May 24, 2013

Meike OC-E3 Off-Camera Shoe Cord for Canon

Meike OE-C3 Off-Camera Shoe Cord - intro
In plain language an off-camera shoe cord is actually an extension cable, replicating the on-camera hot shoe contacts to a hot shoe on a small block at the other end of the cable.

This facilitates into positioning the flash away or  above the camera in order to change the angle of the flash beam, sending the shadows downwards, avoid red-eye effects or long lenses from shadowing the lower part of the frame.
Something we shall see in some implementation examples later on, with a telephoto and a macro flash brackets.

Canon OC-E3 off-camera shoe cord had been introduced together with Canon EOS 1D Mk III  and speedlite 580EX II, endorsing the improved metal shoe and weather sealing of the latter.

The Meike Shoe Cord
On the other hand, the Meike OE-C3 Off-Camera Shoe Cord reviewed here is the best replica of the Canon OC-E3 that has come into my attention. Not only for the same size an shape connector blocks but also for the metal foot, weather sealing and thickness of the cable. And these, come in an attractive price, half than the street price of the original.

Meike OE-C3 Off-Camera Shoe Cord - connectors top detail
If it weren't for the "Meike DIGITAL" instead of the "Canon" logo on the cover of the hot shoe connector (on the left), it would be difficult to discriminate between the two. The only difference is in the texture and gloss of the plastic on the Meike against the smooth matte finish of the original. Meike OC-E3 weighing 145 gr is also a little heavier than the Canon by 30 gr maybe due to the somewhat longer cable.
The remote hot shoe (on the right) has the five pins required for the signaling and E-TTL operation of the Canon Speedlites, as well as the exact curves for the rubber weather sealing on the foot of the Canon 580EX II.
Meike OE-C3 Off-Camera Shoe Cord - connectors bottom
The coiled connecting cable is of good quality heavy gauge and measures 0.5 m (1.6 ft ) retracted. Fully stretched out can extend to 2.0 m (6.5 ft) and probably when uncoiled will reach the manufacturer stated length of 3 m (~10 ft). However, I wouldn't suggest that you stretch too much as it is quite strong pulling back so you will not be able to frame or work at ease. Anyway, an off-camera shoe cord is most appropriate for mounting your speedlite on a flash bracket directly attached or close to the camera as a telephoto / macro flash bracket. Otherwise, if you really want a greater working distance than let's say 1m (~3 ft) a wireless transmitter is more suitable.
Meike OE-C3 Off-Camera Shoe Cord - connectors bottom detail
The hot shoe connector (on the left) is equipped with a metal foot and the five pins required for the signaling and E-TTL operation. The remote hot shoe (on the right) has a plastic foot that permits its mounting on a flash base, flash stand or flash bracket, while it is also equipped with a metal 1/4"-20 thread for more secure mounting on some flash brackets or a light stand.
Meike OE-C3 Off-Camera Shoe Cord - hot shoe lock
A closer look at the hot shoe connector reveals the same twist lock mechanism and rubber gasket found on the Canon speedlite 580EX II and by extension on the original Canon OC-E3 feet. The twist lock does an affirmative "click" when turned all the way to the right, securing the connector on the camera hot shoe. It needs the press of the small button next to it, in order to be released. It's obvious that it should work that way, but I mention that since many even cheaper clones fail to lock properly.



Using with a Camera

Meike OE-C3 Off-Camera Shoe Cord + Economy Telephoto Flash Bracket full setup
The above illustration is a good example for the use of the OC-E3 off-camera shoe cord. The hot shoe connector is inserted and locked on the camera hot shoe, while the remote hot shoe is secured on a modified Boling C-Shape flash bracket via an 1/4"-20 thumb wheel screw. Then the Canon speedlite 580EX II is inserted and locked on the remote hot shoe maintaining all the E-TTL functions and control from the camera menu. More on this in the Create an Economy Telephoto Flash Bracket article.
Meike OC-E3 Off camera shoe cord on Boling C-Shape Flash Bracket mount on Canon EOS 50D
Another example shows the use of the OC-E3 off-camera shoe cord on a Boling C-Shape flash bracket directly mounted on the camera. As you can read in the Baling C-Shape Flash Bracket Review this configuration permits the movement of the remote hot shoe (and the flash on it) for landscape or portrait shooting accordingly.
Meike OE-C3 Off-Camera Shoe Cord + Economy macro Flash Bracket setup
The last example is taken from the Benro MPB10 Multi Purpose Nodal Rail Review where the OC-E3 off-camera shoe cord is used again on a modified flash bracket, in order to move the flash unit forward for better illumination of a macro shooting.

Pros
Half price compared to original.
Very good quality compared even to the original.
Heavy gauge coiled cable extends from 0.5 - 2.0 m (1.6 - 6.5 ft).
Secure locking on camera hot shoe.
E-TTL compatibility.

Cons
None recorded after two years of use, despite some reluctance of the cable to coil back instantly when stretched too much. However that's normal.

Conclusion
Although a dedicated Canon fan for many decades, when it comes to a mere extension cable I fail to understand why it has to be sold for a $100 RRP ($75 street price) just because it has proprietary connectors. Old time Hi-Fi enthusiasts may recall special strand, oxygen free copper cables with golden plugs costing that much. But for an OC-E3 cord that has none of this attributes, I recommend that you find something cheaper like the replica in question.
On the other hand, don't get tempted by $ 10 replicas since according to many reviews often fail.

I hope you found the article and ideas useful, thank you for viewing.
All Photos & Photosynths: © 2011-2013 S.C.Vlachos

Availability:
OC-E3 Off Camera Shoe Cord from Amazon.comfrom/bei Amazon.de,
Please consider using above link(s) to make a purchase and help support this site.

Referenced Articles:
Baling C-Shape Flash Bracket Review
Create an Economy Telephoto Flash Bracket
Benro MPB10 Multi Purpose Nodal Rail Review
Create a Versatile O-Shape Macro Flash Bracket

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