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Thread: Digital Medium Format pricing

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    Digital Medium Format pricing

    Some years back, I got curious about digital medium format (I was mainly shooting a Mamiya M645 w/film at the time). The lowest price for an entry-level DMF body and sensor was around $10k (IIRC, a Mamiya ZD). It seemed a bit steep, considering what other digital SLRs and my M645 cost, but I figured that over time, prices would gradually become more reasonable.

    Fast forward to today and I'm ready to sell my medium format film gear. Had a look around at DMF kits, and it seems that prices are exactly where they were 4 years ago - nothing available (new) for under $10k.

    So I'm wondering what the deal is with DMF pricing. Perhaps my thinking is out of whack, but $13-14k for a camera body, a sensor, and a couple of lenses puts the price of entry at about the same level as a fairly decent car. I understand DMF is a smaller market than film MF was, but still, this seems awfully steep, all things considered.

    But perhaps there is a good explanation?

    Thanks,

    DH

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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Has 35mm camera pricing changed that much in 4 years? What about APS-C?

    Is the technology also changing?

    My Pentax 645D has a 40MP sensor, 9-point AF, really good ISO at 1600, unlimited bulb exposures, and weatherproof. How about the Mamiya ZD? (BTW, in Japan, the 645D is actually cheaper than the ZD when it was released.)

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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Well, MFD has been marching forward ... at one time the popular 16 meg square format Kodak DCS Pro Back 645 was $12,000. without a camera or lens. Add those, and the base MFD kit would be about $16,000 back then. And those dollars were worth more compared to now. Slow performance, 1.5X lens crop factor, questionable battery life, even more questionable ISO performance topping out at 400.

    Flash forward to today, 40 meg Pentax 645D kit @ $10K, much better ISO performance, 1.3X crop factor, weather sealed, fast etc., Hasselblad H4D/31 kit still for less than that Kodak kit by $2.5K, and the Phase/Leaf equivalents.
    Keeping in mind that those are today's dollars, not 10 years ago.

    Where it gets really pricey is buying the latest, greatest, biggest, baddest kit on the planet. Top dogs always command the big bucks.

    Best to buy a generation or two behind ... after the breath taking initial drop in value as the next best thing takes its place, it gets a lot more affordable.

    -Marc
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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by dhazeghi View Post
    Perhaps my thinking is out of whack, but $13-14k for a camera body, a sensor, and a couple of lenses puts the price of entry at about the same level as a fairly decent car
    Or the other way around....$13-14k for an engine, a body and 4 wheels puts the price of entry at about the same level as a decent MF digital kit
    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: Digital Medium Format pricing

    I just left the BMW dealership. Scary on what car I could really own right now compared to my MF kit. Very Scary. Lol

    Just gave them 1800 bucks of my gear fund for tires. Yuk
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    And fortunately, I don't have to use gas in my 645D--cost would go way up over a recharge. Nor do I have to take it in every 5,000 clicks. And best of all, my 645D takes better pictures.

    Maybe Toyota could come out with a 41MP backup camera? But then I would need a bigger tripod and I doubt I could afford that.
    Last edited by Shashin; 29th February 2012 at 10:00.

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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    And fortunately, I don't have to use gas in my 645D--cost would go way up over a recharge. Nor do I have to take it in ever 5,000 clicks. And best of all, my 645D takes better pictures.

    Maybe Toyota could come out with a 41MP backup camera?
    Your Pentax is also a bit more environment friendly than a car and likely presents a smaller hazard to other "road users"...
    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: Digital Medium Format pricing

    We've recently had (didn't buy her) a baby girl.

    Cost of ownership is scary and makes my MFD look like peanuts!

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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    Has 35mm camera pricing changed that much in 4 years? What about APS-C?

    Is the technology also changing?
    I don't know exactly how pricing is changing, but the main thing is that the difference in pricing between a decent film SLR back in the late 90s and a comparable digital SLR today seems to be of the order of 50% or so.

    With medium format, it seems like the gap is more like 5x. I figured the difference would drop over time as digital became more popular...

    My Pentax 645D has a 40MP sensor, 9-point AF, really good ISO at 1600, unlimited bulb exposures, and weatherproof. How about the Mamiya ZD? (BTW, in Japan, the 645D is actually cheaper than the ZD when it was released.)
    That's good to hear. I'm not saying there's been no improvement to the gear (still haven't had a chance to use it). I'm just surprised that the price of entry remains what it is. I mean I'm used to paying somewhat more for a larger format, but 3-4 times more?

    DH

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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    DH ... you don't mention what you like to shoot, so it's hard to say if MFDB will be worth it or not, and what worth it means.

    The reality is you can get close to MFDB, maybe even very close with various setups.

    In landscape Manouch does exceptional work with a Micro 4/3rds system.
    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/4-3rds...hread-107.html

    I compared a D3X do a ZD, and chose the ZD because it was cheaper, and offered better IQ .... then abandoned all hope, and upgraded to a p30+ because of ergonomics, not IQ, and still came out about the same as a new D3x, and for my studio work, that was a good choice. Move forward around a year, and who knows about the D800.

    It's all about how many compromises you're willing to make. I have very little doubt that the D800 will not challenge a 60/80 mpix digital back. Sure, it might erode the bottom end of the used market, but that is not the question now is it? MF has never been for the bottom end of the market unless you were coming from 4X5!

    So yes, I drive a 10 year old Volvo, and have a P30+, some of us have to make choices. Others have an IQ180 and a Ferrari, should I begrudge someone their pleasures, not at all.

    If you are a shooting pro and can justify the ROI on the lease, it's a no brainier, go lease one. If you are a hobbyist who wants the best, go get one.

    If you have to make budget choices like me, drive a ten year old car, or don't get a Harley or Bass Boat, but yes, to be at the top of this hobby, it does cost in the 60K range, the middle, the 30K range, and at the bottom, you can start making choices outside of Denmark.

    Problem is, economies of scale never come into play on the bleeding edge of technology.

    Dave

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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post

    Just gave them 1800 bucks of my gear fund for tires. Yuk
    Yea but those 19 inch wheels and spinners are SO BAAAD

    Gotta have a good relationship with your dealer.

    Bob

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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    They gave me a great deal and a free alignment too. Problem is they are run flat tires in two different sizes so they are pretty dang expensive. But they are nice wheels
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    They gave me a great deal and a free alignment too. Problem is they are run flat tires in two different sizes so they are pretty dang expensive. But they are nice wheels
    Actually a great price.

    I am looking at similar cost ... two wheel/tires for a mountain bike...and I wish they were run flats!

    Bob

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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    I just left the BMW dealership. Scary on what car I could really own right now compared to my MF kit. Very Scary. Lol

    Just gave them 1800 bucks of my gear fund for tires. Yuk
    BMW does not have dealerships... they have $tealerships.
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by dhazeghi View Post


    But perhaps there is a good explanation?

    Thanks,

    DH
    It's mainly to do with the sales structure.

    Consumer DSLR cameras are sold just about everywhere and made in high quantities.

    MF are made in smaller quantities and with less competition. Manufactures prefer to go the specialized dealership rout. These dealers obviously want to make good money and are good at doing so.

    IF you look around carefully you can find very nice mint gear at excellent prices especially now that some people think that 36MP 35mm DSLR cameras can replace MF.

    The phase one P+ backs are built like little tanks and pretty much last for ever. Both Mamiya Leaf and Phase One offer service directly to end users and are pleasant to deal with. Going through a dealer has it's benefits if money is not an issue and time is.

    Another way to go is a high end 35mm digital and 6x7 film combination. Personally I think 6x7 and 6x8 film offers things that MF digital can't.
    That is the way I went for the majority of my work, but I have also added MF digital because I wanted to avoid bothering with renting.

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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by docmoore View Post
    Actually a great price.

    I am looking at similar cost ... two wheel/tires for a mountain bike...and I wish they were run flats!

    Bob
    If your rims are tubeless-compatible and you use tubeless tyres then you can run a fairly low pressure with some Slime in them and you can pretty much treat them as runflats...and they'll cost a bit less than 1,800 bucks
    Yair Shahar | Product Manager | Phase One | Mamiya Leaf
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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think the cost of medium format film cameras has gone down much either in the past 5-10 years even though no one's buying them new anymore and there's no technological improvement. A new Hasselblad A12 film back is still over $1k at B&H even though you can get them used for around $150. Also, a basic Hasselblad H2F film kit (body, 80mm lens and film back) costs $9k right now at B&H. A H4D-31 kit costs $14k so arguably your're getting the digital back for $5k which is cheaper than a ZD back was a few years ago (if I remember correctly).

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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    I just left the BMW dealership. Scary on what car I could really own right now compared to my MF kit. Very Scary. Lol

    Lol, BMW is like Leaf, dependable, built very well and smart design, not prime for luxury but to get the job done with ease and very high quality, durable if given proper care and service. Safe.

    Dont change so often Guy! Still have my 5er as original owner since 1999... pampered of course... lived most its life in garage and warm storage due to that I am expat, and in condition as a 3-4 years old car. What difference to my Leaf as amateur? My Leaf spends most its life in a sealed bag... but each time I take either of them out... Dang. Awesome because sheer joy to use as TOOL and to get the job done. The Leaf through the Rollei and its viewfinder... the 5er on its Alpina well handling sports wheels and M suspension, snug leather sport seats... Been thinking about supercharing her, not sure I can do that with my Leaf. Yair?????

    Simply the right tools for d'job

    Best regards,
    Anders

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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by yaya View Post
    If your rims are tubeless-compatible and you use tubeless tyres then you can run a fairly low pressure with some Slime in them and you can pretty much treat them as runflats...and they'll cost a bit less than 1,800 bucks
    I'm 230 lbs over 6'4" and downhill mountain bike rocky riverbeds. No flats in months with the right slime in the tyres.

    tubeless slime - YouTube

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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by jamie123 View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think the cost of medium format film cameras has gone down much either in the past 5-10 years even though no one's buying them new anymore and there's no technological improvement. A new Hasselblad A12 film back is still over $1k at B&H even though you can get them used for around $150. Also, a basic Hasselblad H2F film kit (body, 80mm lens and film back) costs $9k right now at B&H. A H4D-31 kit costs $14k so arguably your're getting the digital back for $5k which is cheaper than a ZD back was a few years ago (if I remember correctly).
    The production of that film back is still the same as it was before digital, and it's pointless for Hasselblad to sell it without making a profit. The MF camera market can easily be divided into two main groups:

    - Cameras that are easy and/or popular to equip with a digital backs hold their prices well, even second hand.

    - Cameras that because of technical limitation and/or format aren't attractive for today's digital back have fallen like stones. Good news for those of us who want to shoot film MF.

    The exceptions are cameras like the Mamiya 7 and Fuji/Voigtlander 667 that seem to sell as if digital didn't exist, at least from a price point of view. Texas Leicas and panorama formats also keep their prices remarkably well.

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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by dhazeghi View Post
    I don't know exactly how pricing is changing, but the main thing is that the difference in pricing between a decent film SLR back in the late 90s and a comparable digital SLR today seems to be of the order of 50% or so.

    With medium format, it seems like the gap is more like 5x. I figured the difference would drop over time as digital became more popular...



    That's good to hear. I'm not saying there's been no improvement to the gear (still haven't had a chance to use it). I'm just surprised that the price of entry remains what it is. I mean I'm used to paying somewhat more for a larger format, but 3-4 times more?

    DH
    Why? Have large format camera prices been dropping? Have car prices been dropping? I really am unsure why you started this thread? What exactly do you want to know?

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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by jamie123 View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think the cost of medium format film cameras has gone down much either in the past 5-10 years even though no one's buying them new anymore and there's no technological improvement. A new Hasselblad A12 film back is still over $1k at B&H even though you can get them used for around $150. Also, a basic Hasselblad H2F film kit (body, 80mm lens and film back) costs $9k right now at B&H. A H4D-31 kit costs $14k so arguably your're getting the digital back for $5k which is cheaper than a ZD back was a few years ago (if I remember correctly).
    Even in the silver age of film, medium-format camera prices did not go down over time. These are expensive tools, not cheap consumer products.

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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by FredBGG View Post
    It's mainly to do with the sales structure.

    Consumer DSLR cameras are sold just about everywhere and made in high quantities.

    MF are made in smaller quantities and with less competition. Manufactures prefer to go the specialized dealership rout. These dealers obviously want to make good money and are good at doing so.

    IF you look around carefully you can find very nice mint gear at excellent prices especially now that some people think that 36MP 35mm DSLR cameras can replace MF.

    The phase one P+ backs are built like little tanks and pretty much last for ever. Both Mamiya Leaf and Phase One offer service directly to end users and are pleasant to deal with. Going through a dealer has it's benefits if money is not an issue and time is.

    Another way to go is a high end 35mm digital and 6x7 film combination. Personally I think 6x7 and 6x8 film offers things that MF digital can't.
    That is the way I went for the majority of my work, but I have also added MF digital because I wanted to avoid bothering with renting.

    Fred, this has very little to do with medium format pricing. You are vastly over-stating the impact (and net dollar amount) of specialized dealer margins.

    Things have actually changed quite a bit over the past 4 years or so, which is not a long time in today's market, considering most professional sensor-based professional product cycles are now about 28-34 months apart. If you go back 5 years, most medium format digital products began at $20K and went up. What has happened since is that a new price category emerged ($14K - $20K) that didn't really exist before, and opportunities also were created as well at $10K and below (Pentax and Leaf at $10K, and Leaf digital backs for $8K). This is all occurred recently (relatively).

    If you consider that the top end 35mm DSLR systems are in the $7K - $8K range, and that medium format sensors are significantly larger, I don't really see why medium format should ever go any lower, at least not until the top end of what 35mm offers goes lower.


    Steve Hendrix
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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Hendrix View Post
    Fred, this has very little to do with medium format pricing. You are vastly over-stating the impact (and net dollar amount) of specialized dealer margins.

    Things have actually changed quite a bit over the past 4 years or so, which is not a long time in today's market, considering most professional sensor-based professional product cycles are now about 28-34 months apart. If you go back 5 years, most medium format digital products began at $20K and went up. What has happened since is that a new price category emerged ($14K - $20K) that didn't really exist before, and opportunities also were created as well at $10K and below (Pentax and Leaf at $10K, and Leaf digital backs for $8K). This is all occurred recently (relatively).

    If you consider that the top end 35mm DSLR systems are in the $7K - $8K range, and that medium format sensors are significantly larger, I don't really see why medium format should ever go any lower, at least not until the top end of what 35mm offers goes lower.


    Steve Hendrix
    Although it's difficult to disagree that there has been some downward price movement among MFDB, that has been the case for DSLRs also. Although the top bodies go for $6-8,000, the top sensors can be had in bodies starting at $2-3,000 (A850, A900, 5DII and D800). When it comes to functionality, the cheaper bodies have no problems competing with more or less any MF unit when it comes to functionality with the exception of modularity.

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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    Although it's difficult to disagree that there has been some downward price movement among MFDB, that has been the case for DSLRs also. Although the top bodies go for $6-8,000, the top sensors can be had in bodies starting at $2-3,000 (A850, A900, 5DII and D800). When it comes to functionality, the cheaper bodies have no problems competing with more or less any MF unit when it comes to functionality with the exception of modularity.
    When it comes to optimum image quality at low ISO, also the older medium format sensors around 20MP will beat any DSLR including D800/E. The most expensive in a digital back is the sensor itself, it is top end, designed for such and made for such. Thus it demands a higher quality control than the sensors in DSLRs. Leaf, Phase One, Hassy and Leica have tight quality control, testing and mapping of sensor during fabrication. That cost money and add to the quality. It is questionable if Pentax has same, and certainly not Nikon, Canon etc who spit out large numbers of DSLRs at a factory. That is an advantage with small series, but it also costs.

    Do I wish my Leaf was cheaper? You bet. I wish it was a tenth of the price or less. At same time (and regrettably) I also demand top notch quality, which cost. And yes, there is a very clear difference in image quality (low ISO) to a DSLR. I do not shoot high ISO but prefer ISO 50 because I wish to optimize image quality, fine details.

    Above said, Steve is right in above, it is market driven, but I am uncertain the top of line digital backs have changed much in price over the years, but it is interesting a new segment has been added which is based on older sensors that have reached higher fabrication numbers, and those sensors are darn good, e.g. the 20MP Leaf. Should the pricing lower more? It is also driven by what else is on market, e.g. top of line DSLRs. While we can of course wish, that would also mean a question from us current users, of what will our upgrade price me??? But uhg, you compare to 20-36MP dslrs in the 2-3000 USD bracket... you should take a closer look at the actual image quality of digital backs prior doing so. You can keep dreaming that they are similar in image quality to medium format, and in such case us medium format users must be a really really stupid bunch...

    It is simply different tools. If you want a small Toyota that is general tool then buy such, if you demand the high performance Porsche that sacrifice features for top end performance, then it cost extra.

    Best regards
    Anders

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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Comparing MF and 35mm will always be like comparing apples to oranges, but sometimes, and orange will do the job if it's considerably cheaper than the apple and money is a question. I was just pointing out that comparing a D3X to a Pentax 645 isn't more relevant than comparing a D800 to the Pentax. Rather the other way around actually, since the D800 is closer in megapixel count.

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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by Anders_HK View Post
    Leaf, Phase One, Hassy and Leica have tight quality control, testing and mapping of sensor during fabrication. That cost money and add to the quality. It is questionable if Pentax has same...
    I use both a Pentax and Phase One. You are right that Pentax does not have the same level of quality control. It terms of qualities such as color and noise, the Pentax files are so much better. As far as the camera design, another plus for Pentax, although the S2 is really nice.

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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    Comparing MF and 35mm will always be like comparing apples to oranges, but sometimes, and orange will do the job if it's considerably cheaper than the apple and money is a question. I was just pointing out that comparing a D3X to a Pentax 645 isn't more relevant than comparing a D800 to the Pentax. Rather the other way around actually, since the D800 is closer in megapixel count.

    The megapixel count alone does not determine the cost (or quality) of a sensor.

    Irregardless, the only motivation medium format would have to reduce pricing further would be that the price reduction would result in X times more sales than resulted from the previous price level. And if that is not likely, it is not going to happen. It can be a risky strategy. And also, that the price reduction would not negatively impact the pricing positioning of their products relative to each other. Manufacturers do not price their products solely on costs plus X amount of desirable margin. They often employ a "pricing structure strategy" for the entire product line from the top end to the bottom, as well as with respect to each product segment. This is illustrated by the relatively stable pricing levels and hierarchy of many company product lines, notably Canon, Nikon, Phase One, etc.

    Canon/Nikon mainstream professional (5D-MKII/D700): $2,500
    Canon/Nikon specialized professional (1D-MK/D3): $5,000
    Canon/Nikon top end specialized professional (1DS-MK/D3X): $8,000

    These price levels have remained fairly constant, while models at each level have updated over 2, even 3 generations, though it appears the new models from both companies are slightly re-shaping these structures.

    A similar structure is in place with medium format. Traditionally, it was:

    Medium Format Good: $20K
    Medium Format Better: $25K
    Medium Format Best: $30K

    Until the P65+, this was the maintained pricing hierarchical structure for at least several generations prior.

    With digital technology, these pricing structures will change and adjust, but will still generally stay in place for perhaps 2-3 generations, after which point it is natural that either changing costs (can be lower or higher), as well as developmental advancements will disrupt these structures. This is potentially occurring now with Canon/Nikon and has already happened with Phase One/Leaf.


    Steve Hendrix
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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Hendrix View Post

    If you consider that the top end 35mm DSLR systems are in the $7K - $8K range, and that medium format sensors are significantly larger, I don't really see why medium format should ever go any lower, at least not until the top end of what 35mm offers goes lower.


    Steve Hendrix
    You cannot compare a top end DSLR to current medium format cameras.
    An $8K 35mm DSLR is in another class. (image quality aside due to the limitations of small image capture area).
    In comparison the Medium format cameras are poor to say the least. The build of a Mamiya, Phase One and Hasselblad doesn't come close to a Canon 1Ds or Nikon 3Dx.
    If you look at functionality the top of the line DSLR cameras are simply genereations and generations ahead of MF.

    If anything you can compare MF with something like a Canon 5D mark II.
    If you compare the costs of the Canon 1ds to the Canon 5D mark II there is a huge difference in build, erganomics and reliability/durability.

    Now all that said I think that Phase/Mamiya are doing a great job considering the market they are dealing with and the fact that 35mm DSLR can satisfy most clients. It would just be nice to have a body of top of the line Canon caliber priced at about $8k or $10K and sell the current stuff at about $3k

    A camera with the build quality of a Phase One P+ back would be nice.

    A decent eye cup would be a nice start.

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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Hendrix View Post

    A similar structure is in place with medium format. Traditionally, it was:

    Medium Format Good: $20K
    Medium Format Better: $25K
    Medium Format Best: $30K
    I think it's important not to forget the 22MP sensors.
    Price point for them is pretty good. Complete camera at $10K
    The 22MP sensors with their large photosites produce fabulous files.
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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by Anders_HK View Post
    It is questionable if Pentax has same, and certainly not Nikon, Canon etc who spit out large numbers of DSLRs at a factory. That is an advantage with small series, but it also costs.
    I disagree. Canon top pf the line as well as Nikon top of the line have way higher manufacturing quality that Hasselblad, Mamiya, Phase One (bodies and lenses).
    I have owned them all. Nikon as well. My Canons have been the most reliable and consistant cameras over many years. Their service centers are also exceptional. I would love to see a n MF body engineered and built to the same standards as a Canon 1ds.

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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by jamie123 View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think the cost of medium format film cameras has gone down much either in the past 5-10 years even though no one's buying them new anymore and there's no technological improvement. A new Hasselblad A12 film back is still over $1k at B&H even though you can get them used for around $150. Also, a basic Hasselblad H2F film kit (body, 80mm lens and film back) costs $9k right now at B&H. A H4D-31 kit costs $14k so arguably your're getting the digital back for $5k which is cheaper than a ZD back was a few years ago (if I remember correctly).
    But for some reason Hasselblad can make a H4X that supports all older backs and film backs, but won't sell it other than as an upgrade product.
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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by FredBGG View Post
    I disagree. Canon top pf the line as well as Nikon top of the line have way higher manufacturing quality that Hasselblad, Mamiya, Phase One (bodies and lenses).
    I have owned them all. Nikon as well. My Canons have been the most reliable and consistant cameras over many years. Their service centers are also exceptional. I would love to see a n MF body engineered and built to the same standards as a Canon 1ds.
    +1, was referring to the sensors within the backs. Though the Leaf and also Phase One + backs have superb fabrication quality.

    Had Mamiya 645 system for nearly five years, in comparison to my Hy6 was terrible. Love my Hy6! Also had Nikon before; F100, D50 D200, I find the Hy6 camera body better fabrication quality. If only Phase One would adopt that body...

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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by Anders_HK View Post
    If only Phase One would adopt that body...
    It remains completely incomprehensible to me why Phase One is spending 2-3 years building a new body (or two new bodies) whereas through Leaf they had access to the Hy6 body...

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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by FredBGG View Post
    I think it's important not to forget the 22MP sensors.
    Price point for them is pretty good. Complete camera at $10K
    The 22MP sensors with their large photosites produce fabulous files.
    Is that why with the exception of Dan, the vast majority of MF users here jump to 40MP and larger sensors (IQ 180 users, you know who you are)

    Do I hear Napoleon complex.... all joking aside, you are absolutely right, it is GREAT pricepoint to get into DMF right now, something I might consider at the end of the year!

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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by JorisV View Post
    It remains completely incomprehensible to me why Phase One is spending 2-3 years building a new body (or two new bodies) whereas through Leaf they had access to the Hy6 body...

    If all of the information about the situation was taken into account (including publicly and non-publicly disclosed), then it would not be incomprehensible at all. Unfortunately there is often quite a bit of undisclosed information that one is not able to involve in the equation. But even with the publicly disclosed information, I don't see it as that incomprehensible if you fill in just a few blanks to paint a more complete picture of the situation.

    As to whether they could have offered the Phase One on the Hy6 during this time, I think that clearly is not in their best interest as it would detract valuable developmental time and resources away from the ongoing project.


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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by FredBGG View Post
    You cannot compare a top end DSLR to current medium format cameras.
    An $8K 35mm DSLR is in another class. (image quality aside due to the limitations of small image capture area).
    In comparison the Medium format cameras are poor to say the least. The build of a Mamiya, Phase One and Hasselblad doesn't come close to a Canon 1Ds or Nikon 3Dx.
    If you look at functionality the top of the line DSLR cameras are simply genereations and generations ahead of MF.

    If anything you can compare MF with something like a Canon 5D mark II.
    If you compare the costs of the Canon 1ds to the Canon 5D mark II there is a huge difference in build, erganomics and reliability/durability.

    Now all that said I think that Phase/Mamiya are doing a great job considering the market they are dealing with and the fact that 35mm DSLR can satisfy most clients. It would just be nice to have a body of top of the line Canon caliber priced at about $8k or $10K and sell the current stuff at about $3k

    A camera with the build quality of a Phase One P+ back would be nice.

    A decent eye cup would be a nice start.

    I'm not comparing. Medium format is more expensive to produce for many reasons. It doesn't matter how the build quality (or anything, really) compares to 35mm. The fact is it costs more to produce an equivalent net profit, regardless of the quality. Yes, it would be nice to have better build quality on the cameras (perhaps we will). But seriously, given that the entry level price of medium format is around $10K, and you're proposing $3K, don't you think your math is just a little bit ambitious Fred? Why not also make the 5D-MKII $800? As laughable as that seems, it actually would be the more likely of the two scenarios.


    Steve Hendrix
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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by JorisV View Post
    It remains completely incomprehensible to me why Phase One is spending 2-3 years building a new body (or two new bodies) whereas through Leaf they had access to the Hy6 body...
    The rights to Hy6 are with Leaf, thus in real with Phase One.

    We can mention also the lenses for Rollei system. They are hands down better than Mamiya and no less than the most legendary Hasselblads. The 80/2.8 Xenotar is the best lens I have ever owned.

    Am I biased? Prior I had Mamiya 645 AFD, ADFIII, ZD, 7II and for very short moment RZ. There is NO WAY I will be stepping back to Mamiya, their quality is not acceptable to me, although the 7II was very lovely and sharp sharp lenses. I have personally had enough of Mamiya problems and insufficiencies.

    To create a new camera from scratch for the Mamiya lens system and worse off fabrication quality than Rollei/Schneider lenses (real Schneiders made fully in Germany) indeed seem outright madness when one have rights to Hy6, which hands down is best medium format camera out there, and which takes the best and sharpest medium format lenses (not counting large format digital lenses). Unless if we count the S2 in...

    Worth to mention is that the AFi backs with rotating sensor and tilt screen works so perfect with the Hy6, a really joy to use.

    I really like and appreciate Leaf, but if there are two things I not like is for them not standing up stronger for Hy6 and the recent Mamiya leaf branding which makes mix the lesser quality Mamiya brand with stellar Leaf for branding. Leaf should stand wiser and stronger on those points in my opinion.

    Yair, in all respect and you know I very much like and appreciate Leaf, very much wish you guys could act to further Hy6 and Rollei lenses for Leaf backs. I am certain others will agree.

    Best regards,
    Anders

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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Hendrix View Post
    But even with the publicly disclosed information, I don't see it as that incomprehensible if you fill in just a few blanks to paint a more complete picture of the situation.

    Steve Hendrix
    Steve,

    What publicly disclosed information and which blanks?

    Thanks,

    Matt

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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by Anders_HK View Post
    The rights to Hy6 are with Leaf, thus in real with Phase One.

    We can mention also the lenses for Rollei system. They are hands down better than Mamiya and no less than the most legendary Hasselblads. The 80/2.8 Xenotar is the best lens I have ever owned.

    Am I biased? Prior I had Mamiya 645 AFD, ADFIII, ZD, 7II and for very short moment RZ. There is NO WAY I will be stepping back to Mamiya, their quality is not acceptable to me, although the 7II was very lovely and sharp sharp lenses. I have personally had enough of Mamiya problems and insufficiencies.

    To create a new camera from scratch for the Mamiya lens system and worse off fabrication quality than Rollei/Schneider lenses (real Schneiders made fully in Germany) indeed seem outright madness when one have rights to Hy6, which hands down is best medium format camera out there, and which takes the best and sharpest medium format lenses (not counting large format digital lenses). Unless if we count the S2 in...

    Worth to mention is that the AFi backs with rotating sensor and tilt screen works so perfect with the Hy6, a really joy to use.

    I really like and appreciate Leaf, but if there are two things I not like is for them not standing up stronger for Hy6 and the recent Mamiya leaf branding which makes mix the lesser quality Mamiya brand with stellar Leaf for branding. Leaf should stand wiser and stronger on those points in my opinion.

    Yair, in all respect and you know I very much like and appreciate Leaf, very much wish you guys could act to further Hy6 and Rollei lenses for Leaf backs. I am certain others will agree.

    Best regards,
    Anders

    For what it's worth, IMO, the Hy6 is an extremely worthy camera system and I share many of your feelings about it Anders. If it was a wholly owned and controlled (I mean from A to Z) Leaf project from the beginning, then perhaps I could see that making sense. But at that stage, it is quite likely the Mamiya investment by Phase One would not have happened anyway, and we would be discussing a moot point. The fact that the Mamiya investment did happen, should tell you some things. Given that, the road is set.

    It should not reflect poorly on Leaf or Phase One that the Hy6 project is not going forward with 100% of their support. It should reflect the reality of the situation - both at the start of the project and where it resides currently. I also will say that as much as I like the Hy6 (and everyone I've ever shown it to likes it), I feel strongly there is room for improvement. And I am optimistic that a new camera will improve on it, and perhaps even employ positive aspects of the existing Hy6 itself. We'll have no way of knowing until a new camera arrives.


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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Hendrix View Post
    I'm not comparing. Medium format is more expensive to produce for many reasons. It doesn't matter how the build quality (or anything, really) compares to 35mm. The fact is it costs more to produce an equivalent net profit, regardless of the quality. Yes, it would be nice to have better build quality on the cameras (perhaps we will). But seriously, given that the entry level price of medium format is around $10K, and you're proposing $3K, don't you think your math is just a little bit ambitious Fred? Why not also make the 5D-MKII $800? As laughable as that seems, it actually would be the more likely of the two scenarios.


    Steve Hendrix


    Why not have both? It most certainly does matter how they compare. When I first saw the mounting surface of the Phase DF to a DB, I was not impressed and remember thinking that for the $ this thing looks cheap. but I wanted a MFD sensor, so there was a compromise. Why should I compromise at these so called entry level prices? Even the top of the line DB still has to use the DF if you shoot that style and have that mount. The Hasselblad at least, seemed more robust with better quality, but none of these cameras matches the battery or functionality or weather sealing of their 35mm counterparts. Being able to put a MFDB on a tech camera or other options is most certainly useful, but it seems MFD's R/D forgot about the camera aspect. If the 5D MKII didn't have the ability to shoot HD broadcast quality video, perhaps it would only cost $800!

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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by MGrayson View Post
    Steve,

    What publicly disclosed information and which blanks?

    Thanks,

    Matt

    I don't wish to re-publicize all the information concerning it, considering it is not all positive. There's enough of it there if someone wants to find it. And as I said, it helps to have some knowledge of undisclosed information, which is not available to most, and so one is left with their own conclusions. Often there's not much a manufacturer can do about perception when it is not in their best interest pull the curtain aside. But clearly Leaf was enthusiastic about the project (as they poured tons of money into and still have holdings). And I believe Phase One appreciated the product, while their feelings about the project and the best path forward for a camera platform for the long term may not have been compatible with any enthusiasm over the product.


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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by johnnygoesdigital View Post
    Why not have both? It most certainly does matter how they compare. When I first saw the mounting surface of the Phase DF to a DB, I was not impressed and remember thinking that for the $ this thing looks cheap. but I wanted a MFD sensor, so there was a compromise. Why should I compromise at these so called entry level prices? Even the top of the line DB still has to use the DF if you shoot that style and have that mount. The Hasselblad at least, seemed more robust with better quality, but none of these cameras matches the battery or functionality or weather sealing of their 35mm counterparts. Being able to put a MFDB on a tech camera or other options is most certainly useful, but it seems MFD's R/D forgot about the camera aspect.

    There's no reason to not have both a 35mm and medium format system, in fact the vast majority of our medium format clients do indeed have both. I'm only saying that - regardless of how they compare - the developmental costs are inheritantly different, and that will dictate the pricing, along with the market (to a degree). If entry level medium format is priced at $10,000, then that is the result of development costs and what the market has indicated they will pay - in the amount of volume that will produce an acceptable profit amount. The only way price would be reduced is if production costs decreased, and/or if reducing the price would increase unit sales by such a factor as to increase the amount of profit, worst case not decrease it, but also not impact negatively on the overall pricing strategy of the manufacturer.

    Features are not typically forgotten, they are added or subtracted in the pursuit of producing a product that will be able to be sold profitably, given the development costs. In that sense, features are budgeted. There are a lot of design and implementation decisions that are also based on timing.

    Theoretical case in point, when the P65+ came out, there was an outcry over the same mediocre LCD with this nice new large sensor. It's quite possible that Phase One coud have pushed the development of a higher resolution LCD into the P65+, but perhaps that would have been at the expense of delaying the IQ product with not just the high rez LCD, but the entire re-designed chassis and touch interface. The equation of adding say, a 450K dot LCD to a P65+ vs delaying the IQ by 18 more months doesn't necessarily add up, particularly if the projections don't reinforce that the enhanced LCD for the P65+ would have increased sales by X factor (it wouldn't have) to offset the lack of revenue that an on-time launch of the IQ would produce.

    These are an example of the type of decision-making processes that can occur. It is not a matter of them thinking the camera is great as-is and doesn't need any improvement. It is a matter of what to improve and when. Of what the amount of benefit will be and what the effect the cost of the benefit for today will have on the benefits of tomorrow.


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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    I've always wondered if the delay of live view is a purely technical issue, or if it is something held back as long as possible in order to provide nice upgrades in the future.

    A live view as good as DSLR live views would be a revolution in tech camera work. No more sliding backs, no more ground glass, no more focus shifts, less need for shimming etc.

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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by torger View Post
    I've always wondered if the delay of live view is a purely technical issue, or if it is something held back as long as possible in order to provide nice upgrades in the future.

    A live view as good as DSLR live views would be a revolution in tech camera work. No more sliding backs, no more ground glass, no more focus shifts, less need for shimming etc.
    MFD cameras use CCDs which makes it a challenge to make a live view.

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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    MFD cameras use CCDs which makes it a challenge to make a live view.
    Yep, I knew that. But there have been some kind of live views in tethered mode for a while. It needs cooling down and ND filters and stuff.

    Refresh rates fast enough for focusing (perhaps hard too?), a high quality screen 640x480 would be enough. On the cooling part, perhaps run five seconds, freeze and cool 1 second (still allow scrolling around/zooming etc on the last update) and then continue new five seconds of live updates. And manual ND filter on top of that, it would be good enough to work with.

    Perhaps Phase One IQ series are there? I have not seen them so I don't know. But it will be several years before I can afford that kind of back.

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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Hendrix View Post
    I'm not comparing. Medium format is more expensive to produce for many reasons. It doesn't matter how the build quality (or anything, really) compares to 35mm. The fact is it costs more to produce an equivalent net profit, regardless of the quality. Yes, it would be nice to have better build quality on the cameras (perhaps we will). But seriously, given that the entry level price of medium format is around $10K, and you're proposing $3K, don't you think your math is just a little bit ambitious Fred? Why not also make the 5D-MKII $800? As laughable as that seems, it actually would be the more likely of the two scenarios.


    Steve Hendrix
    I am referring to the body when I say $ 3K. It's really not much more than a mirror box, focusing screen and auto focus from 10 years ago....

    The Canon 5D mark II is a complete body with sensor, better autofocus, AUTO FOCUS THAT CAN BE USER CALIBRATED and shoots video.

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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by FredBGG View Post
    I am referring to the body when I say $ 3K. It's really not much more than a mirror box, focusing screen and auto focus from 10 years ago....

    The Canon 5D mark II is a complete body with sensor, better autofocus, AUTO FOCUS THAT CAN BE USER CALIBRATED and shoots video.
    I understand. But medium format camera bodies are not typically purchased by themselves, so assigning a $3,000 value to one is a somewhat limited proposition. And actually, your price is not that far off Fred, when you consider that buying a Phase One/Mamiya DF Camera Body is list priced $5,990, but when bundled with Leaf or Phase One digital backs, the pricing ranges from $2,000 - $4,000, depending on which digital back, and this includes a lens as well. And that is the dominant method for which medium format camera bodies are purchased (at least DF bodies).


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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by FredBGG View Post
    I am referring to the body when I say $ 3K. It's really not much more than a mirror box, focusing screen and auto focus from 10 years ago....

    The Canon 5D mark II is a complete body with sensor, better autofocus, AUTO FOCUS THAT CAN BE USER CALIBRATED and shoots video.
    Alpas are just chucks of machined metal and are more expensive. Comparing unrelated products and markets to each other does not really give an answer. It is simply an error folks make who work outside a particular industry--do amateurs have a realistic view of professional photography? Why can't a professional photographer shoot a wedding for a $100--$100 a day and to have free food is a great deal. Why aren't shot rates determined by the camera a photographer uses--the camera cost the same, so why do I pay more to Arnold Newman vs. Sears? Why is commissioned photography more expensive than stock? Surely if a stock agency sells an image for a dollar, then all images are worth a dollar.

    One thing I do know, photographers have no idea about pricing in the photographic manufacturing business.
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    Re: Digital Medium Format pricing

    I don't use medium format to shoot video- if I did I'd go RED.

    Saying that a MF Body is nothing more than a "mirror box, focusing screen and auto focus ..." is a very simplistic viewpoint. Let's not forget the small computer hidden inside that drives everything including the interface to the digital back and on this I'm over simplifying...

    There's a need and use for both types of systems and for the life of me I can't understand why people continue to try to compare the two. I have this vision of someone pounding a round peg in a square hole. Their different for a reason.

    We have three systems here; a 1DsIII and a P65+ which goes on a Phase DF and Cambo WRS body. All three take beautiful images as long as we do our part. The 1DsIII is used as my wife's primary camera for landscape and occasional wildlife. It works for her. I use the Cambo well over 90% for landscape and the DF is used for landscape and wildlife. Actually I use the DF when I'm too lazy to set the Cambo up.

    Again, if I wanted/needed to shoot video in a medium format setting I'd have gone RED a long time ago. So for me I hope Phase never gets there.

    Going back to the thought of an integrated system (body and sensor combined). Again, no thank you. I shoot landscape in various conditions, very cold to very hot. Sand, blowing sand, snow, sleet and combinations of blowing stuff. This can make for a dirty sensor no matter how careful I try to be. The fact that I can remove the back completely from the body is a godsend to me. It's so much easier to clean the sensor than any 35mm I've ever used. Sandy's 1DsIII has that auto clean function which works well 95% of the time however I feel I need a clean room the other 5%.

    Okay money talks and bullstuff walks. The cost of a 1DsIII is around $7,000 and than includes all the bells and whistles (sensor). The cost of a DF is just about the same and lacks the sensor. The digital back is in the neighborhood of a car. Yes, there's a huge difference in price. Equally so is the huge difference in image quality (again if you do your part). I just had an inquiry on a huge wall mural for an office. The person calling liked 2-images and wanted to see if either or both would fit their wall. Sadly one of the images they liked was shot with the 1DsIII (print offered at 50x30) however the other was from the P65+(print offered at 60x30). Guess which they ended up liking better for the project? Guess which image paid the entire cost of the DF body?

    Anyone want to ask me why I continue to shoot MF? Certainly medium format is costly. I made the switch to medium format around 6 years ago and have never regretted it.

    Don

    We recently sold 9-images. 7 were medium format. All 9 were landscape and wildlife with one being licensed for a new website.
    Last edited by Don Libby; 1st March 2012 at 10:33. Reason: Just another thought..
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