Review and Field Test of the New SpiderLight Holster

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Since 2010, Spider Holster has produce camera carrying systems which are intended to create a more innovative method for carrying your camera with you while working. Their carry systems are designed to offer a convenient and comfortable way to access your camera quickly while still managing to store it securely within easy reach when not in use.

SpiderLight Holster Close Up

Recently, Spider Holsters has launched a brand new Kickstarter campaign for the latest addition to their line of quick-draw type camera carry systems; the SpiderLight Holster. The SpiderLight is intended specifically for those shooters who carry a mirrorless or smaller SLR camera setup. Being a recent convert to a mirrorless camera system myself, I was excited to try out this newest offering from Spider and see if I would truly “Ditch the strap” in favor of this inventive way of carrying my camera while in the field.

First Impressions of the SpiderLight Holster

My cameras are more like extensions of myself than just pieces of metal and plastic. I love my cameras. So naturally I was, shall we say, somewhat hesitant to place their welfare in the hands of a new type of carry system instead of my heavy-duty leather camera strap. All those fears were genuinely soothed as soon as I handled the SpiderLight Holster for the first time. The product is solid, beefy, and extremely substantial. More so than I expected it to be based on the product photos from Spider Holster’s website.

SpiderLight Holster_Plate_2.jpg

 

The construction of the SpiderLight is all stainless steel and aluminum, subdued in a professional-looking matte finish. The holster itself is constructed of aluminum with a stainless steel insert to prevent wear with the belt clip on the back, being made from spring steel. The camera plate is crafted from heavy aluminum as well, while the Spider pin (the part that slides into the holster) is CNC machined stainless steel.

SpiderLight Holster Plate

SpiderLight Holster Release

All the screws were tight and the entire mechanism moved smoothly with no burrs or imperfections appearing to be found. Even the markings on the product are etched into the metal instead of being painted onto the surface. The belt clip itself is substantial and provides a heartily robust grip to a wide range of belt widths.

Real World Use

The majority of my work focuses on wilderness and adventure photography with a little bit of everything else thrown into the mix. I spend lots of time in the outdoors chasing light so I was extremely curious to see how well the SpiderLight would perform during hiking and fast movements. I tested the mechanism using my main camera body, the Sony A7r Mk1 fitted with Zeiss Vario-Tessar 24-70mm F4.

SpiderLight Holster 3

Functionally, the SpiderLight is deceptively simple. There is a steel peg that slides into a groove on the holster in such a way that the camera hangs inverted from the holster. However, looking more closely reveals evidence of some fairly impressive engineering at work.

A well placed two-stage locking switch secures the camera in one of two ways depending on your needs. This switch is invaluable. It locks the camera in place until the user disengages it with a subtle flick. More importantly, it can be completely disengaged to facilitate quick retrieval of your camera.

SpiderLight Holster 4

SpiderLight Holster 5

I was extremely surprised at just how versatile the SpiderLight could be in practice. I walked, jogged, bent down, and did all the epic things photographers do without any real encumbrance caused by the device. The only adversity I encountered was to remember the camera was by my hip when passing through doorways. After a little practice, I completely forgot that I carried the camera at my side. It worked, for lack of a better word, beautifully.

SpiderLight Holster 2

SpiderLight Holster 1

Using a tripod with the SpiderLight Holster

The SpiderLight still allows for the attachment of your own tripod’s quick-release plate, so it does not interfere with your normal workflow if you find yourself shooting with a tripod. It’s not guaranteed that the holster will work with your specific tripod, though. Notice I have to mount mine backward. Still, the function was not hindered in any way by the Spider.

SpiderLight Holster Tripod 1

SpiderLight Holster Tripod 2

One caveat

The only possible reservation I have with the SpiderLight is that even with a lightweight camera kit (Sony A7r and 24-70mm Zeiss) the one-sided weight distribution sometimes sags the pants. I wouldn’t consider wearing the system without a sturdy belt. This wasn’t something that deterred me from using the holster but it is definitely a point of consideration. If you carry a heavier camera I would highly recommend the Spider Holster Pro.

Final Thoughts

The SpiderLight Holster works great for use with a lightweight kit such as mirrorless cameras and smaller DSLRs. From the perspective of a first time user, the SpiderLight performed admirably, in spite of my reservations. The overall build is sturdy enough for heavy-duty use and the complete concept works well. If you are considering the idea of trying the SpiderLight or any other of the products in Spider Holster line you won’t be disappointed.

That being said, give yourself enough time to get to know the holster. Some will love it, some not so much. One of the biggest obstacles I faced was learning to actually trust the holster to securely carry my camera. In my case, breaking 10 years of absolute camera strap reliance takes some time. Still, you never know until you try it and it very well could become your favorite method of carrying your camera.

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Adam Welch is a photographer, writer, educator, adventurer, baconographer, and beerologist currently based in the western portion of his home state of Tennessee. You can usually find him on some distant trail making photographs or at his computer writing about all the elegant madness that is photography. Follow his blog over at aphotographist.com or pick up his new book Cameras in the Wild.

  • Stereo Reverb

    The thought of theft from a camera sticking to the side of me would have me worried. Also, forget about using this in a busy place like an event or concert- with my Sunsniper/BlakRapid, i can move the camera around to my back, so that nobody can bump into it as i walk. With the holster setup, count on someone not noticing and running right into the side of you, potentially knocking the camera off the belt right onto the floor.

    It also makes me very nervous whenever i see someone hand holding a camera without a strap, such as shown in the photos. all it takes is a minor spill or tumble, or losing your balance, and the camera lands right on the ground. An actual wrist of full body strap will help greatly minimize that.

  • Jeff Peterson

    I have the Spider holster and to be honest I don’t believe someone could steal the camera based on how the ball locks and pivots down into the holster. I shoot weddings and there is no way the camera is coming off unless I want it off. As far as getting around, you are correct… I have had to learn to turn sideways when going through doors and crowds. With any product you usually have to accept somethings you don’t like along with the reasons you love a product. For me this product puts the camera in a place as if I have a personal assistant right there. If I have to stop and free my hands then this allows me to holster it and immediately pick it up again when I need it without having to swing straps around my body. The main advantage for me and many others is the ability to move weight off of your shoulders down to your waist. Sometimes I wish I had a set of suspenders to keep it from sagging as I go through the night shooting. I believe ThinkTank has a system similar but with suspenders as an option.Funny you mention the strap…I took mine off because it would get caught on things from hanging low. I did however put a wriststrap on the camera….You’re right…it’s a gamble shooting without a strap or something to secure it.

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  • Stereo Reverb

    This sadly, won’t work with my 5d- it tops out at over 6+ lbs with the battery grip and sometimes, flash. With my Blackrapid, i tuck it around to the small of my back, so there’s nothing to get caught on for me. Even to the side, i’ve never had that problem.

  • Lori Carey

    For a 5d and similar heavy kit you’d want a Spider Pro holster. I use the Dual Pro holster and carry a 5diii on each hip, one with a 70-200 2.8 lens which weighs 3.5 pounds on it’s own and the other with a wide angle. I shoot a lot of off road racing/motorsports which requires scrambling up and down rocks and running and the Pro holster is rock solid. It’s so easy to switch back and forth between cameras. The Spider holster was a life-changer for me. Like Jeff Peterson said, getting the weight off my shoulders was key because I can be on my feet for 18 hours straight while shooting, and it’s also better for balance when I’m scrambling up rocks.

    As for the theft concern, no one will be able to steal your camera with the locking lever engaged. I tested the lock by jumping up and down with cameras in place, the cameras aren’t going anywhere. I doubt anyone could steal it even in the unlocked position unless they knew exactly how to turn the camera.

    The only time I have problem in crowds is when I have a camera on each hip, and then I instinctively put a hand on each camera as I maneuver through the crowd. My friends call it my gunslinger look.

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