I’m currently conducting a 7 day review of the 2nd generation camera sling strap from Carry Speed. These are my notes from day one.
This is not a review. I will be writing a full review and conclusion after I evaluate the product for 7 days in the field. These are a stream of notes for my reference.
Construction looks good. All the various pieces that make up the strap appear to be quite sturdy. The base plate for example is much smaller than I expected, but it’s also far more solid than expected, which is very nice. It doesn’t look like it’s going to be a point of failure any time soon.
The threaded knob has great potential for transitions to tripods and the like. Unfortunately, it proved to be too shallow for the Barska pistol grip I like to use. I haven’t tested it with anything else other than a cheap tabletop tripod (think GorillaPod jr. jr.) which it didn’t have any problem with. I’ll test it with my Manfrotto quick release tripod head tomorrow.
One definitely nice this is that the mount plate gives enough clearance to open the battery door, at least on a Canon T2i. I’ll be testing the strap with a Panasonic GH1 in a day so we’ll see whether the plate obstructs anything important. It’s really close though. At first, I thought the mount blocked access to the battery, but then found that the plate had a bit of play so I could slide it a bit and the door was accessible.
The strap is really long. I’m 6′ tall, but the camera hangs mid-thigh. I have to adjust it quite a bit to get it waist level. I figure I’m just supposed to bring to whatever level is most comfortable. No instructions were included. Some guidance from the manufacturers regarding the ideal position for the camera would be nice. No matter, I probably wouldn’t read it anyway. Note: Take the strap off before adjusting the height. It’s a lot easier to adjust that way. I think the tension of the camera hanging off of it makes it a bit harder to pull the strap though the adjuster. Lay it down and it slides easily.
The shoulder pad looks nice and contoured. The rubber nubs on the bottom are pretty squishy. It’s nice to touch.
Actually using the shoulder pad evokes a somewhat different emotion. All the material makes the shoulder pad rather stiff, so most of the nubs don’t even make contact with my shoulder. Maybe it’ll become more flexible after some use.
I’ve decided to wear it every waking minute. I’ve never used a camera sling before so it feels awkward on me. In order to get used to it, I’m wearing it everywhere, even around the house before I head out to shoot.
I had to shorten the strap even more, but I think I’ve found a good height for me. Earlier the shoulder pad was lifting up off of my shoulder when I would bring the camera up to eye level, making it feel kind of cumbersome. Now, the shoulder pad stays put and it feels like the camera slides up the strap more easily.
The big cushion sounded nice, but it’s not as “stealth” as I would like. The nubs raise it off of my shoulder so it appears even thicker and more noticeable. Comfort or stealth? I’m not sure. I need to test one without such ample cushioning to compare as I know that I always thought about how uncomfortable a strap would be without good cushioning.
I’m running some errands while wearing the strap. Pretty comfortable. I’m getting more used to it being there. It’s nice to be able to have quick access to my camera but also have both hands free. The included “Uni strap” is nice. I’ve connected it to one of the standard shoulder strap mounts on the camera, while the other end is clipped to one of my belt loops so it’s a backup in case the main strap fails for any reason. It’s pretty quick to unbuckle so that the camera slides freely so it doesn’t really slow you down. It was nice to have as I walked through stores and bent down to look at things on lower shelves. The camera stayed put at my side. The Uni strap feels a little long though. I shortened it as much as possible as well. I guess variability is good.
While the rubber nubs make the strap feel bulkier than I would like, they really help to keep the strap in place on my shoulder. I already have confidence that the shoulder pad is going to stay put when I bend over and the camera starts to shift. This grip helps the camera from swinging further than it otherwise would. A nice result of this grip is that it makes the strap sort of a stabilizer. I hold the camera out in front of me as far as I can (which isn’t much because I’ve shortened the strap) and since the shoulder pad is anchored to my shoulder, the strap pulls tight. Hard to explain, but it’s sort of like a reverse shoulder stock. I’m going to have to test this more. I wonder how a normal strap (without the grippy rubber) would do? Would it stay put on my shoulder just as well?
The two plastic slides on the strap are actually useful. One is in front of the camera connector and the other is behind it. The one behind it is especially useful because it really helped to keep the camera from bouncing all around as I walked when I locked it in place right next to the camera connector. The front slide is more useful when I have no intention of shooting anything because I would have to unlock it and slide it up just to use the camera. I already have the Uni strap to keep the camera down when I don’t want to use it, so the front slide has just stayed up by the shoulder pad so far. If I didn’t have the Uni strap, the front slide would be useful because it’s pretty quick to unlock and adjust so it would be pretty effective in keeping the camera down if I’m not going to use it for a while.
The strap was also useful when I was shooting some video while driving. Note: Don’t do this! I could shoot some video and then put the camera down on my lap when I was done without worrying about it sliding off. Manual focusing still hard while driving. Again, don’t do this!
That’s pretty much it for day one. I really want to test it in a more action-oriented setting like a run or a hike, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to get to it for some time due to my current move.