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To be honest, I thought the Custom SLR Dual Camera Strap looked like a dorky idea when I was first asked to review it. The idea is simple: sometimes you need to carry two cameras (especially heavy cameras) and the logistics of such a feat have always been cumbersome. One strap over this way and the other maybe off of the other shoulder? Double criss-cross?
Custom SLR, a company that got its start thanks to a number of successful Kickstarter campaigns, crafted a solution using one of their best selling camera straps, times two. They sent me a copy of the Dual Camera Strap to test during a small boat cruise with UnCruise Adventures in Alaska last month. I was excited for the trip as it would mean I could take both my cameras and long lenses (28-300mm and a rented 150-600mm) for both close and distant images of marine wildlife. Having that range from 28mm-600mm (on crop factor cameras) always available was important to me so I was willing to try the Dual Camera Strap, with hopes I wouldn’t always be fumbling for the right camera.
The unit is really five parts in one. Two of those parts are copies of the traditional Glide One Strap System by Custom SLR, meant to hold one camera, over one shoulder. Then they introduced a unique buckle connector that fits in the middle of your back. Lastly, there are two small pieces of webbing that add a sternum connector.
The great thing about this setup is it uses two straps that can work alone. You’re not stuck with always using the dual setup when you only want to use one camera.
Let’s take a look at how it all fits together then I’ll tell you about my experience with the setup.
The setup starts with the individual straps. Each has a piece of split neoprene to help evenly distribute weight on your shoulder. On the underside of the the split strap is a silicone print to provide traction, ensuring the strap doesn’t move around your shoulder.
Cameras are connected to a strap via a beefy quick-release clip attached to a tripod screw, with a loop to make hand-tightening possible (no need for tools). I have used one of these single straps in my daily photography and travels to over a dozen countries for the past three years. It’s now getting a little frayed but never once has the screw mount or quick-release failed.
Next there is a connector that attaches the two straps in the middle of your back. Simply disconnect each single strap and clip them into the connector. The clips are one-way, making the process fairly idiot-proof.
Lastly, to keep the system stable, you need to insert a sternum strap that clips the two single straps together in the front.
Having received my unit already setup, I took it apart, jumbled up the pieces, and tried to put it all together at a leisurely pace. It took me one minute and 50 seconds to go from two single straps to the Dual setup, and that included making a small error and correcting it. It’s pretty easy.
When changing from single straps to dual, the straps first need to be shortened. This is because each strap is simply looping around one shoulder and not across your body.
Next, screw in the tripod mount, called a C-Loop, to each camera. As Custom SLR likes to create a whole inter-functioning ecosystem, the C-Loop also works with their M-Plate tripod quick release system. This additional plate gives better stability when using long lenses, but is sold separately (shown in second photo).
Now to put it all together! It’s best to put on the harness first before attaching cameras. It can be done the other way around, but it is quite clunky and will bang up your cameras. Then, clip each camera into your preferred side.
What I enjoyed about the Dual Strap was how comfortable it was with the weight. I was wearing about 16lbs (7.2kg) of gear and it was no different than using a solid backpack with cameras stowed inside. In fact, short of a waist belt, this setup is just like a backpack with two comfortable stretchy neoprene shoulder straps.
In practice the unit takes some getting used to during initial setup. Having two cameras dangling from your hips also takes a different sense of awareness when maneuvering in crowds, or around hard surfaces. Keeping your hands on your cameras helps with stability.
Each camera is free to glide up and down its own strap, yet is kept ready at your fingertips. When one camera is held up and the weight on that strap lessened, the second camera stays in place, without swinging to the side or sliding off your shoulder, as has been my case before using this strap.
I realize I look a little odd with this setup on my body. But the comfort and ease of use, quickly quieted my ego from worrying too much about what others think.
In short, the Dual Camera Strap now goes with me wherever I take both my camera bodies. I can break it down quickly for single camera use (I typically leave the sternum strap section attached to make setup quicker) and when I know I want both cameras at hand, there is simply no replacing this unit.
Additionally, I could still wear my F-Stop Lotus backpack over this setup, although range of motion was slightly lessened, but not enough to stop me from using the two together.
Dorkiness be damned, this thing works, and it works well. I wore the strap for more than 40 hours in a month, and after I figured out the best way to put it on (straps first, then attach cameras), it was a piece of cake.
There is something empowering having two cameras at the ready, and no longer worrying about one of them slipping off your shoulder. The Custom SLR Dual Camera Strap performs as advertised, and is a great solution if you have a two camera carrying problem.
Disclaimer: This product was provided to the author by the manufacturer for the purposes of doing a review. All reviews on dPS are 100% unbiased and based on the author’s opinions only.