Product Review – Black Rapid RS-7 Camera Strap
Written by: steve
Sometimes I’m convinced that the worst piece of equipment in photography is the camera strap that comes with your camera. Not only is it a marginally functional piece of equipment, you get the same strap no matter how expensive your camera might be. If you purchase a brand new DSLR for $600 you get a $5 strap. If you purchase a brand new DSLR for $2,500 you get a $5 strap.
So what’s wrong with them? The strap is designed to hang around the photographer’s neck. When you walk, unless you hold onto your camera with your hand, the camera bangs against your chest or abdomen, depending on how you have the strap adjusted. When you bend forward the camera swings forward, away from your body, threatening to impact against the closest immovable object. The biggest complaint, though, is that it’s flat uncomfortable. Especially if you’re carrying something like a Nikon D7000 with a 70-200mm lens mounted to the camera body.
I refuse to “wear” the strap that comes with a camera but I do wrap it around my wrist while holding the camera in my hand. That way the strap at least provides a small amount of security. The only problem is that either the strap becomes too tight to be comfortable or too loose to provide that tiny bit of security. You would think that somebody could design a comfortable camera strap that held the camera securely, kept it from banging against your body as you walked, was easy to keep the camera close to your body especially when bending forward and kept the camera within easy reach. Well, somebody did.
Enter the Black Rapid RS-7 Camera Strap . I know a couple of photographers that have this strap, love it and swear by it. I know at least one photographer who doesn’t have it and isn’t willing to try it because he thinks it would be too easy for the camera to come loose from the strap and fall on the ground. (I’ll get to that point a little later in the review.) Okay, there were two people raving about it and one thinking something bad might happen. I decided to give it a try.
Let’s first tackle the issue that one person didn’t like. Instead of attaching to the built-in “rings” on the sides of the camera body like most straps, the RS-7 attaches with a screw type FastenR-3 that screws into the tripod socket on the bottom of your camera, battery grip or lens.
The photographer I know who doesn’t like it is concerned that the fastener will work loose. I’ve used the strap numerous times and the fastener hasn’t loosened any at all. Yes, to be honest, I do double check it from time to time, but there haven’t been any issues.
The strap connects to the fastener using a locking swivel hook to connect it securely to the strap. When using the strap for the first time, once it’s connected to the camera it’s time to adjust the strap. Instead of me trying to explain the steps to complete the adjustments, watch this short video on the Black Rapid web site.
When adjusted to fit, the camera hangs at the photographer’s hip within easy reach. To use the camera think of a Wild West gunfighter reaching for his pistol. It’s that easy and that quick.
I have used the strap in the studio, at indoor events using an on camera flash, at crowded outdoor events like art festivals and while shooting wildlife outdoors. In each case the Black Rapid strap performed better than any strap I’ve ever used.
What I liked about it:
It’s unbelievably comfortable. I can’t imagine any other strap being as comfortable as the Black Rapid. I spent over four hours one day carrying a Canon 5D Mark II with battery grip and using a 70-200 f/2.8 lens and carrying the camera was as easy and comfortable at the end of the event as it was at the beginning.
It’s cool looking. Okay, it’s just a camera strap but it looks different and I get a lot of questions about it.
It’s simple to adjust. I once read a “review” post on Amazon.com saying that it was very difficult to get adjusted to where it fit properly and no one told them about the video I mentioned above. My experience – I purposely adjusted and used it without watching the video just to see how difficult it was to adjust. Trying to be nice here, I had it adjusted, attached to the camera and was using it in less than five minutes from the time I opened the package. Oh, and there was a reference to the video in the package.
What I didn’t like about it:
Actually, nothing. I’ve tried to find something negative to say about it and I keep coming up empty. I don’t think this is a negative at all, but because the camera hangs at your side about hip level when you’re not using it, I advise that you keep your hand on your camera if you’re in a crowd or someone will bang into it for sure.
I did see where one person complained that it didn’t work very well for left-handed people if you wanted to wear the camera on your left hip instead of your right hip. Maybe so, but the last time I checked, my camera didn’t work left-handed either. The shutter release button is on the right side of the camera as is the grip for holding the camera.
The strap was provided by Black Rapid for me to try and review. When a product is given to me to use and review, I always try to use it as much as I can and in a number of different situations so I can give a fair review.
I also got a Black Rapid bumper or back window sticker for my car. I wonder how many people have looked at the sticker and wondered what new rock band was named Black Rapid.
Tiffany has the model of the strap that is made for women that she will review in the future. I’ll let her explain why there’s a special model for women.
I give this strap my highest recommendation, so if you’re looking for something to buy for the photographer in your life during the holidays or if you want a hint to give to someone buying for you, this is an excellent product from my perspective.
All photos provided by Black Rapid
*The Author received complimentary products in exchange for mentioning the Provider’s products and/or services on this website. Such compensation received did not and will never influence the content, topics or posts made on this website. We will only endorse products or services that we believe, based on our expertise, are worthy of such endorsement.
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