Monday, April 23, 2012

Upgrade your camera strap

Definitely NOT me sporting the Black Rapid RS-sport 2

I don't know why it took me so long to use something other than the dumb strap that came with my camera. And why on earth can't Canon be bothered to ship something more comfortable with a $2700 camera body? Well, I finally thought about  upgrading my camera strap (and by "thought about," I mean, obsessively researched reviews, forums, youtube videos, everything)  and decided that the Black Rapid was the best choice for me. I got one for Christmas, but didn't take the time to make the switch until my trip to Boston recently. Well, at the risk of sounding like some kind of infomercial, I have to say that IT WAS AMAZING! I had no idea that I could walk around all day with a 5D Mark II and a massive 70-200mm lens and not end up with a sore neck. I'm not going to go through my entire decision process and every little feature, but here are some of the main reasons I chose it and love it:
  • No matter how comfy the material, anything hanging from your neck is going to take its toll. This gets the camera off your neck.
  • I'm not a nature photographer, and I refuse to walk around Paris looking like I work for Field and Stream. This camera strap (I'll get to that under-the-arm thing in a minute) looks either like you're carrying a messenger bag or you're packing heat—both acceptable looks for a big city in my book.
  • I do street photography, so I love the "rapid" part of this strap. You can grab the camera, quickly slide it up to take a photo, and then slide it back down to your side until you need it again. It is a lot more discreet to have your camera at your side (or just behind your arm works great) than to have it protruding like a freshly hatched alien in the middle of your chest.
  • These nifty little clip thingies make it easy to control where you want the camera to hang. Have you ever leaned forward with your camera around your neck and had it lurch forward like it's going to hit something? Well, with this strap, you decide where you want the camera to be and it stays there. You can quickly adjust it (like in 1 second), so sometimes I'd make it hang just behind my arm, other times in front. Sometimes I'd want it locked in place, and others, I want it to be free.
  • Don't ask me how, but it seems to balance the weight in a way that make you almost forget that the camera is there.  I walked around all day with it on, and I just couldn't believe easy it was.
  • It's secure. The strap screws into your tripod mount, so you don't have two straps coming up the sides of your camera. And yes, it stays there. It does not get loose (I'm plenty paranoid, so I monitored it closely). Also, that underarm strap on the RS-sport gives extra security. Nobody can grab your camera and run unless they want to drag your entire body along with them.
Possible concerns?
  • Is that underarm strap comfortable? Yes, because you can adjust it how you want. I like the extra security of the underarm part, and I think it makes everything even more stable. There are other Black Rapid models and they don't all have that strap, so it just depends on your needs. My wife says she wouldn't want the underarm strap, so she'd probably prefer something like the popular RS-7 or maybe the women's strap.
  • What if you're not wearing just a t-shirt? In Boston, I had a cardigan on (unbuttoned) over it and it hid most of the strap. I could do the same thing with a jacket.
  • It screws into the tripod mount? But I need my tripod mount! That was almost a deal breaker for me, but then I remembered that I rarely use a tripod. It turns out the Black Rapid makes  a fastener (for $17.95) that works with Manfrotto quick release plates that eliminates the problem of switching, but I haven't tried it.
There are other similar straps out there (like the one Photojojo sells for $44 as opposed to my RS-sport 2 for $69) but all the research I did led me back to Black Rapid. They're the original, and they focus just on camera straps. They even have a harness for two cameras that looks like you just dropped out of the sky (you wouldn't catch me dead in it, but then, I hate back packs). The bulkier models have add-ons for carrying memory cards, cell phones, nuclear launch codes, whatever.  

Well, that was more than I planned on writing, but I guess happy customers = free advertising. Finally, let me end with a Youtube video about the RS-7—the most popular one, I think. It's wider than the sport and it doesn't have the underarm strap that I like.


Anonymous said...

Camara trasera hi, Useful info. Hope to see more good posts in the future.

michelle said...

As the giver of this gift, I'm glad it was a hit!

MNtraveler said...

Love it, thanks so much for posting about this. Father's Day gift - check. Although, maybe I should buy a second one... ya know, to test it out myself and make sure it is good enough for my dad! ;)