If you're reading this, you probably have an excess of vintage, foreign, and deadstock cameras dating back to times even before you were born. And you may also have found that your typical hotshoe flashes will often not work. Now this is just a pain in the butt, but wait...allow me to introduce you to your new best friend, the PC Flash Adapter.
Coming in various forms, the most common a plastic piece that slips into your old shoe mount quickly transforming it into a standard hotshoe simply by plugging in the little adapter end to the pc flash sync knob on your camera. On the old Lubitels it is a knob, but most times it is flush with the camera located on the front or side. But wait…it’s not limited to that. You can buy extension pc cables which will allow you to hold your flash in your hand or on a separate tripod at various distances for say an impromptu glamour shot session.
My very favorite cameras to use the PC Flash Adapter on are my BeLomo Vilia Auto and my lovely Lubitel 166U, but it’s also been spotted from time to time hanging out with my Fed 5. A wonderful discovery, as in the case of my Fed 5, is that some cameras with working hotshoes willl also have a pc flash sync enabling you to use two flashes at the same time. You can hit it from the front as well as whatever angle you so choose.
Now it should be noted that some cameras will tell you you need to be shooting at a specific shutter speed when using the pc flash connection so it would be a good idea to look into that before shooting. Typically it will be 1/30th or 1/60th of a second speeds. Personally I have had no troubles with this.
Some of my favorite things to do is to shoot two different color gel filters strategically set up or put my camera on a tripod then hold the flash up high or right out of frame on my subject to get various effects. If shooting two flashes you may want to think about using a diffuser on one of them. Check back to my old tipster for help with that!
Now you have the ability to release your flash from the shackles of your camera mount. Let it be free and be only limited by your own creativity.