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10-29-2015, 08:34 AM   #1
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Adapting my Spotmatic to flash

So, having proven that I like Spotmatics, the next step is obviously to brighten things up a little.

I have located online a neat little flash hotshoe adapter that accepts a PC cable and has a top-shoe, viz Vello Hot Shoe Adapter with PC Socket + Top Shoe - HSA-PSN B&H Insofar as I can tell, this would enable me to mount either of my current flashes (AF200Sa, AF080C ring) on this thing, fit the adapter to the cold-shoe, and then fire the whole kit and caboodle via a PC cable from the X-sync port on the camera.

The only question now is: what sort of cable do I buy for it, i.e. what do the "ends" need to be, esp regarding the size of "end" that plugs into the X-sync port.

I could of course just buy a cheap third-party flash that comes with a PC cable, but this gives me a bit more flexibility in case I want to play with off-camera flash down the road (on any of my film bodies) and it means I don't have three different flashes hanging around.

10-29-2015, 08:44 AM   #2
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You would need a PC male to PC male lead.
It may be better to get something like this:

Hot Shoe flash adaptor with lead | eBay
10-29-2015, 09:18 AM   #3
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Indeed - much more compact. But the exchange rate (GBP-CAD) plus shipping plus or minus import fees makes it almost as expensive (if not more so!!), and the cheapest one I could find in an eeeekbay dot ca search didn't even ship to North America! However, I will almost certainly have the opportunity to visit a good bricks-and-mortar camera store or two early next year, and I shall keep things like these in mind.
10-29-2015, 10:50 AM   #4
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Try this one then :

Kaiser PC to Hot Shoe Adapter 201301 B&H Photo Video

10-29-2015, 10:57 AM   #5
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eBay is your friend - if you don't mind waiting nearly forever for shipping that is:

12inch 3 5mm Male Plug TO Male Flash PC Sync Cable Cord | eBay

Seagull SC 2 Flash HOT Shoe Adapter With PC Sync Socket | eBay
10-29-2015, 12:26 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
fit the adapter to the cold-shoe
Cold shoe? Unless you are referring to the nasty slip-on accessory shoe, the built-on shoe for the SP II and 70s vintage Spotmatics is a hot shoe. If you are using the slip-on shoe, you might want to consider a flash bracket (<$15). That is what I use. That way I don't have to deal with suicidal flash units.


Steve
10-29-2015, 12:41 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
I have located online a neat little flash hotshoe adapter that accepts a PC cable and has a top-shoe, viz Vello Hot Shoe Adapter with PC Socket + Top Shoe - HSA-PSN B&H
BTW...I may be wrong, but I believe the PC port on the linked item is designed to provide signal via cable*, not relay signal from cable to hot shoe. Translation: It has a hot shoe connection top and bottom and is used to trigger PC connection flashes. I think you want something like:

Nisha Hot Shoe/Tripod Mount HTS-T B&H Photo Video

Cold shoe below, PC on side, hot shoe above.

Alternatively, get a flash that supports PC cabling (many speedlights and most vintage flash). I use a 70s vintage Vivitar.


Steve

* The more common problem is a camera without PC needing to sync to a cabled flash. Adapters such as the one you linked solve that problem.
10-29-2015, 04:15 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Cold shoe? Unless you are referring to the nasty slip-on accessory shoe, the built-on shoe for the SP II and 70s vintage Spotmatics is a hot shoe. If you are using the slip-on shoe, you might want to consider a flash bracket (<$15). That is what I use. That way I don't have to deal with suicidal flash units.


Steve
Yes, the slip on shoe is what I mean. Point taken!

10-29-2015, 05:13 PM   #9
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Hi Path,
Back in the day I found that a flash on the hot-shoe directly over the lens was plagued with red-eye problems.

As far as I know there was only one Pentax flash with a pc cable.
It was the AF16 (and not the more common AF160 series)
It had a socket as well as the hotshoe pin, and came with a short pc cable.
I think the AF16 came available in 1979 and I purchased mine in 1980.
Pentax K camera series did not have a flash handle.
To cure red-eye at the time I purchased a sturdy metal "LPL" brand flash handle.
I recently saw some available used.

This photo shows the flash handle and the flash with the cable plugged into the pc "X" socket of the Pentax MX.
To the left is the AF360 firing in optical slave mode while I took the photo.
https://app.box.com/s/mbu6qmk23q02f0541mjpcy2r3m22ntjq
12-01-2015, 09:42 AM   #10
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Update - SUCCESS!!

I eventually found this on e-bay, and it arrived at lunchtime. While I haven't tested it on the Spotties yet, I did have my Ricoh XR-1 and AF-080C flash to hand (the former because I always like to have a film camera handy, even at work; the latter because it's become a genuinely useful tool) and was able to confirm its function.

Now the Spotties become a whole lot more useful. With no need to close down for metering, and with my 28 and 35mm lenses being almost hyperfocal within the range of the flash and the recommended F-stop, I'd say any disadvantage they have relative to the K-mount bodies just about evaporates. Set sync speed, set recommended f-stop (f/8 for 400 speed film) and blaze away.

Assuming, of course, that the automatic aperture closing is timed appropriately to the flash discharge... We shall have to determine that by experiment.

ETA: I should add that my flash is of the thyristor type and has worked very well on my ME, so I hope it will turn in a good performance on the Spottie.

Last edited by pathdoc; 12-01-2015 at 05:48 PM.
12-01-2015, 05:20 PM - 1 Like   #11
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On Spotmatic the lens-mirror-shutter are interlocked in sequence. The aperture closes positively by the pin pushing in, and only opens by a spring in the lens (I believe K lenses reverse that), so if the interlocks are functional the shutter won't fire until the lens is stopped and the mirror is up.
12-01-2015, 05:59 PM   #12
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PS: Just out of interest, exactly what sort of signal is being passed along the PC sync cable? The battery-less, meter-less Spotmatic SL has an X sync port, to say nothing of the earlier, pre-Spotmatic cameras, so it can't be electrical. Must be mechanical, surely?
12-02-2015, 03:19 AM   #13
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Closing of electrical contacts inside to complete the circuit - like turning on a light switch. Only the timing of the switch action changes between the flashbulb and electronic flash connections. Even the earliest Pentax had two connections for that timing difference, as it takes longer for a flashbulb to burn up to full brightness. (There were also many types of flashbulbs that would require slightly different timing, so the Leica IIIf of 1950 had an adjustable dial to set the instant at which the contacts would close. It used to take a lot more study to be a photographer.)
12-02-2015, 04:35 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by TomB_tx Quote
Closing of electrical contacts inside to complete the circuit - like turning on a light switch.
Yes, but where's the power coming from? In the electric unit, clearly the flash itself can supply the power. But what about the flashbulbs? Or do they have some sort of one-shot cell built in to fire them? I was born in 1971, and while I dimly remember flashbulbs as a child, I gave no thought at the time to how they were set off; the only camera I ever used that had them was a Polaroid, which itself was powered. By the time I got around to using my grandmother's late 60's-vintage Olympus Pen compact, I was using an electronic unit.
12-02-2015, 05:16 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
Set sync speed, set recommended f-stop (f/8 for 400 speed film) and blaze away.
Just call you Weegee!
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