What’s So Cool About frio’s?

As some of you may remember, I posted about a video about the best cold shoe for your flashes.  I was pretty confident that I had tried all types of cold shoes available but Seshu from Tiffinbox  asked why I had not included the Frio cold shoe in my review.  I had heard about it and I did get one on the FlashBus tour but I had not really given it a try on an actual shoot.  We at Shuttertastic want to provide you with the most up to date information and available products so we asked Seshu to write a blog post while we put our Frio through the paces.  (We are giving away 4 Frios….details at the end of the post)

frio

Author: Seshu – Tiffinbox.org

So, here’s the story. I was out on assignment photographing a basketball game. I had one Nikon SB-900 parked at one of the court and another situated diagonally opposite. The game went well. I got some great images. So far so good.

I began to pack my gear up. As I walked the two light stands back to where the rest of my gear was parked, I saw in slow motion and to my horror one of my SB-900’s slip out of its Stroboframe Flash Mount Adapter.

monkeys d4 camera

I know I had tightened the flash unit securely. Yes, I am that guy who obsesses about keeping his gear clear and definitely safe from just falling off of light stands. I know I am not looking to get sued. So for the life of me, I have no idea how it came loose.

Are the Stroboframe Flash Mount Adapters to blame or is this wholly operator error. Ok, I’ll take half the blame. Is that fair now?

But I knew then I simply could not work with them with any sense of security. I simply had to find an alternative.

Discovering The frio

It was right around this time that I attended the famous Flash Bus Tour that had David Hobby and Joe McNally running around the country.  I went to the one in Boston.

In the gift bag we received was a “frio.” Light and dark- blue, this well-machined beauty was the answer to my cold shoe woes. What I immediately loved about it was that once my SB-900 slipped into the shoe, there was absolutely no way for it slip out. The folks at enlightphoto who produce and sell the frio have figured out a way for the speed light to slip in and stay in, thanks in large part to a depressable button that prevents the unit from back right out.

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Before I took it out into the field, I gave it a good run in my home studio where I photograph business executives for their headshot portraits. I have one frio on a Nasty Clamp, located high and behind my subject’s head. Essentially, this is my “hair light.” The Nasty Clamp allows me to wiggle the light into just the right spot and the frio holds the unit together, even if I have to for some reason turn the entire contraption upside down.

frio

Now, even if I have a photo shoot on location, I have one Nasty Clamp and a frio ready to go that I can easily deploy wherever I want to park my light.

How Durable Is The frio?

The frio is made out of plastic. Mostly. The 1/4-20 socket is made out of metal, however and for good reason. It’s meant to take years of screwing and unscrewing on and off of light stands or in my case a Nasty Clamp.

All that said, the frio is not unbreakable. In fact, in the year or so I’ve had mine (I own 6 of them), I’ve broken two. You are probably scratching your head right now wondering why I would then want to replace my Stroboframe Flash Mount Adapters to something that would break.

As the enlightphoto site itself says, under “normal” use, the units are just fine. It’s only when the units are stressed, that they give out. In the first instance, I wasn’t thinking and was attempting to force my Nikon SB-900 unit to “bend” a certain way. Well, the frio that was holding it in place simply gave away, saving me hundreds of dollars worth of repairs to the hotshot on the speed light unit. Which would you rather replace? A $15 accessory or a $500 light. Hmmm …

The second time the frio broke was last night. Yeah, no kidding. I was photographing this event and had left the light stand and the flash unit on the grass where it was, to the kid’s credit, a little dark to see. So, when he stumbled right into it, the light stand and the speed light took a dive. As it hit the ground, the speed light neatly separated from the frio. Again, the strobe was spared a disastrous end.

frio-1

Why I Recommend The frio?

It’s lighter than the Stroboframe Flash Mount Adapter, which are made of mostly metal. Even though they are dark in color, for some reason I can find them a whole lot easier in my camera bag – they have a distinctive form factor that I can recognize even in the dark. As I have already described, they take a beating and sometimes break, but sparing my more expensive speed lights. They cost $13 or so at Adorama which is slightly above what the Stroboframe Flash Mount Adapter costs.

frio-3

The frio Giveaway

If you’ve read this far, you deserve to own your own frio. So, Ed and I’ve come up with a way you can win one of four frio’s, Enter Below for a chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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comments

Hello Ed! Sorry it’s off topic, can you write an article about your photo album design and workflow? Which photo album making software (Fundy, etc) do you use and what company do you use or recommend for printing your wedding albums? (Finao,etc.)
Thanks Ed!

David Perez says:

I want to win one to put some light in my life.

Philip says:

Yes I need to get my hands on a frio or two!!

Fantastic honest review, Seshu. Thanks for sharing!

johnlo says:

LOVE LOVE LOVE Frio

Angie says:

Thanks for the info!

Vijay says:

I love my Frios! They are perfect for mounting flashes and they are durable enough but not durable they break your gear! Glad to see a write up on them! Also they don’t snag things in your bag like the Tiffen ones do!

tony pardi says:

thanks for da info on da cold shoe :-)

Marietta says:

This is truly a cool little piece of equipment. I’m one who usually sticks with what works and doesn’t jump to buy the latest and greatest thing, but I’ve lots a few flashes to coldshoe mishaps and I thank you for the great review!