I’ve used a lot of cameras and I know that this bag of cameras is not done evolving yet but it’s pretty solid right now and this gear will last me for some time to come.

Let’s start with the Phase One XF100. As I say in the video, this is the most ridiculous camera I have ever owned. I’m working on a post on the XF100 so I won’t go into much more detail here.

Next up is my beloved XPro2 from Fuji. It is my favorite small format interchangeable lens camera in the Fuji lineup right now. It’s a beautiful camera to look at. A beautiful camera to shoot with. It’s such a huge improvement to the original XPro. The main reason I shot with the XT1 for so long is simply because there was no XPro2. The XT1 was a stopgap until this camera came out. The only thing it lacks is the ability to shoot tethered like the XT2. If I’m shooting tethered though I’m going to shoot with the Phase One.

I’m currently traveling with five lenses for the Fuji. The 27mm pancake, 23mm 1.4, 56mm 1.2, 16-55 2.8, and the 10-24 4.0. Sometimes I drop the 35 f2 in there but my camera bag is pretty full as it stands so those first five are typically always packed in there. My least favorite lens in this line up is the 16-55. It’s a fine lens. It’s sharp. Fast. All that. It’s just awkward on the XPro2 as far as balance goes but it’s a good run and gun lens.

Finally I have my Fuji X100T in the bag. There’s still this part of me that wants to build a kit with Two X100F’s, three flashes, and the two conversion lenses for the X100. That whole kit would cost far less then the Phase One 35mm leaf shutter lens that I eventually want to upgrade to. I could shoot plenty of magazine and commercial jobs with just that kit. The ultimate minimal kit. One day I’m going to lose my mind and build that exact kit. One day.

“Zack. Why don’t you just do that then?”

“Because medium format. It’s just so effing gorgeous.”

“Why not sell the Phase and get the GFX then?”

“Errrr. Um. Yeah. I ask myself that question too.”

I had a pre-production model of the GFX for five days and that camera is beautiful. It is as easy to use as a DSLR but brings image quality up ten notches from smaller format cameras. I call it medium format to go. It’s far easier to hand hold and run and gun with the GFX than with the Phase. I’m still considering selling off the vast majority of my Fuji X mount system to upgrade to the GFX. I sold my Canon gear because at the end of the day my Fuji cameras could stand up to the quality of my DSLRs. But that GFX though. It spanks the DSLR world for the kind of work I shoot.

The GFX would be a great back up to my Phase and would then be my handheld run and gun camera. I’m telling you, once you shoot medium format you want EVERYTHING you shoot to be medium format. There’s no going back once you go medium format. At least not for me.

If you have any questions about any of this or would like to see posts and videos that go further in depth on something I’ve talked about here just let me know in the comments!

Cheers,
Zack


List of gear in the video

Think Tank Airport International v.3
Think Tank Urban Disguise 40 v.2
Ona – The Brixton – Leather Bag

Phase One XF100

Fuji X-Pro2
Fuji X100F (I have the T version but will be upgrading to the F)

Fuji 23mm 1.4
Fuji 27mm
Fuji 35mm f2
Fuji 56mm 1.2
Fuji 10-24mm
Fuji 16-55mm

Fuji X100 Wide Converter
Fuji X100 Tele Converter

Think Tank Cable Management 20
Think Tank Cable Management 10
Think Tank DSLR Battery Holder
Think Tank CF Pixel Pocket Rocket
Think Tank SD Pixel Pocket Rocket

Black Rapid Street Breathe (For my Fuji’s)

JBL Bluetooth Speaker

 

 

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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42 Comments

  1. Gabe Sturdevant

    Thanks Zack. Its always inspiring seeing your videos. I have a Nikon D3X that I have been trying to sell but have no takers. I am starting to think something is telling me to hang onto it, but it doesn’t fit my needs. I totally feel you with the “asking myself that too” statement.

    I have not looked into the Fuji system other than the GFX, but would you convert to a prime zoom if they offer one (dont know if they do)?

    Thanks again Zack

    • Zack Arias

      Hey Gabe! Not sure what you mean by a prime zoom. Can you elaborate?

      Cheers,
      Zack

  2. The douche

    Fuji GFX so not convinced I dont know why, but it just doesn’t make me want to sell body parts in a hurry which is a shame because I`ve always wanted to invest in medium format and honestly that MF back with the hass you gave away a few years ago actually works out cheaper and well erm yeah its a hass and I love my analogue hass.

  3. Michael

    I shoot portraits and currently use the Canon 6D and the 50 and 85 lenses. Would it be worth looking into the GFX and what lenses? How does that camera work with Strobes — I assume the same as any other. Love all the work and educational resources.

    • Dave Hathaway

      Hi Zack,

      Always appreciate the knowledge you share. Do you find the large file sizes of medium format difficult to manage with a Mac?

      Thanks,
      Dave

      • Zack Arias

        Capture One 10 does a great job churning through the pixels. The problem is storage. I upgraded my laptop recently not so much for post production speed but so that I’d have more onboard hard drive storage. RAW photos on the “normal” setting run 95mb to 125mb in size. They get even larger when shooting 16 bit RAW. My last editorial shoot was 28+ gigs for 280 shots taken.

    • Zack Arias

      The GFX with the 63 and the 110 would be your way to go Michael.

      Currently you are limited to 125th of second for flash sync. It was a choice to make an affordable medium format camera or make an expensive one with leaf shutters. There is a Hasselblad H adapter that allows you to use H lenses and their leaf shutters so that option is available that will allow up to 2,000th of a second I believe.

      I’m thinking someone will come up with a HSS solution for it but I have no idea if that is on the way or not.

      • Michael

        Thank you!

      • John Karasch

        TTL and HSS support is currently available via the Godox TT350-F. Godox has also provided Fuji-compatible firmware updates for their AD200, AD360, AD600 and V860-ii lights. The TT350-F can be used as a Master (using its built-in 2.4GHz transmitter) to control any of the aforementioned lights in up to 3 groups. I’ve been testing it the past few days with an X-T2, and so far it’s been pretty impressive.

  4. Jason

    Thanks for the video, Zack. I find these super interesting. I have really enjoyed watching you minimize your gear. Can’t wait to see the video of the new studio!

    • Zack Arias

      Thanks for watching, Jason!

      Cheers,
      Zack

  5. Douglas I Levy

    I wanted to love the GFX. I rented it for a day to see if I might pair it with my H5X and Credo 60, especially as the with the upcoming adapter I wouldn’t need to purchase any new lenses.

    Long story short, there were a few huge problems for me. First, and perhaps most importantly, I can’t run the files through Capture One, and I don’t want to have to go back to using Lightroom as part of my workflow.

    Second, I just wasn’t that impressed with the files. They seemed like slightly higher res version of what my Nikon D810 used to give me. They absolutely didn’t have the “holy shit wow” color and overall experience I get everytime I open a Credo file. Couple that with the annoying viewfinder blackout between frames (isn’t the whole point of mirrorless supposed to be that that doesn’t happen?) and I was out of the market for one.

  6. Joe Rooney

    Nice to see you back posting again! Thanks for the overview. I hope you find a way to compare the GFX with the Phase One when you do the video on the XF100.

  7. Kenn Rhem

    Thanks for these videos. Glad to see you back! I’ve got to ask how you work around the limitations of 125 max flash sync. It kills me! Thanks for the GFX + H lenses mention tho. I’ll have to look in to that.

  8. Dusty

    Zack,

    Awesome to see your videos again!

    I’m curious, you mentioned the GFX can get in the same neighborhood as the 100 mp Phase but not the address. How does it compare to the old Phase you had (50 mp back, wasn’t it?)?

    • Zack Arias

      I’m working on a post about the Phase. I’ll discuss it there.

      Cheers,
      Zack

  9. Chris

    Hey Zack question for you considering you’ve used pretty much every fuji body, I’m working on a new portfolio to transition towards full time to give context. Right now my only body is a fuji xe-2, in your opinion, outside of being able to tether, is the xt-1 that much better than the xe-2 where it’s worth making it my main body and upgrade? I’m also thinking maybe instead of the xt-1, the x100s with tcl which would still give me a second body, and I get the advantage of leaf shutter with my lighting. I use a wifi sd card for studio (read apartment living room) so tethering isn’t a huge need though it would be nice.

    • Zack Arias

      If you are wanting to go full time then you really need a second body of some sort so in your scenario I’d go with the X100 and TCL for now. Bust ass. Hustle. And let those two cameras start to feed you and upgrade as you need when you need.

      Cheers,
      Zack

  10. Duane Duholke

    Great to see you posting again.
    How do you manage the weight for your carry on camera bag. I have less gear and went to a back pack to reduce weight and still have problems staying under airline carry on bag weight allowance. Mind you, hear in the Middle East the allowance is 7 kg.

    • Zack Arias

      Only one time have I ever had a problem with weight and that was on a Quantas flight in Australia. I was traveling with two other people so we distributed gear among all of us and got through.

      Most of my flights are domestic in the US and I fly Delta 99.5% of the time. I usually keep gold or platinum status with them so they never give me any problems for my bags. I can’t really remember the last time I saw any Delta passenger stopped and asked to weight their bag though.

      I was stopped once by Air France on my way home to the US. They asked more questions but I was Platinum and they are a partner with Delta so I was given a pass. I can’t tell you how good it is to stick with one airline and build up status with them over the years.

      Cheers,
      Zack

  11. kylie Knight

    Hey Zack glad your back 🙂 Love your latest videos, fantastic content and now I have a shopping list lol. I’m in the process of creating the ultimate kit myself, to streamline everything for shooting portraits and also weddings. Got rid of my Bowens and bought 2 Godox AD600’s a few months back, so far they have been amazing. Bought the Think Tank Airport Advantage bag, for weddings and haven’t looked back either because it’s so lightweight but roomey 🙂 I shoot Fuji too but on the fence on wether to buy the xt-20 or go all in for the xt-2 body. I currently have the xt-10 body but it’s very slow. Can’t wait for your next video’s.
    Cheers,
    Kylie from Australia 🙂

    • Zack Arias

      I really don’t shoot video these days so I’m not traveling with all that gear. If I needed to then I’d take an assistant with me and they would carry the video gear.

      Cheers,
      Zack

  12. Till Ulen

    Hi Zack. Can’t describe how glad I am that you’re back.

    • Zack Arias

      Thanks! It’s good to be back!

      Cheers,
      Zack

  13. Phil Ryan

    Zack – External SSD drive for backups. I’m using a 512 GB G-Drive and it zips right through them. You can transfer to disk over a beer at home later!

    Best,
    Phil

  14. Andre Barbosa [.atb]

    Studio tour would be awesome!! I’m currently remodeling mine and wouldlove to see yours. Cheers from Brazil!!

  15. Ramsey Etchison

    A favorite part of my life is back. Zack!!

  16. Chris Casatelli

    Zack is back! Good to see you again Sir! Love the new gear porn videos! Would love to see a BTS of one of your shoots. See the process. Cheers!!!

  17. Drew

    Zac, so awesome to see you back! Have you tried out the Fuji 23mm f/2 yet?

    • Zack Arias

      Not yet! I’m kind of done buying lenses at this point though. For awhile at lest.

  18. Dominique

    You haven’t anymore the magical 35mmf1.4. Why do you prefer the 35mmf2 ?

    • Shaheen

      I was wondering that as well, but I’m guessing it’s for a number of reasons, most likely the fact the f/2 has a much faster autofocusing speed, is weather sealed, and smaller. I own both, and when shooting indoors in a controlled setting, the results from both lenses is very similar. That’s probably why. To my eye, the f/1.4 still has greatly superior image quality, especially when used outdoors in good light. I shouldn’t own both, but I do. I guess that says something about the f/1.4 Or maybe it says something about the f/2? Ah, shit. Who knows.

  19. Martin

    Hey Zack, great to have you back! Thanks for the videos and sharing your experiences. Watch you soon again 🙂

  20. Max Milne

    Nice post Zac. Always dangerous to watch them though as the GAS pedal gets going.

    Currently I’ve sitting on a XT2 kit and the files coming out of those are awesome. You mentioned not knowing about HSS for Fuji. Well Godox just released there trigger for AD600 (very similar to your 500watt battery lights) and there is also the very appealing AD200. I’m lurching in with the lot and will let you know how the HSS function goes on those with the XT2 . Easily transferable to the GFX as it is all the same system.

    My friend has just picked up the Phaseone 50 megapixel system and it is beautiful to work with. Looking forward to getting my hands on the GFX for a spin. The only hire in Melbourne, Australia, is $700 for the day. “phew.

    Thanks again.

    Max

  21. Bryan Elliott

    Thanks for sharing! I really enjoy your content!

  22. Mark

    Hey Zack, since quite a few are jumping ship to the X series does that mean FF digital isn’t as big a deal as it once was? Would you call me crazy to give up a pair of 5D classics for something like the 750D? Might be a ‘consumer’ camera but it’s more up to date, resulting in better quality images maybe?

  23. Scott

    I would love to have that GFX, too. What are people saying about the new Nikon 850? Think that will have some people reconsidering the switch to mirrorless? It looks like a beautiful camera, but I think I’m too old for those full frame big rig tanks.

  24. Zabba

    Zack! You’ve opened up a pandoras box! And you probably want to open other peoples’ too. You should have stayed with Canon and just a couple of their best lenses 😉

  25. Kirsten

    I’d love to see a post on your digital workflow. I recently bought a secondhand X-T1, and Lightroom 4 just isn’t cutting it. I’ve been away from photography, raising my kids, and am slowly coming back around to it. But I’m not even sure where to begin with programs and workflow that best suit the Fuji. I was fine with Canon and LR, but technology moves so fast, and I’d rather not waste money on programs that aren’t worth the time, or my precious dollars.

  26. Craig Volpe

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge and works or doesn’t work for you.
    Here’s a couple things that work for me that I thought you might like too if you want to cut down on the size of your kit a tiny bit:

    Small lens hood for X100 made from a filter and step down ring

    Smaller hood for 23 1.4, which can also be used on the 56 1.2 (I got the JJC version for $28 on eBay and the quality is great)

    Photos showing them here: https://www.icloud.com/sharedalbum/#B14GdPblXGO3rIJ