View Full Version : Advice please, re 400D plus Macro & Flash

John Kirby
July 7th, 2007, 01:24 PM
Hope some actual users can help.
I'm trying to help a friend & client, who is a costume jewellery importer, set up a small table-top arrangement to photograph some of his products, primarily for web display.

I can set him up with all the reflectors, lighting and peripheral equipment, but he needs a good basic SLR and macro lens. The 400D looks like very good value for money.

Considering the 1.6 factor chip, the shorter macros (50 or 60mm) are probably the go. Budget being a consideration, the 50 is cheaper, with the limitation (in his product scenario) of a 50% life-size maximum, but with a 10Mp image available, I don't see that as a huge problem.
Can anyone give any user reports on this lens?

I'm also suggesting that we use a couple of 550EX flash units (suitably bounced or diffused, one being connected with an off-shoe cord) as the light sources. Do they work in "modelling flash" mode with a 400D? This would be essential for previewing the flash effect. I know that on my 1 series cameras, this is achieved by pressing the DOF button on the camera body. Does the same apply with the 400D?

I think that covers what we want to try and achieve. If anyone can help with the specific questions, or add anything that might be relevant, I'd be most grateful.


July 7th, 2007, 01:35 PM

I assume you mean the 50mm 2.5?

It's technically not a true macro lens - i.e. not 1:1. I have the 60mm f2.8 macro which is pin sharp.

You can read reviews of the lenses here (http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/index.html)



Jack Joseph Jr
July 7th, 2007, 02:05 PM
My father uses a 400D and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro. His pictures are excellent, the lens works fine with extension tubes and on top of all that it makes a great f/2.8 100mm lens for indoor sports.

John Kirby
July 7th, 2007, 02:51 PM
Stuart and Jack,

Thanks for speedy response and info.

Stuart, I realize that the 50 is a bit of a compromise, but budgets sometimes dictate compromise! The review you plugged in doesn't read too badly.
Can anyone give a user report on the 50 f2.5?

Jack, I too have a 100 macro I used with my 1 series bodies, now superfluous to my needs, which I considered selling to my friend at the right price, but felt that with the 400D and a 1.6 factor chip ( and hence an effective 160mm focal length) that it may be a bit on the long side for the purpose he needs it. I too, think its a fabulous, sharp-as-a-tack lens.

Can anyone help re the 550EX on a 400D modelling flash question?


Ray West
July 7th, 2007, 03:48 PM
Hi John,

If you want user reviews, then I think fm is hard to beat, in particular wrt lenses. You have to pick your way through, (51 user reviews on that lens) but generally you can get an average opinion, plus the extremes...


will get you to the right area - a quick scan gives me the feel that is a good buy for your purposes, just set it to f4, manual focus up close.

There is probably info on the flash there, also.

Best wishes,


John Kirby
July 7th, 2007, 04:10 PM
Thanks, Ray.
I'll check out your Fred M suggestion.

Paul Bestwick
July 7th, 2007, 10:50 PM
Hey John,

I use the 100 2.8. Awesome lens & I would think appropriate for the type of work you have mentioned.
I actually use close up filters on this lens & the results are fabulous. I originally bought them as an interem solution until I purchased extension tubes. (that is how I worked previously when I was using a Hasselblad & film) However, I was so happy with the images I didn't bother with the tubes in the end.



John Kirby
July 7th, 2007, 11:00 PM
Agreed, Paul,
I've used one myself for several years on full-frame 1 series cameras. My only hesitation is that it may be a bit too long on a 1.6 factor chip, as on the 400D. My friends product is costume, not fine jewellery and is inclined to be sometimes large and chunky, which is why I feel something a bit shorter in focal length may be more appropriate.

July 7th, 2007, 11:12 PM
John, consider the Sigma MACRO 70mm F2.8 EX DG (http://www.sigmaphoto.com/lenses/lenses_all_details.asp?id=3317&navigator=5) lens. This lens has received rave reviews from users and the press alike, and winning the TIPA award for best "Expert Lens". Popular Photography reviewed it and their conclusion was "With a lens like this, Sigma makes it difficult for us to sound objective. In practical terms, it's faultless.". I have never used it, but my brother just got it and he is ecstatic! :)