A New Step into Figure Photography

November 25, 2007 | Author: | In: Anime Blogs, ARIA The Natural, Figures, Merchandise, Photography

Ever since I got my Canon 400D since October last year, I’ve always wanted a new lens. In fact I had several lenses that I wished to obtain, but due to working a dead end job as a long life night filler for a supermarket chain, there was no way I could gather the funds required to purchase any camera equipment. However all that changed once I got myself into a full time job and started earning real money. So after a few weeks of accessing my finances, I finally took the plunge, and went out and bought myself a Canon 60mm f2.8 macro lens.

To be honest, I actually bought this two weeks ago, but didn’t get the chance to actually play around with it since I was swamped with work. I bought this at the same place as I bought my Speedlite 580EX II, so the lens itself was pretty cheap, $499 plus a Hoya Super Pro 1 52mm UV filter for only $45. I’ve seen other places still selling this lens for like $700, so $499 is almost steal. The lens itself comes with a lens hood so you can block out sunlight, as well as a carry bag so you don’t ruin the lens with any scratches.

Now I’ve never actually seen the 60mm macro lens in the flesh before, but putting it right next to the standard 18-55mm, the 60mm is only slightly larger, and only slightly more heavier. Also to me, it feels more sturdier than the standard lens and better built as well. Just goes to show the difference between a lens that costs $80 to a $500 lens. Plus at least with this lens, I put a protection filter on it straight away compared to the standard lens where I didn’t get a UV filter for it until 4 months later of getting the camera.

So how does the new shiny 60mm macro lens compare to the standard lens that I have been using? One thing for sure, it is TOTALLY different, but only in certain aspects. Because this is a macro lens, the major difference is the static focal length of 60mm compared to the zooming ability of the 18-55mm. This is equivalent to 96mm in 35mm film format. But also because this is a set focal length lens, it means the way you take photos is different as well. Lets check out some pictures below.

For this small experiment, I’ve decided to use the Solid Works ARIA Trading Figures that arrived some many weeks ago. As always I forget when these came out, just that they were sitting on my table gathering dust. Also I can’t really be bothered taking proper photos of trading figures. But since these are pretty small, it’s the perfect test for a macro lens. So excuse the lack of pretty backgrounds.

The four photos above were taken with the standard 18-55mm lens, with a maximum of 55mm zoom. The minimum focal distance for the 18-55mm is 28 cm, which I personally can find to be a pain because those real close up shots become harder to take. Any closer than 28cm and the lens won’t be able to focus on the subjects, but that can be fixed with the use of macro filters, which I do have. However these macro filters are really only a magnifying glass add-on and don’t always work how you want them to. Not to mention constantly switching between filters is annoying, and the chances of dust being inside is higher.

Moving on, I now switch to the 60mm macro lens.

Now the camera has not moved at all, and neither has Alice. So the focal distance is still 28cm. As you can see, we”re able to zoom in MUCH closer to Alice and start seeing the finer details without even moving back or forth. That is the benefit of using a macro lens, being able to zoom in for much closer details. Although the above picture is at a focal distance of 28cm, it’s roughly on a 1:2.25 scale. For a full 1:1 scale, the minimum focal distance is 20cm, where we’d get a much more zoomed in effect than the picture above.

But what about the far away shots? Well not to worry since the 60mm macro can go upto 1 metre, which is a 1:5 scale, but can go beyond that to infinity focal distance. However when you utilises infinity focus, chances of the photos being blurry are high. I also read somewhere that this 60mm macro lens can also be used for portrait photography, but I haven’t tried that just yet. Perhaps sometime this week I’ll give it a try. As for the macro lens for figure photography, so far I’m very impressed at the close up shots that I can take without having to get real close to the figure. But I shall have to try some proper photo shoots to really test out it’s ability, and usability out in the field. But do keep a look out for some photos VERY SOON.

At this point, I can’t really say if it’s a worthy purchase, but I don’t regret buying it either, and I probably never will. However with this lens working differently to how the 18-55mm zoom lens works, it’ll be a new learning curve that I’ll hope to conquer fairly quickly. Also since I have the other ARIA trading figures out, might as well photograph the rest of them.

Normally I don’t review trading figures, but I guess I’ll do a small one. Anyway, with me being a HUGE ARIA fan, I just couldn’t resist buying these, despite my long standing policy of not buying trading figures. Personally I find trading figures to be a waste of money and space, however these ARIA ones are just so cute. However, because they are trading figures, they also suffer at the hands of being a quality product. The paintwork is rough, there are some little marks/smudges that you can see, only upon closer inspection, plus the faces don’t look right. But these are the chibi versions of our gracious Undines so all is forgiven.

Luckily for me, I got all 6, plus the special one of Aika with short hair. I also have 3 doubles, I forget which ones they are, but it seems such a waste to have doubles. Perhaps I should sell them to someone. A nice small collection for the ARIA fan, but if you are looking for quality, you won’t find it here.

15 Responses to A New Step into Figure Photography



November 25th, 2007 at 11:47 pm

sweet lens, that’s the macro lens i been dreaming off, will be a while before I can get it *sigh*. The read that I read did mention that it makes a good portrait lens too, especially indoor. Nice purchase ^^



November 26th, 2007 at 3:22 am

ooo… I also have a Canon Rebel XTi with that 18-55mm stock lens but my bro bought the 50mm f1.8 lens last month. It was much cheaper than a macro lens… I don’t really have much experience with macro photography. The most I’ve done is take macro shots with a Fujifilm S7000 on a macro setting. Not that the camera was bad, but the quality of the shots turned out quite grainy. I was really happy to get to use a digital SLR but lacked macro capabilities. The 60mm 2.8 macro lens doesn’t zoom or anything at all right? So given that it takes a picture much closer when positioned at the same spot as the shot taken with the stock lens… doesn’t that mean you need a greater distance between shots if you wanna capture everything? hmm… I’ve seen plenty of amazing shots with the 60mm 2.8 macro lens on figures and feel tempted to get one… but at the moment, I’m spending so much on books that I swear I can purchase at least two 60mm 2.8 macro lenses >



November 26th, 2007 at 8:30 am

Nice deal on the macro lens; sorta like your “Black Friday” deal except it was 2 weeks ago :P
And I was going to get that Aria chibi set too… but the quality is just disappointing with trading figures :|

But then again; if I find it for a decent price, I’m getting one! :D
What extras do you have anyway? I want Alicia, Akari, and Alice.



November 26th, 2007 at 8:35 am

I’m pretty clueless about cameras, so I don’t really understand all of the lens information. ^_^;

On the figure set though, being quite an Aria fan myself, I was quite tempted to buy these as well (mainly for Alicia-chan). For the same reason as you’ve stated, I usually see trading figures as a waste, unless I manage to find a completed set available. Not to mention, getting some of my first figures from Max Factory and Good Smile, I’ve become quite spoiled and avoid figures that are anything but excellent quality.



November 26th, 2007 at 10:01 am

the macro lens is awesome, but the price still too expensive for me, can’t justify $500 lens price just for doing figurine photographs @_@ but maybe sometime I’ll buy one ;_;



November 26th, 2007 at 11:31 am

Nice lens, you can see all the imperfections of a trading figure as if you were really there lol. I’m not so financially set as to buy something like that though ^^, plus I never liked to carry around something big so I’ll stick with my pocket camera.



November 26th, 2007 at 5:58 pm

valho: Well it has been a good whole year since I got my camera. So it was about time I bought one, lol.

koko: Correct, the macro lens does not zoom at all, so you have to vary your distance from the subject. It will take some getting used to, but there will be benefits from doing so as well. What these benefits are I’m unsure of at the moment since I need to try out the lens thoroughly. If you are unsure on whether to purchase a 60mm macro, I suggest you hire one for a weekend and try it out to see if it’s what you are looking for. If you’ve seen my previous figure photos, all of those were taken with the 18-5mm, and it does the job fine.

AOforever1: Honestly I can’t remember what extras I have, but I’m sure one of them is Alice. But if you are looking for quality, I would save my money. For a set of these ARIA trading figures, it was ¥6800 for a box of 10.

Shavelle: It’s alright, I still don’t know a lot of the photography terms. Like I said, if you are after quality, save your money. I myself am a big ARIA fan, but my BURNING PASSION for merchandise is quite large compared to most people. Heck I even buy figures based on whims. But you have to keep in mind that trading figures also take up space, and that is usually my one concern. Luckily though most can be placed right next to a 1/8 figure.

ron~: $500 I consider to be relatively cheap compared to what it was last year. But as a point taken, if you are going to use it just for figure photography, I wouldn’t bother. I do plan to try out other things with the macro lens, but it’s primary use is for the figure photography.

AS: With a new lens added to my equipment, I already need a new camera bag, lol.



November 26th, 2007 at 6:39 pm

I just want a decent DLSR ;_;

Zeroblade’s last blog post..Yay



November 27th, 2007 at 8:17 am

=O… the details…

Feels good to have that job and raking in the cash isn’t it? =)



November 27th, 2007 at 5:58 pm

Zeroblade: I’m kind of wishing I had more money to buy more lenses, lol.

Hijiko: Indeed. But I really should start saving my money for the future and all.


Late to the Party with Burst Angel’s Jo by Alter at hontou ni sou omou?

November 29th, 2007 at 10:26 am

[...] the biggest problem here is my lack of photography skill and a rudimentary camera. Respect to Adun, super rats and others who are dedicated to the fine art of figurine [...]



December 1st, 2007 at 4:29 am

sweet post. Very informative. Wish I would just take the plunge and buy a nice Digital slr.

Dogmeat’s last blog post..Xbox 360 Purchased



December 2nd, 2007 at 7:56 am

Focal distance is actually the distance between the film plane and the optical center of the center of the lens. Focal length is that distance when the lens is focused at infinity.

see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Focal_length

I cannot understand why there was that much difference between the zoom lens at 55 mm and the macro at 60 mm. You weren’t doing any “digital zooming” were you? Something is goofy in Denmark, as the expression goes.



December 2nd, 2007 at 8:47 am

Dogmeat: One day you will! DSLR are pretty cheap these days, and assuming you have a full time job, you could buy one after a month of saving.

Kim: I stand corrected. I tend to get the two things mixed up. I don’t claim to be well versed in photography terms, so I may be wrong in many aspects. There is no digital zooming done on these images, why would I do that as it would defeat the purpose of showing what this lens can do. Personally I probably couldn’t explain the difference, but I would have to guess it would be the type of glass used.



July 23rd, 2008 at 3:22 am


@ Kim: 60mm and 55mm does make that much of a difference.

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