UPDATE: You can order Zack’s new Q&A book here.
Photographer: Zack Arias
Specialty: Editorial Portrait/Music/Commercial Photography
Favored Camera/Lens Brand: Fuji X series, Phase One (formerly Nikon, then Canon)
Software Used: Lightroom, Photoshop, Photo Mechanic
Other Products Used: PocketWizards, 60″ Umbrella, Elinchrom Ranger Quadras, Alien Bees Einstein Strobes, Nikon/Vivitar/Canon/Whatever Hotshoe Flashes
Here at WhoUsesWhatCamera.com, we are big fans of Zack Arias.
Well he’s the only photographer in the world that can wear a beret, be popular on social media, AND openly love Jesus without looking and sounding like a total douchebag.
And oh yeah, he’s a really good frigging photographer, and a stellar teacher.
Here’s an incredibly-long and detailed interview with Zack, courtesy of TwitVid (fast forward to the 8-minute mark to see some of Zack’s coolest images):
Now, let’s talk Zack’s gear.
First things first – another reason we love Zack, aside from his non-douchiness, is that he promotes responsible spending, especially to beginners. Here’s a cool video in which he discusses that philosophy:
So let’s talk gear. Zack used to be a Nikon shooter, then Canon, but now uses Phase One and Fuji camera equipment.
For his medium format rig, for what he calls his “hero” shots, Zack uses the Phase One IQ140 with 55mm and 80mm leaf shutter lenses, as he explains here:
Zack is a also a huge fan of the Fuji XPro-1, which he uses side-by-side with his Phase One system on a regular basis. He particularly likes the 35mm f/1.4 lens, and also uses an XE-1. Zack likes the Fuji system that he sold his entire lineup of Canon cameras and lenses. (info on that below)
Zack is also an avid street photographer, and has recently professed his love for the rangefinder-style Fuji X100s which he recently called the best digital camera ever.
In his words from his blog:
The original x100 was my entrance into street photography. I’ve always loved this genre but I never participated in the “sport” as I call it. I’ve walked the streets with a DSLR and would shoot portraits from time to time but the DSLR either intimidated me or those around me too much for me to get into street work. That feeling of intimidation melted away when I started shooting the x100. It’s small. Dead quiet. Perfect. I just finished teaching two street photography classes in Dubai and there’s no other camera I’d rather have with me than an x100. Now that the x100s is out… that’s the king of cameras for me. It’s fast. Agile. Responsive.
After my first day of shooting with the new S I realized something. Fuji really listens to all of us. Every single complaint that many had about the original x100 has been addressed. Everything I have seen people request in the update is there. The autofocus is leaps and bounds beyond what it was. Manual focus… get this… actually works! Image quality is fantastic. Same perfect focal length on the 23mm f2 fixed prime. It’s just an awesome camera.
In terms of lighting equipment, Zack is well-known for launching his career with a single Vivitar 285 hotshoe flash. However, he now uses a wide variety of Nikon and Canon speedlights, and uses Alien Bees Einstein and Elinchrom Ranger Quadra strobes.
On the modifier side, Zack uses a little bit of everything, but has professed his love for the 60″ umbrella to get started. However, a word of caution – a 60″ umbrella is HUGE, and will cause you problems outside (wind = flying umbrella & flash) and inside (if you don’t have really high ceilings). Zack Arias usually knows what he’s talking about, but he’s crazy here. Go for something a little smaller, like this 45″ Photoflex.
Finally, if you need a beret like Zack’s I’d go with a classic black Kongol.
Okay, that’s about it.
Overall, we love Zack’s gear philosophy – spend enough money to get the job done right, and no more. That means affordable, high-quality prime lenses like the 85mm f/1.8, and dependable industry-leading products like PocketWizards.
The information below is outdated, but I am leaving it for history’s sake:
In 2011, Zack sold off the last of his Nikon gear, which included a D3 and a large collection of Nikon prime lenses.
Why did Zack switch from Nikon to Canon? In his own words:
“This also was going down around the time I started a commercial job that has turned into a long term relationship. This client required a pretty high resolution natively. This job also requires tethered table top shooting. Nikon’s capture program was a piece of crap and Lightroom didn’t have tethering built in yet. The 21 MP Canon gave my client the file size they wanted compared to the D3 and Canon’s EOS utility software for tethering is far superior to Nikon’s Capture.”
Zack’s rig features four Canon lenses:
Note: Only two of the four, the 24mm and 135mm, are ultra-pricey L-Series lenses. The 35mm and 85mm both retail for under $400, and both exhibit excellent image quality.
Source: ZackArias.com, Twitter, CreativeLive