Camera Parts: Accessory Shoe

There are a lot of camera parts that photographers need to learn when they study photography. One of the most useful parts on the camera to a photographer is the accessory shoe, also known as the hot shoe.

What Is the Hot Shoe?

The shoe is shaped like a 'U'. An accessory, like a flash, is inserted into the shoe where matching adapters on both the flash and shoe hold it in place. A clamp on the flash is also used to secure it. An electrical signal is made between the accessory shoe and the flash via metal connections that power and sync it to the camera. 

What's a Cold Shoe?

Before hot shoes were invented and became a standard part of the camera, there were cold shoes. Cold shoes were basically the accessory shoe mount without the electrical connection. You would attach a flash to the camera through the cold shoe, but it would have to be powered and synced outside of the camera. 

Accessory Shoe History

Hot shoes started being a standard camera part in the 1970s. Every manufacturer has their own version of the accessory shoe and the accessories that are compatible with it. A Kodak accessory will not work in a Canon accessory shoe.