Westminster fountain at sunset

by Jorge Córdoba

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I often walk around with my camera on the lookout for shots, but photography isn't the main thing I'm doing. I normally end up with the camera hanging off a shoulder (on the strap it came with), which isn't the most secure way of having the camera. The camera and lens would be too heavy to be comfortable just around my neck, and might bounce around whilst walking.

So what I'd like is to find a strap I can have across my body so the camera can sit to one side, with an arm over it to offer some protection. I'd also like it to work (ie be easy to raise to the eye) while wearing a rucksack over the top. Any recommendations?

I have a Canon 40D, in case straps aren't a generic thing.

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Straps are pretty much universal for all major dslrs. –  Alan Jul 28 '10 at 18:01
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Good question. I always get annoyed with the normal strap when I use the camera in portrait orientation and the strap gets in my face :S. –  Marc Jul 28 '10 at 18:57

6 Answers 6

up vote 7 down vote accepted

I use the Black Rapid RS-4 strap, and I love it. I do a lot of street/travel photography, and the RS-4 works great. It really is quick to "draw" up to your eye and shoot.

There are a few downsides:

  • I keep the camera near waist/pocket level, so the camera will rub against my pocket
  • You need to be careful, so you don't knock your camera around things as you move.
  • Use the supplied connector to connect to the bottom of your camera, instead of any hooks that come with quick release plates.

After a few minutes of using a Black Rapid strap you'll get use to it and won't have any issues.

There is a company that makes a strap similar to the RS-4, but they ripped-off the design from Black Rapid (they started as off as a Black Rapid reseller). As a photographer who cares about IP and copyright infringement, I'd recommend buying black rapid over the knock-off.

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+1 This product looks really useful! Great tip! –  Marc Jul 28 '10 at 18:26
    
Clicking around their site I came across this review comparing the Black Rapid with some similar products and the Black Rapid came out on top. I think I shall go buy one :) –  Hamish Downer Jul 29 '10 at 14:49
    
I've now ordered the RS-7 - thanks for the info :) –  Hamish Downer Jul 31 '10 at 19:12

There are a few sling-style straps on the market today which are popular. The most common of these are the Black Rapid R-straps. They'll attach to the camera so that when not in use, the camera will ride along one's side, but the camera can quickly be lifted up to the eye to create a photo.

If you're going to wear a rucksack, you'd want to put the rucksack on first, then the camera strap, so that the strap is outside of the pack's shoulder straps.

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You can wear a backpack/rucksack after you put your camera on with an RS-4. I do this all the time with my Crumpler Whickey & Cox. Though I recommend getting the BRAD mod to keep the shoulder strap in place. –  Alan Jul 28 '10 at 17:58
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+1 for BlackRapid. You don't get the garish branding colours that you have on Nikon or Canon straps, so look less like a tourist. To counter your point about rucksacks, though, I find the design enables you to wear the strap under the rucksack, but still use it as intended. This is a huge help for me, as it means I don't have to remove the strap if I want to change lens, etc. –  Nick Miners Jul 29 '10 at 12:29

I have a BlackRapid RS-5. The padded part which is supposed to sit on the shoulder likes to drift down over my chest, which is a bit irritating (the clip on the strap prevents it slipping the other way). I suspect the RS-4, which has a less heavy padded part, would be less prone to this. BlackRapid have a "BRAD" product which is an extra strap which will prevent this happening I expect, but I haven't tried it.

Despite this minor irritation, I would never, ever go back to a regular camera strap.

The RS-5 works fine for me with backpacks. I just put it on before the pack. Recently, I've started using a slingshot, and that requires care to make it work with the RS. Specifically, I put the RS-5 on first, then I put the slingshot pack on by undoing its buckle and passing the slingshot strap under the RS-5. This makes the RS-5 work fine, while still allowing me to slide the slingshot pack around to get at stuff in that bag.

Update: I've since brought the BRAD, and it fixes the problem.

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Here's a link to the RS-5, just in case anyone else is intrigued: blackrapid.com/product/camera-strap/rs-5 –  chills42 Sep 12 '10 at 13:28

It's not a strap but here is my favorite solution for these types of situations. It's much more expensive but offers excellent protection, works great and looks better.

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I use the black rapid and like it. Another alternative is the Luma Loop (http://www.luma-labs.com/products/loop), which was invented by a friend of mine (but I have no involvement in it). It's supposed to be somewhat more comfortable than the RS-5, but I haven't field tested it yet.

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An update on this topic: Black Rapid was given a patent for the sling technology and has evidently let it be known they'll be defending it. Because of that, both the manufacturer of the Luma Loop and the CameraSlingers double camera system have cancelled their products. Luma has a new product that's just hitting the market called the Cinch. I just got a review copy while I'll blog about when I use it. Because of the patent issue, I no longer recommend the blackrapid products and I'm looking to retire mine as soon as I find an alternative. –  chuqui Feb 12 '12 at 16:26

I got a personalized strap from http://www.jodiescamerastraps.com/. Jodie is very accommodating and does an excellent job with the straps. I would definitely recommend having one!

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