For as long as I’ve had a DSLR, I’ve been using the Canon camera strap that came with it. Because hey, it’s free! Unfortunately, besides advertising Canon without being paid anything, the default strap is probably the most uncomfortable and un-ergonomic camera strap ever. I’ve been holding off buying a better one as I’m very cheap and any kind of camera accessory is sadly not, but after suffering through shooting two weddings, multiple events and a few holidays I decided that forking out for a strap that wasn’t going to kill my back would be cheaper than getting physio.
So I bit the bullet and got the BlackRapid RS-W1 women’s camera strap (I got mine from Cameras Direct for $78). Why is there a special one for women? Boobs. Also a strange floral velvet applique on the strap which is kind of unnecessary, but at least they didn’t make it pink.
The fastener screws into the tripod socket at the base of the camera, which is then attached to the strap in such a way that it can slide up and down the strap when needed, or locked in place with a clip. The camera ends up sitting upside-down on the hip, with the lens pointing back behind you (and presumably an attached flash pointing down your leg, although I didn’t get around to trying this). I did try wearing the default Canon strap across my body in an effort to make it more ergonomic, but the RS-W1 distributes the weight much more evenly and is much smoother and faster to lift up to shoot. It does bounce around on the hip when walking around, but not alarmingly so. I’m pretty happy with how it sits across my chest with the curved strap, which I think will cause less weird bunching than straps not intended for *ahem* lovely lady lumps.
I used it today when at the Good Food and Wine Show with my Canon 7D and a wide-angle lens, and for the almost 5 hours that I was walking around it didn’t feel painful on my neck or shoulders, or uncomfortable at all. After the awful back pain I suffered on my Singapore trip, it feels like a good investment. Taking it on a holiday (where I’m usually walking around with a camera for most of the day, many days in a row) will be more of a real test, but things are looking good so far!
In a nutshell:
- Is not emblazoned with Canon logo (and the BlackRapid branding is reasonably subtle)
- Much more even distribution of weight; very comfortable to wear
- Fast and smooth to lift camera from hip to eye with the way the fastener slides along the strap
- Can lock into place anywhere along the strap – like at the hip for walking around, or more in front when negotiating crowds
- I can attest that it fits petite curvy women (I have tried other straps which were simply too long!)
- Quite pricey (although not unexpectedly so)
- Bit confusing to figure out how to adjust it, although the video on the BlackRapid website helps
- Can bump around a bit when walking around
- Attaches to tripod socket, so needs to be removed to use a tripod – this is the most annoying thing for me
- Floral velvet appliqué (apparently you can get it without, but not on the website I ordered from)
- No memory card pocket
This is an unsolicited review of an item that I paid full price for – I just found it a useful accessory and wanted to share! Apologies for the awful photos, my G10 is not as good as my DSLR (which I’m wearing in these shots) in my dimly lit apartment.