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An accessory shoe on a camera that has electrical contacts to trigger and synchronise a flashgun when the camera's shutter fires. More sophisticated cameras have several connection pins for advanced communication between the camera and flash. As well as setting the camera’s correct shutter speed, these dedicated pins can also control exposure and focusing modes.
A spirit level is used to ensure the tripod head is perfectly horizontal. It's handy for architectural and landscape photography as it helps you keep verticals truly vertical and avoid a sloping horizon. It a feature that's missing from many tripods, but you can buy an accessory that slide into the camera's hot shoe or screw into the shutter release. Alternatively a small spirit level from the local hardware store would be adequate.