extremely excited about the new backs I like to spoil the party with boring discussing about marketing/price policy. This just NEEDS to be discussed. To me Phase One is heading in the same direction as Leica. The targeted customer is a wealthy amateur and few hundred pros working for corporate organizations (able to justify extreme expanses).
    Hrannar Orn Hauksson

    sorry Hrannar, I have to respectfully disagree and I'll tell you why... we shoot Canons perhaps more than anyone.. thats not only due to Phase or MF being expensive in general.. simply it's just faster to pick up DSLR and just finish the job... another bigger issue is delivering 30gig to 60gig of images/video to our customers on daily basis.. price could be argued though, but not a huge deal breaker considering that PhaseOnes foundation is formed on solid client base.. therefore you/we don't have to even buy new to stay current in the business..

    Now, you're saying....

    "The targeted customer is a wealthy amateur and few hundred
    pros working for corporate organizations.."

    "PhaseOne is heading in the same direction as Leica"

    not at all.. due to the fact that you can't rent Leica but you CAN rent PhaseOne DB almost anywhere in the world.. not to mention using their standard C1 interface/software, finding assistants who understand the interface/platform, etc. not to mention that PhaseOne is basically standard because it simply works when others have failed.. and the list goes even further making it more affordable and more logical investment than Hasselblad, Leaf, Sinar or... obviously Haasy closed their platform to increase their cash flow/survive.. Hy6 and its founders couldn't see the obvious and that's why they are where they are today.. also that's why you won't see many business brains wasting time on that platform even though many have invested and they still like it.. but one thing I thing PhaseOne should have done though is get it under $40,000,00 even if they applied North American virtual know-how/discount and made it 39,999.00

    there are number of things to like about Hassy but if I was buying today my 90% choice would be PhaseOne

    there are other things I'm concerned about PhaseOne but it's not for this thread..

  43. #43
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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    I dont agree. Maybe it would be nice to get MF gear for less money - but those companies also have to survive and cover their cost.
    Very often it is 50% (or even more) more expensive to get 1% higher quality. Look at cars, high fidelity, watches etc etc.
    Number of sold cameras/backs is low and cost for service is high.

    What I dont understand is why Nikon and Canon cant bring a MF-like CCD without AA filter into their body to allow same IQ as digital backs just with a little less resoltion.

  44. #44
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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    To Don and others. I mean no disrespect to any of current MF digtal userbase, they are just not typical working photographers. I might have stretched some of my assumtions to far to make people think. Some are fortunate enough to have a healthy business running and for most a few $k a year on equipment is just a normal expense. My feeling is however that for most of working pg's the business is weak or a struggle. That's why I'm thinking the modern MF systems are for technical stuff, view cameras etc. and not really target at the mass who take seniour pictures, weddings, family portraits etc. for a living. But as has already been pointed out, MF digital is not really needed for any of these.

    Hopefully the MF back manufacturers will someday be able to serve more of us. There has been some progress in making the entry less expensive by offering old technology at lower prices but not to the level of making the switch alluring enough to bite (for most of us).

    Best, Hrannar
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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by Hauxon View Post
    To Don and others. I mean no disrespect to any of current MF digtal userbase, they are just not typical working photographers.
    Please, define "normal"? I mean i pride myself in not being "normal", but just pray - tell..

    Oh.. if you define those as people who doing "ordinary jobs" - its wrong. Quite a lot of people on that front do extra-super-cool job.

    Allow me to draw you similar picture.
    Cropped sensor dSLR vs full size sensor dSLR. Most of "ordinary people" dont need it. But here it is - its getting more affordable. Still - pro- level dSLR cost rather nasty comparing to regular 600$ a pop.. And many people complain b/c they cant get one. They want it. They cant ever possibly shoot for living without it. Yet - they do.

    Many of MF owners actually do shoot "normal" stuff as well, when pace of MF shooting is suitable for the task and quality is needed.

    Life is fun that way

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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by SergeiR View Post
    Please, define "normal"? I mean i pride myself in not being "normal", but just pray - tell..
    Being typical is no necessarily being normal, right?!
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  48. #48
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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    And then Pete's:



    All you have to do is calculate the depreciation hit you take driving even a $30,000 car off the lot, let alone a $50,000 car. The latter is about the same cost as the P65+ > IQ180 upgrade...
    Whereas, if you buy $50,000 of Leica M lenses . . . . . and then decide you'd rather take pictures with your iphone, the losses will be pretty minimal.

    Is that true of Phase backs? I suspect they devalue more like cars?

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers

    I kinda sorta agree that these newer backs are more suitable for a tech camera and that's why I'm looking at them. My P45+ remains a tool that is connected to the rear of my WRS.

    Hell I stopped being anywhere near "normal" years ago and am enjoying life way more than ever before.

    Cheers

    Don

    Being normal is just overrated
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    Re: Phase One => not for photographers





    Doug, I appreciate the links.. there are even few more places where you can see LEICA for rent but not nearly enough to compare with Phase/Hasselblad.. on a positive note thats a good step in the right direction for Leica.. however i'm afraid they will never reach the standard in the working environment.. they simply don't have apparent number of cameras out there to be able to lead..



    "due to the fact that you can't rent Leica but you CAN rent PhaseOne DB almost anywhere in the world..

    PS: I finished my sentence with anywhere in the world.. even though i meant almost EVERYWHERE in the world..

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