It never ceases to amaze me when a small unknown company comes up with a new take on a product genre and really knocks it out of the park. What is even more interesting is when the funding for a company’s entire product line comes from the community. Such is the case with CustomSLR. The C-Loop was the first product launched in Dec 2010 and received 4x the funding they were asking for. The CustomSLR guys leveraged this success into the Split Strap which received a whopping 5x what they asked for. The third component of the complete system is the M-Plate which was funded in December of 2011 at double their asking amount. Even one successful project off of Kickstarter is pretty good but three is pretty much unheard of. If I had to take a guess at why they have done so well with their products I would have to say its because they have really thought through the issues that photographers face on a daily basis and created highly effective and yet simple ways to solve those problems.
Let’s start at the beginning with the first product. The C-Loop is designed to be an alternative spot to mount your camera straps to. By relocating the straps from the top or sides of your camera to a rotating plate on the bottom of the camera, your camera will hang more naturally and more comfortably. The swiveling base also keeps your strap from twisting around and making things even more uncomfortable. While this works good on a DSLR, I still dislike using the stock camera straps but CustomSLR has a solution for that which we will look at later in this article. Where the C-Loop shines when used with a standard camera strap is with smaller cameras such as the mirrorless cameras (Sony NEX 5n/7, Canon EOS M, etc). With these small cameras the weight on the strap isn’t an issue, but the way they hang usually ends up having the camera digging into your ribs, with the C-Loop, you can use the stock straps but you will be far more comfortable. I know that at $39.95 it isn’t cheap, but I would say it is more than worth the cost.
The Split Strap
The second product was the Split Strap. The Split Strap is more than a camera strap, it can be used with laptop bags, guitars, or anything else that needs a comfortable strap. While there have been sling-style straps before, and neoprene straps before, the Split Strap combines these two designs with a split design so that it molds itself to your shoulder better. The neoprene acts as shock absorber which, although it doesn’t actually relieve any weight, takes some of the shock load off when walking around and the reduced stress on your body helps you from being sore at the end of a long day.
As the Glide Strap package (designed specifically for cameras) along with the C-Loop you have a very comfortable system that reduces stress on your body and makes your camera a lot easier to haul around.
While the C-Loop and the Glide Strap really need to go together, the M-Plate is an optional accessory that you may or may not need depending on how you shoot. My biggest issue with any strap is when I want to switch from a strap to my tripod. One solution is to connect to the D-ring on the tripod mount, which assumes your tripod mount actually has a D-ring which not all do. Other D-rings on some mounts are just up to the task of hanging your gear from them. The M-Plate solves this problem by offsetting the mount for the C-Loop and leaving an RC2 and Swiss Arca style mounts making the M-Plate compatible with dozens of different heads.
At $74.95 for the M-Plate, it’s not a cheap chunk of metal but because of it’s design it will work with a number of different camera straps from other companies and since it works with many different tripod heads, it can really give almost anyone an extra level of versatility.