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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.

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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.