frio Cold Shoe Mount Review

Rarely does a new and unique product come into the photography world. Sure there are always “new” products but not very often does a truly new product hit the shelves. I use different types of flashes, different triggers, different cold shoe mounts, some fit well and are nice and secure…some…well..are a little scary trusting my gear with. The frioâ„¢ (yes, its supposed to be spelled with a lower case f) aims to solve this with an extremely simple and yet highly effective design.

A Solution in Search of a Problem?

When discussing the frio with a handful of photographers some didn’t see the need for it while others see the frio as an absolute God-send. It really depends on the gear that you work with. Cheap cold shoe swivel mounts often don’t have enough surface area for a good solid fit and combined with inexpensive flash triggers that have rather course threads, its really hard to get a secure and solid fit. I have aimed swivel mounts and had the flash literally fall right out.

With the frio, one end is closed so your gear can’t fall out of the front. What is really different is that and hinged plate that pops up to secure the back side. With the lock down feature of your gear, the pop-up plate provides a second level of security.

The narrow design also makes it very easy to tighten down your gear onto the cold shoe area. This is a big time saver and when you are on location, being able to setup and tear down quickly is a huge advantage.

The only real issue is if you are an umbrella user. With a typical cold shoe swivel mount with a built-in umbrella holder your flash is relatively close to the umbrella shaft. If you are using a swivel mount with a mounting stud (as shown above) you can end up adding a couple of inches between your gear and the umbrella shaft, this might can cause some uneven lighting.

Does it fill the bill?

While I do use umbrellas on a regular basis, more often I am using on-flash modifiers such as Rouge Flashbenders, softboxes, Quick Spots, or other types of gear. Other than the umbrella issue (which isn’t that big of a deal for me) there really isn’t downside to using the frio…almost.

Let’s face it, the frio costs money, at $15 it may seem trivial to some people  and if you are buying 3-4 you will be set back up to $45.  Since you can buy an inexpensive cold shoe swivel mount for about $16-$18, the frio isn’t cheap.

The question for you is really if the cost of the frio is worth the security of your gear. I can only speak for myself but there really wasn’t a question that it was worth it. Just to be clear on this, I have never had any contact with enlight photo, or distributor. I bought three of these units, they weren’t given to me to review. I heard about the frio from my buddy Syl Arena who said “The frio is ingenious. For me it was love at first sight.â€

As I said earlier, I have actually had flashes and triggers slide right out of some of the swivel mounts that I own. Fortunately none of my gear has ever been broken during one of these incidents. However, it only takes one time to have a couple hundred dollars smash to pieces on the ground. For around $15 I consider it cheap insurance.

I always like innovative solutions and the frio is definitely innovative and solves a real world problem.The only thing that would make it perfect (or closer at least) would be a real short mounting stud to keep it lower when using umbrellas. Given this unique design, I would also like to see versions designed for 2 or 3 flashes.

I love how easy it is to get gear on and off my lightstands now and the extra security is well worth the price. I absolutely recommend the frio to help keep your gear secure.

Official Website: http://www.friocoldshoe.com

Frio on Amazon (link)

KerryG

Kerry Garrison lives in Castle Rock, Colorado with his wife and two dogs. With 10 years of experience shooting products and 5 years of experience in the wedding industry, Kerry brings a good deal of technical know-how and can explain topics in easy-to-understand terms.

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2 Responses

  1. Bob Gubbins says:

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/pictureshow/2010/12/30/1
    this guys taking it to the extreme!!!
    1 photo per minute from a camera implanted in the back of his head!!!! ouch
    Great podcast btw
    will be watching tomorrow!!!
    bob

  2. davidtong says:

    Quite agree with your security statement. I've had folks asking why do I bother buying this when almost all flashes come with a stand anyway. Well, I've had horror stories trying to use the flash stand on a light stand/tripod when it's not parallel to the ground… Frio it is. Here's my review – http://bit.ly/f3QdlQ

    Dave (http://reviews.davidleetong.com)

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