I won't tell you that you're wrong...in fact I think you've hit the nail pretty squarely on the head. The price of the Zeiss camera reflects the Hasselblad distribution and advertising costs as well as the cost of Zeiss' involvement in the project.

The question for me, though, is what the real value of the camera is compared to the other options that are available. Leica, for example, makes absolutely wonderful cameras with magnificent lenses...but part of the reason the prices are so high is the "boutique" factor. (Before Leicaphiles come crashing down on me, you'll have to explain to me how the "roll your own Lecia for a zillion dollars" program is anything but proof of the boutique factor involved in Leica marketing.) Cosina has proven that you can build a capable camera that will mount Leica lenses for a whole lot less money...a market that Leica could have easily exploited if it would not have endangered the "image" of the Leica camera. With the new Zeiss-Ikon, you're not only paying for the R&D and QA, but you're also paying for the Zeiss name and the Hasselblad distribution network. These costs are, to me, non-value added. As a consumer (especially as a consumer who's interested in products in a quickly shrinking market space), the additional costs involved in using Hasselblad as a distributor for the new camera are absolutely a waste to me. You can bet that at least a couple hundred of the dollars of the Zeiss-Ikon price are to support Hasselblad's involvement. What's that really worth to you?

With the G-series Contax cameras, Kyocera delivered a rock-solid body that could mount lenses that are the equal of the Leica lenses on any meaningful test...for a whole lot less money. The price when they were introduced may not have been cheap, but it wasn't considered outrageous either. Hasselblad, on the other hand, has the wonderful XPan camera that they can't seem to sell very many of because of the high cost. The XPan R&D costs were recovered a long time ago...but the body does say Hasselblad on it so the price of the camera remains high. Since there's no viable alternative, they continue to sell enough XPans to justify having the camera in their line...but the first company that comes along with a camera that's 80% as good as the XPan for 50% of the price will wipe out the XPan market. (On another note: Had Kyocera managed to deliver a digital Contax G-series camera, I believe that they'd still be holding on to the Contax license today. It was their inability to exploit the advantage of the Zeiss glass on a digital camera that cost them their place in the photographic business. But that's a story for another time.)

Given that you want 28mm bright lines and a long baseline, you're kind of stuck for a camera that meets your needs. But if you're correct about Cosina taking the work of others and incorporating it into their bodies (and I think you're absolutely right), then I imagine it won't be too long until there's a Bessa-badged body that will meet your needs for a whole lot less money. The Zeiss camera will have the cachet of the Zeiss name...that and a dollar will buy you a cup of coffee. (Note: I never buy a camera as an "investment"...I buy cameras to use. If re-sale value is important to you, then having the Zeiss name on the body might be worth something to you. We won't know that until the camera's been on the market for a while.)

You mentioned that the price of the Bessa cameras was kept artificially low in the US because they didn't have a standard distribution network. I think this is a great thing. The day of high-volume sales in the film camera business is over. Having regional salesmen go into stores to schmooze the managers into buying their equipment was a model that worked very well in the 1960's and '70s...but those days are long gone. A minimalist distribution network that keeps prices low is the right way to distribute cameras today. Let's face it...new film camera sales won't support the parade of salespeople from store to store any longer. Removing the non-value added steps from the supply chain makes good business sense. Adding non-value added steps to the supply chain is a sure way to make sure someone else can beat you on price. Cosina has done it with the Bessa line, and given that Zeiss is involving Hasselblad in the ZI network means that Cosina will continue to do it.

Again, the ZI looks like a fabulous camera on paper, and the lenses will almost certainly be among the best that money can buy. But paying for the cameras and lenses is one thing...paying for an unnecessary distribution and advertising network is quite another. If I was really interested in a new rangefinder, I'd wait a year to see what Cosina does next. Past behavior predicts future behavior...they'll take whatever they can from the ZI camera for their next generation of Bessa cameras.