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View Full Version : The Big Debate: Hot Shoe, or No Hot Shoe?



JohnBrowning
09-02-2004, 11:55 PM
Do you think a hot shoe is necessary on today's cameras higher end prosumer or ultra zoom type cameras (excluding compact cameras). For example only, the Panasonic FZ20 has one, the FZ15 does not.

I'm in a major indecision mode, and a hot shoe was one of the features that I didn't think I could do without. (The reason I have this opinion is my current camera, the original small Cybershot P1, has a small flash and takes terrible indoor pictures -- because of that, I have wanted the option of a big a__ flash to make sure).

I thought the Olympus 5060WZ was the perfect camera, but then didn't like its bulk and feel (and power switch), so now I'm back to square one. I liked the size and feel and features of the Canon S50, but it doesn't have a hot shoe, and with its size, I'm not sure I'll be happy with indoor pics.

jamison55
09-08-2004, 04:03 PM
No question. If indoor photos are high on your list, than you need a hotshoe. I have yet to see a built-in flash that can keep up with a camera sufficiently. They are usually underpowered, and most cause horrible redeye. Both of those problems are present with the built-in on my DReb.

John_Reed
09-08-2004, 04:20 PM
Do you think a hot shoe is necessary on today's cameras higher end prosumer or ultra zoom type cameras (excluding compact cameras). For example only, the Panasonic FZ20 has one, the FZ15 does not.

I'm in a major indecision mode, and a hot shoe was one of the features that I didn't think I could do without. (The reason I have this opinion is my current camera, the original small Cybershot P1, has a small flash and takes terrible indoor pictures -- because of that, I have wanted the option of a big a__ flash to make sure).

I thought the Olympus 5060WZ was the perfect camera, but then didn't like its bulk and feel (and power switch), so now I'm back to square one. I liked the size and feel and features of the Canon S50, but it doesn't have a hot shoe, and with its size, I'm not sure I'll be happy with indoor pics.John, I'm an "available light" kind of guy myself, but I can see where others might be more concerned about flash power. Personally, I get enough juice from the (FZ10's) internal flash to take the occasional party shots, groups, etc. Also, the redeye problem seems to be minimal as long as I can get my subject(s) to look at the camera! I didn't think one would ever need flash for an ultra-zoom, but a couple of months ago I saw a guy with a long telephoto and a very focused flash; he was throwing light at Egrets maybe 30 feet away! So I wouldn't argue against a hot shoe; I've never used mine, and if someone handed me a new FZ15, I wouldn't leave the box unopened just knowing it didn't have a hot shoe! :rolleyes:

Jayde
09-13-2004, 04:00 AM
Like hair, its nice to have the option !!! ;)

bascom
12-22-2005, 01:21 PM
What is a hot shoe? Sounds like something that adds to the flash.

JLV
12-22-2005, 06:12 PM
What is a hot shoe? Sounds like something that adds to the flash.

It is a slide on the camera which holds the flash and also has the electrical conections needed to operate the flash when the shutter button is pressed.

Rhys
12-22-2005, 07:20 PM
Call me strange but I prefer cameras that don't have built-in flashes. I prefer either a PC socket or a hot shoe. Generally, I prefer a PC-socket to a hotshoe.

cdifoto
12-22-2005, 07:22 PM
This is what a typical hotshoe looks like.

tim11
12-23-2005, 04:39 AM
What debate? Are you likely to be using it?
You have to be aware most pop-up flash reach no further than 3 metres (9.84 feet) on ISO100. So... if you are going to use the camera for taking photos of say, 20 or more club members, your subjects will have to stand further away than 3 metres, then some kind of external flash is needed. If you only take photos of your family I guess you can do without. However, external flash is the only solution to red eyes problem.

Jason25
12-23-2005, 10:21 AM
After realizing what a hot shoe can do for my pictures, I absolutely want one. There really is no debate!

Chucko
12-23-2005, 10:38 AM
Serious cameras should have hotshoes at the very least. I'm not sure an ultra-zoom should have one, if only because it would require a dedicated flash that knows about the zoom setting.

Severin
12-23-2005, 09:58 PM
It is an extra expense to buy an external flash, but if you are actually going to buy an external flash and use it then a hot shoe is great. Personally I don't like carrying big bulky cameras in most indoor enviroments (public at least) and will sacrifice picture quality for a compact size. The external flash will add quite a bit of bulk to you camera.

Waz
06-02-2007, 02:05 PM
I know this is a digital camera resource site but I was actually looking for a cheap digital camera with a hotshoe to test film camera setups. I would actually be using studio flash for film portraits with Nikon/Mamiya gear.
The digital would just be used to test the lighting set-up really. ( In the old days you would use polaroids to do this. )
I cant seem to find many low-end models with a hotshoe, though. Fuji MX 2900? Anyone know of any others?

wutske
06-03-2007, 02:09 AM
I know this is a digital camera resource site but I was actually looking for a cheap digital camera with a hotshoe to test film camera setups. I would actually be using studio flash for film portraits with Nikon/Mamiya gear.
The digital would just be used to test the lighting set-up really. ( In the old days you would use polaroids to do this. )
I cant seem to find many low-end models with a hotshoe, though. Fuji MX 2900? Anyone know of any others?

I don't know a low-end model that has a hot shoe on it and basicaly I won't suggest one if it would exist. Low-end models don't have manual controls and I guess that's what you need to be able to set when you want to test your lights. Another option is getting a camera with full manual controls and use a flash trigger to have an external flash fired.

tim11
06-03-2007, 05:34 PM
How cheap is 'CHEAP'?
You maybe able to find discontinued FZ20, FZ30 which has a hotshoe that may suit your need. There are plenty on Ebay.
All new digital cams with hotshoe are more like higher-end models like Wutske already said.

Waz
06-04-2007, 02:18 AM
Thanks for the quick advice, Wutse/Tim. I managed to do what I wanted on a 20 quid Fuji digital. You can set the aperture to F4 or F8 on this camera to preview the shot. Image quality wasnt really important because the final shot would be on film anyway ( yes, I can hear you tittering!). I would be using two off-camera strobes and a backlight, which was why I needed the hotshoe digital to test the lighting setup.

A nice article on studio flash techiniques is here. You will all want a hotshoe/PC after reading this!

http://www.ephotozine.com/article/Studio-lighting-advice---Part-3

Thanks again.
Waz

mjsneddon
06-05-2007, 08:42 AM
Like hair, its nice to have the option !!! ;)

What is so great about hair? I can't remember!

Bill Markwick
06-06-2007, 10:31 AM
I couldn't live without either a hotshoe or sync connector. On-camera flash has only one purpose, which is convenience. It's a good way to get mediocre photos. The attached photo has an external flash to the left, firing through a translucent diffuser. (If the chipmunk looks guilty, it's because he just swiped all the peanuts I put out for the birds. :p )

Regards,
Bill

Waz
06-07-2007, 07:57 AM
Yep, Bill. You would definitely have lost texture in the bark and the fur if you had used on-camera flash on that shot. The odd thing is that we (old farts) were always taught that on-camera flash was a sin - you will almost always get red-eye. But most builtin camera flash units are placed exactly where you dont want them - bang on top of the lens! If you could at least twist the flash then you could bounce it off a wall but many just seem to be the pop-up-flash variety.

zmikers
06-07-2007, 08:34 AM
Pop up flashes work for a quick fill flash where nothing too strong is needed, but I wouldn't trust an on camera flash for anything other than that.

ps.dig
09-30-2010, 05:07 PM
I've been getting by with slave flashes, but it's really a bad compromise for candid photography unless you do it right. I've resisted upgrading from my Canon S60 because I haven't found an affordable camera with external flash provision and aligned tripod socket (I often use a monopod). Since not one of the compact cameras I've seen has both these features, I have to use a modified external flash bracket with and without a variety of slave flashes to overcome these inadequacies. I can still carry almost everything in my jacket pockets, but having a hot shoe and proper tripod mount make it much easier.

I can live without a hot shoe, but it seems like modern camera designers have never actually used a compact camera for serious photography- they consistently put the tripod socket in the wrong place. I think that it's ludicrous that they haven't thought of going back to the best of the 1970's era 35mm compact rangefinder designs for basic ergonomics of a compact camera.

Instead they have copied the packaging of the 1990's disposable cameras- small and light, then loaded them up with image stabilization and facial recognition that don't come close to the intrinsic mass stability of a 14 oz camera nor the visual ability of a 5 week old baby.

Why don't they separate the idiot-proof elphin camera philosophy from the advanced compact design, instead of taking the former and simply enlarging it and adding more and more automatic features that an advanced photographer doesn't really need??

I can see the difficulty in adding a hot shoe to one of the newer, mostly plastic, camera designs, but adding a PC connector and a buffer circuit should be a tiny cost addition to an advanced compact camera. Aligning the tripod mount with the lens axis should be a no cost change. Designing advanced compact cameras on the assumption that they can be held and operated well using only the right hand isn't very smart of the designers (perhaps if engineers were involved if would be better?) . Positioning the lens far enough away from the left end of the camera so a right-handed person can hold it steady in the left hand while operating the controls with the right, without interfering with the flash or lens should be common sense in a $200+ "compact" camera, but apparently not.

SpecialK
10-01-2010, 10:28 AM
Just get a 5-dollar bracket and flash that can be triggered/slaved by the pop-up, and away you go. The only trick is the off camera flash has to "see" the pop-up flash.

Myboostedgst
10-01-2010, 11:06 AM
You have to have a camera that can use it's pop up flash as a commander mode. My D5000 doesn't have it.

TheWengler
10-01-2010, 11:52 AM
You have to have a camera that can use it's pop up flash as a commander mode. My D5000 doesn't have it.

What does commander mode do exactly? I was under the impression it just made a small flash that doesn't impact the exposure to set off the other flashes. Can't you just turn your flash power down a couple stops and get something similar?

SpecialK
10-01-2010, 06:31 PM
Serious cameras should have hotshoes at the very least.

Actually, not really. High-end studio users would likely use multiple strobe heads or softboxes with a dedicated power source, and "serious" wedding or portrait shooters would at least be using a handle-mounted system.

Hotshoe flashes are only for convenience.