Interesting: just last night I was talking to a photographer co-worker. His doesn't shoot film anymore, but he used to be hardcore 4x5. I told him about MF digibacks but he didn't believe me - until he looked up the prices and nearly passed a brick. WTF?! Why is it so expensive?! on and on he went.
Makes me think back to the $100 RB67 I saw a month ago. $100 for the RB, $5 for a roll of film and $5 for developing.
Compared to $20,000+ for just a back.
The problem I see with the current digital medium format cameras is not only the price, but the price in relation to the estimated life time of the product. The classic Hasselblads and Rolleis (and don´t forget about the lenses) also did cost a lot of money back then, but a mechanical medium format camera, or any well made mechanical camera, will work without problems if well maintained, regardless of age. On the other hand I do not expect a current Hasselblad H4D to be useable in another 10 or 15 years. The sensor or some other electronic part will fail and the whole thing will be beyond repair. I cannot imagine that Hasselblad will be able to deliver a sensor as a replacement part for cameras that are then 10+ years out of production. This is the real scam imho.
Yes, this is the real problem with digital photography. With film cameras the sensor is updated constantly so a 50 or 100 year old camera can use modern film for much better pictures than it could take. Old film images can be scanned with today's scanners for a better images than you could have scanned 10 years ago. With digital, the day you buy it the sensor is as good as it will ever be (firmware upgrades notwithstanding) and the moment you take a picture the result is frozen in time, a higher resolution image can never be derived from it.
Film formats go out of production, then you have to cut it yourself which is annoying but try cutting a 60x45mm sensor down to 36x24mm...
I do use digital, it is simply faster for a lot of jobs where I need to produce results that afternoon. Film used to give me this but today it does not; I suppose if all I did was photography then I could shoot, process it and have results this afternoon but aside from Polaroid or other instant film I couldn't have results in 5 minutes which I can with digital. That is digital's advantage, it is available right now but that is also its downfall for it is obsolete the moment after!
Another related issue is 'function creep' whereby older equipment becomes obsolete because it cannot function in a future environment. Even without physical failure, there's a chance of functional failure - you can't do anything with the files in 10-15 years time because no one can make use of them.
That's true too. A faded photograph can still be seen but I have 'faded' mag storage I cannot read which is much younger. Microfiche and good archival prints will last longer that most mag and even DVD storage. Even if the DVD lasts, will there be a reader for it when my grandchildren open the shoebox in the attic? You must constantly backup and move forward all your digital media and it is vulnerable. Prints and negs/chromes are too of course but in different ways.
This is going a little off topic, but I think the big problem is the 'delete' button. I'm a historian by trade and we fear a future where the quality of our data will be much reduced. Government files will always be backed up but what of the shoebox it the attic full of letters written hundreds of years ago, forgotten photos, old dairies. Nobody writes anymore they email and blog and then they get bored and delete the lot, same with photos - only the dedicated snapper backs up, most photos never leave the mobile they were taken on. I often wonder where our future material will come from.