By | Simon Williams
Hours searching the net picking up feedback from others, it’s now my turn to give my own from practical use.
My search was to find straps so that I can shoot a main camera and have a second ready to use. I shoot conferences and corporate events as well as golf days and outside events where two cameras are required.
So this is not so much to compare one versus another as there was so many reviews from others but to be able to use two types rather than just go for one make as unless you actually use two how do you compare their attributes for the purposes you need them for.
First we all know the crappy ones that come with even Pro cameras. Add to that you advertise what’s in your hand or around your neck. Get over showing that you have the latest, biggest and don’t add to being a target for the opportunist mugger/thief.
I was looking for straps to be able to have two cameras on the go. The idea of the glider type appealed so that the camera not in use, and used maybe less often, was slung across the chest to the opposite shoulder to stop it constantly dropping off the shoulder when using the other camera. This would also keep it lower and out of the way whilst using the main camera. I looked at Sun Sniper and the anti theft version but on the basis I don’t shoot in crowds or in demonstrations this wasn’t justified on cost. Yes I know it is about security of an expensive piece of kit but if someone is really after your gear they’ll just mug you and no metal cord in a strap will prevent that. Rapid straps looked a good system too with many good reviews.
But I also didn’t want to be advertising the makers name on their straps.
I went for a Custom SLR Camera strap in end along with a glide strap add on . In use this has been a great combination. I like the second camera sitting lower, just below waist level and the screw in fitting to the tripod works just great. An ingenious bit of kit – not cheap but worth the non tangling alone. The rubber ring keeps the loop snug to the camera base and prevent loosening. Not being able to quickly set it on a tripod as others point out is not a big deal – for me anyway. I don’t follow this concern that others have reported as I don’t see why you would be using such a quick slide strap access system then suddenly need use to a tripod. But get this excellent design C-Loop Camera Strap Mount – and you can quickly undo it to use a tripod. It is a bit expensive. I did wonder about having the camera ostensibly upside down to what I was used to on the normal strap lugs but actually it works a treat and grab it and bring it up to use and you’ll see that it’s actually a grab and shoot action. It’s actually at the right angle upside down to how you get hold of it naturally with your hand.
As for its long term use of the glide strap section I’m not sure. It’s only been used a few times and I have bit of a concern on the strap fraying by the friction of the plastic glide buckle. Time will tell. I also don’t really see, or feel, the benefit of the split shoulder strap. I think it’s a bit of a gimmick and for the makers to say it allows for perspiration to escape… well it might for the few mm in the split/gap. For me it makes the strap unnecessarily week and a bit flimsy. In moving the strap up the shoulder with a hand that you do need to do from time to time, even with the non slip underside, it often doubles over itself. I think a single piece like the Optech would be better and the Optech is a bit thicker and more substantial. BUT it’s a comfortable strap and the split helps it to fit the sloping shoulder contour.
I also bought an OpTech Super Classic Strap with Pro-Loop Connectors – Black which is a great strap. Bought for £19 they are now £13 (as at March 2013) from Camera King (UK) This now has to be one of the best quality straps at a decent price. These straps are not logo’d with Optech but some of their types are. The fittings are a loop through on the camera lug which makes it quite quick to remove if needed. There is adequate length for adjustment. And the strap can be removed and the clip buckles are opposites and so clip to make a short hand carry strap if you want. The neoprene is thick but not too thick, and very comfortable, but with good grip from the silcone covered underside. I didn’t hesitate to order another strap for a new Nikon D800.
I also got the extended 1 x OpTech Pro-Loop XL System Connectors for Pro-Loop Straps to be able to add length to have one camera slung across the chest – like the Custom SLR. I haven’t used this much and did find that with a rucksack on as well it wasn’t so easy to use as it as of course it didn’t slide around the shoulder. This is where the Custom SLR comes into its own. It does mean changing the camera connectors to change strap types but with the loops it takes just a couple of minutes.
What shoots do I use the straps in? For conference use I use both OpTechs and two cameras. Having a camera hanging down by my side – with either Custom SLR or the OpTech extended – is not great as often I am often nipping in and out of seats or squatting on steps and it gets in the way. So I tend to put one camera down whist using the other. For outdoors shoots such as covering a corporate golf events or outside events I use the Custom SLR and Glide and the Optec on the main camera.
The range of camera straps boggles the mind but hope this feedback on two options along with a couple of the maker’s modifiers may help anyone looking at similar options.