Using Sync Cords with Sony a6000

Using Sync Cords with Sony a6000

Nov 11
Using Sync Cords with Sony a6000

The biggest drawback to using fiber optic cables on the mirrorless and compact cameras is often the slow recycle time of the on-board camera flash. While underwater strobes are designed to recycle quickly, the flash on the cameras often recycles much, much slower. With fiber optic cables your underwater strobe is dependent upon the camera flash so unfortunately that means it will have to wait as well.

a6000With previous Sony cameras that offered a hotshoe, tempting users to switch to electronic sync cords, an issue kept appearing. Sony had programmed the cameras LCD screen to match the camera settings when not using the flash. While ideal for knowing what your shot will look like if shooting purely ambient light, it caused an problem for those wanting to use an underwater strobe with electronic sync cords as the screen would be black with the common underwater settings where all ambient light is blocked. This meant that you could not see anything to compose the image or check focus, making it not possible to use sync cords.

With later camera models (RX100 III & IV, A5000 & 5100) Sony removed the hot shoe from the top of the camera so the ability to use sync cords disappeared completely. Then they brought it back with the higher end a6000 camera. The on-board flash on this camera is still dreadfully slow to recycle, so we tested it here in the shop with sync cords and the results were incredible. One problem though, the screen still went dark.

Luckily, Sony has stepped up and solved this problem by allowing the user to override that function. In the main menu, under the set up menu (little cog icon) you can scroll over until you see the option for “Live View Display”. The default is “Setting Effect ON” which is what causes the LCD to dim when you block out ambient light with the flash off. Simply turn this to “Setting Effect OFF” and your LCD will remain bright regardless of the exposure settings. Just remember what you see isn’t necessarily what you are going to get, so review your images and watch your histogram.a6000-bulkhead

To set up your Nauticam housing to accept electronic sync cords, simply install the Universal bulkhead and you’re good to go. Keep in mind, the a6000 only has one bulkhead port, so if you plan to also use the vacuum system you will need to purchase the Offset Vacuum Bulkhead Kit.

Here’s a quick comparison of the two methods, fiber optic cable, vs sync cord. Its obvious to see which is better.


One last thing to consider is the differences between fiber optic cables and electronic sync cords. Primarily with fiber optic cables you have a system that is never going to allow a flood in the housing since the cables do not penetrate through, they simply plug into a port and read the light through a window. In addition the cables themselves have no electronics inside so they rarely fail. Unless you bend or break a cable causing damage to the fiber optics inside they will last forever. Electronic sync cords are bigger and slightly heavier (if you’re counting ounces to make airline restrictions). They can short out if water gets inside the connections (flooded) so we highly recommend always have a backup. Lastly since there is an electronic signal transmitting from your camera to the strobe the bulkhead for the cables actually penetrates through the housing so that you can attach it to the camera. If not installed properly, or if the cable is not connected correctly to the housing it can cause a flood, resulting in more damage. For the Nauticam housings we highly recommend using the vacuum check system to help prevent any problems.