The field type of large format camera photographed below --an old Linhof 5x4 Technika IV film camera --- is very much the opposite of the automation of the modern, medium format digital camera, with their possibilities of auto image stacking, stitching, automatic perspective correction, and sharp lenses that go in the direction that folks call 'clinical'. With the Linhof everything is manual. Nothing is automatic. It is rudimentary equipment albeit (albeit over-engineered) and it's slow photography.
The Linhof does offer a different kind of photographic experience --a more contemplative one--as well as a different aesthetic in that it enables the extended toe and shoulder of sheet film.
With the advances in digital technology the world of medium format digital cameras has changed and, with the 33x44mm cropped medium format 50 megapixels digital cameras --(eg., Pentax 645Z, Fujifilm's GFX and Hasselblad 1XD), are now within people's financial grasp. These cameras, especially the Fujifilm GFX and the Hasselblad X1D, are attractive options as they avoid the need for the expensive digital back the Linhof Techno needs, have lightweight bodies, smallish lenses, rich and full quality files, and are able to be carried around in the field. They also avoid the pitfalls of second hand digital backs.
The 100mp CMOS Sony sensor versions of these digital medium format cameras are expected around 2019. This basically means much better image quality and increased dynamic range. Sony currently provides these for the top of the line Phase One and Hasselblad 53.4x40mm.cameras, but these require a $26,000-$40, 000 investment. Despite the advances in sensor technology these top of the line digital cameras still have a smaller image format than the square format of the old medium format film cameras. So we are talking about cropped digital medium format.
What is starting to happen though is that people are now moving away from using both their 5x4 film cameras like my Linhof Technika as well as upgrading from their 35mm DSLR's to digital medium format, for their product photography, fashion and architecture. Many are now willing to make the $15, 000 minimum investment that is required to acquire a medium format digital camera in spite of their current limitations with respect to functionality (eg.,shallow DOF and low light performance). They find the high level, micro-contrast of the modern lenses attractive, whereas I still find them too clinical.
My own step into 21st century technology is a limited one. I will update my APS-C "35mm" digital Sony NEX-7 camera (it has a crop factor 1.5 or 1.6) by investing in a full frame Sony --a Sony A7r111 coupled to a Leica 35mm lens--- for my hand held, walk about photography. Even though large format is difficult to work with on location and cumbersome to use, I will continue to use both medium and large format film cameras for all the tripod work. I really have no need to invest in a medium format digital camera at this stage.