Review: BlackRapid R-Strap

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BlackRapid R-Strap Turns the Camera World Upside Down

By Kim Larson

I thought a neck-strap was the only option I had for carrying around my camera until I spotted another photographer using a BlackRapid R-Strap. I was intrigued by the upside-down camera hanging at his side, and how easy it was for him to grab the camera to immediately start using it—I had to ask what it was.

It was the first version of the BlackRapid R-Strap, and I quickly went to order one myself. I’ve been happily using that same strap for two years now. The R-Strap fits over your shoulder like a messenger bag, so the camera hangs at your hip. The camera moves freely when you bring it up to your eye, while the strap stays put. And if it does happen to shift a bit, a little bumper on the strap will move the strap back into place when you put the camera back at your side.

The R-Strap has a shoulder piece that is heavily padded for comfort, and today’s versions of the R-Strap also feature pockets for holding small items. The RS-4 features a small zippered pocket for compact flash cards, while the RS-5 features additional pockets with magnetic closures for business cards and a small cell phone. I’ve never found the strap itself to be uncomfortable, even after 8 hours straight of wedding photography.

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On the opposite end of the shoulder piece where you attach the camera to the strap, you’ll find a durable swivel-clip. The clip fastens shut so you do not have to worry about your camera falling off, yet it is still easy to remove the camera if you want to detach it from the strap and use it on a tripod. The swivel ensures the strap never twists while handling your camera. On the camera, you can attach the clip to an existing tripod quick-release (I use the Manfrotto RC2 system), or you can use the provided Fasten-R. Simply screw the Fasten-R into any available tripod socket and it’s ready! Even with my heaviest equipment, I never worry about the R-Strap failing.

BlackRapid also has options for photographers who carry two cameras, both a Double Strap and a CoupleR that combines two R-Straps into one.

200910we_rstrapDoubleStrap.jpg   200910we_rstrapdubmodel.jpg

You can view more specs on the products, and videos of the products in use, on the BlackRapid website at www.blackrapid.com. You can order through their website, or find the closest camera retailer that carries them. RS-4 and RS-5 models are $54 and $65, respectively. The Double Strap is $130, and the CoupleR is $16.

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Comments (15)

I bought the RS-5 and I won't go back to the normal camera strap - ever!

I would never- however hard you convince me to hang my $10,000 approx set from a single anchor point. Gravity has a funny way to win.

Has anyone talked with the camera makers that their body tripod mount would take the weight/strain and this is a good idea?

I'd be interested in a year to see if there are sob stories of thread failures, unscrewed mounts etc.

Lauch:

Not mentioned in the article:

I can bend over to service my 3 year-old without clunking him in the head as my camera swings around.

My camera is always in the right place, tight against my body and protected from banging into door frames, and other obstacles.

Always ready for use, and I've never had it come loose from the socket, but one could easily add a safety line to the D-clip if they felt it was necessary.

Silly marketing plan touts the best connectR/fasteneR clips for an additional $16/$12 ... why not put the best clips on the product, instead of an inferior clip. Duh!

I found the company difficult to deal with, but the order was handled promptly.

Hi -

Any thoughts on purchasing the double strap system as opposed to two single straps and the coupler? I like the idea of de-coupling the straps when using only 1 camera but always use 2 cameras on paid shoots.

Also, can the coupler kit work on two RS5's and/or a RS4 and a RS5?

Thanks,

Bob

It will be a good choice to have one on your shoulders. Thanks for the post.

@Bob - I have not tried the double strap personally as I rarely use two cameras at once. When I do I just criss-cross each strap on either side of my body and it works for me, even though I end up looking like Rambo. I haven't tried the CoupleR either.

I believe the CoupleR will work with multiple versions of the R-Strap since it just clips them together, but I just sent a message off to Black Rapid to make sure I'm correct and I will be back with results!

Bo Wriston:

I am a US Navy Combat Photographer currently serving in Iraq. I utilize both the RS-4 (when I only need one camera) and the Double Strap (over my body armor w/two cameras as I carry on most assignments). Black Rapid products are phenominal and allow me to go from my primary camera to my secondary in a heartbeat.

The only modification I have made to the overall system, is instead of using the Black Rapid connectors, I attach both camera bodies and my 80-200 2.8 to Bogen quick release plates. this allows the added versatility if I need to go to tripod or monopod quickly. I connect my primary connector to the 80-200, which allows me to switch lenses on the fly on my primary body, with the 80-200 staying securely at my side.

Versatility and speed is the name of the game... and the Black Rapid Double Strap is the best on the market in my minds eye.

As to durability, I have been nothing but pleased! After months of daily wear in combat environments, the Double Strap (with the exception of being covered in Iraqi dust) shows zero signs of wear.

Comfort and wearability are exceptional.

I fully recommend this system!

I confirmed with Black Rapid that the CoupleR does indeed work with multiple versions of the R-strap. :)

To: Virginia Photographer Mark Finkenstaedt. I've already read posts on a forum of people complaining about the strap coming unclipped in the past. The company fixed the clip.

Personal experience: I've owned an R-Strap for a little over a year. I've used the R-Strap at 24 weddings this past year, tons of sporting events and countless family outings without failure. Typically I hang a Canon Mark III with a 70-200 2.8L IS from it. (Just for knowledge of what I consider typical use) Maybe I'm just lucky, but I love my R-Strap. The only issue I have is after tons of wear and tear the soft part of the strap and the edging are coming undone. Considering comfort of the strap, the mass use of the strap, I'd say it has proven itself. I used it today shooting with my Mark III and a 16-35L. Love it.

Hey- yall.

I'm in NYC at the PhotoExpo and the interest over these straps is incredible. The best and worst is -
Best by far BlackRapid - best quality less fuss. Worst quality is the Slingers which is really just hardware quality and I would stay clear of this. Somewhere in the middle is the newest rip of this BlackRapid original by California Sunbounce - Sun-Sniper which is pretty over engineered and even copied the hardware of BR. However, I was comp'd one of these and it has a metal filament to prevent cutting/theft (silly really). However, in the shock absorbed tiny metal wires are sticking out and already stabbed a curious friend. Not good. I'll show it to the CalSB people tomorrow to see what they say.

I may be a changed man with almost 1.5 thumbs up for BlackRapid.

>I would never- however hard you convince me to hang my $10,000 approx set from a single anchor point. Gravity has a funny way to win.

Over on the NAPP forums (sorry, you have to be a member), there are a number of posts showing exactly what you describe, the 'D" Ring came out of it's retaining hole. I can’t personally comment but it is disconcerting to see the photo’s on the forum showing this. Should anyone be a NAPP member, the URL of the discussion is:

http://www.photoshopuser.com/members/forum/showthread.php?t=30095

Andrew.

I think it's 1.5 thumbs up for the product and material quality but as for me hanging it in such a fashion - you got me. Maybe it if has the backup strap but not as is. The Canon guy I talked to said that the Canon booth people could hardly believe their eyes when they saw these straps - "Is that something they just made in their garage?". The straps don't have their endorsement yet.

BlackRapid also has a quick release snap which has me bit dubious. I have a laptop case (courier style) with the same sort of snap and I slung it over my shoulder only to find the clasp wasn't snapped and my new MacBook Pro hit the floor to the tune of $600. I would put some nylon ties thought this connector and remove this potential problem.
Okay I'm done. I'll check on these posts.
Cheers.

Thanks for the comments and reviews, I always read these reviews on any product before I buy. Invaluable.
One burning question though is what about two cameras with flash units? I use two cameras both with flash units attached and am wondering how the single or double straps work with the added hardware.
Thanks.

I never take the flash unit off my camera, and I really don't have any problem with the camera swinging around on my hip. And the extra weight of the flash is not an issue for the strap. I typically have a radiopopper mounted on top of my flash at the same time.

Now I've never used the strap with two cameras and flashes, but since they are meant to sit on opposite sides of your body (the cameras wont bang together), I think you should be just fine!

VictorIa:

Well, I just wanted to add my two cents in case this is useful to anyone considering getting the strap. I bought the strap and was fascinated by the easy access and comfort carrying the camera it provides. Until, yes, as predicted by some of you here, the latch failed. A broken lens, and the camera body is with Nikon for an estimate. Interestingly enough when I went to return the strap to Adorama and told the guy what happened he looked the other way... Which made me think I was not the first one going with the same complaint. I did submit a review in the Adorama website which 'surprisingly' is not up yet... I guess the strap is a bestseller. My advice To anyone considering this is: not worth the risk. Instead, get a longer regular strap and wear it as you would wear this one (across) - the regular camera strap holders are way safer than that latch!!!

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 1, 2009 10:14 AM.

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