Carrying a camera can become tiring, particularly when handholding for longer periods of time. You may have also noticed that you take your camera out of its bag less frequently, sometimes missing shots or forgetting to take a shot entirely.
It’s times like these and during many other situations when camera straps or cross-body slings come into their own. They provide excellent comfort, security and perhaps most importantly offer instant access to capture the perfect moment as it happens.
This guide focuses on the best BlackRapid camera straps, when to use a cross-body sling, which types of photography they are suitable for and which model to consider for yourself.
BlackRapid was born in Seattle, after photographer Ron Henry designed the original Sling, now known as the BlackRapid Sport Breathe Camera Sling. Perhaps the most important attribute of any camera strap is a secure connection between the camera body and the strap, which is where BlackRapid designs excel.
Instead of connecting to the cameras’ eyelets, BlackRapid straps connect to the tripod mount in the camera baseplate. This offers the strongest connection possible, using a screw-in threaded fastener, such as the BlackRapid FR-5 FastenR, which is compatible with all Breathe Series straps. A carabiner on the strap itself is then attached to the fastener, creating a rock-solid connection. You can also add a LockStar Breathe (2-Pack) to protect against unintentional unlocking of the CR-3 or CR-4 ConnectR.
The cross-body sling style design also provides plenty of customisation, through the shoulder strap, which secures the system closer to your body, together with the overall strap length, which can be adjusted to suit your torso length.
Most BlackRapid strap designs are also available in left or right versions, together with dual straps models, which are made to carry two camera bodies. Dual straps include the popular Black Rapid Hybrid Breathe Dual Camera Strap and Double Breathe Slim Camera Harness. Both enable advanced enthusiast and professional photographers to carry two cameras for instant switching between lens focal widths.
Yes, the BlackRapid binocular breathe strap (BINOC strap) provides secure binocular attachment, whilst offering similar qualities as camera sling straps. The straps include comfortable Ariaprene padding even for extended use, nylon webbing with adjustable length and enables you to carry an additional camera with Double Breathe or Backpack Breathe straps.
A camera strap reduces neck, back and hand pain, which is often associated with photographing for longer periods of time, or with heavier camera equipment. You’ll also benefit from improved security and better ergonomics, with the ability to reach your camera from waist height, ready to shoot in an instant.
You may have also noticed that you take less pictures, or miss opportunities when carrying your camera in a backpack or other types of camera bag. This is where a camera strap comes in, providing near instant access to your equipment, so that you always have your camera accessible when inspiration strikes.
Many professional photographers own several cameras straps, exchanging them according to each assignment. Pros also use two camera bodies on occasion, in order to be able to switch lenses in an instant. In this case they will use a dual camera strap, such as the BlackRapid Double Breathe Camera Harness.
Professional photographers must give themselves the best chance of capturing the perfect moment as it happens, whether shooting weddings, sports events, press, or any other subjects. Having the camera immediately accessible without holding it in your hand provides better comfort over extended periods, especially with heavy bodies and long lenses. This is where a sling or strap offers the quickest access with best comfort.
A camera strap or sling reduces pain and fatigue, particularly when photographing for longer periods of time during street, portraits or wildlife photography. Your camera will be better protected from accidental damage, more secure from theft and immediately available when using a cross-body design like the BlackRapid Sport Breathe.
Perhaps the most popular strap for enthusiasts is the Curve Breathe Camera Sling, which features a unique ergonomic design that hugs closer to your shoulder for more stability and comfort. The camera hangs upside down and slides along the strap when raised or lowered.
Camera straps should be used when you want a camera immediately accessible, whilst being as comfortable as possible, even for extended periods of time. A good strap or sling will allow you to carry pro-weight camera equipment all-day long, with less pain and fatigue.
A strap works in lots of situations. Perhaps you’re waiting for a fleeting moment, capturing images of friends and family, or photographing a family member at a sporting event. These and many more are the ideal time for using a camera strap.
Shoulder/cross-body camera straps are best for offering a combination of comfort and security, with instant access to your camera from around waist height. A good cross-body strap allows adjustment for your torso length, the weight of equipment and provides better ergonomics than a standard camera strap.
There are times when it’s best not to use a camera strap, such as when shooting from a tripod, especially during windy conditions, when a camera strap could cause movement and blur in your images. In this case use the BlackRapid Sport X QD Sling or similar quick release system.
Yes, for backpack attachment simply connect a BlackRapid Backpack Camera Sling to the D rings, which are found on most camera backpacks. This is perfect when you don’t want to double up on straps around your shoulder or neck, while using a backpack to carry extra equipment.
A camera strap should be long enough for your torso, reaching from your shoulder to your waist. This length provides the most comfortable fit for most straps and slings, allowing the camera to rest around your hips which also provides instant access so you never miss a shot.
With such a large range of versatile options there’s a camera strap available for any photographer who wants a comfortable carrying system, which provides instant access to gear. Browse our huge range of BlackRapid slings, harnesses and accessories today and discover how easy it is to shoot with a strap, while staying comfortable all-day long.
By Nick Dautlich on 10/08/2022
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