To be honest, I’m not sure why Canon, or Nikon, for that matter, even bother shipping their pro cameras with such horrible camera straps. Sure, they serve their purpose, keeping your camera secure and close to your body, though I think they serve another purpose…to irritate the hell out of your neck. For the price you pay for their equipment, surely they could splurge a little on the strap and at least hide the cost somewhere.
Being one who doesn’t like to waste money on equipment that I don’t need, I never entertained the thought of spending money on an aftermarket strap. However, after lugging around the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens all day on the stock Canon strap, my neck was screaming for a change. My first choice, and not a bad one, was the Crumpler Industry Disgrace. The Crumpler definitely helped to alleviate the irritation and helped to spread the weight throughout the shoulders instead of just on the neck. I would easily recommend it to anyone who was looking for a replacement neck strap. However, one day while browsing on the net, I was on one of my favorite tutorial sites, froknowsphoto.com, and Jared, a.k.a. the Fro, was raving about this camera sling, so naturally, I had to check it out. It didn’t take long before I was sold. Just took me about 2 minutes and 14 seconds, which is the exact length of this video you should watch.
So, $58.95 got me the sling, but I also decided to purchase the Joey, (J-2, $21.95) which is the larger pouch, and the Buck ($9.95), which is a covering that surrounds the clip, so no one can sneak up behind you and unclip you and run off with your gear. With shipping the total came to about $100. For a camera strap. That is a hard price to swallow, but price aside, it is probably one of the best purchases I’ve made. And ladies, Black Rapid also makes a strap that is just for you, by creating a more form fitting ergonomic strap. There are other straps available, including the double harness for the wedding and live event photographers who carry around two cameras, as well as other mod options, which all can be found on their website here.
At first, it does take some getting use to, I’m not gonna lie. But after spending at least an hour with the thing on, I really started to see why The Fro and others rave about it. Not only does it help avoid any unwanted neck issues, but it also helps to disperse the weight of your camera to your shoulders and your back, so you can hardly even tell there is a camera hanging from your body. One of the best features is the small bumpers along the strap. I love that if I’m on the move, I can pull the front bumper down and lock the camera in place, so it doesn’t swing back and forth, knocking into my body. I use it not only for photography, but also run and gun filming, so this feature is ideal for me. The strap is well made and easily fits into my camera bags; my big one or small one. I was worried about carrying about $5000 worth of equipment upside down, but really this thing can handle it no problem. I connected the FastenR to the tripod ring of my 70-200, and loaded it onto the ConnectR, which also can screw closed for some added piece of mind. All in all, it was holding the lens with the lens hood, the camera with battery grip and two batteries, my Zacuto Z-finder, and it easily withstood all the weight. Sure, with all that on, I could feel the weight, but nowhere near as much as I would if I had a regular neck strap. On a side note, whenever I’d use a regular camera strap, my Zacuto Z-finder would always bump into my chest and knock it loose…no more! The fact that the camera sits on the hip isn’t really a problem either, but again, takes some getting use to.
To wrap this up, I’d highly recommend this strap to anyone who does a lot of run and gun video, as well as a serious photographer. The strap is a bit pricey at $58.95, and the options are just that, options. They are not necessities. But I’d highly recommend getting at least one Joey to keep your pockets empty and your spare batteries and memory cards close. This strap isn’t going to make your pictures or video any better, nor cure cancer, but it will be your most comfortable option for those long grueling shoots. You will not be disappointed.