[Expensive Cameras] Zack Arias Explains Why He Switched From Canon To PhaseOne

Photographers love Zack Arias because of his no nonsense, laid back approach to photography. In his full blog post Why I Moved To Medium Format :: Phase One IQ140 Review, Zack describes some of the amazing features these DSLR alternatives have for the commercial photographer. If his posted examples aren't enough to have you foaming at the mouth, this full review video will definitely have you lusting after in-camera WB adjustments and the LCD touch screen found on the IQ140 digital back!

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It is a great video and I read the entire post a few days ago... Unfortunately Zack didn't reply to me.. but what people needs to keep in mind...

1- AF is not easy with this camera, wondering how difficult it would be shooting kids that jump and walk around all the time....
2- Does he makes more money on every contract or is he gaining better contracts since he got that camera? Is he expecting to make more money?
3- I am seriously thinking getting one too.... but I'll need to test it big time before making sure it fit my needs and expectation.
4- The IQ is stunning, the level of details is impressive but when do you really need this anyway? I mean, some do I am sure but when? It's not that often....
5- One thing that I really like, is the Flash Synch, My D70 is so good for that.... I know you can do it with flash speed BUT it's a lot easier to do it with your camera and Flash heads that can really stop the movement like bronco and Profoto cost more than a MF system.... :)

Every freaking Pro body from Canon/Nikon should have a flash synch of 1/1600 nothing less....

1. He wrote about focusing being hard work, and he doesn't shoot kids...   So I guess it's a challenge he's prepared to work with.
2. It's probably not about the money, but about personal satisfaction in your work...
3. Have fun :)
4. Need? Most likely never...   Want? personally I want ALL my shots to be better than they are... (might be because I suck though)
5. Should, but don't...

Thought it was a really informative,interesting article. I especially liked him comparing the Phase to other comparable pieces of kit.

Again he said that the best one or the one he liked the most was the Hasselblad but decided to go with Phase One because of the flash synch...

Well ain't he a fool...  when compared to Hasselblads HC lenses, these come closer to 1/1000 of a sec and not 1/1600 of a sec. Its pretty much the same thing when comparing flash speed, t0.1 vs t0.5. Its all about how you messure it..

Sai Saelee's picture

I thought he was trying to keep up with David Hobby because David also went to MF.

I haven't watched the video yet, as I'm at work, but as I understand it, he didn't "switch". Medium Format cameras aren't general-purpose tools, and the 5DII beats it in low-light performance, speed, AF (LOL @ the 5DII's AF being an advantage), and portability.

Stefan Choquette's picture

Exactly! He just switched from Nikon to an almost all prime lens Canon 5D MkII kit. He purchased the Phase One for that something extra that he could offer his high profile clients. I'm pretty sure he's doing some work for Coca Cola and then he does rappers from the ATL area, so I'm sure he's looking to do more work with NYC clientele next.

i shoot with the iq180 and i love it.
love. it.

is it only me feel this way?
I feel there's no more Heroes among us... they're going far beyond us, Dave Hill, David Hobby, now Zack Arias...

I used  to respect them because of They've made Great Masterpiece with "ordinary" equipment , but now.... Fancy Equipment??? well I'm not in..

Jason Peters's picture

Although I'm sure they all love inspiring people to shoot with what they have, they are all professionals and all have to look out for their career. Investing in and shooting MF is smart for them. 

They are professional photographers, not speakers... How soon people forget.

 Seriously, I don't get your point.

The guy taught you (and me and us all) to make a nice picture with next to nothing and that's great ! He still rocks the digital 35mm like a king. But there's something better called digital MF and now he has the money to afford it, you blame him to go for it ?

Do you also blame Lance Armstrong for riding a bike you can't afford ? Or Tiger Woods for playing with clubs you couldn't pay for ?

Keep reading these guys, they're still the same. Photography won't change, exposure will remain the same. The only difference will be their file size and their DoF. They could still make their picture with a 35 $ toy camera.

@ Simon Ouelleti : I don't blame Zack.. i'm just loosing the spirits and just not into it anymore ...  simply I just expressed my feeling....

fyi :  I used to have MF camera -  Hassleblad H2 with Phase One P20 digital back. so actually I can afford them..

I just like them better when they're still "indie"...if you know my point

What an absolutely ridiculous viewpoint with almost no sense of any objectivity.

A client is paying him money to give him the best possible results. Why would he be "indie" and risk the job and his reputation for a meaningless title?

Furthermore, how is shooting 35mm "indie"? If anything, MF is more "indie" than 35mm. The absurdity of your post boggles my mind.

Jabari Hunt's picture

There is a significant difference between growing as a photographer and growing the base of tools that you use as a photographer.

If a client comes to him demanding the absolute highest image quality along with 40+ MP of resolution he now has a tool at his disposal that allows him to do that.  The 5D MkII just isn't going to cut it in that situation.  Hell, a D3X wouldn't cut it in that situation.  Now he doesn't have to rent a MF system and try to get comfortable with it before a big shoot.

Why knock the guy for that???

Roman Kazmierczak's picture

Thanks God when I will be able to afford it, it will be cheaper already :P
One day... :P

Knowing the path that Zach Arias has taken over his photography career, I would be 99.9% sure he paid cash for this set up. Thats alot of jobs in the past. He always preaches that dont get caught up in the fancy stuff when you all ready have things that will work for you.

This system isnt going to be something that you are could use a point and shoot for. He probally has a huge client and someone that requiring massive files for massive retouching and/or post work. Hats off to you for keeping busy shooting. 

Alex's picture

I'd buy it if I can afford it. 

Benicio Murray's picture

I dont want to watch the video because I already have a huge list of photog gear I cant afford. I dont want to add something else to that list :/

Why am I not surprised? Medium format is the new Full frame. ;) It is obvious, that with dropping prices medium format will become much more interesting for pro photographers... I would be very happy to switch from FF tu MF for reasonable price. ;)

Henry ua's picture

d800 or medium format? 

I have a touch screen on my iPod... I don't need an iq140.

I'm sure he gets a substantial amount for sponsoring PhaseOne, it's no secret these DMF backs aren't doing too well.


This is becoming the ultimate Nikon fanboy site. Every story about Nikon products is filled with exclamation points, and every mention of Canon is short or negative. First they are having "financial hardships" (which is comically out of place in the subjects normally covered here), now Zack purchases a Phase One for certain projects, so he's "Switching from Canon". LOL. Links to purchase the new Nikon cameras are all over the place, and the article about the D4's delay literally says "But hey, what's an extra month's wait for one of the best cameras ever". LMAO! I could care less about the "rivalry" thing people get into, and I always liked the fact that F Stoppers didn't seem to either, but now I'm starting to feel out of place coming to the site being a current Canon owner. My apologies if this comes off as "trollish", but I'm sure I'm not the only one who has noticed these things.

Patrick Hall's picture

I guess our excitement comes from us actually being Nikon shooters. Trust me, when the 5D Mark III goes live we will cover that as well. If they delay the preorders we will tell you about that too. You know us, we really don't care too much about gear but we've found that a lot of our readers do so we are trying to give them what they want as well. The overall content on FS has tripled recently but if you still like the BTS type videos we will have those posted as often as we used to. Oh and just for the record, Zack Arias left Nikon to switch to Canon before switching to Phase One :)