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I am looking to move away from a neck strap and get a shoulder sling strap for my Nikon D3200 camera. I've seen straps that connect with either the OEM Neck Strap mounts OR the Tripod mount.

The Neck strap advocates point out that the neck strap hooks were intentionally designed for the purpose of holding a strap and hence are the natural best choice. They feel that the tripod mount was not designed to hold a lot of weight.

The Tripod mount advocates point out that the tripod mount is designed to mount the camera on the tripod sideways and even up side down. Hence, it indeed is designed to deal with heavy lenses. Moreover, they claim that the tripod mounts are better connected the to the actual body of the camera than the neck strap hooks.

Which is better? I have a Nikon D3200 with the stock 18-55mm lense and SB700 flash.

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1  
You've pretty much answered your own question. Having looked into this myself I don't think you're likely to find much more info than you seem to already know. But I've been wrong before. –  tenmiles Nov 21 '12 at 15:23
    
@tenmiles Which solution have you gone with? –  Danish Nov 21 '12 at 15:25
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I currently have the Cinch strap from Luma Labs attached with a Peak Design Arca Plate. If you're concerned about too much weight on the tripod socket, the Cinch, based on my high school math skills, tells me that only half the weight would be on the tripod scoket and the other half would be on the dedicated strap attachment point. –  tenmiles Nov 21 '12 at 17:03

5 Answers 5

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Both are designed to hold the camera. Perhaps the tripod mount has an advantage since it is a single-point built for that purpose rather than two as for the strap eyelets. However, if it hold it holds!

Using tripod mount blocks the tripod socket which is an annoyance if you use a tripod at all. Even if you do not mind unscrewing the thing each time, there is a safety issue that you camera is un-strapped for a moment. I usually attach the camera to the tripod and then detach myself from the strap.

Even without a tripod if you happen to sometimes rest the camera on a flat surface to take long exposures, the straps which occupy the tripod mounts are problematic. You have to remove them if the camera is to stay level.

Also, if do not have an assistant for holding the flash for you, then you may want to use a flash-bracket which holds on to the tripod mount.

Pass-through mounts are uncentered which means your camera is not aligned with the optical axis when on a tripod. This will be an issue if you are panning for a panorama or while recording video. They also usually reduce the surface area that contacts against the tripod or quick-release plate, so you get less stability and more chances of shifts when the camera is not level.

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Not to mention that if the strap mounts to the strap mounts (English is a funny language), you can leave a QR plate mounted to the camera body at all times. You can, of course, get plates that have a strap mount (including ones that are both Arca Swiss and Manfrotto/Benro/Induro compatible) that put the issue to rest, but they're not necessarily cheap. –  user2719 Nov 21 '12 at 16:00
    
FWIW, with a 70-200 zoom (or similar big lens) with its own tripod mount, this may be less of an issue as the QR plate/tripod mount can go on the lens, the strap mount on the camera. –  drfrogsplat Nov 22 '12 at 1:34
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@drfrogspat - Don't people buy multiple plates and leave them attached to everything anymore? I find this new digital world weird and scary... –  user2719 Nov 22 '12 at 2:35

On higher-end bodies (Nikon and Canon both use a magnesium frame) the neck strap mount points are either molded right into the frame or screwed directly into it. Lower-end bodies include plastic or metal neck strap mount points attached to a plastic body.

On Nikon's 1 series cameras (such as the D4) and Canon's 1D series cameras, the tripod mount is also molded into the magnesium frame of the camera. Everything else (including the other higher-end cameras) use a plastic plate with the tripod mount in it.

So, on a lower-end camera the neck strap and tripod mount points are likely designed to hold a similar weight and probably have similar limits. On a higher-end camera, the neck strap points are stronger. On the best cameras, both are strong.

Does this matter? I have no idea. I don't know if the plastic of the tripod mount surround breaking or wearing is much of a concern, and I don't know how it might compare to a plastic neck strap mount point in terms of the weight it's designed to handle.

I will say this, however: neck strap points have been time-tested as reliable.

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I'll share what I use, but perhaps it won't suit your objectives.

I don't wear any strap around my neck or attach any strap to my tripod socket. I use a long and thick strap (as opposed to the original one, which is often very short and thin) attached to the sides of the body (like a neck strap), and I wrap the strap around my forearm (until strap doesn't feel loose). This advice was given to me by a retired professional who assured me this was the safest technique for the camera and least damaging to my health.

Neck straps are bad because they put strain on your neck. If you have a heavy camera and/or heavy lenses, the weight starts to add up, especially when you hold your camera for several hours in a row. FYI, I have a D7000, that's already bulky compared to the "light" D3200, and my most often used lens is a 50-135mm at 2.8 constant, which is a pretty big lens to carry around. With your D3200+kit this might not be an issue for now, but if you get more involved in photography, trust me, you'll get bulkier gear.

And how is this safer for your camera you may ask ? Well, first of all, it's pretty easy to steal your camera if someone manages to pull it off your neck or cut the strap discreetly. If it's stuck to your hand with the strap like I suggest, there's no risk of it going anywhere. Secondly, if you have a long neck strap, your camera may be at risk if you drop it from your hands, it will fall at about waist level, which could hit a table for example, or if you were moving, fly against something. If my camera drops -I often try to drop it just to make sure of how well it is attached- it barely drops 10cm at the most, it's like it's almost glued to my wrist.

A final advantage might be the freedom of movement you have. If I'm wearing a short strap around my neck, my camera can't extend the length of my arm. So if I'm at a concert trying to do an "aerial" shot, high up, then I have to remove the strap making it easy to drop it or get it stolen. If the camera is attached to my wrist, my arm can stretch and reach high up without being in danger of falling or getting stolen.

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I think technically you have some good answers, both mount points have their advantages but also their disadvantages but both should take the load in my experience (heaviest tripod mount load D7000 w/ grip and 70-200 f2.8). In my opinion you should also consider what matches your style of shooting and with which one you feel more comfortable. It is worth nothing if the mount point can handle extensive load but the straps are in your way all the time. This can even change depending on the situation you are shooting. For me there are also situations where I do not have a strap mounted at all. - Ok, I am not a strap lover at all :-)

If you use a battery grip the tripod mount style has a notable disadvantage. Holding the camera in portrait orientation the screw of the strap will be exactly there where you'll hold the grip/camera.

Thus, I think, in the end it is a personal preference and with the gear you mentioned, I doubt you can overload the tripod mount. If you can try both and take the one you feel better with.

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I was also thinking about attaching a strap to my tripod mount screw, so was researching what people thought of this. I came across a few troubling posts and pictures in this thread:

http://www.uglyhedgehog.com/t-126099-1.html#2137034

http://www.uglyhedgehog.com/t-126099-2.html#2137615

One is a plastic body where the plastic gave way. The other is a D700 with a magnesium body where the socket now bulges outward.

The counterargument is that the tripod mount is meant for shear force or pushing into the camera stress -- not pulling away. Generally when you mount the camera on a tripod, you keep it balanced so there is little torque.

There are also some emails from Nikon and Canon in the thread not exactly saying you can't do this, but not supporting it either.

I've decided if I do this I'll use the strap eyelets, and maybe also the tripod mount, making sure the weight is balanced across them.

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