Custom SLR Brand Camera Strap
On a recent shoot in San Francisco I was approached by Ben Wong, the man behind the C-Loop camera strap accessory, to not only inquire about a custom bracket setup I had, but to also show their latest creation, the Custom SLR Split Strap system. I’m excited to say I was the first in the “Strap Swap“ program that they are offering. I traded in my Lowepro strap, which I had recently picked up as a lightweight safety strap, for this beauty. It was love at first sight.
You may be asking yourself, why do we need another review of yet another camera strap? That’s a good question, though I’ll toss it out the window on the condition that you understand the accessory side of photography, or better yet, the continual need for better equipment. Photographers are always looking at ways to maximize efficiency in their shoots, whether it’s a camera flash bracket, a new strap, or a tripod that does something just that much better.
So it’s more than just another camera strap. It’s the ability for me to shoot for an extra hour if I have to, with several pounds of equipment on my shoulder. In addition, it allows me to have a flexible configuration based on whether I’m shooting a wedding, climbing the side of a mountain, or standing in a gym at the ready for a basketball action shot. Flexibility and adaptation is key in this line of work. Being able to modify on the fly is what gets your the shot.
That brings me back to the original concept here. I need to stress that the accessory market for photography probably accounts for well over 80% of “things sold” to photographers. It’s fundamentally important that you invest wisely, and plan ahead. And one of the best things to invest in, is a well made camera strap.
I’ve gone through about 12 different camera straps over the years, trying the latest and greatest from each major manufacturer. Lowepro, OpTech, Black Rapid and more. All of these manufacturers produce excellent straps for a variety of uses. The major problem, is that no one brand offers a solution that is flexible, adaptable towards multiple connection methods, lightweight, and most of all, comfortable. Though if I had to pick, the Black Rapid RS-7 is one of the better solutions out there for those that like the bottom mount style.
In all the years of having these straps, there’s been a glaring problem which I addressed above. That’s the ability to adapt a strap into various configurations based on your shooting needs. By this, I mean that I can’t use a Black Rapid on my eyelets, nor my Lowepro on the base of my camera for quick strap usage. Instead, I’d normally have to purchase multiple straps for varying needs. Annoying at best.
Enter the Custom SLR Camera Strap.
The first thing you notice about this strap is the neoprene used for the main padding. The quality is second to none. The second thing you will notice is the split design. What this does, is allow the strap to conform not only to your neck, but also to your shoulder line as well. This gives you a superior fit, with some room to breath as well. The design is strong, doesn’t rip apart, and adapts to people of all shapes and sizes. On the back of the neoprene, is a series of branded gel sticky marks which means it won’t slip off of my shoulder, or ride up the back of my neck. Keep in mind I mostly use this on my right shoulder.
Moving down the sides of the strap you will notice the SLR logo, and further down, you will see what most camera straps lack. A special rotating snap system that allows the camera to adjust on the fly to varying conditions. This rotating buckle means you can load balance the stress points for a more natural fit against your body. This also means you can quickly adjust the strap lengths based on your requirements between the two sets given in the package. These snaps are extremely secure, and offer complete flexibility in your shooting angles.
At the bottom of the straps, you will find a set of high strength webbing securly connected to the nylon straps. These lines are what connect directly to your camera, laptop bag, C-Loop, Black Rapid loop, Spider Holster, and just about anything else you can loop around. What this means, is that you can adapt the strap to ANY connector, on any bag or camera system. This is what I mean by flexibility and adaptability. Simple enough, right? Well the science from the camera standpoint is that you can thread these into the existing metal strap lops on the top of the SLR, as well as any adapter you use on the bottom. So if you are already a Black Rapid user, and you need the ability to have a strap system that is more traditional, you can easily adapt this strap to use not only the bottom connector, but also keep the second set of straps (recall I mentioned that this system comes with two sets of snap in extenders that connect the main strap to the camera) at the ready for quickly adapting a system at your side, to a system around your neck.
As you can see from the above two images, there are two main points to connect. This strap covers both, with ease, and without scratching up your camera. My previous Cotton Carrier, while a great system, scratched the frame eyelets that connected to them.
So the Custom SLR strap has a lot going for it. Comfortable strap with a unique slit design, an easily adaptable two length strap selector that lets you have at one given time, two strap setups using only one system. In addition, it gives you good comfort, and the ability to not only use your current configurations (if you are a Black Rapid user for example), but also grow with the same strap setup for future needs.
Images courtesy Custom SLR (Kickstart Project Page). Above images illustrate two methods for carrying. See the Kickstart page for more options.
I personally use this system full time, and recommend it to anyone who is looking to upgrade their setup without the need for multiple straps. This is sort of a set it and forget type of strap, and with all that is has going for it, should makes its way into every photographers bag.