We knew when we sat down to write this review that many of your would be sitting there thinking that the guys at the Dojo had totally lost it if all they can come up with for a product review is a simple camera strap. In all seriousness, we have appealed to every company we know to come up with a better camera strap. The two main issues we have are comfort for shooting all day long and the security that your camera won’t fall off your shoulder. If someone could solve these two basic issues then it would surely rate a full blown product review article, BlackRapid has done exactly that with the new R-Strap.
Take 10 pounds or more of camera equipment and hang it on your shoulder for 8-10 hours and you are simply going to be sore, this is just something we have come to expect over the years. Some manufacturers have tried to overcome this with thick padded sections so while this may help a little the fact that the weight is still pulling down on one shoulder cannot be overcome. The second main issue is security. Most straps have some kind of rubberized surface to help keep them from slipping off your shoulder. We have never found a strap that combines both comfort and gives you confidence that it’s not going to fall off. I often carry two cameras at a wedding and am in constant fear that one of them is going to take a header onto the pavement, so when I know I am not going to use one for a while I bring the strap up over my head to make sure it won’t fall off, but this makes it very difficult to shoot. BlackRapid took this simple idea and created the R-Strap.
How it works
Think of the R-Strap as an oversize camera strap, but instead of the strap attaching to the standard strap mounts on your camera, it is a continuous loop. The camera is attaches to the strap via a sliding ring so the camera can move around without the strap moving. The sliding ring attached to the D-Ring on the bottom your tripod mount or via at attachment piece that comes with the R-Strap.
Because the strap goes around one shoulder and the camera rests at your hip on the opposite side, the weight of the camera feels more like its down the middle of your body instead of one shoulder. This is significantly more comfortable and it completely eliminates the possibility of your camera slipping off your shoulder.
When I first saw the R-Strap and tried it on, my first reaction was something like DUH!!!! How is it that the greatest minds on the industry that have taken us into the digital age and into sensors that can push 60 megapixels haven’t improved on the single most important interface you have to the camera since the introduction of the SLR?
I’m really being serious here. The lowly camera strap hasn’t been improved virtually at all and it took BlackRapid to finally take the basic camera strap and make it comfortable and safer around your neck. I really hope this makes the big camera makers feel stupid for not addressing this most basic needs of ALL camera owners.
Since the R-Strap connects to the D-Ring on the bottom of your tripod mount plate, many of us who keep the plate on our cameras have only to connect the strap to the D-Ring, adjust the length and stopper and you are set to go. This is FAR easier than trying to connect any traditional strap to a camera.
Once you have it on, you will want to adjust the length, this is going to be personal opinion but you will find there is a certain “sweet spot” that gives you the best position when the camera is down and allows you to bring it up fast and get the camera into position easily. There is piece that you will want to adjust down to the camera when it is resting at your side, this will help you to quickly position the camera and keep it from sliding back.
You first want to get the R-Strap adjusted properly. For most people you want to be able to pull the camera up and be able to hold it 6-7 inches away from your face, this will give you plenty of freedom to move around.
I will certainly admit I was a little uneasy at first dangling a couple grand worth of hardware on a $49 strap that connects to the D-Ring on the tripod mount, but within a short period of time I became very comfortable with it and the ease of using the camera with the R-Strap paid for itself over and over again. After while it becomes very natural to place the camera at your side and then reach for it and sling it into shooting position.
Ok, so you have a strap that won’t fall off your shoulder, feels very comfortable to use, and doesn’t cost a fortune, But wait! There’s more! Not only does the R-Strap keep your gear secure, there is a side benefit of not being nearly as sore after a long shoot. Both David and I have both been using the R-Strap for about a month now and have shot a handful of weddings and events, because the weight is distributed differently, the neck pain normally associated with long shoots is greatly reduced. While the security and comfort make the R-Strap worthwhile, the comfort level makes it priceless. Every camera should come standard with and R-Strap!!
With the R-Strap I can easily put my camera down at my side and walk up to people to pose them without poking them with a big lens.” – David (Esquire Photography)
I’m sold! I am not taking the R-Strap off my camera! I vow to never use a regular camera strap again. David (Esquire Photography) is also a convert and uses a R-Strap on every shoot.
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