BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Melissa J. Miller
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/2/2003

Flash Attachments for 35mm

I hope someone can tell me the difference between dedicated and non-dedicated flash attachments. Also, what is a "hot shoe"? Thanks.

To love this question, log in above
5/6/2004 11:37:42 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  The "shoe" for the flash is where the flash (aka speedlight) attaches to the camera, usually on top of the viewfinder pentaprism. A "hot shoe" is one with electronic contacts built in so that a separate electronic sync-cord is not needed. A non-dedicated flash can be used on most any camera. It needs only a simple shorting of the circuit to fire in sync with the camera's shutter. The flash exposure is controlled either manually (by selecting the flash power output and an aperture based on subject to flash distance) or automatically by a light sensor built into the flash. A dedicated speedlight is one that electronically communicates with the camera, and together they automate the flash exposure by setting the camera's shutter speed and aperture, and control the flash output based on through-the-lens (TTL) metering using an in-camera light sensor. These speedlights are designed and "dedicated" to a specific brand or line of camera because the function and communication differs by camera maker. A Canon speedlight cannot be used in automatic modes on a Minolta/Nikon/Pentax camera. Third party makers like Sunpak, Sigma, and Vivitar will make several versions of the same speedlight - one dedicated to Canon, one for Nikon, one for Minolta, and one for Pentax.

To love this comment, log in above
5/7/2004 6:37:27 AM

Melissa J. Miller
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/2/2003
  thanks for clearing that up!

To love this comment, log in above
5/7/2004 12:45:53 PM

Steve McCroskey   Concerning flashes, make sure the flash is compatible with the camera you choose. Some of the new model cameras are only compatible with their own brand of flash. When I bought my new Maxxum 5, I tried the entire Sunpak line, none worked. The Minolta 3600HS and 5600HS models are the only ones compatible with the Maxxum 5.

To love this comment, log in above
5/10/2004 4:41:49 PM

Tamara Bradley   I have a Maxxum 5 and just purchased a Vivitar 850AF flash that is compatible. It has a bounce and swivel head as well.

Just thought I would mention that!

To love this comment, log in above
5/11/2004 9:39:46 AM

Steve McCroskey   Hi Tamara!
Concerning flashes again, I have a friend who has a Maxxum 5 that is several years old, she let me check her aftermarket flash & it locked my camera up!
I think it has something to do with the way the camera is set up!
Steve McCroskey

To love this comment, log in above
5/11/2004 7:57:21 PM

Tamara Bradley   Steve,
I haven't had any problems (touch wood). I did however, make sure that the flash is compatible as there are several serial numbers for different models of cameras for this particular flash (canon, minolta, nikon). I'm not sure, but like you said maybe it's the age of the camera/flash of your friend?!? What brand was hers?

To love this comment, log in above
5/11/2004 9:14:47 PM

Log in to respond or ask your own question.