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Recently, The lovely folk at BlackRapid.com invited us to check out their wares – deciding that the best course of action would be to have friends that are professionals in their respective photographic fields, and styles, try them and let us know what they thought!
JadedSnapper is outside court. He is testing the BlackRapid RS-7 strap, which is a sling style strap. The camera rests behind his hip.
CameraGeek: [standing in front of JS, blocking view to the court] Hey you must be JadedSnapper, the photographer!
JS: Erm, how did you know that? You can’t see my camera from this angle
CameraGeek: I’ve been following you for months.
JS: That’s comforting. You know I’m kind of busy waiting for a villain to flick me the V-sign..
CameraGeek: I really like that strap, it’s made out of a ballistic nylon weave
JS: Sounds like marketing speak to me. What the hell does that mean?
CameraGeek: Ballistic nylon is designed to repel shrapnel
JS: Not bullets?
CameraGeek: No! Not bullets
JS: So if you were wearing this strap and I shot you point blank it wouldn’t protect you?
JS: That’s good to know
CameraGeek: Why have you put a cable tie around the clip at the back. Don’t you know that’s so you can put the Joey Pouches through??!?!!
JS: Yes well it would only take one joker to ping it and that’s my camera clattering on the floor
CameraGeek: Yeah and that’s a good one too it’s got twelve megapixels –
JS: -Does it? I’ve no idea, look I am doing something here
CameraGeek: No you’re not you’ve standing about for 2 hours and 47 minutes
JS: This is a court snatch
CameraGeek: And you know you’re not supposed to use the strap like that, it’s supposed to be on the hip, not behind it
JS: Yes well I’ve adjusted it in the hope that no one can see the camera
CameraGeek: Why would you do that? Surely the whole point is so that you can see it?
JS: That is one school of thought
CameraGeek: I think the ConnectR is really good on that
JS: And what the heck is that?
CameraGeek: The ConnectR?
JS: And why are you talking like that?
CameraGeek: [point at strap] That’s what thing’s called
JS: I thought it was a carabiner
PettyCrim starts to leave court
JS: – Look out the way
CameraGeek: Out the way of what?-
JS: -My purpose in life
CameraGeek: [pointing at PettyCrim and shouting] Hey that’s the guy you want!
JS: [picks up camera]
CameraGeek: Look how incredibly swift and intuitive that movement was!
JS: [and swings it at CameraGeek, smacks it off his head] click click
CameraGeek: Hey that feels like magnesium alloy you’ve just smacked me with!
PettyCrim: [shouting to JS] Did you get me flicking the Vs boss?
JS: Nah I missed it ‘cos of this joker [pointing at CameraGeek]
PettyCrim: Look mate can we do it again? It’ll ruin my rep if I’m not swearing in your paper
JS: Alright, but mouth ‘Pluck off’ as well to make it look authentic!
The starry bit (out of 5 stars)
Build quality: ****4 stars
The BlackRapid is not going to run ragged unlike the one you get free with the camera. The clip on the back is a bit of an oversight. Although you can use the ‘Joey’ pouches, don’t try to put anything heavier on it, like say a spare zoom lens. You’ll look like a prat. I know, I tried.
Utility: *****5 stars
This is great for accessing your 70-200mm or 300mm on a second body, much better than using the free strap which you have to unhitch before being able to fire, making this fantastic for the goal mouth lens at football. The camera feel somehow lighter over long periods of time. Very intuitive. Saves your neck!
Value: ***3 stars
It costs between £55-£65 in this here country. There’s no two ways about it, that’s a lot of cash for a strap. But then buying say the Nikon D3s branded strap is £25, and that will fall apart eventually. Sneak it through on expenses. Or claim the VAT back.
Conclusion: ****4 stars
If you regularly use two camera bodies, at photo calls or sport or whatever, you will find the BlackRapid RS-7 useful. If you don’t, then it’s a marginal improvement. This is basically a professionals’ play thing, but I wouldn’t be without it when speed is critical.
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