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Review – Frio Universal Cold Shoe Adapter

Secure that Flash!

Every once in a while, a VERY simple product comes out in the market that makes everyone scratch their heads and say “why didn’t I think of that?” to solve a very common and specific problem. In this case, it’s securing a hotshoe flash onto a light stand or tripod while maintaining ease-of-use.

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The Frio universal cold shoe (website) is a simple device that offers you that go-between security between the flash’s hot shoe and whatever mounting mechanism you’re attaching your flash to.

Currently, if you want to secure your flash to a light stand, you either use a side-clamp type cold shoe, such as the one from that came with my LumoPro light stand review (buy here) or an actual hot shoe that comes with your flash trigger like the FlashWaves II Radio Triggerbuy here).

While both do a reasonable job, the confidence of knowing the flash will not slip out is low with both types of systems, particularly for field use.

The clamp-type requires you to firmly secure the flash from the side edges of the hot shoe, leaving the front and rear part totally exposed. In addition, you’ll usually need a tool/coin to secure the small screw that clamps down the flash. Lastly, the screw is small enough to lose easily as well.

The hotshoe type is pretty secure by itself, but you’ll have to have a trigger that offers a hotshoe in the first place. Many ‘industry standard’ triggers such as the Pocket Wizards II and Elinchrom Skyports, for example, has no hotshoe built-in.

Lastly, if you’re shooting wireless TTL using optical/IR triggering, you won’t even be bringing a dedicated radio trigger to begin with.

Simple lock

The Frio cold shoe is a simple, sturdy, and well-made piece of equipment that not only secures your flash as tight as your camera’s actual hot shoe because you can use the flash’s normal clamp/wheel and locking pin, but the Frio offers an additional notch to keep the flash in place even if it’s not totally screwed down.

The Frio cold shoe is made from high-grade, impact-resistant plastic. The plastic is sturdy but allows minor movements as the flash is slid in and out of the cold shoe.

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The fact that it’s plastic, you won’t have to worry about shorting your center pin causing random pops from your flashes as well.

When attached, the flash is ‘covered’ on all four sides of the hot shoe. The rear part is partially secured by the release latch.

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The screw mount at the bottom is made out if 1/4″ threaded metal mount. It’s pretty standard and very well made. The whole area surrounding the metal screw is thick so chances of the metal thread cracking the plastic shell is slim.

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Lastly, a small 1/4″ gap is provided for you to attach a lanyard or bungee cord to keep the Frio attached to your light stand or camera bag, if desired.

The Frio is about an inch in height, so it’s about the same height as most flash holder, so it could still raise your flash’s height a bit higher than your optimal flash height when using an umbrella. In which case, you might be interested in getting your flash on-axis in another manner to solve this problem. Having a Frio attached to a horizontally-mounted flash is a lot more comforting than using a clamp-type cold shoe.

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Here’s a short clip on how secure the flash stays on the Frio (sorry for the crappy video quality).

 

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Most folks who only shoot indoors with the light stand staying put 90% of the time probably won’t need a Frio, but if you’re the type who brings the flash outdoors often, working in windy conditions, trekking on uneven ground, or simply use your flash with an assistant moving about constantly, knowing that your flash is securely mounted will ultimately be one less thing to worry about during a shoot.

Great Deals TODAY!

Frio ENLFRC1A Cold Shoe Mount for Tripods