Are hot shoe sync connections the next thing to disappear?

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by AJG, Sep 8, 2021.

  1. AJG


    I teach a studio lighting class at the local community college and ran into a new problem this year--Canon T6i and T7i don't have the large central contact in their hot shoe that every other hot shoe camera that I have ever seen has to sync flash. The options seem to be using a Canon flash or a few other proprietary flash triggers that only work with their particular brand of flash. I'm sure that some bean counter thought that this was a genius move--sell a $500 camera and then compel the purchase of a $400 dedicated flash for photographers that needed something more powerful than the wimpy built in flash, but my response will be to recommend to my students to avoid these Canon cameras so that they can use radio triggers with our White Lightning studio flash units. My solution here is to leave one of my older DSLR/kit lens cameras in the studio for these two students to use, but I am curious to know if there are other camera brands that are selling reasonably sophisticated cameras that have eliminated or crippled this feature so that I can advise future students about which cameras they would need to use studio flash.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 9, 2021
  2. AJG


    Thanks for the suggestion, although some of the reviews don't look too great. Past experience with using the on camera flash to trigger studio flash optical slaves has been mixed--it requires a fair amount of menu diving to turn the right things on and/or off so that the on camera flash doesn't adversely effect the over all lighting. Too many of my students have gotten used to setting their cameras to "P" (for professional) and accepting the results they get...
  3. I'm looking at reviews of the T6, 7 and 8i bodies and ALL appear to have a traditional looking center pin shoe?

    What I would tell you is that students taking a studio lighting class should understand that they are going to need a camera that will support studio lighting.
  4. I put a simple center pin flash on the hot shoe of a T7i, and it worked.
    I also used an off-brand hot shoe extender, like what @Ed_Ingold linked to, and it also worked with a simple center pin flash.

    If you want an adapter.
    Someone makes an adapter to go from a T7i hot shoe to a PC jack. This one looks like it might do the job.
    I don't know if the shoe on top of the adapter has the standard center pin or not.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2021
  5. Minolta/Sony ventured into this stupidity many years ago. 3rd parties, and even Minolta themselves, then sold adapters to convert back to a standard shoe. Sony, thankfully, have now reverted to using a standard shoe (almost). At least one that takes and fires a bog-standard dumb wireless trigger.

    Minolta's excuse was that it allowed them to provide a more sophisticated flash system, but with only 4 contacts being used; how complex could it be?

    The ideal solution would be to hurt these lunatic designers in the pocket, by boycotting their products, but that would require widespread user education and immunity to hype - so that's not going to happen.

    Otherwise +1 to Gary's approach.

    An afterthought: many cameras prevent a flash being fired in 'quiet' or 'museum' mode, and others need to be put into fully manual mode to fire a non-dedicated flash. That's not what's happening here is it?
    Karim Ghantous likes this.
  6. AJG


    The two cameras that my students own have a piece of black plastic where the center pin should be and they absolutely don't work with our radio transmitters. That black plastic doesn't look like a dust cover either, and I'm not about to attack my students' cameras with an Exacto knife to find out.

    As for picking a camera that works with studio flash, most of them have cameras already and bought them when they may not have known that they would take my class. Since they are community college students, they usually aren't rolling in money to replace a camera.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2021
  7. AJG


    I've contemplated contacting Canon and explaining how many accessory lenses they won't sell as a result of this but I know it would be a waste of time. Unfortunately, I agree with you about how much education would be necessary and the likelihood of that occurring.
  8. Now you made me curious about what I remember.
    It will be next week before I can look at a T7i, and report back.

    Ah, could it be a T7 vs. the T7i.
    I remember a teacher asking about getting the cheaper T7 instead of the more expensive T7i.
    In that case, the answer was NO, because the T7 had a lower high ISO capability than the T7i, making it poor for sports photography under lights or in the gym.
  9. AJG


    I can only tell you that the T6i that my student has has a black plastic plug rather than the metal pin for sync, and that the radio transmitter doesn't work. Is it possible that Canon has changed this model since it was introduced?
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 8, 2021
  10. I suspect it won't be going away at all. Most cameras still have it, including cameras with prices that will make your eyes water. ;-)
  11. AJG


    I was surprised that Canon did this, hence my question about other brands/models doing something similar. I'm sure the marketing types want us to just keep bumping up the ISO when there isn't enough light, but that isn't remotely similar to lighting carefully in a studio situation.
  12. Just did this screen capture off the Canon web site.
    It shows the standard center contact.


    BUT . . . The T8i hot shoe below, shows a dark grey pad where the center contact pad is/should be. Could that be the plastic plug you are talking about.


    BUT BUT . . . I just found this posting confirming what you said, about Canon removing the center pin from the hot shoe.
    Canon Removes the Universal Hot Shoe Pin on Its Latest Release

    Maybe that adapter that I linked to won't work with a camera without a center pin.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2021
  13. Generally I don't think so even though many cameras do allow you to control off camera lights with built in wifi, there's still a of of hot shoe flash controllers.
  14. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    I teach students too and ran into the same problem.

    I don't have a definitive list of other camera brands, and I'll add that I have not yet come into any issue with other brands of DSLR cameras that the 2021, 2020 and 2019 Students owned: anecdotal averages - 60% Canon; 30% Nikon 10% Other (couple of Pentax and one Fuji).

    The only centre Hot-shoe pin problems (with DSLRs) I have had, is with Canon DSLRs.

    I am reasonably confident that I have a full list of Canon EOS DSLRs which have the centre Hot-shoe pin missing.

    These are, in chronological order, most recent release listed first, (in the line are same models and released in different regions):

    > KissX10 RebelSL3 200DMkII 250D (released 2019)
    > KissX90 RebelT7 2000D 1500D (released 2018)
    > RebelT100 4000D 3000D (released 2018)

    The models released immediately before 2018 (KissX9 RebelSL2 200D) and all the previous models, I believe all have the Hot-shoe centre pin.

    The models released after the aforementioned "missing pin" cameras above, I believe all have the Hot-shoe centre pin and these are:

    > 90D (released 2019)
    > 1DXMkIII (released 2020)
    > KissX10i RebelT8i 850D (released 2020)


    I don't understand how or why a RebelT6i (aka 750D, KissX8i, released 2015) and RebelT7i (aka 800D, KissX9i, released 2017) had the centre Hot-shoe pin missing or covered, and I am not arguing that point - just saying I reckon it should be there on those cameras.

    The RebelT6s (aka 8000D, 760D, released 2015) should have the centre pin also.


    Addressing this point directly, in the my course preview and requirements sheet, I now have in a big photo of a Hot-shoe (from the top) and strongly suggest the Students "have a DSLR with the big centre circular metal contact" - and I had a big red arrow pointing to it.

    Last edited: Sep 9, 2021
  15. AJG


    Thanks, William. I appreciate the list and I hope that other manufacturers don't follow Canon's lead on this. It's funny that I did email my students in advance this year to make sure that they had a hot shoe on their cameras since the last time I taught this class two students had expensive point and shoot cameras that had the same problem. Several got back to me asking what a hot shoe was. The college's email system doesn't allow attachments when I do a group email to my class, so next time I will ask my students to send me a picture of the top of their cameras so that I can check to see if they will work with our radio triggers. Things you shouldn't have to do...
    William Michael likes this.
  16. I have no problem with Minolta having their special hot shoe because back then they have the PC connection. I use my studio flash with wire and I can either use the PC socket or an adapter on the hot shoe for cameras that don't have the PC connector. However the 2 cameras the OP mentioned I can't do that and that really a bad thing. I don't want to trigger the flash with built in flash because I don't want the light from the built in flash at all.
  17. I think it's OK if they have the PC sync connector but those 2 bodies don't have them and it's really bad in my opinion.
  18. AJG


    I don't miss PC connectors at all--I used to go on location with at least 3 or 4 tested cords to make sure that I had one that would work. I don't miss tripping over sync cords either, but I agree with your point that it should be possible to sync external flash directly from the camera without having to buy the camera maker's flash or accessories.

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