Any photographer using the Nikon SB-900 speedlight knows that flagship flash has a problem playing well with others. Specifically, Nikon changed the clearance between the flash body and the foot of the flash, such that the flash doesn't fit into the cold shoes with a fatter design. Here's a super easy mod I did to make the stock coldshoe of the Lastolite Ezybox softbox fit the SB-900.
In the above photo, you can see all the pieces you'll need for this modification – namely course and fine-grained sandpaper.
- 100-grit sandpaper
- 320-grit sandpaper
I think that you could get away with a medium-grit sandpaper only, but these two grits worked perfectly for my needs.
- Lay the 100-grit sandpaper on a flat surface and place the coldshoe top-down on the abrasive
- Sand the cold shoe evenly with frequent checks for fit with the Nikon SB-900
- When the flash foot is very tightly accepted a third of the way into the foot, switch to the 320-grit sandpaper and sand until smooth
I found it easiest to hold the sandpaper in place and then move the shoe back and forth. Overall, this mod takes just about five minutes of dedicated work, since you're basically shaving off a fraction of a millimeter of material.
Here are photos of the finished “mod” to the cold shoe.
The Lastolite EZYbox Softbox
With this five-minute mod, it's perhaps worth noting a bit about the Lastolite EZYbox softbox. I have the 15″ x 15″ version and have loved the ease of use for location work.
The softbox is compact, folds for easy transportation, and it throws out a nice light. For location works, these are all excellent selling points. Here are a few examples in which I used the EZYbox as the key light.
While the ideal solution to the Lastlite cold shoe is probably to buy a Stroboframe-style clamping shoe, this is super simple DIY solution that costs next to nothing and lets one use the Nikon SB-900 with the original hardware. This tiny DIY project is much cheaper than Lastolite's replacement shoe that solves the same problem, too.
Of course, the new Lastolite softboxes come with a modified shoe that readily fits the SB-900, this mod only applies to the older style shoes.