Especially when they are armed with a mirror-less camera and a macro lens. The ability of a close-focusing optic like the Fujinon XF60mm
f 1:2.4 R Macro to show flaws and errors that otherwise slide by the human eye is one of its most disconcerting and endearing qualities. If you are going to be humbled, this the sort of lens that will do it.
I found this out when I tried out a new home studio setup here in my old darkroom. There was a bench top free with nearby electric power and enough space on the floor beside it to put up a small Cullmann tripod. I am currently illustrating scale model building for one of my other weblog columns ( note at the bottom if you are interested...) and I thought it would be nice to have a small shooting table near to my modelling workbench rather than having to take everything over to the main studio.
Okay, okay, I know - that's an excuse...I just like building tabletop studios. I admit it. Camera Electronic has had oodles of gear over the years for just this purpose, and I've had a ball doing it in the shop as well as at home. Even now I have to discipline myself in the storeroom to not look at the beautiful new Optex portable studios with the LED bars as I go by...
This exercise was to see if I could do it using an old kitchen cabinet door and two sheets of Ilford A2 Smooth Pearl paper. The lighting for this could be Fujifilm flashes, but recently one of mine burned out.
I noted that there was a sale on solid lighting at a big furniture store here in Perth - so I determined to try out a couple of swivel lamps. The store had the lamps, plus meatballs and coffee, and I was pleased to see that the basic lamps were reduced to $ 14.95. The 600 lumen LED light globes are going out at $ 3.00 right now. Even with meatballs, it was an economical morning.
The 600 Lumen lights are listed at 2700º Kelvin and measurement with custom WB and Lightroom proved this to be correct to within 50º. They flood the surface adequately and can be moved in all directions.
So the 60mm Fujinon
was connected and the model - a 1:72 Special Hobby Northrop Delta 1D in RAAF colours - positioned. Fujifilm 60mm
Macros are slow to focus but once they have snapped in they have extremely good resolution. I would normally seek to use a 35mm focval length for my wider scenes but this 60mm is perfect for individual shots and detail.
Therein lies the rub - some of my model painting is a little cruder than I had intended. I can now see that a session with a touch-up brush is needed and my next British-pattern camouflage job will need tighter masking. But I cannot fault the Fujinon - and if I were taking gemstones, insect, or other minute details I would seek this lens out deliberately. I suspect that its bigger cousin - the Fujinon 80mm Macro
- will be even better, though with shallower depth of field. I shall haunt the place until one is available for testing.
Notes on the back of a cuff: This Fujinon lens is boxed and presented better than most other things I own.
The lens hood is also an amazing piece of gear - it's metal, which is unusual these days, and darn near the size of the lens itself. It would provide almost impenetrable shade for the front surface under any condition. If Fujifilm made an interchangeable hood with LED ring inside it, no-one would hesitate to shoot in the dimmest recesses.