Frio Cold Shoe: Locked and Loaded

From the Department of Better Mousetraps, here’s something pretty cool coming down the pike — A screwless, dual-lock cold shoe.

It may look a little different -- because it is. Details inside.

Biggest thing: The Frio has a snap-lock that clicks as you slide a flash on. Then you depress it to remove the flash.

That’s the special sauce, but it also comes with a few features you might expect and one you probably wouldn’t.

1. There are pin-lock holes for Nikon and Canon (and anything else with those pin positions) which gives you another layer of not-falling-out. And obviously, if your flash has a screw-lock foot, this setup would be damn-near bulletproof.

2. 1/4x20 thread in the bottom has a metal insert.

3. Will take the slightly oversized foot of a Nikon SB-900. (Nikon, what were you thinking?)

4. Will lock without the aid of a small, easy-to-lose screw.

Also, something from left field that I really appreciated — it has a molded in “loop” that will take an elastic strap (same one I used here) so it can be used to lock a skinny flash into an Orbis ring flash adapter.

(My SB-800s have very small heads, so this extra bit of security is much appreciated.)

These are just now starting to worm their way into the distribution chain, so not available just yet. There is a teaser site, but it is obscure. They even put a pastie over the Frio itself. Presuming there will be more info on dealers, etc., soon.


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Blogger nic said...

Amazing that no-one invented something like this before. Can't wait to buy some.

September 20, 2010 12:43 AM  
Blogger C. Kurt Holter said...

As simple as these look, they're long overdue! I've had to clean out the back of my SUV and my stand bags three or four times looking for the tiny locking screws that invariably vibrate out of my current metal cold shoes. I;ll be getting a bunch!

September 20, 2010 3:45 AM  
Blogger mdstoop said...

Looks pretty cool. This makes me sad because I had some problems with both locking, falling off and electrical pins when using Manfrotto 143s shoes and Lumopro LP680 shoes
(see here).
I recently replaced all my cold shoes with stroboframe ones, that are much deeper (no more pin shortage with the SB-80DX) and REALLY clamp down on your flash.

I have to be careful though, they are so powerful I can crush a plastic flash shoe if I twist it too much...

September 20, 2010 4:47 AM  
Blogger mdstoop said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

September 20, 2010 4:48 AM  
Blogger Rangefinder General said...

Seen it in use, its great if you use CLS etc it's on of those thing you don't often see simple and just works. Yes a better mouse trap.

September 20, 2010 5:53 AM  
Blogger Alex said...

Would love to get my hands on that one.
I find that my SB600 to be always a tad loose in any hotshoe or coldshoe I try :(
Maybe this could be a solution!

September 20, 2010 6:41 AM  
Blogger Keith said...

James showed us one last week on the Orbis London photo walk, looked well thought out and well made, available early November UK

September 20, 2010 7:04 AM  
Blogger Dharmesh said...

This one certainly looks very useful. Waiting for more info on availability and dealers.

Thanks for posting

September 20, 2010 10:12 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

Any word on pricing?

September 20, 2010 12:31 PM  
Blogger Anthony - Motojournalism said...

Cleverly named as well...

September 20, 2010 1:16 PM  
Blogger Frances said...

I want one - NOW!!!!! Can't wait until I can get my hands on some!

Thanks for posting!

September 20, 2010 1:23 PM  
Blogger Alberto said...

Those Stroboframe screws sure pop out every now and then. I wish Frio would also consider making a hot shoe with a 1/8" connector or a sync cable ending in a 1/8" plug. Then I could retire the cheap hot shoes that I had to reinforce with epoxy so they wouldn't break off the stands with so little stress.

September 20, 2010 1:31 PM  
Blogger rharrison said...

My goodness that looks brilliantly simple. Thanks for sharing it with us!

September 20, 2010 1:56 PM  
Blogger Hunter said...

Frio, get it? Great name given that they make COLD shoes. Sorry, got a kick out of that.

September 20, 2010 2:24 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Looks great, I need a few of these!

Btw, frio is Spanish for cold in case anyone was wondering about the name.

September 20, 2010 2:32 PM  
Blogger KlineTimes said...

Very cool. Would be even cooler if instead of being so narrow it was a circle. That way you could use it as a stand in it's own right as well.

Can anyone tell me the name of the clamp/arm in the first picture?


September 20, 2010 2:51 PM  
Blogger WingedPower said...

Wow. Blown over by how amazingly simple this is and how I was thinking of the same kind of idea just a couple of days ago, wondering why it can't/hasn't been done. Guess it has! :)

Can't wait until these are available more widely, but the tinkerer in me is going to visit the local $0.99 shop to check out some clips and such. I've seen that kind of slip and lock mechanism before _somewhere_, just need to pair it with a hotshot mount.

September 20, 2010 3:27 PM  
Blogger Anel said...

looks great but i'm worried about the price, i'm not really prepared to pay much for a pair of these since what i have at the moment isn't bad either.

September 20, 2010 4:43 PM  
Blogger Bob Walters said...

Great idea. I want half a dozen, but where to price them? If every household needed these, Frio would be rich at two bucks a pop. But selling only to selected flash photographers is going to be tough. I'm worried they will price them out of my comfort zone. If so, the Chinese will copy this in less than a year.

September 20, 2010 10:49 PM  
Blogger Stephen Crowers said...

Considering Minolta attempted to fix this 30 years ago with the "Betamax" of flash shoes, I'm also surprised no-one thought of this sooner (and sad it wasn't me).

...and Kristi: it appears to be a GorillaPod with the Frio mounted to it in the first image.

September 21, 2010 10:10 PM  
Blogger Matthew G. Monroe said...

Stephen and Kristi: The clamp-arm that you see in the set of Frio promo shots is a Nasty Clamp.

Yes... That's what it's called and -- indeed -- it does look nasty.

Just to give a heads up, I am the designer, builder, and Chief of Nastology at Nasty Clamps.

September 22, 2010 12:59 PM  
Blogger danpiano said...

I want to pre order 2 now!

September 22, 2010 2:09 PM  
Blogger Jerry said...

I think it's ok, but they left out an important feature, IMHO... a sync connector/port. All my flashes, with or without an integrated sync port, use a hot shoe because it is easier to permanently attach a sync cable to the hot shoe, than having it hang from the flash, which I remove. Also, not all my flashes have a sync port (SB-600, all the new Yongnuo and Vivitar flashes, anyone?), so its one setup for *all* flashes.

It is a nice design, but I would not purchase this unit just because of this one small missing feature.

David, I've been a member here for several years now. Thanks for **all** your awesome contributions, you've helped me take my photography places it would have never gone without the strobist community.

Keep up the awesome work!

September 24, 2010 10:21 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

These are starting to appear at places--I see them at Adorama and others. Looks like about 14 bucks. I got mine!

November 18, 2010 6:08 PM  
OpenID gesen said...

14 bucks seems way more reasonable than what I've seen here in Sweden: 42 bucks. Ouch.

November 23, 2010 4:09 PM  
Blogger hotduckz said...

It's look good I want some frio for my works.

Nikon foot is good, it's big enough to use with the big SB-900 on table or floor but not on umbrella mount.

December 14, 2010 3:02 PM  
Blogger David Tong said...

Quite agree with your strength/security assesment. 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.

It cost SG$25 here (Singapore), a bit more expensive than the US.

Here's my review -

Dave (

April 18, 2011 1:57 PM  
Blogger Lewis said...

My favorite type of cold shoe mount is the one that Nikon packages with the flash just because of the locking pin. I will definitely be looking into this when I need a new mount.

January 16, 2012 12:01 PM  
Blogger Kekhotep said...


What kind of umbrella swivel with accept this?

October 29, 2014 10:21 PM  

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