Here Is What Gear I Will Upgrade in 2024

Here Is What Gear I Will Upgrade in 2024

The new year is right around the corner. While many are rushing to buy things for Black Friday, I am waiting patiently for January and February. There are two reasons behind this choice: financials and availability. But enough about timing. Here is the gear I will upgrade in 2024.

If you’ve read any of my gear-related articles, you may find it quite ironic that I want to upgrade something at all. It’s somewhat of a compliment being called a dinosaur in the comments, as it reassures my ability to capture good images on outdated equipment. If you are new to my work, all you have to know is that I shoot on a Canon 5Ds with a 24-70mm f/2.8 that’s taped over because I fell on it once. My lights are Profoto and stands are Avenger. All bought used, they work like a charm. Moreover, I’ve used the same tether cable for years, and at this point, it has transferred over 500k images. Fortunately, my gear works as intended.

Before going into what I want to upgrade, I would like to preface by saying that none of this is necessary. It’s not like I need another light or a camera that will generate more income. These upgrades are justified under the “enjoyment of shooting” clause. What it is, is essentially a way to justify buying anything you want because it makes shooting pictures more enjoyable. When you check out what I want to get, you will understand this very well.


We will start with an upgrade that is the most needed in my current setup. More than anything, I need a new computer. I know very well that I am squeezing the last bits from the 2019 MacBook that I have right now. While it is the more powerful 15’’ version, it is showing signs of slowing down. For example, editing my lighting course on it was a pain, and even image editing software is slower than it was. This is all due to the massive switch to Apple Silicon, which is nowhere near what I can dream of with my current laptop. It is likely that I will upgrade this first. Currently, the plan is to go with the new M3 16’’ MacBook Pro in the most basic configuration. While I could get something better with the 14’’ version, I just appreciate the big screen too much. Besides, it’s a great foundation for a tethering station, as the team can see the images better on a big screen. Suffice to say, I use a 32” monitor on my desk for the same reason.

This is the upgrade that will speed up export speeds, as well as allow me to work faster, hence I see it being a justifiable upgrade as it will generate more cash. Now, let’s progress to more comfort upgrades.


While I own a fairly decent number of light modifiers ranging from the ProFresnel to the good old softbox, I always find the lack of the specific modifier for the look I want to achieve annoying. This is why I will be looking at purchasing more light shaping tools from Profoto, of course. The first on the list are strip softboxes, such as the 1x4 and 1x6. When lighting backgrounds, I often use a strip box in the studio. Larger spaces warrant an umbrella; however, working in a small studio has proven this method to produce too much spill on the subject. Another great use for strip softboxes is to light a full-body subject. I used them on plenty of shoots when they were available.

Next on the list are more softboxes. The ones I am looking at are the 1.0x1.3 RFI softbox to give highlights on the face. Another one is the 3x4 softbox to light up half-body images. Lastly, the 4x6 softbox would make for a great solution for creating super soft light, fill light, and lighting large sets. All of these would be purchased with grids, and in pairs of two, of course.


With so many modifiers in my arsenal, I will need extra lighting. The current plan is to switch over to the ProHead system and keep the B1X and B2 lights for location work. Most enticing of all is the D4 4800 W pack, as it gives 4 head sockets, meaning I can run 4 lights from one pack. The 4800 W version allows me to have 2400 W on two of those outputs, 1200 on the third, and 600 on the last. This will give plenty of range and opportunity to create intricate lighting setups that will further improve my images.

Another option worth considering is the Pro-7a pack. This would be my second choice, though. This pack comes with 3, effectively two output channels. There are two outputs, A and B. They can be set somewhat asymmetrically. However, sockets B1 and B2 are fully symmetrical and will give the same output. Another problem I have with the Pro-7a is the difficulty of controlling the light output. There are several switches, and it takes either a skilled lighting tech or pure guessing to set up correctly.

You may ask, why not the Pro-8a, Pro-10, or the Pro-11? They are more reliable and have more features as well as improved performance; however, the cost of such an upgrade would be too high.


Lastly, the most unnecessary of all, is the camera and lens. I’ve been going on about this for a while. I want a Phase One. Not like I need a Phase One, but I want a Phase One. The reason I choose the Phase One system over the Pentax, Hasselblad, or Fuji is simple. It is the most seamless medium format system when it comes to tethering into Capture One. Hasselblad won’t tether at all, Pentax too. Fuji is possible; however, an external piece of software is required for it, and the digital file processing won’t be as nice, even if the sensor is the same as in the Phase One.

From Phase One, there are a lot of options. Let’s talk about the camera body first. The older DF body is cheaper; however, it has fewer features. Still, it is enough to serve as a medium format body. The reason I will avoid it is that the XF body has a built-in Profoto Air Remote, which allows me to control my lighting directly from the camera body. Additionally, the XF body is more compact than the DF. As for the backs, there are more modern IQ backs or the P backs. Since I am getting the XF body, it would only make sense to get an IQ back. The P backs won’t tether nicely into Capture One and won’t fit an XF body. As it seems now, I will be going for the IQ250 or IQ350 As for lenses, it will likely be a Schneider-Kreuznach 80mm f/2.8, possibly a 150mm f/2.8 for closeup work and a 35mm f/3.5 for wider shots.

Closing thoughts

My upgrade list for 2024 is fairly huge and will cost at least ten grand. However, the work for 2024 is already cut out as well, meaning that if all goes to plan, these upgrades won't put a financial strain on me.

Illya Ovchar's picture

Illya aims to tell stories with clothes and light. Illya's work can be seen in magazines such as Vogue, Marie Claire, and InStyle.

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"Fuji is possible; however, an external piece of software is required for it".
Which software? Thank you.

If you get a XF make sure it has had the Hap2 upgrade. The 35mm f3.5 is a stunning lens as is the 150mm f2.5, but its massive. I'm selling mine soon sadly

The comment about fuji needing extra software is just wrong, and the comment about P backs is laughable, they haven't shot tethered to C1 since version 21(version 14.2 specifically) when firewire support was dropped.

Does this mean that I can use the GFX100s with the C1 Pro 2023 without any problems?

Yes. All of this information is readily available on, it is not some dark secret, so not entirely sure why the author of the article got it wrong.


Capture One Tether Fuji GFX100s: plug'n'play, 5 seconds. Requirement: a cable designed for this purpose, connection directly to the computer, iPad oder iPhone, do not use a hub! I do this almost every day ...

There are now several brands of tether cables: Tether Tools, Cobra, Area 51 (all quite expensive) and other "obscure" brands ,-) on Amazon. Would you suggest any in particular? Thank you.

Area 51 are likely the best bet. You may find that cheaper cables have dropouts and connection issues. It's hit and miss as to whether you will have an issue. But the odds are better for you if you choose Area 51.

Thanks a lot; but expensive too .-)

These cables may seem expensive at first glance. But if they still work reliably every day after a few years of extensive use, this puts the price into perspective.


I use Cobra tether cables and they have a good build quality. I have no long term experience but I had so many TetherTools cables fail on me. Just ordered one more Cobra because I needed a non-angled one for my iPad. And it is a Berlin company – where I live.

A decade ago, I so wanted a D4 pack. Now you can pick up a 4800w/s for <$3,000. They were 3x that back in the day.
Is Profoto still servicing them?

Just in case, M3 happens to be slower than M2. Probably it beats it in some areas, just not overall performance. So, M2 would be much better deal overall.

PS: I have M1, not the most basic configuration, it's my working machine, and I really appreciate the presence of only 1 powerful computer in my life :)