2017 Goal :: Simplify My Gear · DEDPXL


2016 was one of my busiest years of my career and at least 80% of my work was done on location. I flew just shy of 80,000 miles last year and drove just over 17,000 miles for work all while packing cameras and lights and all the rest of it.

Traveling is stressful as it is but last year my life was far too stressful because my gear has splintered into multiple systems, adapters, triggers, and the like. I have got to get this shit under control and that means simplifying. If it hasn’t been used in the last year then it’s gone. If I cursed at it last year then it’s gone. If I used it once then it’s probably gone. If I kept using one thing wishing I had a different option for it then it’s gone.

I’d love to get to a point in my life where I have one bag of cameras and one bag of lights and that’s it. My ultimate utopian fantasy is two X100’s and four clamp lights with dimmers on them. Unfortunately that is not an option for the work I do.

Cameras ::

Currently I have two systems: The Phase One XF100 and my Fuji cameras. With the recent launch of the Fuji GFX I am really chomping at the bit to add that to my medium format bag. Yet, that goes against my desire to simplify. That’s introducing another system. Another lens selection. Another set of batteries and chargers. I can’t tell you how much I hate charging batteries. I have another post just on that coming up.

My current Phase One kit has the 80mm LS (leaf shutter), 55mm LS, and 150mm along with two extension tubes. I believe I’m going to trade in my 150mm and my extension tubes for the 120mm macro and add a 35mm AF. I was fortunate enough to borrow the Phase One 40-80mm LS for a few months and I absolutely love that lens. It’s amazing but that effing lens runs about $10,000. [Insert blank face emoji.] I’d rather put $10,000 into a GFX kit.

Why I want the GFX ::

My only backup solution to my Phase is my Xpro2. It can get the job done but when you are hired to shoot medium format it would be nice to have a medium format as a backup if needed. There are times I’d like a smaller medium format kit and I think the GFX and the Fujinon GF32-64 will be a perfect solution for that. Plus, I think that setup will fit perfectly into an open spot in my Phase case. I’ve yet to shoot with the GFX but I have handled the pre-production units and I’m sold. I *think* I’m getting a loaner soon. I’ll post about that if it happens.

I could sell my Phase XF kit and buy two GFX bodies and all the lenses. I could. I won’t though. That Phase XF. OMG. I’m editing a video about that camera this week. It’ll be up soon. I am NOT selling my XF.

I could sell ALL my Fuji gear and buy the GFX and the new X100F. I have thoughtfully considered that and it is still an option on the table. I love the Xpro2 though so I’d want to keep that and the 23, 35, and 56. Yet… I use the 10-40 a lot and the 50-140 2.8 was indispensable on a number of shoots last year.

Simplify Zack. Simplify. Zen. Flow like water. All that shit.

Full Phase kit. GFX for back up. X100F with wide and tele adapters? Rent other stuff as needed? That sounds good too. That Xpro2 though. I do love that camera so much. I’ve shot a lot of stuff with it. But damn… once you shoot medium format you want EVERYTHING to be medium format. ALL of my personal work in the last year has been shot medium format and there’s no going back from the 645 100MP sensor. There just isn’t.

Breathe, Zack. Breathe. Simplify.

The Phase is just not a run-n-gun camera. The GFX nor the Phase have the lenses on the wide side or telephoto side that I need at times that the Xpro2 has. So, one step at a time. Finish out my Phase kit. Pair down my Fuji kit. Hold on buying the x100f. Save up for the GFX and the one zoom lens. Do that for awhile and see what happens.

Lights ::

My current lights are a mix of Alien Bees, Einsteins, Phottix Indras (1 500 and 1 360), Phottix Mitros+, and Lumopro LP180’s. That’s three different mounts, speedrings, two trigger systems, etc, etc, etc. Screw all that mess. That’s all coming to an end and this is how I’m going to deal with it.

My son, Caleb, has been shooting a lot in the last year and he’s a 95% studio photographer. Check out his Instagram. Stupid kid. He’s going to kick my ass soon. #ProudDad. So… I’m leaving all the Alienbees stuff in the studio and they stay in the studio and they no longer hit the road with me.

I’ve been traveling with one Phottix Indra 500 for over a year now alongside Alienbee stuff. I wanted to make a complete switch to the Indra system but I needed to make sure they survive living in checked bags, the batteries could get me through a full shoot day, and I needed to financially be able to afford it. I’ve added an Indra 360 in the last year as well as two Mitros+ flashes. I’m in plenty of situations where I need hotshoes and strobes and the Phottix gear has been great. The ONLY reason I went with the Mitros+ over the Lumopro 180’s is because I can trigger the Indras and the Mitros with the Phottix Stratos II triggers. This means, for the first time in years, I’m traveling without Pocket Wizards and sync cords.

I’m no longer packing sync cords! No more pocket wizards hanging from my lights! One trigger to rule them all! That’s some zen right there. All I need is one more Indra 500 to complete my lighting kit. I regularly need two strobes. Sometimes I need three so I need that third 500 for those cases and to be a backup to the 500 and 360. I also need Phottix to make a universal trigger that will control power across all the lights. I hear that’s in development.

There’s four reasons I moved to Phottix:

• One trigger to rule them all. Hotshoe AND strobes. That was the number one reason.

• The Bowens mount. The Paul C Buff mount has always been kind of cheap and shitty but nothing some gaff tape couldn’t handle if light was spilling where it shouldn’t. The Bowens mount cleans all of that up and is a more sturdy solution overall.

• The Phottix color is cleaner overall at all power levels. It’s clean, consistent, and syncs well with the leaf shutter lenses of the Phase.

• The build quality is great and the batteries pack smaller than Vagabond II batteries and will last all day for me. With the new FAA rules, I carry on all of my batteries and the Phottix batteries are smaller and lighter than Vagabond batteries.

The downside to the Phottix system is that the most powerful strobe is 500 w/s but, honestly, I haven’t run into an issue yet where I ran out of power with the Indra. The other downside is the need for a $300 AC adapter if you want to run the lights off wall power. If you want to run Alienbees on battery power then you need a $240 battery so… Tit for tat. It all works out. Better build quality, cleaner light, Bowens mount, one trigger. All is well.

All of this, plus accessories, pack into my Think Tank Logistics Manger 30 quite nicely. I do wish Bowens reflectors stacked as neatly as AB reflectors but whatevs. It’s all good.

All the rest of the shit ::

My light stand bag is another mess but I have just ordered some gear that I haven’t fully tested yet so I’ll make that another post.

Final thoughts ::

I could build one bag that has an Xpro2 with the 23, 35, and 56 lenses along with an X100. I could add two or three hotshoe flashes and be done. That could all fit into one bag and it would be enough to do so much. The issue is medium format. Once you shoot it. Once you nail something in medium format. GD. There’s no going back. I’ve known about the GFX system for some time. I knew it was coming when I upgraded to the Phase XF and I still upgraded, at a significant cost, to the XF and I couldn’t be happier.


But then there’s the whole zen thing I seek. Is it a nice thought but not a feasible option? Xpro2. X100. Three lenses. Three flashes. One bag.

Stuff that keeps me awake. Trying to find the signal in all of this noise.

I hope all of you are well! What do y’all think of all this bullshit? Hit me up in the comments. I’ll be replying.


PS – I’m not sponsored by any of these companies.

Zack Arias

A full time commercial and editorial photographer, Zack shoots everything from bands to CEOs to ad campaigns. A gifted teacher and communicator, he has an uncanny ability to meet and connect with all types of people.

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  1. Veronica Bahns

    This is a great post. I am always trying to get to one bag. Very hard to do. My vision is to walk in and out with a pelican case and a light stand, get my job done in a kick ass style (still working on my kicking ass & my style) and not look like a clumsy fool packing too much gear.
    As always, thanx for your honest posts.

  2. David arthur

    If all this stuff is working for you then why get rid of it? The only reason to me that makes sense to get rid of it is that you aren’t using it. If it’s getting used then keep it. Who cares how much there is. I see the benefit of keeping minimal when traveling but if it all gets used for one money making project or another then it’s beneficial to keep.

    • Zack Arias

      1) The more stuff I have the more I second guess what to pack. The more stress. Do I need the 90 or should I take the 50-140? I’ll probably only need the 56 but I better cover my ass…. etc.

      2) Stuff I’m not using is money sitting on a shelf that could be used elsewhere.

      3) If it causes noise, for whatever reason, ditch it!


      • Rick Lohre

        Amen to the second guessing! And the $$ Yup! I have recently started trying to “Minimalize” a la Joshua Becker and The Minimalists guys…it’s really been a challenge but has definitely helped me hone in on what I’m doing and why.

      • iau

        1) Agree totally!

        2) Yes, but I have a tendency to change my mind. Must have had 6 different x100-cameras and have lost count on how many 14mm or 27mm I have bought and sold (very low resale value on Fuji because of the promotions). The same goes for “bird-lenses” for my Nikons – sell them when I realize I don’t shoot birds anymore but every second Spring I get the urge to go out and shoot some more ducks…

        3) Agree.

  3. Olivier

    1/ you need and love MF and the phase one is great : keep it
    2/ you need a cheaper MF backup : take the Fuji gfx
    3/ get rid of xpro2 and x100 and buy the new x100 with the 2 conversion lenses

    • Zack Arias

      That is a good option right there. Except the times I need that 10-24 and the 50-140. I need them enough to justify owning instead of renting. I think. I think I do. Serious considerations to be had.

      I could keep all of it! But it starts to become noise. Always looking to keep signal.


      • Ben

        Stick the stuff you think you need in a bag with a lock on it. Keep the Key somewHere awkward so it takes a couple of mins to get it. Make it a bit inconvenient to get the gear, but not impossible. If you find you still go to the trouble and use it, you need it. If you make do without, then you don’t and can sell it. It’s what I do when decluttering.

        • Francophotos

          Genius! will do! thanks Zack!

      • Lainer

        Jesus, Zack! You just explained my whole dilemma. I use different gear, for different reasons. I’m not a Pro, but consider myself an artist. I’ve used all types of gear over the years and I understand the whole anxiety issue when I am about to leave the house with gear. Add to this, I’m older, my eyesight is terrible, and my back and neck are pretty much toast. So, going heavier into medium format, (which I love but can’t afford the digital versions, isn’t an option. I sold off all my Rolleiflexes because I couldn’t even see with a Maxwell Screen! I used to use 645 Mamiyas and RB & RZ67 back in the day. That’s like carrying a car engine. Ugh! Nowadays I use certain gear for certain things, even though the sensor sizes are kind of a joke, they still produce big enough prints, but the bodies are smaller for ease of carry.

        On the one hand my favorite camera to carry everywhere is the Ricoh GR with its sharp 28mm lens and APS-C sensor. It’s an artist’s dream camera, but it has no OVF/EVF. It’s fixed lens. No zoom. But it is compact and easy for me to carry. I had Sigma DP2M and DP3M Merrill cameras, which are small, no viewfinders, eats batteries, can’t shoot in anything but low ISO, but the Foveon Sensor was so awesome compared to everything else out there in that size. APS-C sensors but hard to see with no viewfinder. I Sold the DP2M, kept the 75mm equivalent DP3M. I still use a Leica D-Lux 4 due to its CCD small sensor. The lens is sharp and the B&W and color photos are sublime. No Viewfinder and slow as molasses to use now. Can’t shoot in high ISO without it looking like crap on screen, but the prints look fine up to 8X10. I bought the Sony RX100V because of the video capabilities, the nice Zeiss Zoom, and the viewfinder! It only has a 1 inch sensor, but the files hold up nicely to 8X10. It’s compact and easy to carry everywhere, but files aren’t as sharp to me as the Ricoh GR with bigger sensor, but there is always a compromise of features for size. I have had a few Fuji cameras. I couldn’t use the Fuji X-Pro 1 because I need the EVF for my eyes. I can’t tell if things are sharp. I have the little Fuji X-T10 and may upgrade to the X-T20 or X-T2 for the hardier body. I currently only have the 35mm F/2 WR Lens, but will add the 10-24mm, and maybe the 16mm or 23mm. I still have the Nikon D90 camera with a few lenses, but I hardly use it unless I need it for fast moving subjects. I actually use the X-T10 for that and have had no problem. (I used to shoot sports manually with film cameras back in the day.) I sold all of my medium format gear except for toy Holgas. I only use them for the CineFilm and B&W now. I still have nice film cameras that I use as well. I still shoot Impossible Project & Fujifilm Instant in my SX70 and Polaroid Land Camera. I even do pinhole!

        I would like to just use the digital Fuji and some lenses and sell everything else, but the Sigma DP3M does better in landscape photography. I blew up files with both X-T series and DP Merrill and the Foveon sensor just shows so much more details and the dynamic range for the B&W seems more realistic looking, (like film) to me. The Foveon files also have that Kodachrome slide layered look. I can’t explain it. So I am hesitant to give it up due to how magnificent the prints come out. The Fuji is nice, and the lenses are sharp, but I use that as a more all around camera. The little Sony is great for video, selfies, and zoom, the Ricoh for 28mm street, the Leica for 1:1 ratio square shots. So, my gear choices are all over the damn place, but for me as an artist, each camera has something positive which is why I keep it. But also, each has something missing that I wish it had. Swear to God, it makes me want to quit photography altogether due to the manufacturers who purposely leave shit out so you have to keep buying or upgrading to finally get that good fit. I don’t think it will ever happen. Each camera does something different. I can’t get around it. At least my gear is small. As frustrating as that is in how each camera is a pain to use and lacking in some way, I find it a challenge to get good art out of them. I kind of have to have it that way. If it’s too easy, I don’t feel inspired. It’s a “damned if you do, and damned if you don’t” situation.

        I am not a pro, I do take my art seriously. If I were to ever delve into medium format again, it would have to be in film as the digital gear is way out of my league and I don’t shoot for hire.

        Put another way: I have 4 guitars. That sounds like a lot. The Fender Strat is the electric guitar. The Smaller acoustic is for a more pronounced finger style sound, the 12 string is for a bright treble sound and the Dreadnought 6 string is for a boomier strumming sound. There is no way around it. Matter of fact, if I were to add a Les Paul, it would have a warmer more sustaining sound than the Strat. I could also add an acoustic jazz or electric jazz guitar to that. Even having said all that, each guitar sounds different, even within the same models! Argh!

        • Lainer

          Oh, and I won’t even go into the amount of Leica Gear I had and sold. Jesus.

  4. Olivier

    Oh ….. you should consider the last hasselblad ( portable and leaf shutter )

    • Zack Arias

      I seriously looked at it before upgrading my XF and found I really didn’t care for it. I’m hoping Fuji will come out with a Phase/Mamyia adapter like they have with the H adapter. That would be awesome!


  5. Leonil Pepingco

    Loved the post.

    This whole Zen thing is the reason I have yet to abandon my Canon and elinchrom synergy I got going. Oje trigger, no cords, all in two bags, one for cameras, lenses and hotshot, the other for lights and stands and battery and I can go almost anywhere.

    But my biggest issue is I also have a Leica M I want to take, and Olympus PEN EP5 I want to take, a Polaroid I want to take, a Canon XC10 I want to use to film and now I want the new Fuji GFX medium format system. I will probably sell this to just stay in Canon full frame, but Fuji medium format keeps calling me, but there is no way I can afford the lenses and the body and maintain my business to upgrade the body after a few generations.

    Your post is inspiring and I will just stick to Canon and Elinchrom and stick to two bags and have my Leica M as my personal camera when I’m not working or when I want full frame (ibhave yet to upgrade my 7D to a 5D so my Leica is the only FF I own and I’m stuck at ISO 3200 or below no matter what I do, lest I upgrade)

    • Zack Arias

      Stick with what you know and what works! But I get it. I want to vlog more so there’s more shit to carry. UGH. We’ll figure it out one day!


      • Chris Law

        GFX does HD video. Sell the GH4s and become the first MF vlogger?

        • Zack Arias

          Hahahaha! MF’n vlogger!


        • Maurice

          Don´t forget, there is the lovely GH5 around 😛

  6. Chris

    Good to see that the x100 stays in all possible scenarios for you too. I think every personally meaningful photo I have made since 2011 was with this camera.

  7. William Payne

    Whatever makes you happy my friend, follow the happiness.

  8. Alan Rideout

    Having read nearly everything you’ve written, and watched nearly all video content you’ve produced, I’m going to offer you something *different* to consider. I think you’re having trouble “seeing from where you stand.” I could be WAY off base here, but I’m gonna write it out anyway… Questions to answer: Are you going to the Fuji’s in situations where the Phase isn’t *working* for your vision? Or where the Phase meets it’s limits of versatility? -OR- Are you shooting Fuji for some jobs, and Phase for others?
    Clearly the MF’s are where you want to be, I think not only based on shooting, but based on final result, as it should be. Could it perhaps be more of a question of seeking/taking more jobs you KNOW can/should be completed with MF? Maybe the gear isn’t to blame. Maybe, just maybe, the solution is a more drawn out road, to a place where YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY is able to be completed entirely by medium format. This perhaps further complicates your solution to this issue, but might be something to consider, or another perspective nonetheless.

    • Zack Arias

      That’s a great perspective Alan. I think in some way I’m going that direction but it will take some time to get there.


      • Francophotos

        Zack! I do quite a lot of artwork report and oil painting for fancy expensive artwork collector museum and i was wondering what’s your input about the 14 bit color depth of the GFX, I was seriously disappointed when i read on their website the they didn’t choose to go 16 bit. Ain’t you upset they are robbing us from millions of color shades and tones???

  9. Craig Ferguson

    If it were me, I’d group my gear into 3 categories.
    1 – gear used for commissioned work
    2 – gear used for personal work that is portfolio or marketing bound (in the loosest sense)
    3 – gear used just for fun when there’s no or almost no likelihood of work stemming from it.

    Look at 1 and 2 together as a group from a business perspective and simplify as needed, and then look at 3 separately from a hobbyist perspective. Of course, if everything overlaps then not of my random internet advice will work. 🙂

    • Zack Arias

      1 and 2 are one and the same as far as gear goes.


  10. Christopher

    I’m right there with you zack! I’ve been shooting with the xt1 and three lenses and the x100t, then I got into shooting a hasselblad 501c. I don’t have the funds for digital medium format but this will do for now. I used to bring all three cameras with me for a job and sometimes my other 35mm film cameras. Not to mention carry loads of film with me. I found it was more stressful having too many options. I’m considering selling all keep the x100t and get a gfx kit. I really want everything I need in a small shoulder bag and be done. Less is more right?

    P.s. I think I remember you saying in an old old video, “work with what you got”

  11. adam

    i’m seriously thinking of getting rid of my xe2 and assorted lenses and just go with the x100f and two conversion lenses – that set up, with the digital ‘zoom’ makes a nine lens system. and with the work i do thats more than enough.

    may even ditch the x70 and its conversion lens too. leaving me with a battered but trusty x100s, that will be backup to an x100f.

    • Zack Arias

      That’s a beautiful kit right there. Simple. Easy.


    • Adam

      I’m considering this too, but I hate to lose the weather sealing of the XPRO 2 and lenses.

  12. Andrew Feller

    Sounds like you want to keep the small Fuji kit for you, and buy the MF Fuji kit for work. Why can’t the MF Fuji kit fill your “you” needs? Totally keep an x100 around (x100F is currently on my GAS list, but I just can’t justify the $ right now), but truly why have the Xpro2 with a bunch of lenses when the x100F and converters would, in all honesty, fill the same need in less space for less money? The GFX looks like a great system (dare I say run and gun possible?) and I am sure a wide something is on the horizon… but also why not get that one 35mm wide lens to fit the phase and be set there, GFX for backup and when you want/have to go smaller, and x100F for you.

    I’ve been doing this dance myself for the last month… mainly with lights though.

    For my needs the Canon 5dIV has been a great investment, likely adding another sooner than later to upgrade the B camera (6d). I’m 99% done buying glass, no one is ever done buying glass, but I can honestly say I have 125% of the glass I need to do the jobs and personal projects.

    Light has been another matter.

    I started with speed lights, slowly upgrading and learning that ganging a pile of them to fight the sun what an expensive endeavor…. so I bought 2 einsteins. I love them, so much that I now have 4 and more modifiers than I have ever used… seriously, I have 2 mods I have never used because they came with as part of a deal. All well and good but they have been terrible to travel with for what I was doing last year, so I also have 4x Canon 600s and tried every speed light modifier that collapse every which way imaginable…. Still unsatisfied… 2 weeks ago I caved in and bought a Profoto B2 2 head kit (used, because Profoto$). I am in still in the honeymoon stage so I am not sure if its love or lust yet. I love that its small, durable, and enough power for 75% of my situations (so a B1 is likely on the horizon, or maybe a D2 because AC power is a nice option… B2 can charge and shoot but not the B1?… but “why tho”?). I so wanted to give the Indra a go, but no one around me stocks them, no photo friends near me use the system (great for when you need something and can’t rent b/c its Saturday night and you are shooting on Sunday), and on paper it didn’t look like a solution to my size/weight on the go issue I really wanted to solve….

    What I am getting at here is this…. Why I finally caved was taking a step back after wasting 3 full work days “researching” and lying to my self that it was for work (reading Q&A again and a few dedpxl post helped me find some signal.) I had to take a hard look as to why I spent 8 months trying to fit my Einsteins into my speed light shaped hole… cough… What is the work that was paying the bills and what is the work that is for “me”/the ego/the goal clients I don’t have yet, how do I work, what problem does having all these tools solve, what benefits the client (on site process), and most of all what makes my job easier.

    • Zack Arias

      It’s enough to drive you mad and want to sell it all and buy clamp lights isn’t it?

      Where are your lights? These right here. 🙂


      • Andrew Feller

        Its funny you should say that… I might be guest teaching at a local high school in a couple weeks and I literally plan to bring a single clamp light and a piece of foam core and say “go forth… you have everything you need”

        Hope your keeping up with your yoga BTW… I fell off my practice for a bit, but back up to once a week again and the state of my sanity is much better. That hour to “not think” has been important to me.

  13. Brandon Larkin

    Hey Zack,

    Love the goal. One thing: wouldn’t you be able to do all the control via Odin II triggers?

    • Fred Windholz

      Hi Brandon, I’ll pipe in on that. The Odin II will only control lights in the Nikon, Canon or Sony Odin system ( Mitros+, Indra or a Nikon or Canon flash on an Odin receiver). However the Odin II transmitter will trigger any Strato or Staro II receiver.

    • Zack Arias

      Odin’s won’t fire on any camera but a dedicated Canon, Nikon, or Sony at this point. They will control the power but then they won’t fire. Maddening.


      • Steve

        The future is coming….

  14. adam

    as much as i’d love to have a GFX its a little too far out of my reach.

    hopefully at WPPI next month, i’ll be able to borrow one from fuji for a day and go around shooting displays of wedding props, bored models, pregnant bride gowns, and people trying to grab as much swag as possible in the expo. last year they trusted me with an xpro2 – all i did then was walk around and shoot everything of interest in acros.

  15. Tim

    I’m an an enthusiast not a pro, tempted by the 645 format, but terrified of the pain of dealing with the files. What kind of computer do you have to have to get reasonable photo-editing performance?

    • Zack Arias

      I have a two year old Macbook I use on location and an R2D2 Mac pro at the studio. A decent computer from the last two years will be able to handle the files. It’s easier than when I’m editing 4k video. Until I start stitching nine or more images together. Then every computer I have tells me to f*ck off. That’s the slow part.


      • Adam

        Assuming you’re using photoshop and Lightroom, do you have a dedicated external drive as the Photoshop/Lightroom scratch disk?

        It helps with working with large files.

        And speeds up both applications.

      • Romero

        I’m guessing you’re using the 2015 MacBook Pro w/ the dedicated graphics card? Did you buy that brand new or used? Bummer because Apple stopped selling the 2015 MacBook Pro w/ the graphics card brand new and I’m trying to find that model of the MacBook Pro but never purchased a laptop used before..

        • Zack Arias

          I bought a used mid 2015 MBP 15″ fully loaded for $1,500.

  16. paul reitano

    GEAR, blah blah blah. I’ve missed you. How’s your damn yoga practice going?
    By the way, that very brief service you offered a couple years ago, the one where you did portfolio reviews for the completely unsustainable price of $100, was the single best investment I made in photography. I knew there was no way you could keep it going, so I feel very fortunate to have gotten in on the action. I hope you’re well and don’t get bogged down in the minutia.
    And your son is a terrific photographer.

    • Zack Arias

      Yoga saved my fucking life! Huzzah!


  17. Steve

    Re: Phottix

    You forgot to mention the Phottix CEO is one, righteous dude.

  18. Marco Venturini Autieri

    Hi Zack,
    I would feel confused as well if I was in your situation.
    Perhaps, just to help streamline your thoughts, and not to find (yet) the exact solution, try and answer this: “if they stole everything, and the insurance paid me back, what would I but now from scratch?”
    Show more work if you can 🙂

  19. Marcos Hernandez

    Why not split the difference between APS-C and MF and go with a high-resolution full-frame sensor like a Sony A7r ii or Nikon d810?

    If you went with the Fuji MF, would you find the sync speed limiting for location work?

  20. Ofer

    1. If you NEED XPro2 with 10-24 and 50-140 for work, why keeping the prime lenses? I know, I love using primes as well, but you have the X100t for that stuff.
    2. Having an extra body for backup is important, but having a 10K camera sitting on the side for that, is insane

    Xpro2 with 10-24 50-140 (OK, with one prime, but that’s it!)
    X100T (you want to upgrade? get sponsored!!!)

    you’re welcome 🙂

    • Markus

      “(OK, with one prime, but that’s it!)” …and this should be the XF 56mm.

      • Markus

        Also, I guess you love your GH4 and the X-Pro2? But selling both and buying a smaller XT-20 and keeping the lens lineup OFER mentioned would also narrow it down while keeping the same sensor and a 4K-video-option (with up to 10min. takes). I know, who wants to switch a X-Pro2 with a XT-20? But keep in mind that you basically evolved to that “Medium Format Guy”. And for the heart you’ll always have your mistress, the X100.

    • Danny

      If your first camera is $30k then $10k is not unreasonable as a backup. It’s like having a d7200 as backup for a d810.

  21. Phil m

    I have to agree with your thinking totally, well with one exception – For my personal travel stuff I would have to hang onto my 14. The 10-24 is a little to bulky for me to stroll the earth with on the Pro2’s.. I for one, will be very interested how you get on with the GFX and where you are in a year from now with the phase and fuji system running side by side!! keep in touch!

  22. Lawrence

    Zack, unless I’m mistaken about your intention, Phottix has made a universal trigger that can adjust the power on the 500, 360 and Mitros+ flashes for quite some time now- the Phottix Odin II.

    • Zack Arias

      The Odin works via TTL (even when in manual) and currently only works on Canon, Nikon, and Sony. They do not work, AT ALL, when you put them on top of another camera. Like, they won’t even fire the flashes. I’ve bitched and moaned about that for awhile to them. STEVE!


  23. Blasko

    Everyone got tired it seems of all the shitty solutions, adapters, blood sucking marketing items and wants to simplify. Including me. I’ve also been bitten by a bug… and there is no way back for me either. Selling my Canon gear, sold the Fuji and putting up most of the film cameras for sale also… including the Pentax 67. In case any of you are interested: http://fehephotography.com/leica-m-bergen/


  24. Chris

    I just wanted to say it’s nice to see that these are your problems now. Been with you on the journey a long time. Read many blogs about not being able to pay bills and wanting to quit photography, a place where I think all of us pro shooters have been…besides maybe Joey L. And now you’re buying $50,000 camera systems. Happy it’s working out for you. Best of luck in your gear swapping.

    • Zack Arias

      There’s work out there Chris! There is!


      • Johnny

        This is very encouraging 🙂

        Thank you for sharing your thoughts Zack, I am not quite in that dilemma yet, I hope to get there though. I am not a working photographer (yet), just a hobbyist here but you opened the fuji world to me and again, thank you for that!

        BTW I followed @carias on instagram and he is doing awesome work, would appreciate it if you can also take the time to check out mine @johnnydls68 cheers!

  25. Joey

    Zach, I bought the Fuji 14mm partially because you reviewed it so highly. I since switched completely over to Fuji (zen!) and own a dozen lenses (not so zen), including the 10-24 and the 16. The 14 should probably go, yet I have an irrational emotional attachment to it. Please tell me to just get over myself and sell the thing. Or not.

    • Zack Arias

      I’m with you Joey. I think I’m getting rid of it until I put it on the camera and go… oh yeah… This is a great effing lens. Damn it!


  26. Thiagones

    I feel THE ITCH to commento on this right now.
    I am one of the guys that completelly love your posts and miss it a lot when takes time to hit the blog, but you are here.
    About Caleb, yeah, he is a damn monster on studio, goddamit…
    About gear, I have the same issue. If possible, I would carry my Hasselblad 500C everywhere with a couple Portra 400 films, since this is what I have of MF. But It is damn expensive. So I managed to make a single bag and two stands/tripods to my shots. One Canon camera, 4 or 5 lenses (pancakes that I love…) , one Fuji X30 as backup (what I could afford), 1 Lp180, 1 Canon600ex-rt, 1 trigger for the 600, and 1 godox 40 softbox with the mount. The mount is AMAZING, you can put any umbrella, godox softbox or Bowens accessories. I also have a 80cm godox SB, but it is too big for carry arround.

    • Zack Arias

      Just ordered this…


      Is that what you’re talking about? It looks like a great solution to use all of my Bowens stuff.


      • Thiagones

        YES! That’s the mount I was talking about, you are going to love it. Umbrellas, Bowens or Godox accessories are compatible with this dude, when you talk about speedlights.

        • Tiago Dias

          That is by far one of the best options to hold your speedlights. Besides the compatibility, they don’t put the strain on the speedlight foot.

  27. Daf

    For me a piece of backup kit needs to be within the same system as the main piece e.g. nikon F-mount for me. So it can be quickly switched in/out.

    So don’t see how the Fuji GFX would be “backup” for the Phase1.
    There’s nothing wrong with having play kit though of course – I have a XT10 which I just use for fun.

    • Zack Arias

      A back up to the Phase for me would be an old Phase and I’d NEVER use it unless the main camera went down. But a Fuji with a decent zoom bolted on the front would be a suitable backup to grab AND it would be a great camera to shoot all on it’s own.


  28. Mark Loader

    Who rules, the heart or the head? 😉 XPro2 (c’mon it’s love) the 2 zooms + 35. X100F. All in ONA bag. Ruggedly masculine yet sensitive. GFX as backup to the Phase. Might it become more than mere backup? I wonder….
    I’m an enthusiast not a pro, so I wouldn’t presume to offer advice on the Phase XF – it’s about 60K in Oz – so you’re on your own there!
    In a nutshell, heart for the personal stuff, head for the work rig. I doubt there’s a “right” answer, but Vaya con Dios anyway!
    Cheers, your Signal in Oz 🙂

    • Zack Arias

      The Phase is head and heart! Cheers to you down under Mark!


  29. Mark Zelinski

    “I also need Phottix to make a universal trigger that will control power across all the lights.”

    I’ve been bouncing between cactus and Godox. One has advantages over each. But if Phottix is developing a universal trigger to control power that would be fantastic.

    Have you looked at the Radio Popper Jr2 system? Universal hot shoe mount to control Alien Bee power and receivers that you can mount Canon or Nikon flashes on to control their output as well. The only thing is that phone cable to link to your Bee. But it’s only 6″ long.

    • Zack Arias

      I’ve looked at ALL the systems and I decided I wanted two things… 1) Gear to be from a proven manufacturer. Godox and Cactus are still growing but aren’t really proven. They are where Phottix was five years ago. I think the Godox stuff looks pretty nice these days. The other thing is I wanted one closed system that has support. Phottix triggers and lights is a great thing. If upgrades or updates come then everything in the system is supported. What if one day these third party items no longer work with the product line?


  30. Jim

    The older I get the more I talk like Yoda. Many years ago when I was a professional photographer I followed this mantra:
    Never carry more than, run like hell with, you can.

  31. Fanboy?

    Getting a Fuji MF as backup to a P1? Seems illogical.

    No Capture One compatibility, requires different lenses/batteries/charters, and will have a different look which adds post-processing complexity.

    Plus it’s a gen 1 system and completely unproven.

    Why not get a used P1 body and digital back? Plenty available for cheaper than a GFX + a whole set of lenses.

    • Zack Arias

      Hi Fanboy. You can use your real name here. We don’t bite. This isn’t Petapixel or Fstoppers. 🙂

      I have looked at a second Phase system but here’s the deal…

      Once you have the XF there’s no way in hell you want to go back to any older system. They are slow, the AF is horrible, and the screens are crap unless you find a good used IQ140 or better. I’d be looking at a P25 or something and that would just be used if all else fails.

      The GFX has promise to be a great camera all on it’s own if I need a backup or if I want to shoot MF but with a smaller bag for some jobs. It might even be run and gun compatible where an old DF plus P20/25 would NEVER be run and gun. Ever. We’ll see.


      • Danny

        “…if all else fails” that seems to be the definition of backup to me.

  32. D Q


    Can’t you boy some kind of less expensive used phase body for a backup and forget the GFX????

    No new lenses! Keep

    Seems sensible to me.

    • D Q

      No lenses. Keep xpro2

    • Zack Arias

      Since there isn’t a smaller Phase on the horizon, I’d like to have a more compact MF system so that’s why I’m looking at the GFX. I did look at switching Hasselblad and doing something like a 6D and their new mirrorless but I’m not a fan of that new mirrorless.


  33. Andy

    What’s this, Zack? Just dropping a blogpost on us with no warning?

    Anyway, January is always a good time to clean out and reorganize. My headshot/portrait kit spiraled out of control last year. My last corporate headshot session had five (5) big bags, and I live in a three story walk-up. Out-rageous!

    So I have already paired a comparable version of that kit down to three bags. Good progress. And we’re only a month in! The new DigiBee played a huge part in this streamlining. I know your bailing on PCB for travel, but you should check out their DigiBee, if you haven’t already. Ze Gods, what a great flash!

    • Zack Arias

      I did look at that light but I love this Indra so much. And the Bowens mount rules.

      Five bags up three flights? Dear god! Sounds like crossfit to me. 🙂


      • Andy

        I have seen people cross-fitting and my load-in/out process looks to be about the same amount of suffering, but my gut keeps growing! What is this!?

  34. Chris Dowswell

    Hey Zack,

    I’ve also been thinking about a system that spans across speedlites and bigger strobes… I like the “one trigger to rule them all” concept!
    Gotta be honest, I may have spent more time browsing Caleb’s instagram feed than reading the article…. Kid is super talented and has a sweet style going on! Way to inspire the next.
    All the best with simplifying….. We could all work on that!

  35. Lock Jaw

    Interesting, particularly your closing comment, about not being sponsored by any of the mentioned manufacturers. Is that because they haven’t asked, yet? Or, because you want to maintain your independence?

    Curiously, in Florida.

  36. John Wangelin

    Good to hear from you Zack! I’m really happy to hear how busy you’ve been, you earned it. Seems like you got some of your figured out like the lighting maybe you just need a bag donkey to carry the rest (I believe (think Tank sells them)

    Good luck keep kicking ass.

  37. Frank Grygier

    Nice to hear your voice, Happy that your career is taking off and that Caleb is following in your footsteps. I am at a crossroads. I was recently “aged out” of my cushy corporate gig. The income let me pursue photography as a serious obsession. I accumulated a lot of lighting gear with the hope of becoming a working photographer when the time came. The time has come. I am being pulled in multiple directions though. I feel the tug of my 30 some years in the industry I left;The dream of being a working photographer or just enjoying “old age”. The hard part for me is the ” Get the F*ck to work” part. I am going to be 66 in March and wonder if I have the time and energy to live the dream. Anyway, I would hand down all the stuff you are not using to Caleb and let him decide what to do with it. Like my wife always says when I threaten to sell everything.” You will just have to buy it all over again.” Time to watch the “Transform” video again.

    • Zack Arias

      Get off the Internet Frank and GTFTW!

      I like your idea of giving it to Caleb and letting him figure it out.

      It’s never too late until it’s too late. And it’s not too late for you Frank. GO!


      • Frank Grygier

        Thanks Zack,

        Appreciate the support!


    • Wally Kilburg

      Frank, I’m 63 in July. I lead the exact same photo life you describe. I quit three years ago and went full time. Best worst decision I ever made. Just eff’n do it. I did unload a lot of stuff tho. Took me two years. I’m still working it all out. If you are reading and listening to Zack, you could do worse. He helped me have the best year yet after listening to his spiel on running it as a business at PhotoPlus popup in Seattle.
      It ain’t easy but hey, I don’t gobble Excedrin like I did and I sleep. Worth it.

      • Frank Grygier

        Hello Wally,

        Thanks for taking the time to share your experience. I will take your advice.


  38. Jermaine

    No love for the 90mm? I see that it’s on your to-sell list. In a previous post, you mentioned you almost pulled the trigger on a Leica 90.

    Is it because of the 50-140 and duplicating the focal length?

  39. David

    I have struggled with the same thought process for well too long, an ex partner once said you could manage with your twin lens Rollie you do not need anything else, she was right of course BUT two systems, 10 bodies and 10 lenses HMM, now what shall I carry today.

  40. Dan MacDonald

    Hey Zack, great to read a new post from you.
    I’m surprised to see the Fuji 90mm f2 on your sell list – is the 50-140 just that dreamy? I know I thought I was going to buy it, and after renting it I wasn’t as in love as I expected, but you talked for a long time about how much you wanted that one. What was your experience with it?

    • Zack Arias

      The 90 is far more dreamier. It is. But the 50-140 is more practical for certain run and gun situations I’m in. If I’m pulling the 90 out for a portrait… guess what… I’m going to reach past it and grab the Phase for that portrait.


  41. Oscar

    Zack, cheers to the new year and glad to see you posting! I have missed your voice in all the noise the is out there.

    • Zack Arias

      Trying to get back in here! Thanks for checking in Oscar!


  42. Steve

    I’ve got a non-photography 9-5 programming job, but I’ve also looked at slimming down my photo shoot bag. I used to shoot only Nikon, now I still have that gear, but I shoot almost entirely on my X-T2. My first step toward zen was to switch to the peak design everyday sling for a bag (except for weddings). It’s big enough put a cramp in my shoulder if I add too much, but small enough to make me think of what lenses I actually need instead of just lugging around a kitchen sink because I have the space to do so.

    So while my shelves still have a bit too much gear, it’s nice to finish a shoot and realize I only used two lenses, instead of the 4 I brought. So next time, I’ll leave the telephoto at home and just get closer, or leave the 10-24 because I know I’ll get too much venue and not enough event, etc.


  43. Sid Ceaser

    I moved into a new studio at the end of 2016, and I had to move my gear to my apartment. Now when I have a gig at the studio, I grab a bag and bring what I think I’ll be needing. I don’t have a *ton* of cameras or bodies, but it’s been an exercise into seeing what I’m bringing with me on a routine basis.

    It’s helping me see that, y’know what, my work consists of basically three or four lenses; my 135f/2 and 85f/1.8 for headshots and head/shoulder portraits, my 17-40f/4 for more wide work where I want more of the environment in the portrait, and then my 100f/2.8 macro for my personal toy work. That leaves a few cheap lenses in my case that I haven’t reached for in a pretty long time.

    I just picked up a PhaseOne P30 back for my 500c/m so I’ve been lugging that heavy beast with me so I can learn it’s little quirks, but overall, I’ve been able to keep in down to a few lenses, and a few camera bodies.

    As for lights – I’m still rocking the same three AB’s I’ve had since college. I’ve got a pelican case with a bunch of speedlights. I’ve got an old Novatron 4 head kit that I gotta get rid of. This new studio has been teaching me to be more minimal.

    I’ve still got a storage unit full of sh*t that I need to figure out what to do with that was in the old studio that won’t fit in the new, much smaller studio. If it’s been sitting in storage, and I haven’t needed it, then it’s time to find it a new home.

    But like a fine wine, everything distills down to the basics in the end; clean, minimal, sharp and oh-so-tasty.


    • Sid Ceaser

      Well, and my X100S. That rides in every bag I carry with me. Either my gear bag, or my day-to-day bag. That little guy has been a great little addition. But he’s mouse-small to me, so I don’t count him since he’s always around.

  44. Chris Ridley

    Hi Zack.

    Regarding the Stratos II to fire the indras from the phase – they are available as standard for Canon, Nikon & Sony but which version did you choose for the phase (as there obviously is no dedicated phase option right now)?


    • Chris Ridley

      PS I also have the same wide angle issue on the phase, currently my widest is 55mm but on the IQ 150 so not nearly enough. 35mm is next on the list…

  45. Wally Kilburg

    Super timely post. I’m not at the same place you are but I have the same issues. My studio is only about 40% utilized but I have a mix of Profoto D1 Air’s and an Einstein plus a Profoto 600R for just a beauty dish. I chose Profoto B1’s and a B2 two years ago for location work and with the few modifiers I use (all OCF) I’m ok on location; TTL-N trigger. Even tho I’m mostly all manual use.
    I use speed lights a lot still and have settled on a Phottix Stratos II setup with my 180R’s. Love that combo. I have an Odin transmitter someplace.
    I’m using a Nikon D810/D750 system but have started using my Fuji X more and more. I have decided to swap out the Nikon system for a GFX system. That will need to be over time given anticipated supply issues for the GFX. Fuji X-Pro2/X-T2/X100T works fine with a Stratos II and speedlights. Works fine with the PF Air Remote and B’s. I figure the GFX will too. In studio I just don’t know. I want the Indra’s but I had three Mitros+ units, one needed work, it took almost a year for Phottix support to get back and its still not resolved. I got a notice two days ago they were closing it out due to inactivity. Support scares me. Until I hear different, I just can’t swap in the Indra’s for the studio stuff and eventually for location.

  46. Wouter Oud

    I’m still beating you! Have been using a D7100 + 18-35/1.8 + 50-100/1.8 and a Phottix Indra 500 with some modifiers.
    All I’ll need in a good while. Difference is though, it’s not my job. 😛

  47. Dave Cooper

    Ah, this internal debate is all too familiar. I do a lot of video as well so it gets harder and harder to stay small and light. But specifically for stills…

    I believe that my Canon 5D Mark III (soon to get the IV) is such a capable camera in every sense of the word. There are guys out there who work constantly doing cover after cover, shoot after shoot with that camera, and with amazing results. I figure in the end it’s about the photograph anyway. I find myself getting bogged down by gear thoughts too often. The truth is that it hardly matters. It’s your eyes and vision that do the real work.

    Sure you need reliable, good gear, but the “new and improved” cameras and lenses generally benefit one group—the manufacturers.

    I say scale down on the gear, do more with less, and have fun creating images. Good luck!

  48. Jason

    80,000 +17,000 miles. Wow! That’s insane! The next time you are in the Denver area, let me know know. I’d be happy to schlep that bag around for you as your first (or second) assistant.

  49. Doug

    Aren’t you right re:mf. My credo 40 died and in between waiting for a replacement (credo 60) I had to shoot with my d810 more than I wanted and it’s just not the same. Not even close.

  50. Weldon Brewster

    I’m in the same boat and I’m jettisoning my Canon and Nikon gear as we speak. It has gotten way out of control lately.
    I’m getting down to three camera kits for stills:
    Travel kit – Fuji Xpro2 and lenses
    Architecture kit – Sony A7RII on Cambo Actus w/ Canon/Contax lenses
    Commercial/Industrial Kit – Phase XF/IQ180 w/ 35 LS, 80 LS and 150 LS
    Lighting – Profoto B1s and D1s

    My suggestion to you is test the X-T2 video against the GH4. If you got rid of the GH4 that would simplify things greatly. I know you didn’t mention a X-T2 but it would make one system to replace two.

    I would also thoroughly test the built in Profoto features in the XF. The Profoto B1s are really awesome and I highly recommend. That will get rid of all kinds of cables and triggers. Call Steve at CI and order some B1s.

  51. Chris Casatelli

    Sweet! You’re back! I think we all suffer from the same affliction. Hard to stay grounded and focused on the end result. I am currently split between three systems. I shoot Nikon and Fuji for stills and I use Sony for video. Rediculous. Too much gear. But they all serve their purpose really well. I keep promising myself “that is the last one I need.” Never ending.

  52. Kristopher Chandroo

    Musicians have a pallet. A constellation of strings, cables, patch cords, nicked instruments and duct tape that sometimes keeps it all together.

    Recording engineers have a pallet. Their drums heads dampened with tape and tuned, microphones, room treatment, compressors and bass and guitar amps that play nice in the mix. And even thought it’s patch bays and duct tape that connect it all, it’s all there so the real mud, confusion and incompatibilities stay out of the final mix where it counts.

    Had the pleasure of meeting you once and you struck me as a final mix kind of guy. Looking forward to seeing how you make that jive with all the travel you do.

    Best of luck;


  53. john

    If you have an X100, why do you also need a 23mm for the XPro2?

  54. Jessica Mironov

    My advice, FWIW: sort out and simplify your lights. That sounds worthwhile. But keep the cameras and lenses you have and just make great images. Sit with them for a while, give yourself a few months of a moratorium on camera and lens acquisitions and see how it all feels. I think all the dust will settle and you’ll know what to do.

  55. Tim

    I like where your head’s at, Z. The GFX would be able to step in if the Phase froze up or whatever. The little Fujis are like an extension of your eyesight and you love working with them. You know you’ll love putting the GFX through situations that you didn’t expect (like Land Rover with the little Fujis). The GFX will be capable enough and priced low enough to give you this exact problem. I can’t wait to read/watch all about it!

    I sold my old Phase One P40 combo … traded my Canon bodies and L glass for XT2 plus $$$ to put towards the GFX. When I rented 16mp Fujis a few years ago, I really didn’t think I’d be all Fuji a few years later. Fits me perfect. If only Fuji would play nice with my B1s :-/

  56. Samuel Jessop

    Great post, thanks for sharing. I can relate to the minimalism, but am going the other way. Having sold my Canon gear and the X100 that introduced me to Fuji, I have the 18/2 and 35/1.4 for Fuji. I am looking at the 56/1.2 to replace my 50-230mm which is only really sharp enough at the 50mm end, and the three lenses make a nice team.

    What has got me thinking is the GFX. I am a enthusiast only, but I would love to produce work that can be printed on a larger scale. I prefer primes but that GF32-64mm would give me large print quality in a backpack friendly format. What I mustn’t lose sight of is that it’s still a heck of a lot of money, and mustn’t just be a nice thing for the shelves. Buying better and fewer though. That’s the idea.

  57. Adam Favre

    Does the Fujii medium format have the capability to REPLACE your phase 1 system, thus reducing the footprint of your kit? I would think Fujii would give you a test drive (not that you ever would have the time). I am not a pro and the amount of gear you deal with makes me nervous. Local and throwing it in your car is one thing. Throwing it on a plane would make me nuts!!! Not because of caring about the stuff, just knowing you had to keep track of it all to accomplish your work. I made simple trip to Florida with my MFT gear. Had a small mefoto tripod. Planned ALL my gear out, but did not follow my “gear check” when I was done with a previous shoot, so my tripod mounting bracket was nowehere to be found rendering the tripod I had carried for the 1 family picture absolutely useless. Kudos to you for sharing your thought process. Glad to see you working some things out on here to our benefit. Peace brother.

    • Adam Favre

      I like your idea of going with the Fujii as a backup. Maybe once comfortable and having shot with it, the hassel of he Phase due to size outweighs the benefit if the Fujii body can handle the work. Your idea of less lenses by sharing them is pretty sound (from the amatuer perspective at least it seems logical). I am not a pro and the amount of gear you deal with makes me nervous. Local and throwing it in your car is one thing. Throwing it on a plane would make me nuts!!! Not because of caring about the stuff, just knowing you had to keep track of it all to accomplish your work. I made simple trip to Florida with my MFT gear. Had a small mefoto tripod. Planned ALL my gear out, but did not follow my “gear check” when I was done with a previous shoot, so my tripod mounting bracket was nowehere to be found rendering the tripod I had carried for the 1 family picture absolutely useless. Kudos to you for sharing your thought process. Glad to see you working some things out on here to our benefit. Peace brother.

  58. simon

    GLAD! to have some news here!

    Happy to here 2016 was a busy one for you but I must admit I wish we could have had more post to follow along with you!

    Keep it up!

  59. Bryan

    Why xpro2 over xt2?

    • Zack Arias

      Because the xpro2 is a gorgeous piece of kit. It’s beautiful to look at. To shoot with. To handle. The XT1 for me was just a stopgap waiting for the xpro2 to come out. That OVF. The feel. The style. It’s gorgeous.

      The XT2 is nice. It’s a really nice camera. I’ll choose the Xpro2 any day of the week over it though.


      • Richard Watts

        Hi Zac,

        I love the look of the xpro range, and would love it as a backup to my other system, however I can never get them to focus on the correct thing. What am I doing wrong. Owned the xpro1 but gave that back, the guy in the shop had the same problems as me with focus. Trialled an xpro2, better luck with focus rate but still lots where focus was on a completely different part of the image.

  60. Sean Tucker

    I HEAR you! It’s the constant battle. Especially when it comes to travel and keeping gear down to a minimum. My pitfall is that I start thinking about new bits of kit which would replace old while I pair things down, and then I get stuck in a gear loop on google I want EVEN MORE.

    I shoot photo and video, and so my solution has been to sell off cameras and go back to the old tried and trusted Canon 5D’s. I have 4 primes (Sigma 24 and 35, and Canon 50 and 85). Then I have my Alien B with softlighters (compact when stuffed in with light stands), because someone taught me how to shoot well with one light… can’t remember who:) I have 2 LED panels for video, with shoot through umbrellas (again compact modifiers). Then with a tripod, variable ND’s for all the lenses, slider and a drone, I can pretty much shoot anything, photo or video. That’s one backpack, and a roller bag.

    There is a load more I want, but I know I can do the job well with this, and I’m trying to focus on getting better subject matter in front of the lens, rather than blaming the gear. Maybe this is the year I manage:)

    Thanks, as always, for the food for thought Zack:)

  61. Jeremy Hall

    I went through some of that simplification last year and actually sold my Fuji gear so I could stick with the one brand/kit. My needs are much simpler than yours of course, and I do miss the X-T1 as an everyday carry, but for my event work it just wasn’t doing what I needed compared to my Canons. MF is sexy but way out of the realm of my reality. Fun watching what you are doing with it though!

    The message of simplification and focus are resonating with me due to other life reasons right now too. You’ll get it figured, I have no doubt. Always enjoy the peek we get into your meandering thoughts when you have time to share a post. Thanks!

    • Zack Arias

      Thank you! Hope you are well my friend!


  62. Art Meripol

    Fun timely post for me. Lusting for MF for several years but no current clients demand MF so I can’t justify the $. Very happy with the 5Ds but still not quite the MF ‘look’ but kept all my lenses in play. And then as I age I think, like you, go lighter go with less. Using speedlights whenever I can but my Elinchrom Quadra’s are so small but then the modifiers are bigger and need bigger stands and then sandbags and … I then think I need to chuck it all, go with Fuji XT2 … but then there’s that new MF Fuji you mentioned…and the spiral continues. Now I need to pack and fill the bed of my truck for a 5 hour drive to tomorrow’s shoot.

    • Zack Arias

      It’s a moving target isn’t it?

  63. Rivers Ramsey

    Oh my man Zack! Your house is on fire right now! And you only have 20 seconds to grap gear! Not a bag of gear but gear! Take off your shirt and load what you need to take. Now remember this is all you will have to work with for the next year!

    Ok I’ll go first! My Fuji x30, cannon T3i with cannon 50mm 1.8 and Tamron sp 70-300, my 2 yongnuo flashes, compact tripod, ND filters flash triggers, GoPro, chargers, cards, my homemade bubble wrap light modifiers, iPad Pro, my large 5n1 reflector …… simple old gear but it’s what works for me time and time again!

  64. Paul OMara

    Hey I helped you push that damn Phase box onto the shuttle in Philly. I had all my gear on my shoulder and only dropped my stand/clothing bag to help. Hey thanks for sharing real life concerns we deal with. Now if I could dump my Nikon kit…

  65. Michel

    Hi Zack,

    I’m a Fuji fan boy and had all the X cameras since the beginning and my last one is the X-Pro 2. It’s a year now that I purchased a second hand Leaf Credo 40 with 2 SK LS lenses and a Mamyia 150mm and I’m broke now 🙂
    I’m not a photographer, but I’m working in a photo store so it’s easy to borrow things. Since the Credo, I am no longer interested in the other photo formats and it’s difficult because I have to try to persuade customers to buy them 🙂
    I can understand what you mean when you want to go everything Medium Format.
    I have a question though. I think you had a Phase One 40 (CCD), how would you compare the rendering with the CMOS vs the XF Sensor ?
    I love my Credo 40 which is also a CCD sensor, and though it’s not as versatile (Live view, high ISO etc…) I love the rendering.
    Where can we see your work with the XF camera ?

    Thank you

  66. Graeme Powell

    You could come at it from the other end. Write down your working / personal scenarios and match the equipment to that. If you definitely want to keep the Phase then that’s a cornerstone for Paid work (I’d Guess). If you want to try the Fuji GF then I would find it hard to justify this and a Fuji APS system. So maybe Phase for $$$ with a GF for back up and personal projects. You could throw in an X100F for light street etc. It’s all cash dependant of course.

    I’ve been working with a Fuji x-T10 and 3 lenses (Mainly the 35mm F2) for 9 months now. I was using two DSLRs and 10 lenses. It’s surprising the kit you think you need, but don’t.

  67. dave

    Hope you’re getting closer to a resolution after all this Yak, Zack.

    My question — OFF TOPIC !!! — is … where can we see the work you’ve been doing over the past year? Not sure if anything on your website is recent.

    thanks, Mr Z.


  68. Kevin

    Hi Zack,
    Thanks for being the voice of reason in a mad, mad world.
    I built up a Nikon Kit of cameras and lenses on the GAS principle (you might be asked to do a paid job one day and need x,y,and z).
    I sold a lot of my kit because I was seduced by the idea of a lightweight system with superb build and image quality, I had got the original X100, loved the charm and want to have it with you factor, I then spent a fortune and got an XT1 and an XE2 with the18-55mm, 56mm,35mm,50-140mm, and eventually the 16mm for the wide end.Spent a lot of time with the XE2 and the 18-55mm for travel, (Fits in an Aquapak, but so does the X100) and took the XT1 along with my Nikon kit on jobs to see if I would favour one or the other. I traded up to the X100t, which quite frankly is superb!
    It was at this point I found Zach Arias, bought the Q&A book followed by the One light Download and have since got the GTFTW e-book.
    Now I realise I am going to be regarded as Satan by a lot of your followers, but I have ditched the Fuji system. And I only miss the X100t. I have noticed in the quite frankly cult following of these cameras, that a lot of obviously superbly talented photographers images are looking very, very similar with a suedo HDR look. The main reasons I bailed are I am tall with long fingers and found the ergonomics of the Fuji’s fiddly in comparison to my Nikon kit. I also went to the Arctic and photographed The Polar Bear migration in Manitoba in -45 with the wind chill, my D700 only froze twice in ten days and my bitch of a D800 performed faultlessly. Its a bitch because I learnt that you have to calibrate lenses to make it work properly. I also like the fact you can balance £4500 worth of camera gear on one finger and all the controls are where your fingers fall. Also the weather proofing blah, blah,etc.
    The fuji lenses are superb, the 18-55 hugely under rated, and the 50-140 super sharp but also super clunky, heavy and unacceptably noisy for such a lens. At this point I want to go full speed to the point of your post. I have (1) one bag of Nikon D810/D800 cameras and a few lenses, Three Nikon Speed lights and four PWx’s. Zach I have a 60″ umbrella (Yes!) and a 60″ Photo soft lighter (My big Momma) The big Impact 5 in1 reflector and light stands, and I couldn’t be happier I don’t have many choices to make. Whilst I might like the idea of more, I don’t need it. You of all people don’t need all that gear Zach, get an X100f and keep your Phase as your mainstay as that’s where you seem to want to be. Or Get a second hand Canon 5D Mk blah, a second hand 85 1.8, and 35mm (a little wide, a little tele and get a lot done (You see I was listening!) Much respect,

  69. obican

    I’d say find out how much ultrawide and tele you actually need. If you think you need only occasionally and in a predictable manner, ditch the X-Pro2 because the ability to use lenses such as 10-24 and 50-140 should be the main keeping point for you.

    If you decide you’d need those in a moment’s notice, you better keep your X-Pro2 system along with some lenses. GFX can’t do that, neither can X100F or Phase One.

    If you are letting go of the X System, maybe you can replace that with a GFX. Alternatively, you can have one of the older Phase One/Mamiya AF-D bodies as a backup. I think some of them even work with your 100MP back.

  70. Antoine

    GFX x2 and X100F, as you said. Why the hesitation?
    It would be a hell of a simple bag.

  71. Pepou81

    You have not anymore the magical 35mmf1.4 ?

  72. Jorge

    I now shoot Fuji (XT2 and XT1) exclusively. I have the Zeiss 12, and Fuji 16, 23 1.4, 35 1.4, 18-55 and 55-200.
    I have been mulling over switching to the GFX after selling all my other gear (except the XT2 and the 23 1.4)
    I shoot landscapes and other for stock…. I’m torn as I love my system

  73. Alan Sircom

    To quote Colin Chapman, the original boss of Lotus Cars, “Simplify, then add lightness.” OK, that didn’t work out all that well all of the time and some people died horribly as a result, but it’s a neat little maxim to live by all the same.

    Think of the Fuji GFX and GF32-64mm as your core. Now imagine the times you need something beyond that core, and the times you need back-up in case of core meltdown. Do that. Then get a thing for shits and giggles. Forget the rest. For you, that sounds like one X-Pro2, the wide and tele zooms, the 35 (and maybe the 23 and 56), and a X100F for the fun of it. That’s about a backpack’s worth, and you’re done. No adaptors, no other toys.

    On the other hand, do as I say rather than as I do, as I almost completely Pokemoned my lens farm last year, and I need to let go of most of them. I’m probably more likely to end up with an X-Pro2 with a 14, 35, 56, and the 50-140, and an X100F. This may change by the end of this sentence.

    Lights, I think you are good on. You are already virtually up to your nuts in Phottix guts, and the ‘are they reliable’ question is already mostly answered in your mind. Give the Buff Stuff a good home and hit the road.

  74. Steve B

    Why not get the GFX and shoot with it for a while, then make a decision on the X Pro 2? At this point you’re not going to loose significant cash on the X Pro in the next 3 months or so and that gives you a fair amount of time to press the GFX into service on jobs you normally would have done with the X Pro. The GFX isn’t any worse on size (and probably autofocus) than the Canon’s you drug around for years.

    100F isn’t really a choice in my mind. I’ve owned all the X100 models and it’s a love affair that seems somewhat irrational at times…..then all of a sudden plans change on a job and you find yourself needing to shoot flash in broad daylight for a client and that built in ND and leaf shutter save your A$$….

    At least you have your lighting and Phase figured out. I’ve been shooting most of the last year with a Canon 5Ds and can’t decide if I should go up to a GFX or just cut down to only an X100F and my X-T2. Though not MF, the difference in quality from the 50MP Cannon files makes it really hard to go down in size. Thank goodness I’ve never shot the phase!

  75. Brian Eden

    Welcome back Zack!!!! Out of curiosity, why would you have the XPro2/23mm and the x100 in your fuji bag? Isn’t that double duty on the same focal length?

  76. Jim Batey

    I’m envious of your dilemma with the MF equipment, but I am not a pro and want to travel as light as possible as circumstances require. I’m only trying to simplify my X equipment. I currently have 4 cameras (XT-1/XT-20 & 2 XE-2’s) and a bunch of lenses……10-25/14/16-55/18-55/55-200/100-400 & 60 macro. Love my XE-2’s and would LOVE to see XE-3’s on the horizon BUT……..want that new sensor now……LOL…!! My solution is selling off all the bodies (although likely hang on to 1 XE-2) and get two XT-20’s………simple, small and wonderful cameras. Then unload some of the lenses. 16-55 will go, as will the macro. Zoom kit will be the 10-25/18-55/55-200 and when specifically needed, the 100-400. The REALLY simple kit will be the 14 plus a new 23 f2 and the 50 f2. . Can add and subtract from each kit as shooting priorities dictate.

  77. Chris

    I’m going to feel a bunch of gear at WPPI. I sold my Fuji kit and cannot get it out of my heart. The X100F is super tempting to curb my longing for my X Pro 2 and I could make an XT2 work great for th occasional video craving. My lean is toward a 16mm, a 50 or 56 and a x100F with a teleconverter. I want to go super simple and light, especially because I’ll have my drone in tow as well ??

  78. Carsten Tschach

    I totally understand – the more you have, the more you tend to take with you.

    Everybody says your bag will get smaller with Mirrorless. It does not – except not for me. Before Fuji I was a Nikon shooter. 12-24, 24-70 and 70-200. Big lenses, but I got all my jobs done with this. Now with Fuji…well, I do have the 23, the 35, the 56…all really great primes, but I also love the zooms especially if you photograph moving things like kids. So I added the 16-55, for landscape I definitely need the 10-24, so I got this. Well and the 50-140 is great for studio work if you don’t want to jump back and for. And I lately fall in love with the 100-400 which is a great piece then traveling. And…did I mention the 18-135 which I got simply because it was so cheap 🙂

    So I’m pretty much using the same bags I used during my DSLR times with a bigger dilemma:

    The problem is simple: The more tools you have, the harder to choose from 🙁

    But isn’t this more a mentality thing. I know people who travel for two weeks with a small carry on bag including their camera stuff. I always have a big bag no matter if I travel for a week to four 🙂

    So whatever you choose…also think about your mentality 🙂

  79. Chip Quinn

    Who am I to advise you? — but make sure you have what you need for street photography — it’s what you are genuinely great at,

  80. Tre

    I’m undergoing a similar dilemma in deciding to keep my Sony A7RII and replacing with a Fuji GFX and X-T2 for the telephoto end. I have gotten rid of one of your issues by condensing to one lighting system (Priolite) with a more stable light mount (Priolite/Bowens/Profoto adapter) and getting rid of the PCB stuff.

    The pros are consistent color and tone across the board by going with Fuji. I don’t know that the X100 (or X-series cropped sensors in general) is worth shooting with on the wide end if you have the GFX. I see where it is beneficial when paired with the Fuji 90/2 and/or the Fuji 50-140/2.8 (or the 100-400 for some Travel.

  81. Wing

    Hmm.. quite the dilema.. Is it really not possible to have the whole cake and eat it? Why not have it all?.. if you can afford it..

    Simplification?.. ok.. well, it seems mostly clear you are leaning towards medium format as your format of choice these days. Like you said, there’s no going back ..once you’ve bitten the apple.

    I think do the medium format kit for a while and sell whatever Fuji X you can.. When you feel like revisiting the crop sensor cameras again, and I feel that connection you have with these cameras you know you will continue to have, you know they will still be around and they will be even less expensive than when you left them.. so, shouldn’t be too hard to buy back something you’ve taken a break from for a time… OR, by that time, there may be something better you could add or focus on instead. Who knows?…

    My 2 cents for whatever it’s worth. Good luck on your choice.. either way, i don’t think you will have any issues making whatever gear you have work with great success.

  82. Bob Friday

    Absolutely loving the mental/emotional gymnastics on display here as we all try to find that “perfect” kit that will cover it all — and never will! If those damned manufacturers would just stop putting out new enticements we’d have to make do with what we’ve got and be happy. Sort of!

    I just have to say that it is because of you, Zack, that I found my way to the art and soul of the Fuji line — that little x100s beast was the gateway drug! And I share your love of the x-Pro2 with the 10-24. Makes me smiley/giddy when I’m stomping the streets of Paris with that combo in hand on the hunt for the next killer portfolio piece — it just feels like an integral, seamless part of my creative/executional psyche.

    Would love to get the opportunity to experience the GFX and medium format but, having finally escaped the oversized world of Nikon DSLRs, probably going to relish the ease, beauty, performance and comfort of the x100 and x-Pro2 for a while. And save up for the day the GAS urge becomes too great!

    Thanks for sharing with the community. Truly appreciated!

  83. Luke

    Did you exchange your 35 1.4 for the 35 f/2? I thought the former was your favourite lens?

  84. Harold

    Complexity lies in simplicity. Focus on that.

  85. Paul

    First, don’t rush this decision. Second, think long and hard about the phase one. That thing is the majority of your budget. That’s where the decision lies and that is the source of your stress. Maybe the GFX can’t fully take the place of the Phase right now, but what about a year or two from now when there are more lenses and more pixels in that system? If you sold the Phase One now and went all in on the GFX, you could up your zen without any visible difference to your clients or personal work, and by the next time you’re ready to upgrade you’ll probably be right back in the Phase One image quality. And you could keep your X kit. Life would be so much simpler.

  86. Karin Nelson

    Why an X100? I had an X100, and then sold it for an X-E1, and then I bought an X-T1. I never understood the reason for throwing another camera in the bag when adding a lens to the one I have would do the job. I understand the appeal of the beautiful, small X100… but… it’s another body I don’t need.
    Some call it Zen, I call it OCD… which I suffer from, greatly. So does my wallet.

  87. Gaby el Ashkar

    Who are we Kidding ? The gear bags are only going to get bigger and heavier.

  88. Magnus Jandinger

    GD I can relate. I have spent the last two years obsessing about what gear to get, defining different configurations for different shooting scenarios, trying to find the best compromises with respect to the combination of stills and video as well as seeking solutions to different lighting needs. The one thing I haven’t done recently though? Having fun shooting!

    So out it went, all the lenses that weren’t used, the bodies meant to be for this or that, and all the clever lighting mods that filled my bag but didn’t do anything for my creativity. All that is left is the original X100, one X-pro2, the 23mm f2 and 50mm f2 (soon), 2 flashes together with a grid and a softlighter. That’s it! One messenger bag with it all. If I can’t get it done with that gear, then I shouldn’t be doing it at all!

  89. Robert Falconer

    Do you really need the Phase gear, Zack? Could you not now go fully Fujifilm…?

    You’ll miss that X-Pro2. 😉

  90. Dave Pardue

    That’s *great* stuff, Zack.You speak for all of us! I’ve been shooting over the past week with an Olympus PEN-F married to the beast known as the Zuiko 150mm f/2 and just love the results I’m getting. And I love the look on people’s faces when they see the lens itself… so much glass staring them in the face! And when they see the images too.

    But… the weight is just killing me. Even with a monopod, I’m so used to being more free and flexible now. And the AF lag because the lens is so old. Jesus, I thought I was so “old-school” and so “retro-cool” and here all I can do is complain about my bicep hurting, even in front of a subject! Shameful.

  91. Einride

    Hi Zack,
    If you love the X-Pro 2 (who doesn’t?) I don’t understand why in the world you would sell it? The unnecessary duplication I see is the X100. You don’t need that when you have the X-Pro. The X-Pro being able to change lenses and having access to current and future Fuji X lenses means that it’s your most flexible system. Sure the X-Pro and the 23 f2 is slightly larger than an X100 but personally I think the Pro ergonomics are perfect. It really is a perfect size reminiscent of a film Leica or Nikon FM camera. Optimal for snapshot and IMO Super35 (also known under less sexy designation aps-c) is the new 35.

    So ditch X100.

    You’re keeping the Phase. Makes sense. Nothing to discuss.

    I actually don’t think it makes sense to get the GFX as a back up. It is a whole other system. You’re thinking of ditching your portable system to get another heavy system? If anything get another Phase body if you absolutely must have MF backup.

    Otherwise the X system makes for a good back up in the rare event shit breaks down. The only problem is if you specifically advertise a job as being done with MF. But with your recognition, why? I wouldn’t give a shit about what camera you turn up with. It’s not the effing camera that makes the picture is it?

    So it is either Phase OR GFX. Not both.

    X-Pro over X100 is a no-brainer. The former is a system with access to special glass, the latter isn’t. Plus the X-Pro has your heart.

    This sucks because you want the GFX and X100F because they’re new and fresh, I feel you, but the back up argument, the “I need this” line of thinking is always always always what lands you with more stuff than you need.

    • Dan S

      …what Einride said! Exactly.

  92. Loud Silence

    Zack, you was one of the guys who persuaded me to go with Fuji system. All your feelings, all your thoughts, all your travel shots in Marocco and India, your great conversation with Chase Jarvis – I like your honesty, and that professional but very personal approach at the same time. XT-1 is actually my first digital camera. And it feels good in my hand. 35 mm f2 and 16 mm are my lenses. And I don’t even know process process the images, i’ve never had photoshop or lightroom. I’m noob that loves photography. I just take pictures and I feel happy.
    In my noob opinion, keep x-pro2 with primes and 50-140, leave x100t, because this is love. X100f is not what you really want. Take GFX for rent, and make a few serious tests in different conditions. I mean – reallyfreakin serious tests. If gfx really has something special that you cannot work without – go for it. If not – just wait and save some money for another phase one. If you need compact kit – leave MF at home. Take APS-C kit, few primes and few flashes – this is one backpack. You can do any job with it, because you know how to do this. More creativity. Less gear.

  93. Jazz1

    I see your point. I’d be tempted too if I had your current equipment. Both of your proposed new cameras cover just about everything. Here I am thinking about selling my XPro2, buying the 100f, and keeping my XT2. Wish I could afford the new medium format FUJI

  94. Jose

    In my opinion, simplifying doesn’t necessarily mean less stuff or minimalism. Rather, it can also mean a state of mind that leaves you truly at peace with however many you have. Having more than 2 cameras can be Zen provided that said configuration serves a purpose and allows you to be one with your craft, not constantly wondering what if. Then again, the funny thing about Zen is you can”t really describe it or limit it and the one who claims to know it, doesn’t….what do I know? Decide and don’t regret. God bless.

  95. max

    Since I read your wonderfull Q&A book some years ago, I sometimes more somtimes less followed your comments, articels, interviews, video tutorials and so on. I always find it interesting, (at least most of the time) and often entertaining. But what amuses me most meanwhile, is that after all these years you still fight with and for simplifying your (technical/gear) system. To me this is pretty funny because the more I read/hear you talking about that subject, the more often I see you loosing that fight. Every few months you seem to start that game again: what piece of gear next, what to buy, what to sell, how to organize, what makes sense why. Could it be you still suffer from GAS? Could the truth be you just love to suffer from it? 😉 Anyway, keep it up! And keep thinking and talking about photography!! :))

  96. Gary

    I am currently sizing down too, but I always keep in mind your setup of X bodies, X100 and medium format. So this is my equivalent setup thingy inspired by your setup.

    I got down to two Panasonic bodies, GX7 and GX8, for both stills, studio, video, travel, paid, vacation, personal project, everything. They are my version of your Xpro2 and Phase One, though they are nowhere near as good as both of those. A bunch of great lenses like 12-35 2.8, 35-100 2.8, a whole lot of primes and whatnot are in my possession as well, so I’m quite happy with these whole two bodies + lenses setup.

    I have an LX100 that acts as my version of your X100, it kicks ass, though it doesn’t produce IQ anywhere near an X100.

    Lights, 4 YongNuo speedlights and that’s all. No big lights.

    I figured I no longer need ultra high IQ because I’m not a pro like you. All I need now is performance and versatility. I think with my rig, I got very close.

    Heck, I even throw away my modifiers, I now shoot bare flash with CTO all the time. Unless I’m shooting something serious in a studio of course, which on this case I usually bring out a few shoot through umbrellas.

    You are an inspiration, keep doing what you’re doing Zack, have fun and make lots of great photos! Hopefully 2017 will be another good year for you!

  97. Dave

    What happened to your Elinchrom Quadras?

    I shoot Canon…I settled on 6 Canon speedlites, which I can also trigger with Elinchrom if needed, 2 Elinchrom Quadras (they are so small) and 1 Elinchrom Ranger RX Speed AS and 2 heads.

    When using the Elinchrom Ranger RX heads..I have a very heavy roller Avenger stand, which I sandbag, to handle the weight.

    So I can scale up or down as needed…I think.

  98. Frank Romero

    I’m sure Fuji would give you a GFX for a reduced cost, perhaps B-stock. I hope you have something new for us to watch on YT soon.

  99. Mervyn

    Hey Zack,

    I know the feeling. Sleepless nights while going through all the options to get the ‘perfect’ kit of gear.

    I can only really talk from my own experience so I can’t say what’s the best option for you. What I’ve noticed is that the decisions I think up whilst laying awake in bed are never the right ones; My choices are much better when I’m rested and awake. So taking a break from this thought process might help; You might just find out that it isn’t as important a dilemma as you think. Perhaps you can just continue with your current gear and don’t worry about it. Instead, why don’t you put your focus and energy into making photo’s?

    And can’t you just rend an extra PhaseOne as a backup on super important assignments? It might not be a necessity that often and it would save you from buying into another medium format system. For the rest I’d just keep using the x-pro2 as a back-up like you’re doing now.

    Don’t sell your 50-140 or your 10-35 if you regularly use them and are happy with them. I’ve sold some lenses in the past only to buy them back with the very next discount action from Fuji. And selling and buying back gear only costs you money. And most definitely keep the 23, 35 and 56.

    I’d just keep the X100 that you have now. It’s the same lens and do you really need more megapixels or faster autofocus? For the occasions that you do, you already have your X-Pro 2 and your Phase.

    One word: GAS.

  100. Lyubo Lyubenov

    Get everything on one big shelf. Remove everything, that didn’t bring you “WOW, this is it!” feeling in the last months.
    There. Throw this shit away. Congrats, you just simplified. 🙂
    I’m in the same boat (Of course on a smaller scale).
    Should I get 23mm? I want 23mm 1.4, but that small new 23mm 2.0, oh there is an x100f, I want that x100f! But I need to get rid of something – 56mm, 35mm14, 50140 no way – then I saw her – my beautiful 16mm14 – who would sale that beauty? I checked shots – the ones that I love on this mm are from… x70. Is it 1.4? No. But can you live with it?. I said is 16mm 1.4 a must for your photography workflow? … No. Done.

    • Lyubo Lyubenov

      Another thing is that you cannot shoot with all the lenses in one system. Keep as close as you can to the one camera, one lens setup. 🙂

  101. Bart

    I’m no pro, so don’t listen to me!

    This week I downloaded a version of Iridient Dev this week and went through my X-T1 photo’s and discovered that it’s just amazing how sharp and clean the photos are. I redeveloped some photos and the detail in there is so much better… Better then the D750 IMO.. So here is my advice:

    Since you don’t want to give up on your Phase One gear… Stick with your current gear and don’t buy the GFX.

    Personally I would sell the Phase One and go for the Fuji, two GFX bodies are just as big as one Phase One… It’s going to travel lighter and handle easier. No leave shutter though…

    You should really make sure how big the difference is going to be with the Fuji 50Mp against Phase One 100Mp.. It’s detail vs clean image. Really look at it, as for me looking at my old photos from the X-T1 in Iridient dev was shock and awe….

    That’s it, it’s up to you 😉

  102. Carlos

    One system, one philosophy one operating brain (yours in this case).
    Lighter, smarter, cheaper on the long run.
    With the gfx why would you really need the phase One Zack?

  103. John

    Sad to admit it but I’ve been mulling over a similar dilemma, even spent a few hours drawing up a pros/cons list. I’m taking a senior gap year from July and road tripping a few continents to immerse myself in landscape photography. I originally intended taking a MF film camera, XT-2, an array of lenses and a P&S, but the new GFX has turned this on its head. I could now just take a GFX with 32-64 and a X100F….all bases covered and a lot less stuff to lug around. The only downside is the GFX cost, having invested in much XF glass over the last 5 years, would I ever use the XF system again….I guess I could offload it all on fleabay, but then again….decision, decisions!

  104. Jonas

    Damn! I thought i had a problem simplyfying my set up. I don’t, after reading your post.

    I choose between getting a second xpro 2 body and the 23 and 35 f2:s. Or, a X100F.

    My set up will be X100F and the xpro 2 with 14, 56 and 90.

    To throw two MF and all the lights in there… I feel sorry for you. ?

  105. Robert David

    Hi Zack,

    Ever since purchasing the X100s my life got much easier. I did buy both the conversion lenses to give me a little more variation at times. Most of my shootings are with the WCL attached as I simply love the results it gives me.

    I still own a Canon body and some glass. But I haven’t been using it since the Fuji came into my life. I take my small Fuji kit everywhere I go and it gets the job done.

    Of course I am in a completely different ball league and have little requirements for what I actually need. But I definitely see the point in simplifying and not making it more difficult than it actually is.

    As we all know, your creativity will make up any lack of gear. And that’s something you cannot buy. 🙂 But I am sure you’ll figure it out at some point. At the very least it will give us some interesting articles to read while joining you on your quest. 🙂

    All the best.


  106. Gerner

    I can’t see how you could decide Zach until you tried out the GXF 50 and with full RAW support.

  107. Zen master

    Are you serious. Stop pulling out this Zen bullshit call. If you can’t shoot most of your medium format work with a normal focal length leaf shutter lens something is wrong sir Zen master. Haha give me a break


    Every photographer I know would like not to carry all kinds of gear into the field. Me included. The struggle to leave behind or not even own a lot of gear has stressed me out for as long as I can remember and yes I finally got it where I need it. Two Fuji X cameras. The XT1, the Xpro2 (love it) three prime lenses, one zoom (18-55). If I need different glass I rent it. It works out less costly to rent than to have a piece of gear sitting around not being used a lot. And I have my now discontinued Richo GXR module body with 3 lenses as a sort of back should all my Fuji cameras fail at the same time. Oh! and three Photix strobes and trigger.

    Medium format is not for me. I can accomplish pretty much all I have to do for my work and pleasure with APS-C and while I know the advantage of medium format having used it a lot in my early years it is more than I want to carry. But if you need it you need it.

    An interesting rumor is surfacing that Fuji will bring out their wonderful medium format rangefinder once again but digital. How about that Zach?

  109. Foubare Louis

    Funny thing is I have nearly the same thoughts as you. However, I seldom shoot strobe, even inside, as I am mainly a landscape guy. However I parted with my Leica M street gear, bought the XF+100 and got the XT2 for street, bad weather, and any high speed shooting needs which is seldom. My first Fuji which I thought I would be happy with along side my XF system.

    As you say MF images are special and that is also why the GFX and 32-64 will be MF backup. If the images are good enough for my needs (I print around 24×36 maximum) then the uber heavy XF system will go and I will just get more GFX lenses when the ones I want are available, like the WA and maybe even the 45 plus something like a 150. The like the look of the 35mm lens in all formats. Just me. BTW you should rent a SK 110 as it has become one of my favoite lenses

  110. Richard Huggins

    The noise is between the GFX and the XPro2. To your mind, the Phase is essential for paid studio work. I suggest the X100T or F is essential for non paid pocket camera happiness (the conversion lenses are not).

    So GFX, XPro2 or both…

    Either system means humping a bag of gear when outdoors. A bag of gear is a bag of gear, so I would forget portability as an decider.

    So it’s a MF backup and minimal lens choice v a camera system you currently have, and need for pay, which you know will do the job outdoors.

    You’ve got GAS, man. Rationalise your lenses, and upgrade to an X100F, and it will make you feel better ?.

    I went to Morocco because of you, so you need to listen to me! Good to see you blogging again.

  111. Omar

    Hello Zack, what I’m worried about the GFX system is that Phase One will not offer support for the system via tether (totally understandable, it’s their competitor) which I use a lot because I shoot fashion in studio most of the time or got used to check all my settings directly on C1P. How do you tackle this? Lightroom it’s been letting me down more and more and I’m using it just as a simple library for my files. I haven’t touched the develop module in almost a year. And after Pie from SLR wrote the article about LR being so fucking slow and sluggish I feel like I don’t want to use it anymore. I’d love to get hold on the GFX system, but budget wise I’m not there yet. I might stick to my trusty 6D for a while and wait for a miracle of 10K to drop down on the GFX.

  112. Peter Smits

    the element of zen is not keep what you need, but to learn to let go of what you think you need. If you had less stuff to begin with, would it still be a dilemma?

    You may miss the odd shot, but gain in so many other ways. And that gain could put you at ease, be less stressful, etc Look at what that would do for you. Now think again, would that extra bit of kit help more or (all-in) hinder you?

  113. Dan S

    Love your posts, Zach. Champing (not chomping) at the bit myself and you’re not helping, haha. The curse of having too many options/choices…

  114. Daniel

    If you need multiple cameras, you need multiple cameras, don’t sweat it. Just better understand which one you need and for what situations so that you know what to take. No camera covers everything. If you limit your camera choice you are limiting your opportunities. Better to have a lower quality but perfectly fine image than no image at all

    If you sell your fuji kit for mf fuji kit make sure you have a safety net of a camera that covers everything mf won’t do…

    Micro four thirds is the best mirrorless system If you are using it as a compromise to full frame or medium format. The only reason for the compromise is speed of use and/or size. Micro four thirds is the fastest and smallest mirrorless in real world use by some margin than any of the other mirrorless systems regardless of what the reviews say.

    If I have doubts about what to take I always have the ricoh GR with me as my safety net as it will do anything I need at a push and stops me worrying that I’ve taken the wrong kit with me. If I truly believe I need a full but compact system I’ll take the tiny Panasonic GM1 with the tiny olympus 9-18, Panasonic 20mm and olympus 45mm which take up no more total space than an x-pro2 body in mass so can go in two pockets.

  115. Rob

    Make simple and use math, throw away emotions.
    What is the investment of all the Fuji gear and what is the return when selling ?
    How long did you use it ? Does it justify the cost or should you keep it longer.

    The Fuji MF will be the backup camera. How much are you going to use it over the next two years? What is it worth after 2 years ? Calculate the costs per session you used ! Compare it to the cost of a rental camera per occasion.

    Since it is a backup camera you are probably better of with a rental (Fuji or Phase 1)

    Zen …..
    Don’t buy what you want , buy what you need.

  116. Just me

    Hi Zack,

    as far as I can interprete the information you have given us, the only mandatory gear is your phase one. Everything else has still to be decided.

    A Fuji GFX with a 50 MP sensor is a waste of money, if you appreciate already your 100MP phase one. Even worse it makes your life even more complicated instead of simplifying it. It is an either/ or. You made your choice already when you bought your new phase one.

    So do not even think about it. This is only wasting your time.

    Everything else has to be elabourated. I do not see the beed to rush in any kind of direction. You could bring all other gear in your cellar and close it by key, to get not seduced.

    The question you have to answer is, what kind of shooting the phase one can not do and what would be the perfect gear for that? No matter which brand or format.

  117. PaulB


    I just found your site and I’m compelled to comment since I am going through very much the same process you are. Except I am an enthusiast rather than a working pro.

    Before you sell or buy anything I suggest you ask and answer the following questions:
    1. For 2016 what percentage of your work required the Phase One (PO)?
    2. Of this, what percentage could have been done using 36+ MP?
    3. Of the PO work you did how many times did you need to use the X-Pro?
    3a. How many of these clients did not notice a difference for their intended use?
    3b. How many of these clients accepted the results without comment or complaint?
    3c. How many of these clients have not contacted you for new work?
    4. What percentage of your work involves video, as a mix of video/stills, and video only?
    5. What percentage of your work, by job or income, requires travel by air?
    5a. Of these, what are the percentages for; international major city, international remote location, US major city, US remote location?

    Based on your answers to 1-3 above, you may be better served by selling all of your
    PO gear and renting 2 bodies and the lenses needed for the jobs that require them. You have $100K+ tied up in PO equipment, does it generate the income to support itself? If only 5-10% of your clients needs depends on this, renting is the better option.

    Based on all or your answers, sell everything else, and build an equipment list that will satisfy your needs for questions 2, 4, and 5, that all use the same lens mount, same recording media, and the same battery/charger. If the Fuji gear you have can do this great. If not, Sony can; the A7, a6300/6500, and RX10II/III cameras all use the same batteries, SD cards, and lenses (except the RX10’s which have fixed lenses).

    If you truly love the X-Pro-2, keep one body and 1-2 lenses to fill their personal/art role.

    • Luc Vekemans

      this( very to the point !!), tough you might not like reading it ZAck ! ? and I’d add: Get an X100F for the sake of enjoying photography !


  118. Darwin Nercesian

    I shoot on the IQ3-100mp also with the XF, but mostly on my technical camera. When I shoot FF 35mm, I am on Nikon D810s with an assortment of lenses. My street and personal photography setup is Leica M10 and then the MP for film. This is similar to yours with the Phase and my Nikons are like your Fuji back ups.

    In my honest opinion, the GFX looks amazing, and I have had a lot of time on that sensor in the past in both Phase and Pentax cameras. If I was you, I would definitely go with the Phase/GFX/X100F setup. It just seems perfect for what you do.

    I really wish I could do a Phase/GFX/Leica M setup myself, but the problem is that my work is very demanding in the tilt/shift department, so the technical camera has me fully covered on the Phase, and the assortment of nikon PC-E lenses 19mm, 45mm, 85mm has me covered for work as well. If it wasn’t for needing these movements, on which I make a living, I would switch off Nikon to the GFX immediately. There is no question at all.

    Good luck on whatever you choose man. I know you will make the best of it.

  119. Rick Lohre

    What happened w Elinchrom? Weren’t you shooting w Quadras at one time..? Too funny you’re wrestling with this app much the same time I am doing it too. Recently went back to reread sections of your last book Photography Q&A…wrestling w the GAS that’s caused my gear overflow that then causes decision paralysis or Boyscouting (bringing every known piece of equip just in case…you know being “prepared”). I’m OVER it…I’m making photos…not preparing to go into battle. Simplify. Will be interesting to follow how this pans out for you bro.

  120. Martin

    Hi Zack,
    great article, somehow it sounds familiar to me, too (exept I don’t own a Phase One). One thing I would consider: if you are using a xpro2 combined with the x100, you are not really rendundand. A loss or misfunction of the xpro2 would nail you to the 35mm if I am right. What about another x-body with interchangeable lens?
    Cheers, Martin.

  121. Jillian Kay

    Yay you’re back! Love reading about the continual evolution of your gear, and so very curious about medium format.

    I got the FujiX100T as a travel+daily camera a few months ago. Still learning it’s limitations and getting the feel for it, but it’s really grown on me. Thanks for the recommendation on that!

  122. Carlos C

    Interesting article. At a zen perspective I think adding a GFX to a Phase as a backup is GAS, to go simple you should keep just one of them.

    If you really love XPro2 and X100 then you should keep those too. Simply pick 2 or 3 primes: 16, 35, 56 (23 would be redundant with X100F focal). You must think with the heart in your creativity process, at least you show that kind of feelings in some of your shots in the streets of Istambul or Marrakech amongst others, after all photography should be a pleasure.


  123. Ai

    I have been thinking about simplifying my gears as well. I am a bit different from you slightly, though. I am not a professional photographer. I just love photography. I currently own an X-Pro 1 with only 2 lens: a 16-55 f2.8 WR, and the Samyang 12mm f2 for wide angle. Since last year, I have been wanting to upgrade my camera to the X-T2 because I am truly convinced from the specs on papers and how people praise it.

    However, just recently, I dug up my Mamiya M645 1000s and bought 5 rolls of b&w 120 films to shoot with. I came to realise how much I miss shooting with film; and at the same time, realise what made me love photography. It is not the specs on the sheet or not even micron scale image quality. Instead, it is how I enjoy the whole process of photographing. Study the light, finding a good angle for my shot, develop the films, scan them and be proud of the whole thing. I realise it is so simple. Why I had to suffer myself wanting new gears for years when the whole thing I enjoy is so close to me.

    Now, I don’t want the new camera anymore, and I feel so happy I found what I have missed.

    As a buddhist, I hope you harmonise yourself with simplicity and enjoy every single minute with happiness.

  124. Joe Boris

    It never ends, does it? Reading your blog and others, I started with the X100s, sold it for the X100t w/ W & T lens converters. Bought the XPro2 last April w/ 4 fastest primes, and now the X100f’s larger sensor is calling. And that XT-2 sure seems sweet. But my money system for 12 years has been Canon, w/ three tilt/shifts and three ‘L’ zooms for my advertising work. So. New GFX? Oh, CRIPES!!

    • Joe Boris

      BTW Zack, after years of waiting for the perfect ‘carry everywhere camera’ to be born, “A Camera Walks Into A Bar” was the tilt that sent me straight into the Fuji lineup, and I’ve never been happier gear-wise. That was some piece of wordsmithing on your part, and it remains so today. Thanks!

  125. Steve

    Zack! You me both on the lens dilemma – every time I take the zoom I miss the primes, and visa versa, can’t win! Ona Bowery is good though…

    You mentioned your son… sorted! Long-term lend the X-Pro2 and all XF lenses to son… on the basis that you can borrow them back when needed 😀

    Less gear, sorted!

    Then have a smoke and think about the challenges of the X100F… 😉

    Peace <3

  126. Chris Korsak

    Hi Zack,

    After reading this post, it made me think about one of the questions in your ‘Photography Q & A’ book…. the buying gear question near the end: ‘If you had 5 g’s and you had to build your gear up from scratch, what would you buy?’

    Would you change your gear advice now for someone just starting out (as opposed to the answer in the book)?

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience with everyone. Your books, videos, and pdf’s are extremely helpful to me!

    -Chris Korsak

  127. james

    I’m torn right now…..I’m doing very little paid work now by choice and have
    2 XT1 10-24 23mm 27mm 56mm and a pair of Quadra Packs and a bunch of other crap that all gets little use. (the x30 is just to easy to grab and go)

    I’m considering selling it all and getting 2 100T/F with the converters and something like the Godox AD360 for when I need light (or maybe keep one of the Quadras???)

    My main fear is that I will regret it after I do it for some reason. ANYONE with thoughts/advice would be appreciated.

    • DQ

      sell one xt1 and the 23 and the 27 and one of the packs… buy the 100F. see if you use the remaining xt1 … the 10-24 and the 56 both offer great alternatives to the x100… don’t use any lights? maybe sell both quadras, get a Godox or Lumopro or small used canon 430ex ii…

      i have xt1 and xt2, my x100T was STOLEN 🙁 but he F is on the way. i DO still shoot for money so can’t sell them (or the closet full of canon gear) but when i don’t want to carry anything i love the x100 series (have owned all of them)

  128. Julian

    Ive had the original x100, but was so frustrated with A that I sold it and I haven t owned a fuji since. But now I finally feel this new one will be the business!
    Id love to hear your thoughts on it!

  129. Brett Martin

    Great post Zack, I can relate. As a part-time pro it’s easy to get GAS and end up with way more gear than you need. A few years ago I had a full Canon kit, 4x canon 600ex, 5x dumb speedlights, eos M + lenses, and a few video rigs with batteries, mics etc. I sold 100% of it, bought a T1, 10-14/27/35/56/90 switched to Cactus flashes and a few of their transceivers which can trigger any hot shoe flash/strobe. I use a bowens mount hotshoe flash clamp so if I ever need studio strobes in the future I dont need to sell everything. Just picked up a X-T2 and traveled to Ukraine this year with a single pele case, 2 bodies, 5 lenses, 3 flashes etc and I shot travel, strobist, and 4k wedding video (love the 10-24) It was super hard to ditch the video rigs and Canon gear in general. Once you limit yourself though you either don’t do stuff outside what your gear can handle or you find a way to do it.

  130. Danieldownunder

    Nikon D810 24/70mm, 70-200mm and done.

    Just a thought. 🙂

  131. Colin Nicholls

    Nice write up, and something which I’m always conscious to do, keep things simple, enough kit to get the job done.

    Thanks Zack!

  132. Scott C.

    Nice Post… I visited your blog years ago when I was looking at the original x100. Purchased it and love(d) it. Glad to see you are still at it and that business is good!

    So, I have become disenchanted with Canon and because of focus issues, but I am DEEP in bodies and glass and need/want to shoot tethered in-studio. I don’t have the scratch to dump Canon which means I don’t have the scratch to go DMF (as much as I would like to). I thought about selling a couple Canon bodies, lenses, and the x100 and picking up an XT2 or XPro2 with a couple lenses for location work and maybe a x70 for a every day carry. The idea would be to keep my 5DMK3 for shooting along with my prime L glass and do the Fuji for location (rather than upgrading to the 5DMK4)

    I really like the idea of simplicity… Because I travel 25k-30k miles a year for my clients (a mere pittance compared to you)… but I don’t know if it is an option for me and my budget.

    What is your opinion on the x70 for edc and the XT2 vs XPro2 for location portrait, lifestyle, and fashion? Can their zooms be trusted for jobs (16-50 and 50-140)? I know you are partial to the XPro2, but thoughts on it vs the XT2?

    Totally with you on the Bowens mount. I have been using Bowens/Calumet since 1999. Have you check out their new TTL battery operated monos, by chance?

    Thanks in advance.


  133. Richard

    Wow, Zack, you’re idea of simple is very different from mine.

    I agree with some other comments that you might consider being more selective about the types of assignments you shoot.

    I’d suggest you think about what you want to do, consider if you can get enough work doing that, and if so stick everything that’s unnecessary in a cardboard box and ditch it. If you need other stuff, then buy it.

    Focus, focus, focus. Good mantra for a photographer. The Dalai Lama tells us the purpose of life is happiness and with every key decision we should ask if it helps make us happier.

    I suggest you don’t want lots of gear. You want to be doing work you love with just the gear you need. In focus.

  134. Uwe Lauer

    Hi Zack,
    there is a guy who seems to know you pretty well.
    He knows your quirks, mood changes, talents and abilities.
    His name is Caleb.
    He should pack
    a) one bag for you
    b) two bags for you.
    Don´t discuss his decision, follow- and don´t complain afterwords.
    In many fields I let my wife take decisions because I would procrastinate until Brahmas last breath.

  135. Gene

    Hi Zack,

    I’m planning to get into strobes/flash photography. Any recommended kit/s that I should invest in? I’m using an XT-1 for now. Might switch to an Xpro-2 or XT-2 later on this year. But my priority right now are lights. Will use for portraits outdoor/studio.


  136. mark o-w

    I have tried hard to minimise and be more zen about photography and life in general. At one point I had been playing with old manual nikons and minoltas and getting in such a mess – the gear getting in the way of the photography. I sold the film camera, gave my fuji camera gear to my eldest son and tried the uber zen way of iPhone plus moment lenses. But guess what, these lens are not quick to use. So my zen satori was realising that I just need an x100 which is always ready and in my bag and not too big to take everywhere – the new F is going to be mega-fast with those new digital 50/75 focals perfect for a minimal set up. I’m not a pro but that doesnt matter – I’m talking about my passion for photography. I love the kit i use to train my clients but that’s business and has nothing to do with my passion for photography. I think its the same for you – its just that your profession is photography. So I’d say for sure you need the MF thing for your pro and portfolio work – these are just tools for the job and they work great, amazing quality etc. But when you are pursuing you passion and being in the photographic moment, 100 heavy MP dont matter. You need a small light camera that you dont need to think about – not tripods or screwy little hipster lenses for your iPhone. Just an X100 (f) …

  137. nemd

    my suggestion:

    – phase one with the three lenses you have ::: MF goodness

    – fuji gfx with a zoom (or pentax 645Z with a zoom. that’s also a self-contained MF camera, even if bigger than the new fuji) ::: more compact and tough MF camera for backup and dusty or rainy situations

    – 2 fuji x-pro2 bodies with 3-5 lenses ::: one of the lenses should be compact in size so you don’t not need any x100, otherwise the compact, fast, versatile system you love, with two identical(ly professional) bodies

  138. David J. Sherwood

    I’m totally there with the minimalist zen thing Zack! I used to think that it was all about accumulating gear but I now realise that it’s about getting a set up that suits you and evolving that setup rather than adding to it.

    I’ve got the X-T1 (that may well evolve into an X-T2 or X-Pro 2). In an ideal world I’ll be pairing this with the 35mm f2 (which I have), the (pre-ordered) 50mm f2 and the 10-24mm. The 10-24mm is a while off and will have to evolve from the 18-55 kit lens that, if I’m honest, I still enjoy using. I’ll be adding either an X100 or X70 (I’m actually leaning towards the pocket-ability of the X70) and a light for street portraits to that setup soon too.

    I’m not a pro, I do what I love which is street and travel (people and places). Thats a setup I can have with me every day and travel with. It covers most, if not all, scenarios I’m likely to find myself in. Minimising my gear means I have it on me more often which means I’m not missing opportunities – it enables me to get the f*ck to work more!

  139. Mats Andersson

    I’m still in the complication and hoarding phase. Great read,though. I see it coming.

  140. Markus Müller

    What about your bagging on sensorsize? Not that negligible anymore? What now? Understanding that you told BS… I guess.

    • William Miller

      Very perceptive Markus. It really isn’t that negligible anymore.

      APS-C vs FF – negligible. With the release of the X-Pro2, I can now completely replace my 5D III kit. The FF sensor has zero IQ advantage. I am aware that newer FF sensors offer more resolution, but higher IQ is debatable.

      There is no compelling reason for me to choose FF over APS-C. But medium format? That is a BIG difference.

      Much higher IQ. No debate.

  141. Mayank Gautam

    Nice post, and here I am researching film cameras for the first time in my life after I handled a friend’s Yashica 124G. Already ordered an AE-1 and will look for system later on that would take it’s manual lenses. For commercial projects I still use the 5Diii system.

  142. William Miller

    Geez Zack
    I was getting worried about you. Please keep posting, even just to say ‘Hi, I’m still here!’

    Look – You are a far better photographer than I’ll ever be. But I’ve lived with GAS for considerably more years than you have and I know what I’m talking about.

    ‘I am NOT selling my XF.’ – yeah right.
    I said the same thing about my Contax RTS III and my Hasselblad 500cm and my Leica M3 and my 5D III and my X-Pro1 and my X100s and …… I don’t have ANY of that stuff.

    DON’T sell anything until you’ve lived with the GFX for a couple of months. Who knows? You might look at all that big, heavy, uber expensive Phase stuff and and decide that what you REALLY need is a new SUV or a studio addition or whatever. You might not. But don’t start dumping stuff you love until you are SURE.

    My two cents. Again – great to have you back.

  143. Trish

    Hey. If you could only buy one camera and it had to be between an X100F, an XPro2 (with the 23, 35, and 56), and an XT2 (ditto), which would you buy? Keep in mind that you’ve been taking pictures since you were a kid (AE2 and then another Canon DSLR years later), but know nothing about cameras or taking pictures except how they look and make you feel. Then which?


  144. Steve Paul

    Hi Zack,
    I started my photography journey with Nikon, then Canon went digital first. So then I shot Canon. I need to travel a lot and one day I weighed my 5D mark III with grip and flash and I was at the limit for my international flight. Read some of your posts on Fuji and I purchased an XT1 for a travel shoots. The camera, lenses and flash weighed less than my Canon gear. I was so unsure of my purchase of the Fuji until I saw the results. All my Canon gear has gone and I now carry two TX2’s. What is it about these cameras that just makes you want to shoot with them? It’s almost an obsession, they feel great to use, you can dial them in, within two or three shots. So I personally thank you for you posts. I now shoot exclusively with Fuji’s. The colour saturation and skin tones are perfect for portraits, a large part of my work. 56mm F1.2 Wow !! So sharp.

  145. Dan

    Thank you for what you do and what you share. It helps

  146. Harry Jackson

    Having your photography gear simplified is a great option allowing it to be in perfect working mode when in shooting mode. Good tips

  147. Jeff Baldwin

    Hey Hey Zack! Great blog post. Always enjoy reading your stuff.

    Quick question: Where do you believe is the best place to sell your gear? And how do you valuate used lenses and bodies?

    You’ve inspired me to ditch my canon gear. Fuji has won me over.

    Much appreciation!

    – Jeff

  148. Aras Uludag

    Hi Zack,

    You’re doing a great work. In the last year I’ve seen your Crop or Crap video and I was like “This is how I want to be like, bullsh*t proof.” and I started watching everything, reading everything you’ve made. I was shooting in natural light but I decided to go your way. Speedlites. I understand principals, the math and mostly everything but there is one thing I was wondering. When you’re bouncing from a ceiling or a wall, is there a way to know what you will get? It always takes 2-3 shots for me to find the perfect exposure. I’m going 1/8, 1/16, 1/32. Sometimes the opposite. I’m pretty much confused.

  149. Ricardo Hernandez

    Here’s what I think of this bulls*t as you said, since I have been going through a similar angst. This is my conclusion so far from what I read, and speaking also for myself- and please forgive me in advance if I am miss-speaking or you think I am off-line here-

    1 There is a touch of gear addiction. 2 There’s also a touch of overthinking.

    3 The exact camera we want as we would like does not and most likely will never exist, so there’s a compromise and a choice to be made. So there’s a touch of fantasy land idealization also.

    Combine all three and they create that decision paralysis/stress you talk about when you get out and you wonder which gear/camera to take. And when you are out, you may think maybe should have picked *that other gear* instead of the one with you in some situations. It also creates fantasizing about buying something new and holding onto stuff that it’s best parted with.

    Speaking specifically for myself now, I was in what I call major brain-frying loop spinning OCD last summer between the PenF and a Panasonic GM5. This after my intuition told me at the end of 2015 the GM5 was it- which I was enjoying without looking at anything else.

    I like small cameras. I like stealth, I do street photography. I like to *wear* the camera.

    After that PenF had been out for a while and I had checked it out 3 times at dealers, and feeling something was off and wrong, I still went and bought it after my brain convinced itself that having image stabilization opened some opportunities at night to do some static + blurry work without tripod. And it does but…

    The PenF and I have had quite a tumultuous hate – love relationship. Something about the handling feels bad. And adding the grip makes it big/heavier and ugly. Love the files/JPEG engine. Olympus UI could use a simplification. The camera is not as “zippy” as even the Panasonic GM5 for some tasks.

    Added relatively recently a Panasonic GX850 as the “GM5 upgrade” because I like the AA-less filter look – and been in a PenF GX850 fight for a while. GX850 auto focus and speed response is amazing. PenF Image quality / metering is amazing. Blah blah blah.

    My photography started to suffer and the eye opener was when I looked at my work from the last 5 years or so, a lot of great photos were done on a Pentax Q, and a Nikon 1 J4. I left those in my quest for better low light- yet there I was staring at what seemed to be a higher “hit” rate.

    A good friend of mine that is a pretty good artist that I worked with for a while told me “art within constraints.” Having too many potions is the enemy of creativity. Pick the sandbox, understand its rules, and you can create art using those rules to the extremes playing with them like words from a language to make a poem.

    Realizing that I have hit some form of gear addiction, and that I can’t afford to have the same brain OCD empty spin loop of DOOM this summer – I gave myself a deadline. I would decide by XXX time that I would pick either the PenF or the GX850 moving forward for a year, and not buy anything else. I was able to lock myself out of buying more stuff so that’s good. After what I thought was a winning choice for the PenF, I found myself reaching out for the GX850 and here I am again though the choice seems to be converging finally.

    What is helping me converge is realizing- and fully accepting – that my choice- for either, is *NOT MEANT TO BE COMFORTABLE* – in fact, *the opposite should be expected*.

    I will be uncomfortable. *It has to hurt* at least a bit. I am making a compromise and a part of my brain won’t like it. I am breaking an addiction. And well, deal. Me get out, and focus on photography full time again.

    Since i started doing this my photography is going back up. I am going to make the final call soon. At least I am not thinking about buying anything else (though I have clear when I can – March 30 2018 🙂 ).

    Somewhere I need to realize that I would be doing far better photography focusing on that, than obsessing on a small amount of better convenience in particular areas where my current choice is more deficient- only to find probably the new has its own issues.

    Less can be liberating.

    Going back to what you wrote- unless you have very specific clients that want that MF big files (i.e. a true business requirement and not just a preference), I would say that what you listed- Xpro 2, 3 lenses and the X100 + 1 bag is the way to go.

    At least from what I have seen.

    In the end listen to your intuition and run with it. At least for me my intuition is almost always right (and still working on listening to it more).

    (all of this said with highest respect, love your blog/work and you have a market experience that I don’t have)

    PS: I love Fuji stuff and I indeed own some Fuji gear. Have converged away from it because of size. If Fuji did a follow up at a pro level of the X-M1, or an X80-50mm equiv focal I would be there. So I keep an XT1 + XF35 for special portraits/occasions. Fortunately that choice is made- so no angst on that one. I may part with it at some point.

    – Ricardo

  150. PJ

    I”ve left all my DSLR stuff in the wind for 2 XP2’s. The 16-55, 90, 23/2, 35/1.4 & Zeiss12/2.8. I have yet to conquer the med format (I don’t get your kind of gigs but hey ….) temptation. I was quite interested in your love for the Inda. I love my phottix triggers. NEVER a problem EVER. I feel you pain and love the zen concept of less. Yesssssss.

  151. Khurram

    Hi Zack,

    TL;DR Thank you for showing me the Fuji route.

    I am an enthusiast which means I’ve sunk money into gear but I haven’t made any from it. I used to own Nikon D7000 with 50/F1.4, 70-200/F2.8 (yes, total overkill) and 18-200mm lens. I’ve had my eye on the Fuji cameras from when they first came out and you and Hobby covered them in detail.

    When I saw your post on Fuji lenses and the type of kit one should assemble, I decided to streamline. Selling camera bodies is tough but once I got to the destination of Fuji X-T1 with 2 primes and 2 zooms, I found out that my pictures have never been better. A streamlined kit is a blessing and I have you to thank for that.

  152. jpe

    Phase one, Fuji MF, x100f, xpro2, lights… It seems you are covering all bases. There is no simplifying there.

  153. Bobs

    Damn that GFX!

    Slimmed down to XT2, with X100T as backup and then X100F sticks his nose in…and obviously the old XPro-1 comes along for the ride.

    50-140 comes out rarely but every time it does; I love it!

    10-24 always makes me happy.

    Should I sell the 500c/m to help? That WOULD NOT HELP…(and WILL NOT HAPPEN)

    One (small) bag. Run and Gun. One light.

    Love your work – all I have is noise…

  154. Donavan Freberg

    Hi Zack! This is a very helpful post. I’m curious about your experience with the 35mm f2 vs the 35mm 1.4. I’m coming over to Fuji, full stop, from Canon Full Frame (5DM3). Gonna sell it all. My most used lenses at moment are the Canon 50mm 1.4 and my Canon 85mm 1.8. It’s all I use for portrait. I want something similar to my 50/85 combo in Fuji. I know the 56mm 1.2 is going to be my first Fuji lens, and then I am going to have to decide which 35 to get. I know you love the 35 1.4, but it looks like you also use the 35F2. Thoughts? Also, I had my eye on the 23mm 1.4 (and the tiny and sweet little 23mmF2WR) but I think I may just suck it up and get an X100F. The X100 will serve as my second body and my 35mm equivalent, which I love for wedding and street. I am a bit nervous to ditch my Canon kit entirely but I made the “mistake” of playing with the Fuji’s, and well, yeah. I’m in. All in. I’m going the FULL FUJI. Hope you’re well! Awesome site, BTW. Awesome.

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  157. jk

    Oh yeah backup is always a great (let’s say not feeling guilty for spending another 10 grand on a camerasystem) answer to that question. 😀

  158. Marc

    So, has your 2017 goal been achieved?

  159. Vic Roman

    I just bought a XPro1. I’m switching to Fuji. I am going all in. I dont even own a single Fuji lens yet. I know Fuji is the direction I want to go. Slowly building a complete kit.

    I have Some Canon, Pentax and my Olympus gear. They hold sentimental value from different times in my life but, I need to simplify it.

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