Since starting photography first as a hobby and now professionally, I’ve upgraded lenses, filters, bags and even my computer all to aid in my pursuit of the art. For some reason, one thing I had never thought of upgrading was the most basic camera accessory of all, the camera strap.
Having a larger build, I have always disliked the straps that come with various camera bodies. I find them too short, too uncomfortable and just cheap feeling. I also dislike the having the camera model number largely displayed making me a walking billboard for Nikon. People often approached me at weddings I was shooting to discuss this feature or that and even talk about how they’ve upgraded beyond what I was using. I always smiled but wished I could focus on what I was there to document.
When I came across the R-Strap, I thought this might be the very thing I needed but didn’t know I was missing. Well, it has arrived and here is my review.
The R-Strap by BlackRapid, a Seattle based company. Being very simple and elegant in design you have to wonder why straps weren’t made this way from the beginning. Essentially, it allows you to sling your camera down to the hip level instead of having it hung around the front of your neck. My initial reaction was that it was very well built. Upon opening the package, I was impressed by the RS-4′s design. It had comfortable shoulder padding and even a small zipper to store my extra memory card or flash gels.
The stainless steel connect screw called the R2 also looked solid.
One of the reasons I was looking forward to the R-Strap was for comfort. When I photograph weddings, having the strap around my neck gets old very fast. I usually end up not even using it, only to have it get in my way as I switch from landscape to portrait shots. Not having it around my neck, I’ve also had a few close calls with guests bumping into me and almost losing my grip of the camera. All of these issues I think have been solved with my new strap. (Can you tell I’m excited about it?)
I didn’t have a wedding scheduled so I decided to walk around Old Town Alexandria in Northern Virginia and see how I felt at the end of the day. It was no problem all day. I shot a quick demo with my point and shoot while I was there which can be found below. Go easy on the video, remember I’m a photographer not an actor or cinematographer.
In the end, I was very impressed with this new system and will not be using my old strap any longer. In fact, after seeing on the Black Rapid website that two straps can now be coupled together for double camera slinging power, another R-Strap is on my long list of future purchases. The video below shows the double strap in action. 4.5 out of 5 stars. (The minus .5 is simply because with the strap connected, it’s not as easy to set my camera on a flat surface for a quick shot. I first have to unclip the strap. I know it’s a small issue.) It can be purchased at Adorama here. The older RS1 Strap is available at Amazon.