How standardized are hot shoes?
I'm looking for a hot shoe cable to get ttl metering with off-camera flash for my Minolta system. I see that the electrical contact on a Pentax ME Super is different from that on the Minolta X570 and x700 which is still different from my 3-year old digital. It looks like there are 2, 3, and 4 contacts respectively. I'm using a Minolta flash made for the x-series.
Just how careful do I need to be choosing a cable to correctly pass all the information?
They are very specific so you need to choose carefully.
Basically, for full TTL, the connection pattern from the camera's hot shoe
to the pins on the foot of the flash must conform exactly.
Unfortunately, few of the camera manufacturers have collaborated and/or adhered
to [one] set standard, except for firing the flash; (center pin positive, and side foot ground).
The folks at Paramount Custom Cords may be able to fix-up a solution for you.
Hey thanks you guys. It looks like I'll have to search a mid-80's Minolta cord.
I believe your'e on a wild goose chase because neither the ME Super, the Minolta X570 or the X700 cameras had TTL flash metering capability's, whatever flash lead you use the best they could manage was a flash ready indication in the viewfinder, TTL flash was a development in later models.
Originally Posted by pbromaghin
Last edited by benjiboy; 04-17-2012 at 02:31 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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Benjiboy - both the x570 and x700 have it. The x700 was the first Minolta that did. The flash I have was made specifically as a piece of this system. I've used them together, on camera, for a few rolls and am trying to figure out how to get more flexibility and better quality light without carrying around a lot of equipment.
You're probably right about the Pentax, though. But I'm not planning to use it for this, it was just an example of the hot shoes being different.
I'd check with B&H first, to see if they have a new one, then KEH for a used Minolta TTL cord. I would suspect these things are rather rare, as I cannot recall ever seeing one in the store during the four and a half years I worked at Coopers Camera Mart. Most of our X-700 sales were to high school and college students getting something to use in their photo 101 class. And the Maxxum cameras used a completely different proprietary flash shoe, so they were not backwards compatible. Your best bet might be to look for a Promaster flash unit with detachable module for your specific camera - they made some of their higher-end flashes with bounce and swivel that could snap on and off different feet with the appropriate matching ttl hot shoe, and some of them had an accessory off-camera sync cord that would go between the module and the flash head.
The only standard contact is the "hot" one, the central one. All the rest is proprietary and is not guaranteed to remain the same even within the same maker products.
There is a solution to your problem.
Many, many years ago German flash producers (Metz, Braun, Agfa and others) agreed on a standard for dedicated flashes which is called SCA.
You buy a SCA-compatible flash. Then, you would buy a SCA adapter which would adapt your SCA flash to work as a "dedicated" flash with your camera(s).
The first generation had 3 figure numbers. E.g. SCA 310 was the adapter for Canon A-1, SCA 311 was the adapter for Minolta dedicated flash (including TTL function for X-700 and family) etc.
Subsequent SCA flashes using 4 figures were adaptable to new-generation AF flashes (which dose light emission based on autofocus, or assist AF with a red light, etc.).
Somewhere on the internet you should find a diagram with all the SCA codes.
So you could buy a SCA flash and an adapter for Minolta TTL system and an adapter for ME Super flash system (not TTL if I remember well) and, by only changing the adapter, you can have a dedicated flash which will work just like the "original" one.
You can also find an extension cord. You place the adapter on the camera hot shoe, the extension cord on it, and the other end of the extension cord to the flash. You only need to buy one extension cord and you can use it with whatever SCA adapter and SCA flash.
Vivitar mid 80's made a family of flash with a dedicated minolta module (DM/M I recall). The module would clip onto the bottom of the flash, and had the shoe to interface to all the right camera hot shoe pins.
They also made a module to allow you to 'split' the flash. It allowed the head to be extended up to 1m beyond the camera.
The only place I have ever really needed off film metering using the above rig was when using a slide duper backlit by the flash head somewhat diffused
As long as the flash shoe has it's own sensor, you come close to off film metering by putting the sensor at the top of the camera.
Once you move into using multiple flashes you buy a flash meter, and forget all the hype about TTl flash, and wonder why it was such a big deal to you at the time.
my real name, imagine that.
The off-the-film flash metering is really handy when you are shooting extreme close-up or macro work.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2