Sunday, November 23, 2008

Black Rapid's R-Strap: A Hands on Review






First Impressions: Day 1 - It has arrived and I open the roll. I find the RS-2 strap & FastenR. I inspect the strap inside and out and find the quality top notch. All fasterners and webbing are high grade. So I study it a bit to see how everything works and attach my camera with my 55-200vr lens.

Standup and Walking around the camera hung well and out of the way. It was a bit weird wearing a camera and reaching for it and it is not there. It is on the side leaving the front of body free. Boy that is a kinda of liberating to have the full front side of myself unencumbered. And with my frontside pouch I need all the extra room I can get.

Started to quick draw and found it fast and natural. How come nobody thought of this before? The only fiddling is to find the sweet spot on where the camera resting spot is. To low and it may bounce or roll with short lenses.

Walkabout Day 2: Now for the real testing. I was concerned that it would get in the way of my Slingshot 200 but surprised that I still could use the slingshot slide to front to access my gear.

Also another of my concerns was the screw in mount to camera since none of my zooms have a lens mount on them and that with strong force the fastener would come loose under the torque of the camera moving side to side or any rotational forces. Well that did NOT happen. I even tried to make it happen with spinning the camera and banging against my hand and picking up and dropping camera on bed. And it stayed locked into camera screw mount.

Walked around for about 2 hours bending,quick-step,jumping,etc... as I was shooting action in the park blocks and found it great to let go of camera and have hands and chest area free. Also accessing my bag in front without the normal camera strap getting in the way was a great sense of freedom. At the end it was comfortable and you forget it's there (Careful! when you sit down).

Also found it alot easier to always grab it heading out the door just to go to the store. It's there and unobtrusive ready to snap that robbery in progress late at night at the local 7/11.

Photowalking event with Thomas Hawk Day 3 : It is now March 1st Saturday is the Photowalk event were about 15-20 people showed with Thomas Hawk and his beautiful wife. A couple of people asked about the strap so I handed out some BlackRapid cards and gave them the blog address so they could read my review of it.

Starting at Pioneer Square we headed to Waterfront park. The strap proved itself again when I noticed other's with a standard strap that it got in the way when trying to access their shirt or jacket pockets. And other's removing strap all together to get to their packs. These things are second nature to them and not noticeable unless you are looking for it.

We headed down the waterfront to Saturday Market which opened today with it's kazillion booths of Crafts,Arts,Exoctic Foods. And moving thru the crowds was fine but a hand on the camera as not to bang it into anybody. The rest were headed up for neon to north portland but I had to go.

The Final verdict: "I give it two thumbs up.. I like the whole idea behind it's design and function."

So that was basically the test I gave the strap. There was much walking,squatting,quick run,etc.. And of course the strap proved itself to me. It is now the replacement to my regular strap.

But are there any problems or pet peaves? Of course there are. There's always something.

Pet Peeve's or how it can be improved: (Of course this is only my Opinion and take it for what it's worth).

1) The FastenR seems big to me. Especially connecting it to a camera body. You won't be able to set the camera down like you would normally do with a regular strap. If another fastenR could be designed specific for the camera body that would be great.

But I don't think it is feasible for Black Rapid to do that without alot of additional cost and trouble for such a little issue as that.

But on further thought. Attaching or adhering a D shape clip to a tripod plate might work great and give back the ability to lay the camera down (Just a thought). Also there have been complaints of camera detaching from the clip. And had it do just that twice on me. So definite redesign of the clip seems to be indicated.

2) Light Cameras and Lenses let the strap slowly creep down the front. Solution get yourself some anti-skid material for the backside of the strap. This for me is the main peeve for me and other's with entry or mid level dSlr's that are designed light.

I suspect this will only be an issue for people with light camera-lens combo's. Pro's that use the Heavier Tank models should not have any problems with this.

3) Would like to see a 3rd model with a longer and 1/2" wider pad with more pockets or attachments (Straplets?). They could have a series of attachable packets for holding batteries,cards,filters,etc.. Again just a thought or dream?

4) A RS-2 with FastenR shipped will cost you about $62-65 bucks or so and seems a bit high.

Well I imagine yes if they were selling 10,000 units per month. But not high if they are only selling 100-500 units per month. It is a new product so if it takes off then I imagine the price would come down. But I don't see how that would be possible this year anyway.

So I would say give it a whirl if you do alot Two camera or Action shots. I even hear people using two straps one on each hip (Gunslinger Complex?).

And if you order one let them know you read it here. I would like to know if people actually read my review and find it useful.

And I would like to thank Black Rapid in Seattle for sending me the RS-2 to test and review. Tho it is not a 10 it is a solid 9.5 and have no problems recommending it.

Original Post to Pics and Video,BlackRapid website and blog.
Innovative R-Strap Update: The Strap Has Arrived!

BlackRapid's MySpace page
David Norris Photography | ModernPics.com
Honda-Tech Threads on R-Strap
http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/610155/0

Be sure to leave comments which I will incorporate into the posts on your own experiences with this product.


4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review. I just bought one but did not have your review beforehand. Would have made me more confidant. Thanks.

Sylvia, Hamsa Shawls said...

Thanks for the excellent review. One quick question: Do you feel that the Quick Release clip mechanism on the strap is really sturdy? Some other strap brands have quick release clips that are too light and self-release under weight of the gear. Many thanks for your thoughts on this.

Anonymous said...

The Black Rapid comes with a small plastic tube, that prevents the gate from accidentally unlatching. I found the tube to be too short. I put one a wee bit longer on mine (about ½ inch) and it's much better. I bought a one foot piece of tubing for $0.17 at the local hardware store.

Russ

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review. I am considering this strap and this blog will help form my decision.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review. I just bought one but did not have your review beforehand. Would have made me more confidant. Thanks.

Sylvia, Hamsa Shawls said...

Thanks for the excellent review. One quick question: Do you feel that the Quick Release clip mechanism on the strap is really sturdy? Some other strap brands have quick release clips that are too light and self-release under weight of the gear. Many thanks for your thoughts on this.

Anonymous said...

The Black Rapid comes with a small plastic tube, that prevents the gate from accidentally unlatching. I found the tube to be too short. I put one a wee bit longer on mine (about ½ inch) and it's much better. I bought a one foot piece of tubing for $0.17 at the local hardware store.

Russ

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review. I am considering this strap and this blog will help form my decision.

Flipteezy said...

Thanks for the review! I just ordered one and can't wait to try it out for myself!

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Your review helped me make up my mind to purchase one. I found the RS-2 (new) for $44.95 so I decided to pull the trigger after reading your review of this camera strap. Thank you!