I’ve raved about this style of strap for ages now but it’s hard to convince people to switch over before they’ve seen it used.
This is probably the best accessory I’ve ever bought; it makes my camera so much easier to walk around with and use, meaning that I’m actually carrying my camera with me more often.
I own the Sun Sniper Steel but the design and quality is very similar to the Black Rapid so I’ve grouped them together.
Click the product names for links to Amazon US.
The gliding carabiner allows you to carry your camera over your shoulder and bring it up to your face and back down to your hip again without having to adjust the strap.
It’s such an incredibly simple idea – I’m shocked that more camera manufacturers haven’t tried it. I’m sure that, if they did, they could come up with a better system for attaching it to the camera. The fluid motion of the strap means that you don’t waste any time trying to get the camera out.
The padding at the top of the strap is designed so that it grips your shoulder, even when there’s very little contact, maintaining comfort at all times. This is also where the length adjustment is housed and is locked in place by the velcro padding.
For the price, this part of the strap feels remarkably well made.
You’ll notice that there is a steel wire that runs throughout the strap, preventing any would-be thieves from cutting through it with a knife and walking away with your camera.
The thickness of this wire isn’t particularly reassuring; it feels like, if you had a proper knife, you’d find your way through it but it is backed up with $500 insurance from the strap manufacturer.
This is a nice little touch but, if someone were to come at me with a knife, it wouldn’t be my camera that I’d worry about.
The shock absorber sits at the top of your chest just below the strap padding. This does exactly what it says on the tin – it absorbs the shock.
When you’re carrying around a heavy camera, lens and flash, it’s nice to have some of the strain taken off wherever possible and this reasonably sized absorber is designed to do exactly that for medium to large cameras and lenses.
It’s only when you’re carrying telephoto lenses around on a regular basis that you may want to consider upgrading to one of their larger straps.
The strap mounts the camera in the screw mount at the bottom of the camera, preventing you from keeping the camera attached when you’re mounting on a tripod.
When I first used this, I found it a little bit annoying but have since come to appreciate the freedom of movement that you get from having your camera mounted there.
It allows your camera to rotate 360 degrees – helpful when you’re walking around as it will adapt to how you’re moving, making it easier to tuck your camera in.
I wasn’t too sure about the safety aspect of attaching the camera here either at first but the mechanism and rubber grip stops the strap from loosening – I used to check regularly for this but don’t bother any more.
The only downsides to the strap are that you can’t attach a tripod at the same time and that there’s no small pocket to store a memory card or battery in, like some of their competitors straps. Theses are trivial points and don’t effect the way I use my camera strap.
We’re going to look at some of the competitors in a moment but I chose Sun Sniper Steel because of their quality and usability.
First, lets have a look at how you would typically use a traditional camera strap.
I’ve had years of experience using this sort of strap but still find myself fumbling and taking time to get the camera out.
The way the camera sits with a traditional strap means that it’s often poking out and, just recently, I had a complaint from someone that I’d been poking them with my camera’s lens hood.
As you can see from the animation below, getting out a camera, regardless of size, can be very awkward.
And yes, I am aware that I left my lens cap on when shooting this demonstration…
When you compare the strap above with the Sun Sniper Steel strap below, you’ll notice a clear difference in the way that the camera is carried and used.
The carabiner glides over the strap to a position which suits you best. The strap is also adjusted to an arms length so I can grab and move it with ease.
Because the strap is also thinner and longer, there is less strain on my body, making the strap less noticeable and more comfortable to carry. There have been multiple occasions where I’ve only managed to get a shot because I’ve been able to get to my camera quickly, exactly when I needed it.
I’ve told you what I think about this strap but there are always alternatives that I think make perfectly viable options.
- Firstly, there’s the Black Rapid RS-5 strap. This is very similar is design but lacks the steel wire and insurance, although it does contain a pocket.
Black Rapid have a few straps on the market. This can get a little confusing but, from what I’ve seen, their finish doesn’t seem quite as good. Again, the camera is mounted into the tripod screw mount.
You get what you pay for really and I’m not reassured by the quality of their materials. My friend has this strap and, while it’s good for his small SLR, I wouldn’t want to use it with my camera.
One thing that is worth mentioning is that, although the strap mounts to the screw mount, they do leave another screw mount on the strap. Unfortunately, this is the part of the strap I trust the most – you get what you pay for.
Of the two, the Sun Sniper does have the option to carry an extra, small camera or binoculars on the front.
These straps are very useful if you’re a wedding or sports photographer, requiring a wide angle and telephoto lens at your disposal.
If you’re interested in buying any of the products mentioned, simply click on the links and you’ll be taken to Amazon US – Sun Sniper Steel
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