I’m always in search of the perfect camera strap. It’s an obsession. I guess this obsession is based on the simple premise that I’m not satisfied with any of my current straps.
When I first saw the BlackRapid R-Strap I was immediately interested. The notion of being able to carry a spare body and not have it get in the way of my primary camera has been the dream for most of my career.
I ordered the RS-2 for $56. It’s a ton of money for a camera strap. In fact, based on my research, it’s the most expensive camera strap in the world. Is it worth it?
I am sorry to say that for me, the answer is no.
The idea is brilliant. The strap is worn over the shoulder and crosses your body like a bandolier. It attaches via a hook that connects to a bolt you install in your tripod socket. It’s very adjustable and can fit almost any body size and type.
When attached to the strap, the camera hangs upside down by your hip and is designed to swing up into position at your eye when you need it.
Not having to deal with bodies banging into each other is the goal and when the BlackRapid strap works, it achieves that goal. The camera doesn’t swing from side to side across your chest, nor will it bang into other camera bodies hung around your neck.
The strap is comfortable and comes with a neat little pocket you can use to carry a CF card. It’s well padded and attractive.
But the problem with the strap becomes apparent in actual day-to-day use. When I first was asked how I liked the strap, I consistently remarked that it was cool. But that was based on just some minor initial use. When I began to use the strap regularly, I realized it had some design flaws.
My first problem with this strap was that it constantly twists to the point that it seems impossible to get it to lay straight across your chest. It’s easy enough to untwist, but it’s a constant hassle.
Problem number two is the connection to the camera. The current connector can easily come undone. The manufacturer clearly sees this as an issue because they ship a small plastic washer to slide over the clasp to keep it from coming undone. Even that didn’t work for me. Once the camera slipped off the connector. Fortunately I caught it, but disaster was only millimeters away.
Finally – and this was the last straw – the entire strap is held together via a clasp. If that clasp is opened, the strap runs through it and the camera hits the ground. And that happened to me. I was in the field and a guy with a large video camera came upon me on the trail. He wasn’t paying attention and his tripod clipped the strap at the same place where the clasp was. While it was an improbable situation, it happened and the camera went sliding off the strap. I was saved when the camera landed in a huge pile of leaves about a foot off the ground. There was zero damage to the camera. Had it been concrete, my D700 would be toast.
I really wanted to like the BlackRapid strap. And perhaps my experience with it was unusual. Your mileage may vary. But at the end of the day, I personally wouldn’t trust the strap to secure my gear and accordingly, cannot recommend it to others.
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