Reviewer: Anthony Fordham
Here’s the essential problem with being a keen amateur photographer: you have to choose between a high-quality but bulky DSLR, or a slim but lacking-in-features compact.
Anyone serious about photography will of course choose a DSLR, but these cameras can be a pain in the field. Hang one on a regular strap, and you’ve got a kilo of tech and lenses bashing against your chest as you scramble over boulders to get that awesome summit-shot.
You could keep the camera in a bag of course, but when an Eastern Quoll suddenly blunders across the track up ahead, the scramble with zips and flaps inevitably ends in an opportunity missed.
The extremely keen guys at BlackRapid now have a patent pending on a solution to this, and here it is, the Rapid Strap – or R-Strap. Rather than hanging like a necklace, the strap is slung diagonally across the shoulder.
The camera literally bolts on to a standard tripod mount, itself attached to a sliding D-ring and quick-release clip, which BlackRapid calls the ConnectR. To take a shot, reach for the hip, grab the camera, swing it up, fire off the shot and let the camera drop back to the hip. A plastic gate stop prevents it from swing back too far. As a result, the camera is out of the way, but it’s always within reach.
There are three versions of the strap, including the basic RS-1, the RS-2 (reviewed here) which also includes a mobile phone pouch, and the RS-3 Camo which, as the name suggests, boasts a military-style camo pattern.
If you’re the kind of photographer who is out in the field, needs to be able to grab a quick shot, but at the same time would be irritated by a camera around your neck, then the R-Strap could benefit you.
The main issue with using one while you scramble about in the great outdoors is that you can’t see the camera when its dangling from the strap. The risk of it bashing against those same natural features you’re out trying to capture is very real. Also, the plastic gate stop can dig into your kidney or the small of your back if you sit back in a chair while wearing the R-Strap.
Where the R-Strap works best is on the sidelines of a sporting match. It’s also great for using multiple cameras: do most of your shooting with a telephoto on a tripod? Then having a wide-angle set up on the R-Strap gives you that extra flexibility.
Bottom line? If you’re the kind of photographer who would serious consider upgrading your camera strap, then the RS-2 offers an innovative and effective new take on this seemingly straightforward bit of technology.