SpiderLight is yet another brand from the umbrella manufacturer known as SpiderHolster.
For city trips or further afoot, this is a great camera carrier system.
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Things to Consider Before Buying the SpiderLight Backpacker
As far as backpacker holsters go, this is our first. These have slightly different placement, although work in very much the same way.
Essentially they are holsters for your backpack or any bag that you decide to have with you. It must be said that this system is for mirrorless cameras or light DSLRs, and not the heavier models.
They won’t work with one-strap bags, such as messenger bags or slings. Here, the camera might throw the bag off balance, and lower the camera holster along with your gear.
The holster can’t hold heavy combined weights. It has a weight limit of 7 lbs (3.25 kg). Also, as it is a holster for backpacks, the camera can not weigh an insane amount, as it would weigh the strap down.
Those capturing street photography will enjoy it, but if you need to move it to get gear often, it might not be for you.
If you don’t like the idea of a holster on your bag, you can go for harnesses such as those by Cotton Carrier.
Pros and Cons of the SpiderLight Backpacker
Alongside the adapter, camera plate and holster, you also get a GoPro attachment. This is great if this is your preferred camera model. It will allow you to film and photograph (timelapse) while moving around.
To get the GoPro to work, you will need a quick release clip to sit between the GoPro and its attachment.
The SpiderLight is a versatile system. You can mount it on the left or right-hand straps of your camera bag. On top of that, you can swap the slider on the camera base plate. This is handy for all camera models, as the battery compartment is not the same across them all.
Compared to other holsters that can be used for belts or straps, this is small and unobtrusive. Having the system on your strap doesn’t cause any discomfort to the wearer.
One of the biggest pros of this holster type is it can be removed. You can remove the clip altogether, turning the backpacker into a very small clip for just about anywhere. And it still retains the locking mechanism.
It isn’t ideal to use it like this for extended periods, but it can help you out in a pinch. It is easy to remove, yet stays tough, allowing it to stay close and connected where ever you place it.
This is a great system to use for small, lightweight cameras. If you are looking to use this with a DSLR, you’ll find it is too heavy and place your gear in jeopardy.
It is a little finicky to get started, so make sure you practise the system before you take it on the road. Obviously, the entire system only works on a bag with straps, so you won’t use it if you aren’t carrying it.
To connect the system to the strap, there are teeth on the strap holder. These sit on the strap you use, adding tension so the system doesn’t slip. These could damage high-end bags, especially leather.
This process is sped up if you use a heavy camera, forcing you to pull the system up or down to readjust its height.
It is a versatile system, but it only goes so far. bigger straps = more difficult to add it
Features & Benefits of the SpiderLight Backpacker
It is a modular system in a few different ways. First of all, the holster can come out of the vertical adapter if you don’t need all the padding and features.
This allows you to place the clip on your belt quickly, perfect for when you need to put your bag down. It’s a great place to keep it for a minute if you need to organise gear or swap lenses.
It isn’t as secure, but in a pinch, its a great idea to have. As it pops out, the GoPro attachment can slide inside instead. SpiderLight are in it for the long game, meaning any adapter can be created for this space.
Secondly, and most importantly, the slider plate can be swapped from right or left. This allows you to use any camera without having the plate cover the battery compartment.
The padding keeps your camera and lens from rubbing against the camera bag strap and other clothing. It retains its professional look throughout.
On the padding there are is a diagonal strap that allows you to keep your lens from moving your gear around. This can be swapped to the left or right, allowing versatility depending on which side you keep the holster.
How Well Does the SpiderLight Backpacker Work?
Creating a camera holster for straps is not an easy task. Bags all have different strip widths, so making one that can fit most, if not all of them is a challenge.
SpiderHolster did a good job with the SpiderLight, but it is a little finicky and confusing to set up the first time. There instructions with the box, but there were a few parts it brushed over.
Firstly, the back panel comes away from the vertical adapter and goes behind the strap of the bag you are wearing. Do not make the mistake of following the logo for the orientation. It works when placed upside down, where the claws are at the bottom.
The instructions are clear in helping you attach the velcro cord, but I was left with a rubber piece. After a little figuring out, it seemed to be in between the strap and the large part of the velcro hook. It then stops the system from sliding.
After a few tries, it gets easy to attach and then all you need to do is connect the vertical adapter and that part is finished. Next, you attach the base to the camera.
I like the idea of being able to swap the tripod connector, allowing for different cameras to be used. My Sony A7 III didn’t need any configuring, but I heard that the Fujifilm X-Series will need a different configuration.
Using this system with heavy DSLRs is going to cause problems. The strap will not stay, and you run the risk of the other attachment straps coming loose. This will damage your bag and place your expensive gear in a dangerous position.
The weight limit is 3.5 kg or 7 lbs. My Sony A7 III weighs 0.65 kg (1.44 lbs), so there is just under 3 kg (5.5 lbs) to play with. The Sony FE 70-300mm comes in at (1.88 lbs), so there is no problem.
My Canon 5D Mark III weighs more at 0.95 kg (2.1 lbs), so my choices in lenses are limited.
As far as using it on the road, it works really well. It allows me to capture when moving around, which Is how I travel. I drop off any big equipment and hit the streets, and capture throughout the day.
The camera fits inside the holster easily, and the mechanism stops it from popping out unnecessarily. It is right there when I need it. The mall metal holster and pin head were durable and I trust it with my gear.
I did have to remove my camera from the holster when putting my bag down, as the camera would pull the strap towards the floor. Forgetting the first time, I had to catch it. From then on, it was burned into my head.
One of the issues I did consider was that if I carried my equipment around while capturing the street, did I need a bag? Without the bag, I didn’t need to use the camera strap holster.
Without the holster, I needed a bag, and the cycle continues. For this reason, This is something I would use too and from my residence, and probably not for everyday use. The bag I carry needed to be heavy enough to hold the camera in place.
This is perfect for little adventures where you need stuff in your bag, but without needing to get at it constantly.
Alternatives to the SpiderLight Backpacker
Alternatives to the SpiderLight Backpacker need to be strap compatible. There are a lot of holsters that work on belts and belt systems, but only a few that I could see as competition.
With the CC version, there are no issues when removing your bag – the system and camera stay put. This would give you more play, especially if you are forgetful.
The other benefit is that this company designed and provided a tether for the system. This stops any accidents, so even if you did drop it while connecting the camera, it doesn’t crash on the floor.
Peak Design has the Capture Clip, which can be placed on a belt or a strap. Its minimal design allows you to work in any field and stay professional. The versatility here means you can use it in multiple ways.
If you are interested in the GoPro attachment, there are many ways to have this connected on the outside of your bag. These cameras are not heavy, so they can sit and operate anywhere.
The SpiderLight Backpacker is a great piece of kit to have. It is perfect for travelling, far and wide. Depending on how you travel will denote if this system benefits you.
For me, this is great for city trips where I need items, but don’t need access to the items all the time. A day in London or Paris is perfect. It works well for landscape photography, especially if you use a mirrorless camera.
You have access to your camera instantly for images en route to your destination.
The most important thing to consider is the type of bag you want to use it with. A lot of modern travel backpacks have loops and parts on their straps that could make it difficult to connect this camera holster. If you’re looking for a holster to use without a bag, then check out our review of the spider holster.
You might find it wont work well for sling bags due to the angle of the strap. You really need a vertical line, as a slanted strap really makes the padded area redundant.
Something that you will also need to think about is putting your bag down. Do you disconnect the camera and place it down first? Putting it down without doing so could damage your camera.
Luckily, and hats off to SpiderLight for this, you can remove the holster to place the camera on your belt for a minute or two while you place the bag. You will might need to remove the camera first to do so.
Personally, I like the GoPro attachment, meaning I can set up my camera to record or photograph and forget about it. This would allow for a great travel video about the city I visited.
Overall, the build quality is great. The materials used are tough and durable. I felt secure that my gear was well protected, as long as I didn’t make any user errors. The cost is a little expensive for a small holster, but it is versatile and if you travel with the right bag, it could be a great system for you.