Blackrapid Strap Review – I love it
This post is about the Blackrapid Strap Review RS-4 and I love it
I love my Black Rapid Strap RS-4 and here is why. Note that the image is not me. I borrowed it from a really good review that Tan Zexun did here.
When I first got a DSLR I used to carry the camera with the canon supplied neck strap. It looked dorky. It slapped uncomfortably on my chest as I walked. It chaffed at my neck. And no offense to male Japanese tourist’s but I looked like a Japanese Tourist without the racial features. When I added a longer lens it was X2 all of the complaints that I just listed. So I had to fix this.
What was I looking for: EASY SAFE COMFORTABLE LIGHT WEIGHT carrier for a camera and lens. And if I can look cool at the same time….all the better.
I would get a cool camera bag. Well….. I like bags….and there are hundreds to choose from. I think I started with a lowepro, got another, got a larger one. Eventually I ended up with a Tenba medium shootout bag. That was just going bag crazy. I loaded all of my stuff, my tripod, and my laptop and it was 35 pounds. It was like I was going backpacking. It seems like I always have to experience the extremes before I settle into “just right”.
I ended up with a couple of million dollar crumpler bags ( the three and the six). These are great bags, comfortable, relatively light weight…..and they made me look cool. The 3 million dollar bag would hang down behind my butt and I had easy access to the bag.
It was safe in the bag….but you can’t take pictures in the bag…..can you. And pulling the camera into and out of the bag was a little cumbersome. I shoot with hoods and with a hood the 3 million dollar bag was too small. Even the 6 million is smallish with a larger lens and hood (with hood installed for shooting).
So I read about wrist straps. I tried several and ended up with an Optec wrist strap. Another good product. But now I have the camera in the bag when not in use and this strap hanging out. It was still cumbersome getting out of the bag. So I left the bag at home and would do my shooting with the wrist strap. Now what was cool about this is that the camera was in my hand ALL THE TIME!! Ready to shoot at a moments notice. Kinda like a gunslinger without a holster. Gun in hand all the time……MAKE MY DAY !!!!!!
The problem was ….it was in my hand ALL THE TIME !!!!. Talk about hand cramps…… And people would notice it and I am sure they would be thinking…. DORK….. CREEP…..
So I had to find something better…. I came across a video showing the Black Rapid Strap RS-4:
I had to get it. I mean… how cool is this…..
When it arrived at home it did not look like much….. $60 for a strap with a hook…. What the heck?
But I found it was cleverly designed, easy to attach to the camera, it was very safe, very comfortable, very light, and very easy to get the camera in position. Finally….. I think I looked cool with it strapped on…. Or at least as cool as a 60 year guy can looks with a camera dangling from him. I went out for some shooting and it was very comfortable. I tried it with my normal walk around zoom (17-55mm) and then with the 70-200mm and also with the 100-400mm. The padding, with the way it hung over the shoulder, was all very comfortable. In addition there is a little zipper pocket on the strap. It fits several CF cards and a spare battery which is very handy.
One thing I did not like was the attachment to the camera. Its a straight male screw to the camera. It was very sound and I would easily trust my camera dangling from it but what about tripod or monopod mounts. I am really lazy and I do not like screwing things on, only to screw them off, to screw them on a tripod, only to then unscrew them, and then rescrew them into the strap. I found a post for that. Someone suggested setting up my camera stuff on the arca swiss quick disconnect system. So I did.
I switched all of my manfrotto RC-2 Plates and clamps to Arca type. That will be another blog post on why I think they are better. And then I bought a 1″ Kirk arca clamp
You put this on the RS-4 strap with an arca plate on the camera….WHA !! LAAA !!!! easy quick on and off for the strap, a tripod, or a monopod.
But everything is not perfect. First the padded strap moves around if you are not careful. Sometimes I find it behind my back and not on my shoulder. Blackrapid gives you instructions on that… they say you need to keep tension on the strap as you bring it up for a shoot and then when you return it to a hanging position. That works… but its not really a completely natural movement. The second thing that I do not like is that with the RS-4 attached the camera does not sit upright because it has the arca plate, the arca clamp, and the RS-4 attached bolt. It makes it a little cumbersome at a restaurant or cafe table. That is not Blackrapids fault…. its my set up. Finally, this setup is great for walks or hikes, or strolls, even light running….. but try climbing a pile a rocks or up a hill…..won’t work. Gravity pulls the camera down very nicely to hit anything that you are leaning over. The strap was not made for that. What it needs is a tether that would attach to your waist belt for those situations… hmmmm sounds like another Bobkeenanphoto modfication idea!
Despite my complaints…I still love it….. Its a great accessory to have…and I don’t leave home without it 🙂
Note that Black Rapid has lots of different styles. But I like the RS-4. Also there are other brands that do similar products like the Sunsniper. Their product has a steel cable running through to to protect you against gyspy attacks….. I guess.