Nasty Clamps photography accessory review

Feb 18 2011

Update: Nasty Flag & Double-Headed Nasty Clamp review

Nasty Clamps are handy photography accessories that can be very useful for a wide range of applications. They allow you attaching your equipment to many things around you. Their design is brilliant in its simplicity: a regular clamp and flex-arm are put together to give users a new versatile tool. Despite the fact that Nasty Clamps come for the DIY world, they feel solid and definitely look like they are commercially built rather than hand-crafted.

Nasty Clamps: flex-arm extended with an additional section (sold separetely) Nasty Clamps: close up of the clamp, clamp spring
Nasty Clamps: flex-arm base / connection to the clamp Nasty Clamps: logo, sticker
Nasty Clamps: opened with one hand Nasty Clamps: flex-arm tip
Nasty Clamps: hot shoe adapter (sold separately)

With Nasty Clamps, you get quite some flexibility for positioning your lights (typically hot shoe flashes). They are great for small and confined spaces where there is not enough room for setting up lightstands or tripods. You can clamp your lights, for example, to doors, chairs, shelves, etc. Anything, that can withstand the pressure applied by the clamp and support the weight of the device on the clamp, will do. A single Nasty Clamp weights 8.8 oz / 250 grams. (Please note that hot shoe adapter is sold separately.)

Nasty Clamps: Canon Speedlite 580EX II mounted onto a ceiling sprinkler Nasty Clamps: Flip camcorder mounted onto a lightstand

When there is room for using lightstands, you can clamp your lights to a lightstand, as well. Clamping to a lightstand's foot allows you to get the light source lower than the stand itself can go. You can also have multiple lights mounted on a single stand without any other adapters.

Outdoors, you can get your flashes onto tree branches, poles, road signs, fences, and so on. Just look around and you'll see plenty of options.

Nasty Clamps: Canon Speedlite 580EX II with Honl Photo traveller8 diffuser mounted onto a road sign Nasty Clamps: Canon Speedlite 580EX II mounted onto tree bark

Nasty Clamps belong to the category of rare photography accessories that are not limited to a single area of applications. Instead of speedlights, you can attach your point-and-shoot camera or a small camcorder to one of the Nasty Clamps and get no-shake footage or stills from angles that normally would require more serious equipment. You can get extremely low angle shot by clamping your camera to a chair foot. If you clamp it, for instance, to an A/C vent, you can shoot overhead without a boom. Nasty Clamps can also be used with microphones, iPods, cell phones, GPS units, and other devices.

Nasty Clamps feature very strong spring and, therefore, they may require using both hands to attach them, especially when opening wide. This can be seen as a downside, but at the same time, it allows the clamps to attach quite securely. However,you should always use common sense and see whether the object you clamp to is able to support your device. Same goes for the weight of the devices that you put onto Nasty Clamps. The official maximum weight that can be used is 1 pound (about half a kilogram), but the clamps can work with heavier equipment, as well. When overloaded, Nasty Clamps may or may not be able to do the job, depending on the grip and flex-arm position. In our experiments, the weight from the specification was never a problem, but putting, for example, a 3-4 pound (1.4-1.8 kilogram) DSLR camera on a Nasty Clamp requires some special attention.

The flex-arm of Nasty Clamps can be extended with additional sections that are sold separately. To break the arm apart, you need to bend it sharply. Putting it back together requires some force, but, after some practice, it can be done quite easily. The following video shows how it can be done. The video is also an example of work done with Nasty Clamps, since the camcorder was held by one of them.

To summarize, Nasty Clamps are very useful for many photography and non-photography applications, such as placing lights, cameras, camcorders, microphones, etc. They can be handy in your home and studio, client locations, and outdoor sets. Nasty Clamps can support weights beyond the specification, in which cases, you should use them with an extra caution. Finally, since there is a myriad of use scenarios, you should always turn to common sense when mounting equipment with Nasty Clamps to ensure the safety of your gear.

Available from

If you have any questions or comments, please post them below.