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That’s because this system, originally started as individual Kickstarter projects, is actually three pieces which can all be used individually. I will break out each part in a short review then talk about how the system works as a whole.
Before I begin, let me say that I was a complete skeptic of a slings like this. I have used an Op/Tech Quick Release Neck Strap and it is comfortable and takes a beating. I thought the slings were gimmicky. I was wrong. I really enjoy this new system, especially for wedding photography.
The M-Plate Pro is an adapter plate that screws on to your camera’s tripod mount. It serves a few functions.
First, if you are worried about not being able to use your existing adapter plate, fear not. There are multiple holes so you adapter plate can be used with this unit.
Second, it has built-in Manfrotto RC2 and Arca-Swiss Quick Release. This can be heavenly if you already have a tripod head with either of these adapters. It works well and I had no problems using two different brand versions of these plates for adapting.
Lastly, it affords a relocated spot to connect the C-Loop. How convenient! It can also work with BlackRapid, Sun Sniper, Spider Holster, Cotton Carrier and others.
The important thing I didn’t think about until I started shooting with the plate in place was, won’t that ‘prong’ on the front of it get in the way of my portrait-style grip? It turns out, for my grip, no. That prong fits between my middle and ring finger fairly comfortably. I say, “fairly” because it’s not like I don’t feel it at all, but, once accustomed to the feel, it is natural enough.
The unit is made out of aerospace grade aluminum, is made in the USA and really, it shouldn’t break because it if fairly simple.
The C-Loop can be used by itself, without the M-Plate Pro or Glide Strap. It is meant to be an attachement point for a sling or neck strap, even the one that came with your camera.
The idea is, if the connection point is on the bottom of the camera, then it is easier to bring into action and keep out of the way when shooting. This unit also swivels so gear can be carried in a different fashion (think of using the C-Loop on the collar mounting point for a 70-200mm lens and letting the lens lay sideways).
Not only that, the unit comes with its own tightener! No need for tools to take it on and off if you wish.
The Glide Strap is the last piece of the puzzle. If you’re familiar with sling-style straps, this one is much like the rest.
It has some nice features, such as the split in the strap to (hopefully) divide weight on shoulders and the silicone printing on the back side which makes it grip your shoulder. The buckle connector, where the camera connects, is super beefy and clicks with authority. I am good at breaking these buckles and have failed to do so yet. The quick release buckles near the shoulder strap section and a little harder to activate and I have only used them once.
The Glide Strap also comes with a couple of buckles to limit overall movement of your camera and a ton of extra strap to fit the largest of photographers.
How did this system convert me?
To be honest, it took a little getting used to at first. I remained skeptical for a week until I had the system at the right height.
As I mentioned, I wasn’t a fan of these slings until I tried this system. Because of the placing of the prong (I wish I had another word) and the C-Loop, a long lens (70-200mm) feels well balanced on this system. I typically use the Canon 28-300mm and it relaxes well against my side when not in use. This saved my back at a recent wedding I shot as a typical 6 hour stint on my feet and shooting has me a little sore. With the strap, I was able to relax for more than a neck strap.
The plate prong do make the unit taller, which means it might be trouble for some bags if you already have a tight fit. But it sits under the camera, so you won’t have to rearrange the foam dividers in your favorite bag.
Lastly, as the strap is meant to go over a shoulder, it is a little long when used on the opposite shoulder. When slung over my right shoulder, it hangs a bit low.
While I was sent this unit to evaluate, I would buy another in a heartbeat if I picked up a second camera. I can assure you it will be with me as I swap out my old DSLR for a new one eventually. It is more comfortable and easier to use than I imagined and made me a convert to the shoulder sling.
I used this sling exclusively while traveling in India, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Jordan and even Oregon over the course of five months.
Note: Modeling photos of the author copyright the smooth and elusive Josh Montague.