Fast and Furious Camera Straps
Think of all the photographers you know that complain about their current camera strap. Then browse through photography forums and you'll often find debates involving the typical brand wars and fanboys taking appropriate sides. If you're combing the web for a different camera strap, take a look at some of these recent popular alternatives.
The Black Rapid R-strap grew in popularity when their first video went viral on YouTube. For the first time, many professional photographers saw a strap that offers comfort, security and mobility. Ideal for any photographer that places an emphasis on speedy work, the strap became a huge hit.
And it indeed took off: go to weddings, sporting events, parties, etc and you'll most likely see this strap attached to a photographer's camera. They're popular for good reason too—in addition to speedy access you also get great security with the strap. A friend of mine loves the freedom because he can grab his camera and shoot with one hand while he holds his son's hand with the other. He's given it the full father-approved stamp.
Similar to the R-Strap, the Sun-Sniper was my go-to strap for some time. Your camera has full freedom to swing and spin about while staying totally secure.
I've stuck a Nikon D3x and 70-200mm F/2.8 ED VR II and walked around Washington Square Park with the expensive combo strapped around my body using only the Sun-Sniper. The entire time, they were totally secure.
The Sun-Sniper's main appeal to me was the total comfort it gave my shoulder even with a heavy camera and lens attached. The padded cushion felt like the softest and most perfect pillow that my head and neck have yet to find to give me a better sleep at night.
While still an amazing option, I don't use the Sun-Sniper anymore because my style of photography now warrents different needs.
The Cotton Carrier system is one that has greatly improved over their previous models: now coming in a professional and lite version. The professional version is for those that are the no nonsense types when it comes to photography: allowing the photographer to comfortably carry two cameras with lenses. The Cotton Carrier accomplishes this in a very special way by mounting one to the front area of the vest and another camera on your hip via a special belt.
Indeed, I've felt like an army Ranger with this on while using two big cameras with large zoom lenses. But that just means that you mean serious business.
Making the Best of What You've Got
Of course, the most important part of using a camera strap is making sure that it's comfortable for you. This is especially important for photographers that use their cameras for prolonged intervals. After trying many of these straps out, my own personal setup for shooting gigs has become:
- My Canon 5D Mk II with stock strap on my right hand. The strap is wrapped around my wrist.
- My Canon 7D with the stock strap around my neck or on my left shoulder.
- My Olympus EP-2 with the premium leather strap slung across my body (with the strap resting on my right shoulder and the camera resting on my left hip.)
This set up is comfortable for me for a couple of key reasons that may not necessarily work for you. Most importantly, this setup allows me to have quick access to all three of my cameras while also putting each one in the least comprimising situation to prevent falling, damage, etc. The reason I use three cameras in the fist place is because I prefer to use prime lenses because they're not as heavy and have faster apertures than zoom lenses. With the three cameras, I have a 35mm, 50mm and 85mm equivalent for me to use—and I'm often not shooting at a focal length longer than that. If I need to, I can put my 85mm on my 7D and gain an equivalent focal length of around 136mm.
Once again, keep in mind that this configuration is what works best for me and won't necessarily work for you. As a guy that has shot weddings and events, I'm used to having two or more cameras slung around my body. It's all relative, but it's nice to know that there are many options for photographers to use based on the particular situation they're facing.
What camera strap do you use? Let us know in the comments below.