IF SOMEONE WERE to give you the keys to an Aladdin’s Cave piled high with to-die-for dream kit, what would you choose to walk out with? That’s essentially the question we’re posing with our fresh new series, sponsored by used kit specialist MPB, and we’re offering professionals an unprecedented opportunity to nominate gear that they would love to try out and to take it on a shoot to see first-hand how it performs.

As one of the pioneers of a much simplified and far safer way of trading used gear, MPB maintains a giant warehouse full of fabulous kit that readers of Professional Photo are being invited to dip into. It’s a golden opportunity to try out a camera or a lens that perhaps you’ve always dreamed of owning, and seeing for yourself whether it lives up to expectations.

If you enjoy the experience then the option is always there to trade in some kit you no longer use to raise the necessary finance while, at the very least, you can be sure of acquiring what your business needs at a healthy discount on the new price, all backed up by a cast-iron six month warranty that serves to take away all the risk.

The Experience

Tommy moved across to mirrorless models from his Canon EOS 5D Mark III when the EOS R5 became available, although the DSLR remains his back-up body at weddings. He also invested heavily in an RF 28-70mm f/2, which he adores, and to date this is his only RF optic, the rest of his lens collection being E-mount models, used via an adaptor.

“I would say that I use that particular lens for almost all of my wedding photography,” he says, “because it is just so adaptable, plus it features such a wide aperture throughout the entire zoom range, and I can use it to cover just about any situation on the day.”

When given the opportunity to dip into the MPB warehouse Tommy immediately went for the EOS R6, since this is a model he’s eying up to create a completely mirrorless set-up. He also went for the RF 50mm f/1.2 because of its exceptionally wide aperture, and he anticipated it would be the perfect tool for an approach that taps into narrow depth of field and sublime bokeh.

“My alternative would have been the 85mm RF f/1.2 for very much the same reason,” he says, “and I liked the idea that this would have given me a focal length that the zoom didn’t cover, but 50mm was the perfect optic to leave on the R6 all day and that combination performed brilliantly. Having just spent so much money on the 28-70mm (available from MPB for £3189, Excellent Condition), I’ve now got to hold fire for a while before indulging in the R6, but I was keen to try out how the combination of mirrorless models would work out, and it certainly reinforced my opinion that this has to be the way forward for me.

Tommy Reynolds

Award winning Kent-based wedding specialist Tommy Reynolds has spent over ten years in the industry and has covered hundreds of weddings in that time. He’s also a big fan of video, using it as a promotional tool to promote his business.

Canon EOS R6, MPB price £2259, Like New Condition
Canon RF 50mm f/1.2, MPB price £2009, Like New Condition

The more affordable and lower resolution sibling of the EOS R5, the EOS R6 still comes with a hugely impressive feature set. At its heart is a 20.1MP sensor (compared to the 45MP version in the R5) and it offers incredible shooting speeds and even more impressive low light performance, with an ISO range of 100-102,400, which can be expanded to 50-204,800 if required. Along with the EOS R5, it’s equipped with high-performing built-in IBIS and, if combined with specific RF and EF optically stabilised lenses, you can achieve up to an incredible eight stops of stabilisation. The model also offers a high level of video performance plus Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF II system, which provides incredible subject tracking for both humans and animals.

The Canon RF 50mm f/1.2, meanwhile, delivers a high level of performance, together with a remarkably fast maximum aperture, which enables photographers to shoot with an extremely narrow depth of field and in the lowest of light conditions.

“For the times when I do find myself using the DSLR at a wedding it feels a little awkward getting used to the different way of working. In particular I’m now so used to being able to adjust the exposure and see the effect in real time that it takes me a while to realise that I can’t do this with my 5D.”

Being a regular user of the R5 Tommy was also aware of the brilliant AF performance it provides, and he was keen to work with a model that was a close sibling that would perform equally well in this department. “When working wide open at f/1.2 there is precious little room for error,” he says, “but I knew through experience that the R6 would cope. But I didn’t want to set it to Eye AF all the time since this could be a bit limiting if I wanted to shoot a close-up of the ring, for example, where I wanted to focus in on just the diamond. So I had the camera set to object mode, but with the back button linked to Eye AF, so that I could switch quickly to this setting whenever it was needed.”

As mentioned, there is a wide difference in terms of the resolution the R5 and the R6 offer, but the latter’s 20.1MP sensor is perfectly adequate for almost all the situations that might be encountered at a wedding. “The reason I originally chose to invest in the R5 is because I also shoot occasional commercial jobs,” says Tommy, “and these might call for a higher resolution. But most of the time I’ll be shooting compressed RAW (C-RAW) files, which cuts down hugely on file sizes in any case.”

At the end of a hectic day shooting a wedding from beginning to end Tommy was convinced he’d found his new shooting companion. “The R6 did everything I required of it and more,” he enthuses. “It was so good to be working with two cameras that felt so similar, and to move seamlessly from one to the other. In fact the images I shot on that day went down so well that the venue has now made me a recommended supplier, which I’m delighted about!

“The R6 is definitely on my shopping list now, and the used route looks like a very smart and affordable way to go.”

What Kit Do You Fancy?

If there’s a particular piece of kit that you would like to try out then get in touch at editorial@professionalphoto.online, let us know what you’d like to borrow and you could be part of this exciting new series!


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