Despite having a direct impact on one’s ability to capture fleeting moments, not to mention the amount of shoulder and neck pain at the end of a long day, many photographers don’t spend the time or money upgrading the strap that came with their camera.
For some the camera strap is arguably one of the most important pieces of gear after the camera and lenses, and when you’re using two cameras it becomes twice as important.
Whether you’ve already discovered the wonderful world of ergonomic camera straps or you’re still using OEM junk, you owe it to yourself to check out Custom SLR’s Dual Strap.
One, Two Or Two In One?
It doesn’t get much easier than throwing the camera strap over your shoulder and going out to shoot, but what about when you need more than one camera?
You might be able to keep one camera on you and the other in a bag, if you don’t need quick access that is, but that will quickly turn into a royal pain in the butt if you’re taking more than a couple of shots.
Alternatively, you could have both cameras on you. The problem is that wearing two ‘regular’ camera straps is uncomfortable and you have to be careful that the camera not in use doesn’t slip off your shoulder. Wearing two sling straps across your chest can’t even be considered as it is plainly impractical.
The solution is simple – Custom SLR’s Dual Strap harness system.
About The Dual Camera Strap
The ability to have two cameras ready for action without worrying you might drop them is enough of a reason for some photographers to buy a harness system.
For those who need additional persuasion, Custom SLR offers many more reasons for you to love the Dual Camera Strap.
First and foremost is its versatility. Need a harness? You got it. Need individual sling straps? No problem!
That’s right; the Dual Camera Strap harness can easily be taken apart into two of Custom SLR’s awesome Glide One straps, offering the best of both worlds.
This also means that if you already own a couple of these straps all you need to easily convert them into a harness is the Dual Camera Strap kit. Costing as little as $24.95, this is a bargain.
Assembling the Dual Strap is as easy as it gets, as can be seen in the video below:
The strap length is adjustable up to 70” so it should fit most people. It can also carry 7.2kg (16 lbs) so pretty much any DSLR or mirrorless camera/lens combo out there should be fine as far as weight is concerned.
Build Quality and Style
Comprised mainly of two Glide straps, the Dual Strap enjoys the same high-quality construction and robustness we are used to from Custom SLR. The extra pieces included in the kit used to convert the Glides into a Dual strap are obviously made to the same high standards and one wouldn’t know that the kit was an afterthought.
From the stitching to the custom-made buckles, everything about this harness feels like it will easily take anything you can throw at it (tractors aside)
Employing the company’s Split Strap Technology, the harness promises to distribute the weight of your gear across your neck and shoulders and the silicone print on the inside of the straps ensures that they stay still while your cameras glide smoothly. For me it delivered, and I think that unless you have a pretty odd shoulder structure you’ll be good.
But the Dual Camera Strap is not only exceptionally well-made; I think it also looks great. While not super fancy, it’s got the ‘I’ve-come-to-get-the-job-done-and-nothing-will-stop-me’ look and will instantly make any professional photographer seem even more professional.
My photographer friends who saw the strap all want it, and immediate responses from non-photographers ranged between “wow!” to “that’s so cool!”, so prepare yourself for some curious and jealous looks.
Real World Experience
I could go on and on about how I like the look and feel of the strap or what Custom SLR says about its products, but talk is cheap so time for some hands-on experience with the strap system.
At first glance the Dual Strap seems ideal for wedding and event photographers, but it is useful for so much more than that. I’ve taken it out to sea, used it in the rain for wildlife photos and had it at a sports event, just to name a few examples.
Custom SLR speaks of ‘superior comfort’ thanks to its Split Strap Technology and the ease of use of the Glide One straps. It also mentions the ‘cushioned comfort’ provided by the neoprene back pad and the non-slip silicone prints that prevent the straps from slipping.
The big question for me was how much of what I’ve read is nothing but marketing fluff, and does the product lives up to the hype. After using the strap for several weeks now, I can say with confidence that I absolutely love it. I’m extremely impressed overall with the harness and how comfortable it really is.
For the most part I used the D800 and D750 bodies along with 24-70mm and 70-200mm lenses, and the weight distribution worked like a charm. I wouldn’t say I couldn’t feel I had the gear on me, but it definitely didn’t feel like 3.5kg (~8 lbs).
The harness stayed in place even when I lifted the lighter camera and left the D800 and 70-200mm lens hanging on the other side without a counter-balance. Furthermore, the weight remained almost completely evenly spread out, so using one camera more than the other did not mean I went home with aching shoulders. Custom SLR indeed have a reason to be proud of the strap’s ergonomics.
As you’d expect from a gliding strap, the camera moved smoothly and the strap did not get in the way.
The swivel buckles connecting the cameras to the straps not only ensure that the straps don’t get tangled, the fact that they have a quick release mechanism means you can also easily (but only intentionally) detach a camera if you want it off the strap for whatever reason.
The biggest issue I had with the harness, and this might not be relevant for the majority of photographers out there, is that I had to remove my Manfrotto QR plates to attach the straps.
This is only a hassle if you often switch between shooting with and without a tripod, and it’s worth mentioning that this issue isn’t unique to the Dual Camera Strap.
That being said, Custom SLR acted on customer feedback and released a dedicated quick release plate, compatible with Manfrotto’s RC2 and Arca-Swiss plates, which works with its Glide straps – the M-Plate.
I’ve only seen the M-Plate but it looks like it will get the job done perfectly, allowing hassle-free shooting mounted or strapped. The M-Plate doesn’t come cheap at $69.95 a unit, but it seems like a solid plate.
Another slight issue I had with the Dual Strap, and this is completely irrelevant if you plan on using it only as a harness, is that there’s a bit of strap adjustment to be done when you take it apart to individual straps. The adjustment itself is so easy that had there been a clip or some other way to mark the strap length for the dual/single setups I wouldn’t have even mentioned this. Luckily you can make your own marking, so this definitely isn’t a deal breaker in my book; just a nice-to-have feature.
What are included, though, are two clips on each strap allowing you to limit the glide movement of the camera. This could be used to set the cameras’ highest/lowest points on the straps or to lock them in place altogether.
One last thing to keep in mind, and this is true for pretty much all ergonomic straps, is that the Dual Strap (or the individual Glide straps) will take up a bit more space in your camera bag. For me this meant that I can’t just pop my camera into the already tightly-fitted bag and it takes a few seconds to properly arrange everything so it fits.
This is nothing to worry about, however, as you might not even be carrying a bag when out with the harness and either way the quick release buckles make it a breeze to detach the straps and store them elsewhere if your camera bag is short on space. I honestly don’t hold this against the Dual Strap (or similar straps) as it’s a tiny price to pay for the comfort the larger and cushioned straps provide.
For all the bullet points fans out there, and those who like jumping to conclusions, here’s my list of pros and cons of the Dual Strap:
- Quick and easy to assemble and adjust
- Looks awesome
- Super comfortable
- Can utilize existing Glide straps
- Can be used as two individual straps
- Carries a lot of weight
- Quick release buckles
- Solid construction
- Camera movement can be limited
- Switching from harness to individual straps require a bit of strap adjusting
- Need to remove standard QR plate and/or buy M-Plate
- Takes more space in your camera bag than the original camera strap (but your shoulders will thank you!)
So would I recommend the Dual Camera Strap to a friend?
Absolutely. In fact, I already have!
If you already own one Glide Strap, you can buy another one for $64.95.
[Photos by Itamar Zinger]