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07-04-2009, 08:41 AM   #1
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Quick question pc port vs miniphone port

I understand these are two different types of ports that allow you to connect your camera to the flash to use off the camera. But what I don't understand is the difference between the two and the advantage or disadvantage between the two.

07-04-2009, 11:25 AM   #2
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There is no electrical difference. It's simply a mechanical connection difference.

The only advantages I personally can see with PC connectors are: a) it is nye-on impossible to mistake them for anything else, whereas a 3.5 or 2.5mm mini-phone jack/plug could be "anything". And b) from a manufacturing standpoint the sockets aren't as deep so they're easier to incorporate into body/flash/trigger designs.

The disadvantage, again my opinion and experience, is PC connectors are not as consistently of good quality and as a result less reliable. They are also specialty items so you can't just run over to the corner RadioShack and pick up a replacement or extension.
07-06-2009, 08:35 AM   #3
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Thanks for the answer.
07-06-2009, 02:09 PM   #4
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The design of a miniphone jack also lends itself to accidental flash pops if you insert the plugs while the flash is on. The PC design is more like the power cords for laptops, which are designed not to short when pulled or inserted.

I've also had some more inconsistent results with cheap subminiphone jacks on slaves and radio triggers. It seems the contact between the ground (as opposed to the tip) can be a little dicey at times.

07-10-2009, 01:30 PM   #5
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However, the PC plugs are notorious for falling off or not connecting as positively... Most of the time it's not an issue with miniphones...

If you avoid buying your miniphone cords at the dollar store, there shouldn't be too much difference in quality.

I always turn off devices (photo,audio,video) when plugging / unplugging cords. Safer for the device that way - no pop-causing shorts to worry about...

FlashWaves triggers give you all 3 options : PC terminal. miniphone, and hotshoe. I tried them all, just because I wanted to compare, and if I ever couldn't use hotshoe, I'd prefer miniphone to pc cords.

Last edited by Classvino; 07-10-2009 at 01:38 PM.
07-10-2009, 02:01 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Classvino Quote
However, the PC plugs are notorious for falling off or not connecting as positively... Most of the time it's not an issue with miniphones...

If you avoid buying your miniphone cords at the dollar store, there shouldn't be too much difference in quality.

I always turn off devices (photo,audio,video) when plugging / unplugging cords. Safer for the device that way - no pop-causing shorts to worry about...

FlashWaves triggers give you all 3 options : PC terminal. miniphone, and hotshoe. I tried them all, just because I wanted to compare, and if I ever couldn't use hotshoe, I'd prefer miniphone to pc cords.
For flashes, turning off is not enough. You need to remember to pop the flash a few times to discharge the capacitor. With my old Vivitar 283s, if you don't remember to pop them, there's a nice 200 volt reminder when you grab the miniphone.

None of these connectors is perfect. Both have their pluses and minuses. The cheap cords that have caused me trouble were not the ones that came from the dollar store, but the ones that come with the various flash accessories. For example, a pc to sub-miniphone cord that came with a hot shoe adapter would not work in my radio trigger until I cut back about 2 mm of plastic from the shank of the miniphone plug, effectively lengthening the plug.
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