For the last few years, I’ve been sort of vaguely searching for the best way to carry my camera when I’m out and about. The BAG QUESTION is one that I may settle soon, if things work out as I hope, but for now I want to mutter about the STRAP QUESTION, or how to carry the camera once it’s out of the bag and I’m ready to take actual pictures.
For the purposes of this report, I’m specifically talking about my full-size Canon DSLR with a suitably large and heavy lens attached. The kind of thing that’s too big to simply slip into a pocket, you understand. Over the years since I got my first DSLR, I’ve tried a number of things:
- The Canon-branded strap that came with the camera – apart from the cool factor of having the camera model displayed on the strap, this thing is just plain nasty. No padding, digs into your neck or shoulder.
- A similar kind of strap, but with a large padded section to spread the weight – better, but still has the issue of positioning. The camera either bounces off your body or you have to hold it steady. I’ve never felt comfortable with hanging it off one shoulder – the thought of a 5D with an expensive bit of glass hitting the ground is not a pleasant one.
- A wrist strap – this is actually pretty good for a bout of continuous shooting. No strap bits to get in front of the viewfinder, and it lets you move the camera around to avoid obstacles as you’re walking. But it’s a bit cumbersome if you need to get your hand into a pocket, so you’d pretty much have to have a bag handy.
I’ve looked at a few other things, but nothing that really seemed quite right. Until now. I’d seen the range of products from Black Rapid before, but mentally filed them away. But I recently caught up with a post on the Undfind blog about using their bags, which I mentioned recently, in conjunction with the Black Rapid straps. This looked interesting, so I had a proper look, and decided that I’d probably be wanting their RS-7 R Strap. What you get is a sturdy metal attachment which screws into the tripod socket of your camera (or large lens, depending on what you’re carrying) and a well-padded and adjustable sling strap you wear across your body. There’s a secure connector on the strap which attaches to the thingy you’ve attached to the camera. The camera then hangs reasonable comfortably at your waist. When you want to take a picture, it slides up the strap quickly and easily.
But don’t take my word for it, have a look at the demo videos on the product page.
I bought it from amazon.co.uk, together with a couple of accessories – a pouch big enough to hold a mobile phone or some other bits and pieces, and a cover that protects the strap’s buckle from being undone by anyone lurking behind you. I’ve since bought a couple more of the FastenR-3 devices, so I can leave one permanently attached to the Canon, the Olympus and my big Sigma 70-200mm lens. Other accessories, including fasteners that play nicely with certain tripod quick release plates are also available.
I’ve been out with it a few times, and so far, I like it a lot. This kit isn’t cheap (the main negative comment I’ve seen is that it’s a lot of money for a strap), but it does work well.