OP/TECH Camera Strap System
|A clip makes all the difference|
I think I now have the perfect camera strap system.
No, I haven’t discovered some awesome new strap. I’m still using the same ol' OP/TECH system I've been using for several years, but a tiny, inexpensive addition has perfected it. It was the final piece of the puzzle.
My main strap is the Utility Strap Sling. I love this sling-style strap because it's very comfortable to wear for many hours.
|Utility Strap Sling|
I also have a Super Classic Strap. I don't use it as much because it's a neck strap and I don't find neck straps as comfortable as slings, but every once in awhile I'm in a situation where I don't want to have my camera swinging around by my side. As neck straps go, the Super Classic is great. The neoprene pad improves the comfort (although obviously not to the level of the Utility Strap Sling).
And I have a pair of Swivel Hook Connectors that I attach to the shoulders straps on my photography backpack. These straps allow me to carry the both the pack and the camera on the pack's shoulder straps. That way, the shoulder straps aren't interfering with a camera strap and vice-versa.
|Swivel Hook Connectors|
So, three different straps I can choose from depending on need. What’s really cool about this system is that they all use OP/TECH's quick release Uni-Loop connectors. With the Uni-Loop connectors attached to my camera, I can switch between the sling, the neck strap, and the backpack easily and in just a few seconds. It's a very convenient and versatile system.
But there was one nagging problem: The sling really got in the way when holding the camera in portrait orientation. That’s because the Uni-Loop connectors are designed to attach to the camera's strap posts. On the sling, that design puts the strap right up in your face in portrait mode. It's actually quite annoying, but I'd always just sucked it up and dealt with it because the system was otherwise ideal.
But now I've solved it.
I noticed that the much-loved but very pricey Black Rapid sling straps attach to the bottom of the camera using a special bolt screwed into the tripod mounting hole. The Black Rapid sling has a carabiner type clip that latches onto a loop built into the head of the bolt.
Well, very similar to the Black Rapid system, my tripod plate (a Mefoto Arca-Swiss compatible plate) has a mounting bolt with a D-ring built into the bolt head.
I bought a titanium quick release hook for $9 from Amazon that I attached to the Uni-Loop connector on the sling. Why titanium? Well, strength and corrosion resistance are good reasons, but honestly steel and aluminum are good enough for this application. But for only $9 I thought, "Why not go with the high-tech stuff?"
|The Missing Link|
I can now clip the hook onto the tripod bolt's D-ring so that the sling is attached to the camera bottom like the Black Rapid strap, instead of the strap mounting post on the side. This arrangement allows me to leave the tripod plate attached to camera so I can switch from straps to tripod very easily. (By the way, if your tripod plate doesn't have a bolt with a D-ring, you can buy a replacement bolt from Amazon for cheap and retrofit it onto your current tripod plate.)
Attaching the strap to the camera bottom gets the strap out of my face when in portrait orientation (and landscape orientation for that matter). Problem solved.
|No more strap in the face!|
With the strap attached to the bottom, the camera hangs upside-down. I've found that the camera swings around a bit less when walking, so I think it's a small improvement.
|Now the camera hangs upside-down, which is|
slightly more convenient
The best part is the total system cost. The Utility Strap Sling is $30, the Super Classic is $23, the Swivel Hook Connectors are $10, and the quick release hook is $9. That's $72 total, which is slightly less than a single, top of the line Black Rapid strap. And my system is a lot more versatile. In case there's any doubt, I can vouch that the OP/TECH straps are durable, comfortable, and well-designed. I’ve used them for over 5 years on every photo session I’ve done and they still look almost new. So quality is not an issue. Admittedly, the OP/TECH straps don't have nearly the cachet of Black Rapid straps. But I can totally live without that for the price and versatility.
|A strap for every occasion|