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Old Mar 17, 2005, 1:28 AM   #1
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Just got my 20D (love it) and its been a while since I used a camera as substantial as this. I have a Quantaray (Ritz Camera house brand made by Sunpak) QT II-550 tripod and its pretty decent. It has a "video head" on it so I am told. I dont really know what that means but I have never like the way it worked. To clunky and to many nobs.

The head screws off and I am wondering if it possible to fit a new head on it? What would a ball head do for me? Are they easier to use? Can anyone suggest a decent one?

I am also looking for a good flash. I have read that the Sigma EF-500 DG Super Flash is a great unit. Its much cheaper that the Canon Speedlites that look comparable (550ex and 580ex). Is it really a great flash? What would I be loosing by going with the Sigma and not the higher priced Canons?

Thanks for your help and if this in the wrong section I apologize in advance.
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Old Mar 17, 2005, 6:38 AM   #2
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I cant tell you much about the tripod and ballhead except that I have heard good things about using a ballhead, and the camera can move very smoothly.

As for the flash, yes, the Sigma EF500 DG Super is a good flash. I have one for my 20D and I love it. It has a little less power than the 550EX and the 580EX, but has ETTL II, which only the 580EX has. It also has the tilt/swivel head and a LCD sceen to set custom controls. It also has the same wireless capabilities that the Canon flashes do.

Overall, it's an excellent flash.
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Old Mar 17, 2005, 6:51 AM   #3
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If the head screws off then you should be able to replace it. I do find a ballhead preferable to a three-way pan head (3 knobs- one for each axis). The ballhead will have one locking knob so you can move in any direction and lock down with a single knob. Depending on the type of photography you do with your tripod you may also want a ballhead with a separate panning lock. In this case you actually have a 2nd locking mechanism that allows you to pan while keeping the ball itself locked down. But, don't think of it as having to always play with this lock - you can never use it if you like as it is connected to the base of the 'socket' that holds the ball and just allows the base to swivel for panning. But you also need to be sure any head you buy will be sturdy enough for the lenses you will use. Manfrotto makes very nice mid-range ballheads (486RCx and 488RCx series are both very nice but there are others). There are better ballheads out there but they are more than $200. Hope this helps!

As for the flash - yes the Sigma is a great flash. I've had one for 6 months and it works great. I'm told that AF Assist doesn't work as well as the Canon flashes but I've never shot in poor enough light where I need the assist so I can't comment on that. Otherwise it has the capabilities of the 550ex just a lesser build quality.
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Old Mar 17, 2005, 6:58 AM   #4
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I like the Manfrotto "trigger" heads (Bogen in the US ?). I have the 222 but I understand that the current version is the 322 which is the same thin except "sideways".

It's been good for me with all types of camera.

cheers

Terry




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Old Mar 17, 2005, 8:05 AM   #5
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If I remember correct ETTL-II is in the camera body, not flash, so you can use the 550EX or 580EX on the 20D you'll get the benefits of ETTL-II.

I have used a video head with my 10D, but it didn't take long before I switched to a ball head. I found them to be much easier to use. If you can find a store that carries tripod heads, go and check out a ball head. All are not created equal (the models that JohnG named are fairly good for the price) but the concept is generally the same.

I've heard good things about that Sigma Flash. I don't known it, but many people here seem to like it.

Eric
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Old Mar 17, 2005, 1:20 PM   #6
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eric s:

I thought that the flash still needed to be capable of ETTL II, even though it is in the body. Otherwise, wouldn't you be able to use any flash as ETTL or ETTL II if its just in the body?
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Old Mar 21, 2005, 10:08 AM   #7
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Bilbo99 wrote:
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Just got my 20D (love it) and its been a while since I used a camera as substantial as this. I have a Quantaray (Ritz Camera house brand made by Sunpak) QT II-550 tripod and its pretty decent. It has a "video head" on it so I am told. I dont really know what that means but I have never like the way it worked. To clunky and to many nobs.

The head screws off and I am wondering if it possible to fit a new head on it? What would a ball head do for me? Are they easier to use? Can anyone suggest a decent one?

I am also looking for a good flash. I have read that the Sigma EF-500 DG Super Flash is a great unit. Its much cheaper that the Canon Speedlites that look comparable (550ex and 580ex). Is it really a great flash? What would I be loosing by going with the Sigma and not the higher priced Canons?

Thanks for your help and if this in the wrong section I apologize in advance.

the head itself should screw off and expose a threaded stud. on some japanese tripods it is a 1/4 20 stud. if it is yo can get an adapter that threads over it (about $3-$5) that turns it into a 16-32 thread. that is pretty much the standard for the base studs. what you are going to find as you go along that the capacity of the tripod itself may not support you camera/lens setup adequately due to leg flex and just plain build quality.
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Old Mar 21, 2005, 10:58 AM   #8
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From what I've read, the flash will report ETTL, but it will work in either ETTL-I or II. From all I've read, there are absolutely no required changes to the flash to work with ETTL-II.

Obviously, a flash that doesn't support ETTL won't support ETTL-II. Do some google searching on ETTL-II, and I believe that is what you'll find.

Of course the lens must report distance information, but they've been doing that for years.

Eric
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Old Mar 22, 2005, 2:25 AM   #9
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sjms wrote:
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the head itself should screw off and expose a threaded stud. on some japanese tripods it is a 1/4 20 stud. if it is yo can get an adapter that threads over it (about $3-$5) that turns it into a 16-32 thread. that is pretty much the standard for the base studs. what you are going to find as you go along that the capacity of the tripod itself may not support you camera/lens setup adequately due to leg flex and just plain build quality.
The tripod in question is pretty large and beefy. It had no problem with my Rebel 2000 w/ grip and 70-300 Lens. I have even had freinds heavy cameras on it. I will have to take it down to the canera store to check out what fits.

Any suggestions on a ball head?
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