Years ago, when I was shooting an aviation story for the National Geographic, I was clamping Speedlights over all manner of high priced flying hardware. And they were falling off, given the cheeseball nature of some of the clamping solutions I was using.
I complained to Justin Stailey, then of the Bogen/Manfrotto company about those clamps, and he traveled over to my studio in Dobbs Ferry, NY, with a bag of bits and pieces, gleaned from the inventory shelves of Manfrotto. We perused and cobbled together a cold shoe clamp for Speedlights. (Trust me, it wasn’t rocket science.)
It became known as the Justin Clamp, or, the 175F, for those inclined to do an internet search, and has been widely used for years. But, as hot shoe flashes have grown more robust over the years, its weakness, the plastic cold shoe, became more readily apparent.
Enter the new kid–the Manfrotto 175F-2. Catchy, huh? It has the same basic principles as the original, but it’s now blessedly got a metal locking mount atop the omni-directional ball head. Twist the rotating ring, and the metal plates of the cold shoe lock down on the flash like Jaws on Quint.
Handy, especially if you are using the Profoto A series, which is the big guy on the block for versatile, hot shoe style flashes. Another good thing? Manfrotto also makes the clamping jaws a feature of the simple cold shoe tilt head (minus the clamp), which you can affix to a stand, or plug onto a super clamp for that extra assurance that the flash won’t fall into the ocean, or get sucked into the fan belt, or slip off a support and drop into a fire, or go flying off the clamp and into someone’s lap in the audience.
Not that any of that stuff has ever happened to me.
Flashes on clamps. Tucked away in improbable places. A world of trouble awaits!