Camera straps and bags! It's hard to find the perfect one and it seems I never have enough of either. I will not start on camera bags here but let's talk about camera straps.
The first thing to say about camera straps is that those that come with cameras are crappy. They are uncomfortable and usually have bright letters on them. I'm sure you are happy with your brand new Canon 5D Mark III but do you really need to scream it at everyone who is looking at you?
For many years, I used Blackrapid's straps. They are comfortable and I like the zippered pouch. I used it to store some spare cards. They are really nice but there is only one way to use them: across the body. I wanted more versatility and my research pointed me to Peak Design's new Slide camera strap. For those interested by their products, I already reviewed their CapturePRO camera clip last year.
Two things attracted me to Peak Design's Slide camera strap
- The versatility
- The easy way to remove it
Peak Design put a lot of thoughts in their camera strap design. It seems I am not alone out there who likes some versatility in that piece of gear. You can use it in different ways:
- Neck strap
- Shoulder strap
- Sling strap
With their quick adjusters, it's fast and easy to set the strap at the right length. This part is really important when you switch from neck to sling strap for example.
When you use it as a sling strap, you want it to slide easily from your hip to your eye. But when you use it as a shoulder strap, you don't want it to slip and fall down. They thought about that too. When you use it as a shoulder strap, you just turn it over to the anti-skid side. The middle of the strap is also padded for comfort.
You can use it on any camera with their patent-pending anchors. You can use the anchors on the top sides of the camera like any other straps. You can also use them with the Arca-compatible baseplate that comes with it. That keeps the camera grip clear. Using it this way has the lens facing downward instead of backward like with the BlackRapid strap. It seems more secure since there is less chance to hit the front element of the lens. The camera dangle a lot less this way too because it has two anchor points instead of just one in the case of the BlackRapid's.
Since I started doing some video work, that's one thing I want to be able to do fast: remove the strap from the camera. If you want to put the camera on a slider or Steadicam, it can't have a camera strap attached to it. It's not just useful for video. If you want to put your camera on a tripod, it's a good idea to remove the strap too. For long exposure, the wind can catch it and induce some blur in your image.
They designed an anchor link system that is used to attach the strap to the camera. With one hand, you can easily unlock the anchor link by pushing it down and sliding it out. Once locked in, they are really sturdy. They are tested to withstand 200 lbs. each. You can buy additional anchor links to put on your other cameras so switching to another one is a breeze.
They had a problem with the anchor system on the Slide when they started shipping but they reacted fast. It was not a design problem but a manufacturing one. They did not try to hide or deny it like some companies do. They checked their stock of straps, found the problem and corrected it quickly. That is a very good philosophy.
The Slide, from Peak Design, might not be the prettiest camera strap out there but it certainly is one of the most versatile and comfortable one. You can use it as a sling strap, a neck strap or a shoulder strap. You can adjust it fast, and you can remove it quickly from the camera. It is safe and sturdy. I would not used that with a small camera like the Panasonic LX100 but It is my main strap for my Panasonic GH4. Once again, I like the versatility, the comfort and the easy way to remove the strap from the camera. I definitely recommend it. You can buy it straight from Peak Design's website and you can get 10% off when using the code "MJ2014".