My Review 6D and 50/1.2 L Combo

Started Apr 1, 2013 | User reviews thread
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sean lancaster
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My Review 6D and 50/1.2 L Combo
Apr 1, 2013

Let me preface this review by noting that I am pretty new to photography. I bought a Sony NEX 5N in Sept. of 2011 and knew nothing about photography. Slowly over the next year I read books on exposure, composition, and light. I was determined to figure out the technical aspects of photography so the equipment wouldn't limit me trying to achieve what my eyes wanted to capture. I find photography so much easier when I don't have to think about how to get the exposure I want and can do it naturally. It wasn't until mid Sept. of 2012 that I finally started getting photos that I liked without relying largely on shooting a lot of shots and hoping to get lucky. I have been looking for an upgrade to my NEX 5N (and Zeiss 24/1.8 lens, which I use 90% of the time). I tried a Sony RX1 and loved the IQ, but the AF was too slow for me. I tried a Nikon D600 and Sigma 50 and really liked that combo, but the Nikon D600 arrived with about 15 spots on the sensor so I sent it back after a week.

This week, I am renting a Canon 6D and 50/1.2 L lens after liking this focal length on the Nikon I tried. I have to send it back to LensRentals tomorrow, but wanted to write my review while I still had the combo. I selected this week because we are spending the week in New Orleans (I am from Michigan).

I largely shoot available light; in fact, I don't ever want to use a flash again. I also enjoy shooting my fast primes wide open. I know that's not for everyone, but I like it. The 6D's ability to focus in low light is outstanding. Much of the time I can point and grab focus even in very dark setting (and I mean very dark).

This scene was darker than it appears and I needed every bit of the 50/1.2 lens

or a street scene like this:

Dancing on Bourbon Street

However, I can stop down when I need to do so (e.g., on our flight to New Orleans):

Cloudy all day but we managed to catch the sunset anyway.

I am finding that I have to use the center focus point because selecting a focus point is too slow much of the time and none of the other focus points are as quick, especially in low light. I prefer to crop rather than recompose . . . the plane of focus is so narrow with the 50/1.2 that trying to recompose can throw off the focus completely. But the 50/1.2 is a natural lens for low light photography and pairing it with the 6D creates a low light monster that isn't rivaled by any camera/lens combo within $1000.

Bike on Bourbon Street

I shot almost exclusively in M (manual) mode with auto ISO (up to 12,800). The dial on top (the only dial) controls the shutter speed, which is nice, but I have to hit the Q button to get access to the aperture and that's a bit annoying. I realize this is a budget camera, but it's also $1,700+ so "budget" is a bit of an oxymoron in that respect. But hitting the Q button requires viewing the back LCD to make sure you're on Aperture and to see how it is changing (same shutter speed dial controls aperture when aperture is selected in Q), so you can change one and then exit Q menu to return the dial on top to the shutter speed. I wouldn't say this is ideal, but it beat my $450 NEX 5N, so there's that. Heh.

I am still up in the air as to whether I will buy this camera and lens. We reached a little over 80 degrees the past 2 or 3 days and the camera weighs a ton on my neck. My neck gets sweaty and hot and it's a bit unbearable to walk around all day. I am far too used to have a little NEX 5N that I can just use a wrist strap with and never feel the weight all day in my hand. I can't do that with the 6d. I found myself putting it in my little Canon backpack and then not being able to pull it out quickly enough when I needed the shot. I also found that the 1/4000 speed was too slow for some of the daytime shooting I wanted to do so I had to stop down and lose the shot I wanted.

But gosh, the low light performance of this combo . . . Mmmm mmmm mmm.

My first shot with the combo last Monday

More focus points like the center one or easier access to varios focus points (e.g., a control stick) and I would have bumped this up to 4.5.

 sean lancaster's gear list:sean lancaster's gear list
Sony Alpha NEX-5N Sony Alpha 7 Voigtlander 35mm F1.2 Nokton Sony FE 55mm F1.8 +2 more
sean lancaster's score
4.0
Average community score
4.6
bad for good for
Kids / pets
good
Action / sports
mediocre
Landscapes / scenery
good
Portraits
great
Low light (without flash)
excellent
Flash photography (social)
unrated
Studio / still life
unrated
= community average
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Canon EOS 6D Nikon D600 Sony RX1
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