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I'm interested in buying a sling strap, probably OP/TECH's Pro Loop. While looking at marketing videos for this and other brands I noticed that in all cases they show the photographer carrying only the camera.

I was wondering if the effectiveness and comfort of using this strap is impacted if you need to carry a backpack as well.

I would imagine in this case you would want to wear the sling strap over the backpack?

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Frequently I wonder where the camera bag is in those marketing videos. Mine is a shoulder bag, so I imagine the interaction is different but the question remains the same :) – Itai Jan 16 '12 at 3:26
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I'm not sure what you mean by "sling strap". I'll assume that's the same as is also called a "neck strap". Basically it's a loop of flexible material attached to your camera that you can carry it by, and large enough to loop around your neck or over your shoulder.

I like taking nature pictures and often hike for miles with a backpack and a camera. If I'm just trying to get somewhere and am not expecting to take pictures, I'll put the camera inside the backpack. But when I'm bumping around more slowly I'll carry the camera by the strap.

Hanging it just around my neck doesn't work while hiking, at least not for me. It bounces around and sways back and forth too much. I usually put it around my neck and over my left shoulder. It's still pretty quick to grab, but it's not bouncing around and in the way as much, and it also a more comfortable way to carry weight. You don't want to hang a few pounds around your neck for hours on end.

Yes, you want to put on the backpack first. If you didn't, the strap for the camera would get stuck underneath it. That would make it hard to grab and bring to up to your eye, and you'd have to take the pack off to take the camera off. If I just want to take the pack off quickly, I'll grab the camera and slide my arm out of the loop so that it's only around my neck just like I was going to take a picture. At that point the pack can come off with the camera still around the neck. Then slide the arm back thru the loop when you're done.

By the way, comfort when carrying a camera like that is about shape, not weight. I used a Nikon F3T for nearly 30 years. When I finally retired that in favor of a D3S, I was worried that it would be harder to carry since it is significantly heavier. It turns out it's the other way around. The large D3S lies flat against my body, making it comfortable. The smaller and lighter F3 would tilt partially down with most lenses attached, so the bottom edge of the camera would dig into my side a bit. I was pleasantly surprised how comfortable the D3S is to carry.

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Sling straps are a special kind of camera strap that you wear over your shoulder and under your arm on the other side, just like you described, but it has the nice feature that the camera is not directly attached to the strap, instead it slides up as you raise it to your eye, so the strap remains in the same position. See for a demo of one of the brands. – Miguel Jan 17 '12 at 0:59
@Miguel: I watched the video you linked to, but it looks like a ordinary camera strap. They show it worn around the neck or over a shoulder around the neck like any other strap. One nice feature is that the part immediately at the camera is thin and flexible and doesn't get in the way like the beefier clips on my strap do. Hmm, I'll have to look into that. – Olin Lathrop Jan 18 '12 at 0:28
Sorry, my bad. I gave you the video for another configuration of this strap. Try this one: – Miguel Jan 18 '12 at 0:59
@Miguel: OK, I see what you mean now. That does not look good for hiking though. The way the camera is supended it will dangle and bounce around too much. I'm going to stick with a regualar neck/shoulder strap, but maybe look into the nice small and flexible end pieces right by the camera. – Olin Lathrop Jan 18 '12 at 23:57
After trying the sling strap and the regular strap I came to the conclusion that wearing the regular strap as you described in your answer is the most comfortable setup for hiking with a backpack. Thanks! – Miguel Jan 23 '12 at 6:09

I own a BlackRapid RS-Sport for almost a year now, it has been an essential camera accessories wherever I go.

I have no problem (and experience no difference) using a sling strap while carrying my backpack when out and about. It sits above my hip, next to the backpack and camera body in contact to my belt and/or buttons of my jeans (which is bad). When I walk, camera body wobbles between my backpack, side of my leg and button of my jeans back pocket, I usually place my hand on the camera body to minimise it's movement. When running, it gets worse (with backpack or without), so I wouldn't recommends running handsfree allowing your camera body to impact on anything it gets in contact with.

For the record, I travel with my laptop bag something like this one.

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I use a LowePro bag and BlackRapid RS-4 camera strap. I put the camera strap on first, then the backpack and they work perfectly together. They don't catch and the backpack doesn't restrict movement of the camera. No problem. – Mark J P Jan 23 '12 at 22:51

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