Looking for something different than the strap your camera came with? BlackRapid may be the answer.
I've always liked the look of Canon straps. You know, the red, blue and white straps with the bold Canon logo repeated along the strap. It isn't about flying my Canon flag. It's quite the opposite. I love mixing brands. I had a 58mm Nikon cap on one of my old Canon lenses. I have a really cool metal Pentax cap that I screw (yes screw) on to any lens that it will fit. Same goes for bags, body caps, hoods or any labelled accessory. I will use anything that works well and if I can mix up the brands with a crude twist I'll do it in a heart beat. My problem with Canon straps, or Nikon or Pentax or any of the camera brand straps is that they don't function as I'd like.
I like to carry my camera at my side. To get the camera in this position I'd wear the strap over my head and one shoulder in a 'shoulder bag' fashion. This is generally considered an incorrect position for your camera because the position will cause your camera to bounce, swing, and point outward increasing the potential for banging your camera against a doorway, a pole, or whatever. It's also not very comfortable.
Over the years I've tried many different straps. I even wore one of those 'suspenders' styled straps for a while. If you think that wasn't geeky enough in a bad way, it had gold, blue and red stripes! Over these years I never found a strap that was comfortable, would keep the camera in the position I liked and would allow me to get a shot quick if required.
This changed when I found the BlackRapid strap. It isn't really just a strap, it's more of a system.
Images pictured above in order: the shoulder strap, the wrist strap, the included anchor, and the Manfrotto screw anchor.
The strap is designed to sling your camera over one shoulder with your camera sitting on your hip. It has two parts. The strap and an anchor which screws into the tripod socket of your camera. The strap has a clasp which attaches to the anchor, allowing you to attach and unattach the camera from the strap with ease. What makes it a system is that you can get an anchor which replaces the screw on your Manfrotto tripod shoe allowing you to move your camera from strap to tripod and back to strap quickly and effortlessly.
My system consists of an original basic BlackRapid strap, 2 Manfrotto shoe anchors (one for my camera and one for the collar on my Sigma 150-500mm lens) and a BlackRapid Wrist strap. The wrist strap works the same way as the shoulder strap but is lighter and cooler when shooting in the summer when it's not too cumbersome to have your camera in hand all the times.
I find the strap extremely comfortable and it has a small zip pocket in the padding that is large enough for an extra battery and a couple of memory cards. The strap holds the camera close to your body and is designed not to swing when you are walking. I have rarely bumped the camera when maneuvering in tight spaces. The wrist strap seems to cling to my wrist, which can be cumbersome when slipping it on and off regularly, but it has never slipped off by accident. As with any strap, you do have to be aware of the position of your camera at all times to prevent bumps or scratches and always ensure the anchor is securely fastened.
There are several versions of the strap that can be seen at blackrapid.com. As mentioned, mine is the original basic version.
The only drawbacks that I have found is that the anchor loop that attaches the strap to the anchor is too large to use with my Peak Design Capture Clip accessory. Otherwise it fits perfectly with my shooting style and equipment and it looks good. The second drawback is that the parts such as extra anchors aren't cheap. They are, however, good quality.
Note: I threw in a Capture Clip reference. This is another awesome camera-carry accessory which is designed to allow you to attach your camera to the shoulder strap of your backpack. I might write about this cool little invention another time.
All images in this post were shot with My Canon 5D MkII with Sigma 70mm Macro lens and Yvonne's Sony Cybershot DSC-HX5 which I love shooting with.
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