If you ask a photographer to name the one piece of equipment that he loves the most, the answer might surprise you. Although I love my camera, my flashes, my lens… they could all be replaced by other brands if necessary. However, there is one thing that I use all the time that I just love.
My camera strap.
Here’s the thing: I don’t like wearing a camera around my neck. Never have. Even back in high school, we photo geeks would wear our camera’s on our shoulders. However, that’s just not practical when you are working a wedding all day (nor is it secure). That’s why I love my camera strap from Black Rapid. (http://www.blackrapid.com/)
It’s so simple yet so effective. The strap attaches to the bottom of your camera with a quick-release hook and you wear it cross-shoulder style (like a messenger bag). The camera slides on the strap so that it can hang at your side or be pulled up to shoot without the strap actually moving. Not only is it more comfortable and convenient, but it’s easy to unsnap my camera from the strap if I want to set it down. Instead of using the screw mount that comes with the strap to attach it to the camera, I use my tripod mount. I can unsnap my camera from the strap and secure it to a tripod in 2 seconds and there’s no annoying straps hanging down getting in my way.
Even at home it’s great. Last weekend we had a birthday party for my daughter and I was using my camera off-and-on. I just left the strap on all day and whenever I needed to use my camera I would grab it and snap it on the strap. No “over the head” moves everytime you want to set the camera down and no twisted strap.
There is a downside: Because the strap attaches to the bottom of the camera instead of the sides, the camera can’t be set down in the normal way. You have to put it in a bag or lay it on it’s side. At first I thought this would be a pain but I really don’t even notice it since I never take my camera off the strap unless I’m standing next to my bag anyway (I’m a little anal about keeping all my gear in one place. Wait untill you see my post on the camera case I built).
Typically, I wear my main camera on the strap and my second camera around my neck when working an event. I love this strap.