The Sony a6000 Hotshoe connectivity guide

Started Jul 25, 2014 | Discussions thread
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Xanmato Forum Member • Posts: 80
The Sony a6000 Hotshoe connectivity guide

Hey guys,

I wanted to make this thread in order to help people understand why certain flashes like the Yongnuo fail to trigger reliably on the Sony a6000. It will also explain why this is not a mistake by Sony, but rather an unfortunate side effect for third party devices.

So, what's the reason why your flash doesn't work without performing voodoo or using a pipe wrench on the lock tightener? As some of you may already know:

It is simply a matter of grounding.

Sony decided to paint the hotshoe black for cosmetic reasons, which standard hotshoe accessories use not only as a mount but as the grounding point as well. Since there is paint covering the shoe, a ground connection cannot be made. Without a complete electrical circuit, the flash will not fire. The paint is applied by a method called powder coating, which makes the paint stubbornly durable when it comes to wear.

So why do Sony multi interface devices work flawlessly? Some of the hotshoe connectors are plastic?!

Sony was very clever in the design to embed a grounding pin on each side of the device's shoe. You can see below on the microphone, where the pin sticks out near the back of the shoe. You may notice that the hotshoe mount does not have paint on the side lip. This is where those grounding pins make contact, I have highlighted the lip in red:

What's that yellow highlighted part?

That chunk of metal is intended to be the backstop for the multi interface shoe devices. It also serves as a block to stop standard hotshoe devices from jamming or crushing the multi interface pins. We are lucky that Sony left this unpainted as it is a valid grounding point. This is why the flash units tend to work when you push it in hard or keep pressure on it, because it is touching those blocks.

So how do I fix this?

Honestly, the easiest fix is to remove some paint inside the grooves with something like sand paper. A toothpick dipped in acetone (not dripping) can remove paint cleanly and with precision if you are concerned with keeping it looking nice. The ramp pads are a good place to remove paint as the spring pressure will help secure a good electrical connection. The more bare metal that is exposed, the better the connection will be.

With an exposed metal hotshoe, 3rd party flashes should have no problems firing reliably. I hope this helps some of the confused and frustrated a6000 owners out there.

 Xanmato's gear list:Xanmato's gear list
Sony a6000 Sony E 50mm F1.8 OSS Sony E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS Sony E 35mm F1.8 OSS Sony E 20mm F2.8 +3 more
Sony a6000
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