A New Step into Figure 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.