Do You Carry Two Cameras? Find the Right Camera Strap For You!
Photographers far and wide are notoriously always in search of the perfect camera bag and the perfect camera strap. We’re going to talk about camera bags in a future installment so today we’re going to look at camera straps, and mostly camera straps for photographers that need to carry two cameras at once, such as we do when we photograph weddings.
Is there a perfect Camera strap? While some come close, there are still disadvantages with any given style. The best strap system generally will come down to the point of finding which one has the fewest disadvantages or which have advantages that far outweigh any negatives.
Let’s take a look at some options:
1. The strap that “came in the box”.
Other than the fact that this is “free”, there really aren’t any advantages to the “in-the-box” camera strap. If you are using two cameras each would have to be on one shoulder and this type of strap tends to be slippery. It’s likely that there would be a lot of mishaps from cameras using this strap slipping off the shoulder. I say this because I have had it happen. It’s best use is generally to keep it wrapped up in the box so it increases the perceived newness and value when the day comes that you may sell this camera to someone.
Pros: There really aren’t any (other than it does look decent with it’s red stripe, black fabric, and embroidered logo).
Cons: As mentioned above
Bottom line: Don’t bother to use it; it’s really easy to improve on it.
2. A wider, padded strap.
This is a major step forward. This particular camera strap shown is not available on the open market, it’s just available to Canon Professional Services members, but there are similar straps available in camera stores. What this strap (or one like it) provides are a better weight distribution and some “give” from its resilient stretchy material.
Pros: Comfortable. Distributes weight. Resilient. Grippy. Simple to use.
Cons: You can’t directly buy this exact strap, though there are some listed from time to time on eBay. (but similar versions can be found).
Bottom line: A long way better than the ‘strap-in-the-box’.
3. An advanced after-market strap (‘sling’, actually): The Black Rapid
I really like the Black Rapid sling strap offerings. I still have two and they are my strap of choice if I am not using my HoldFast system which I will review further below. Back Rapid offers many different versions and models, including a specific woman’s model that swoops comfortably across the front for women, as shown.
The camera hangs at the ready and slides along the path of the strap as it is raised to eye level to be used.
Pros: Comfortable. Many models. Cross-body design won’t fall off.
Cons: Cameras can contact the ground when you crouch. The shoulder pad can ‘ride’ and have to be relocated to the shoulder. The strap attaches to the tripod socket and thus ties it up
Bottom line: Recommended, give it a try. But there are still better choices if you’re a wedding photographer. Read on:
Company web site: Black Rapid
4. The Spider Belt holster system for 2 cameras:
I have had this belt system and it has a ton of serious advantages. Enough so that this may be your 2-camera system of choice. This system is best described by looking at the pros and cons:
Pros: Cameras are able to lock into their clips and don’t dangle and swing from a strap and thus are much less likely to clang into the ground.
Weight is well distributed on the hips.
When the camera is unclipped there are no annoying straps hooked onto the camera bodies.
I think that women more often find the fit of this belt is more accommodating than some men do… it’s about the hips :).
Cons: Fairly expensive.
Can be hard to assemble (the first clip and protector comes installed but for customization the second has to be user-installed in the right position….but in defense of the manufacturer they have told me in the past that they will happily assemble the second clip for the customer once the proper location of the second clip has been marked).
The camera needs a base plate that has a tall protruding stud that prevents the camera from sitting flat, and it occupies the tripod socket. Bathroom breaks may mean having to unsnap the whole belt.
If you don’t take the time to lock the camera into the holder, it likely will fall out if you bend a certain way. It has happened to people I know. The solution is to get in the habit of using the lock every time the camera is inserted.
If you’re a guy there is a chance that with straighter hips than women it may mean that a heavily loaded belt could tend to mean that your pants will tend toward being pushed down a bit. Removing base plate from camera requires allen wrench, which stores in the plate, yet is easily lost.
If you have a long lens on your camera, it can hit the ground when you crouch.
Bottom Line: The Spider belt dual-camera belt could be just perfect for you. Find a friend with one so you can try it out before investing.
Company web site: Spider Belt
5. The HoldFast MoneyMaker
The HoldFast MoneyMaker, as the manufacturer colorfully enough has named this system, is my current favorite.
Available in various colors.
Cameras slide up the strap then slide back to low and to toward the side slightly toward your back side.
Weight is very well balanced.
A third smaller camera or accessory can be added.
Each camera can be unhooked.
Connection to camera using tripod socket easily removed.
Cons: If you have the two strap system it doesn’t work well as a single camera strap being that it becomes unbalanced.
Using a camera in the vertical direction can tend to be a stretch without the optional lengthening straps.
Sometimes there are “squeaks” from the hardware.
Sleeves are recommended, as the loops can catch the skin on your inner arm. Also, the fabric of your shirt, top, or blouse can catch as the loops ride up the strap, but this is fairly easily avoided with a slight forward motion as the camera is raised.
Until the cameras are installed the harness looks like a double undercover gun holster.
Care is suggested to keep the straps untwisted when putting the harness on.
Bottom line: the advantages of this system are very distinct and, to me, far outweigh any disadvantages, most of which are addressable fairly easily or truly just minor issues.
Company web site: HoldFast MoneyMaker
If you need to carry two cameras for a large part of the day, like a wedding shooter would, my camera strap recommendations are the Spider Belt holster and the HoldFast Money Maker. Both are enjoyed equally by women and men. Most everyone I know that uses either, rapidly becomes an ardent fan.
If you use just one camera most of the time, try a wide, padded shoulder strap, or perhaps better yet, try the Black Rapid sling.
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Maine wedding photographers Russell and Liz Caron present their Technical Tuesdays series. This Technical Tuesdays post is about finding the best camera strap if you carry two cameras. Do you have questions, or recommendations for the Technical Tuesday series? Let us know in the comments! And don’t forget to share this post with your friends. Russell Caron is available for workshops, group instruction, or one-on-one mentoring. Call Russ at (207)233-4050, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.