The two shoe adapters that you see above are the two contenders. On the left is the new Kaiser shoe adapter that I bought yesterday from The Flash Centre in London and on the right is an old Paramount Cords cable that I bought several years ago via mail order. Everything about the Paramount version is tougher: the cable is better protected and of a higher grade and the shoe itself is made of a plastic which can withstand the knocks far more easily. The fact that it has given so many years service is a testament to its construction.
So why change? The sad answer is that the old Paramount adapter doesn't seem to be compatible with the 580exII flash units. The hot foot on the flash doesn't sit properly in the shoe and therefore you don't get a reliable contact. Sometimes even a gentle breeze rocking the stand will trigger the flash because the connection isn't secure. The Kaiser version holds the new Canon flash perfectly and the lock on the 580exII works as it would on top of a camera. You can see how flimsy the Kaiser cable is and it is made of a hard plastic that reminds me of the inside of a cheap car - but it's going to have to do until I can make sure that the new version that Paramount have on their website is 580exII compatible.
The picture on the right shows the Canon flash happily mounted on a Manfrotto Light-tite and manfrotto 001B stand with a Pocket Wizard in place. I don't use this kit every day, but when I do it's nice to have a reliable set up. I'll let you know how long the Kaiser shoes last - they might be tougher than they look.
© Neil Turner January 2009