We Review the Frio Hold: Is It Just Another Cold Shoe or Something Different?

When you need to place a flash in an unusual location, it can be difficult. A company called Frio offers a solution. Although it is not the only solution on the market, it may be a great solution. I tried the Frio Hold to find out.

They call it the only cold shoe you can trust. The Frio Hold is essentially another cold shoe that allows you to use your flash somewhere other than your camera’s hot shoe. So why is it different from other cold shoes available on the market?

The system offered by Frio is based on the Frio Hold, a small piece of molded polymer that can be mounted with a 1/4 inch or 3/8 inch thread. It can be connected directly to a tripod, light stand or video rig. Your flash or other device is held in place by a locking system; Simple and efficient.

The Frio Hold is part of a modular system that offers a wide variety of accessories to place a flash or other hot shoe equipment anywhere. The Frio Hold is just the cold shoe. You must combine it with one of the other Frio system accessories to get the most out of it.

The Frio Hold, Frio Stand and Frio Arch

The Frio Hold is a simple cold shoe and it works well. There is nothing more. Some flashes like the Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT are designed to make the mount weatherproof. The rubber seal makes attaching and detaching the flash to the Frio Hold a bit more difficult. Profoto A1 flash without rubber seal is easier to attach and detach.

The flash is firmly attached but the Frio Hold doesn’t offer much flexibility on its own. You can attach it to a tripod or light stand, but that’s it. The Frio Stand is the Frio Hold mounted on a small adapter with a 5/8 inch connection. Yet the Frio Stand has no way to point the flash other than directly forward, in addition to the tilting flash head capability itself. If you need more flexibility, you need the Frio Arch.

The Frio Arch is a cold shoe setup with a small ball joint. It can be attached to a 1/4 inch mount and allows you to point the flash in any direction. It’s basically a mini ball head with the Frio mount attached. I think the Frio Arch is the minimum configuration you need for any flexibility.

Frio Grasp Mini and Grasp Bigi

It becomes more interesting when the Frio Arch is combined with the Grasp Mini or the Grasp Bigi. These clips are low profile and allow you to attach your device to any round or flat surface. And it works very well. The third point of contact allows for secure mounting on any round object. Use a post, railing, table edge, or whatever is available.

The Grasp Bigi is the larger version of the Grasp Mini. It also has a nice third point of contact which is essential for stability. You should be able to use it as a mini tripod, but with a heavy flash I wouldn’t trust it so much.

There is one thing you need to be aware of. The connection between the Frio Arch and the clamp itself can loosen when a flash is placed at a 90 degree angle. The weight of the flash is enough to unscrew the Frio Arch. If possible, rotate the clamp 180 degrees so that the weight is with the screw thread. This way it will stay fixed.

Frio Cling

If a flash needs to be placed near a mirror, window or other non-porous surface, the Frio Cling can be useful. It’s a suction cup with a vacuum pump that secures the Frio Cling incredibly well. The pump has a visual indicator so you know it’s secure.

I’ve used it on a few non-porous surfaces and it works great. It has remained secure for many hours, so it seems trustworthy. Again, the Frio Arch is attached to the Cling, and if the flash is tilted, make sure the weight is with the thread.

Is the Frio Hold the best cold shoe or not?

There are many cold shoe solutions available. The Frio Hold is just another and I think it’s simple but effective. Frio declares it to be the best cold shoe ever, although that may be hard to prove. One thing is for sure, it holds your gear very well, but you should use it in combination with one of the other Frio products for maximum flexibility. Although the Frio Hold might be the best cold shoe out there, if it’s not securely connected to the other products, it can still fail you.

Until now I’ve been using a swivel cold shoe adapter that secures my flash with a screw button. It works perfectly, although you have to be careful not to overtighten the screw. It’s a versatile system, allowing me to attach the pivot to a light stand, tripod, or super clamp.

The Frio Hold is much easier and faster to use. Just swipe the flash, and it’s secure. But you’re not done with the Frio Hold alone. It only becomes a versatile system if you have the Frio Arch, Grasp Mini or Grasp Bigi. This can turn out to be quite a significant investment. This is something to be aware of. If you’re okay with the investment, the Frio system can be a great choice to use.

What I liked

  • Secure fixing
  • Flexible system
  • Well-designed clamps
  • Low profile

What I did not like

  • The weight of the flash can unscrew the Frio Arch
  • The third point of contact makes the attachment grip Bigi more difficult
  • Grasp Bigi is not stable enough to use as a mini tripod
  • Expensive if you need all the flexibility of the Frio system

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