As most of you know, photography poses some serious challenges to me due to my post-car accident “disability.” It has taken me six surgeries and four years of physical therapy to be able to hold a camera again and I still only have about 20-25% use of my dominant right arm. (My right hand, however, works perfectly – yay me!) I can only shoot photos for short periods of time, and I’m always in significant pain after doing so.
Photography is one of the great loves of my life which is why I was so thrilled Black Rapid came out with a camera strap this summer specifically designed for women. If you’re male, or shopping for a man, don’t worry – they already have an amazing strap for men. (In fact, I almost bought it for myself, but I heard a version specifically for women was on the horizon so I didn’t.)
To start with, I should clarify one thing. There are a lot of companies that make cute, decorative, camera straps. As pretty and fun as those can be, they aren’t what I need with my injuries. Decorative straps are probably great for “normal” people and especially those of you who only use your cameras on an occasional basis. Personally, I need all the help I can get to make photography an integral part of my life.
Here’s a photo of the RS-W1 Strap I just bought:
And here’s a closer look when I’m wearing it:
There are several things I like about this strap. First of all, it’s curved so it doesn’t smash my boobs chest. The curved design is the primary difference in the strap Black Rapid makes for women vs. for men. Most of the other features are exactly the same in both straps, regardless of gender.
Second, if you’re right handed, the strap sits on your left shoulder. For me, that means no pressure, whatsoever, on my damaged right shoulder. (Hallelujah!) For all of us, it means we no longer have the heavy weight of our cameras pulling on our necks.
I can’t express how much more comfortable this strap feels on my neck, shoulders, and upper back. There’s simply no comparison to a traditional strap. (If you have neck/shoulder problems your results might vary, but for me – this strap is an amazing help!)
When you’re using a big lens, it screws into the tripod mount on the lens (vs. the camera body itself) as seen more clearly in this photo:
The camera hangs upside down at your hip, or if you wish, at the small of your back.
Why is it upside down?
The strap is designed for quick access to your camera. It’s made so the camera can swing up in a fast gliding motion allowing you to shoot in a split second. In fact, the RS straps are touted as “the fastest straps around.” I admit, I feel a little like a gunslinger when I’m using this strap. How fast can I shoot?
For those of you who care about such things (I don’t), the strap also has a paisley design.
I used this strap for one full day of shooting in NYC last week and, for me, with my injuries, it was a remarkable improvement. I know having this strap will be a tremendous help with the pain I experience every time I use my camera.
It does take a few minutes to figure out how to configure the strap when you first get it. To help with this, you can find a video explaining the not-too-complicated process here.
I bought my new strap at B&H, where I purchase all of my photo equipment.
Again, I don’t know if there’s one product that can make every single person happy, but I love this strap and would highly recommend it to all of my friends.
© Twenty Four At Heart