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Only Full-frame Cameras are Capable of Depicting Imaginary Characters

"Cosplay" photos have attracted worldwide attention as a form of Japanese pop culture. When capturing famous characters in a game or an anime work with a camera, my style is to express them as "a piece of drawing," as I find it interesting to reproduce the individuality of the characters and the perspective of the world in the original work based on my own interpretation. Needless to say, much thought has been given to creating such a world, so I am very particular in choosing the equipment to use. With this in mind, the camera that I arrived at was the EOS 6D. In the following, I will explain the roles of a full-frame camera in bringing an imaginary world into reality.(Reported by: Lewo Saito)

EOS 5D Mark II/ EF50mm f/1.8 II/ Manual exposure (1/100 sec., f/14)/ ISO 320/ WB: RAW

Here, I captured a character that is created based on a "Chocolate Mint" candy using a pop, package illustration-like effect. I adjusted the lighting so that the high-key areas of the subject, such as the gradation of the skin tone, would appear smooth. Taking into account the design, I cropped the photo above the chest level to about one-quarter its original size. Nonetheless, the details remain clear, thanks to the expressive power of the full-frame camera.


EOS 6D/ EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM/ FL: 80mm/ Manual exposure (1/125 sec., f/4)/ ISO 800/ WB: RAW

This is a shot of "Jill Valentine" who appears in the famous game, "Resident Evil." She is an almost invincible character in the story, so I wanted to express her prowess. As the stress is on the gloss of the costume, I increased the contrast and adjusted the lighting to emphasize only the edges of the highlights. Thanks to the full-frame camera, the gradation of a part of the shadow is also expressed, which adds dimensionality to the character.


EOS 6D/ EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM/ FL: 50mm/ Manual exposure (1/1600 sec., f/8)/ ISO 100/ WB: RAW

This image aims at a surreal depiction of a bewitching world with "Yuka Kazami," the strongest phantom in the popular game, "Touhou Project," as the motif. By making effective use of the strong sunlight and the halation created, I took an HDR shot so as to retain the details of the sky. With a full-frame camera, which is rich in gradation, you can challenge tone expression with a huge contrast in the brightness.


EOS 6D/ EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM/ FL: 55mm/ Manual exposure (1/160 sec., f/5)/ ISO 1600/ WB: RAW

Here, I expressed the characteristics of Captain Levi in the famous anime, "Attack on Titan." I chose a back shot to bring out his forcefulness. As the costume and gadgets are eye-catching, I adjusted the lighting carefully to avoid them from standing out too excessively. Also, I wanted to portray the sense of tension as he makes his way to the battlefield, so I created smoke in the small studio to add depth to the photo. Taken at ISO 1600, noise is almost non-existent in the image.

Expressing the World of Characters through Advanced Photographic Technologies

From an ardent lover of games, I began photographing characters. I wanted to capture my favorite characters in a real-world setting, but this is not because I like costumes. I would see it as something similar to those photographing well-known personalities they like.

I try to adhere as closely as possible to the view of the world and the setting of the original work that I am immersed in, and reproduce them as photos in this real world. In order to do so, a large amount of special photographic techniques are needed, such as multiple-flash photography and careful exposure control for smooth tonal expression, and retouch techniques that superimpose many layers of high-quality materials. The effort required during the production process cannot be compared with that of normal photography. However, the same can be said for the level of satisfaction gained from the final result.

To fulfill such stringent requirements for the production of my works, support by a full-frame camera is indispensable. With an excellent depictive power of more than 20 megapixels, minimal noise at high ISO speeds, and a body size that eases handheld shooting, the EOS 6D is my favorite choice. The large sensor pitch makes it capable of capturing a large amount of light, allowing for fine-tuned lighting expression with the gradation retained up to the limits. Such expressive power is essential for reproducing an imaginary world in reality.

Cosplay photos contains a plethora of elements which many find charming, such as the gorgeous costumes, beautiful characters, and the creative gadgets and background setting that reflect the world view of the original work. I want to share the beauty of such a world with as many people as possible. As I was penning down my thoughts, I have also started thinking about ideas for my next piece of work.

The EOS 6D is commonly employed for the production of photographic works. Despite being built in with a full-frame sensor, it is compact, as well as easy to hold and handle.

The data size of the 20.2-megapixel resolution is ideal such as for A4-size photo collections. One of the reasons I like the EOS 6D is that the life-size data can be printed as it is.

More details

The EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM is my favorite lens, as I am able to switch the focal length instantly from the wide-angle range (for expression that emphasizes the perspective, a common technique in anime works) to the mid-telephoto range at about 100mm (for bringing out the subject using the bokeh effect).

More details

When multiple-flash photography is heavily used to express the texture of the character or depict an unrealistic background, the Wi-Fi function of the EOS 6D comes in extremely handy. When adjusting the angle of the light that illuminates the buildings or trees in the backdrop, a smartphone that is connected to the EOS Remote enables the shutter to be released remotely. This allows you to fine-tune the angle of the lighting while checking the result on the spot.

Lewo Saito

Professional photographer and designer. After working with a design production firm, Saito became a freelancer. As a designer, he excels at minimal designs that make good use of photos. Saito has been holding cosplay photo exhibitions regularly since 2011, and is known for lighting effects that bring out the different charming parts of a character.