Stop hurting yourself: These are the best and the worst ways to carry your camera

Nov 6, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Stop hurting yourself: These are the best and the worst ways to carry your camera

Nov 6, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Join the Discussion

Share on:

YouTube video

There are plenty of straps for carrying our camera around. However, many of those can cause pain in our neck, shoulders, arms, and back after a long day of shooting. Wes Perry teamed up with a physiotherapist to try and find the best camera strap that won’t only keep your camera safely in place, but also save you from hurting yourself.

Together with fellow photographer Jennifer Michelle, Wes asked physiotherapist John Gonzales about the most common camera straps and how they affect our bodies. These are some of his thoughts, but make sure to watch the video for fantastic explanation and demonstration:

Neck strap – this is a common way to carry a camera for many of us (myself included). However, carrying a heavy setup of a camera, lens and a speedlight over long periods of time can cause strain in your neck and shoulders. It can also cause bad posture.

Wrist strap – although it can be handy to have your camera around your wrist, I’d say this works only for super-light compact cameras. Using a wrist strap to carry a DLSR or mirrorless camera with a lens could cause a series of problems over time. It affects your circulation and causes strain in shoulder and arm. Still, it can be handy to have it for safety, just don’t use it to carry your camera around all day.

Shoulder strap – if you use your camera’s kit strap, you can carry the camera on your shoulder instead of around your neck. It’s a better option, but it can still be problematic. When you have something on one shoulder, it has the potential to slip off, so you will subconsciously lift your shoulder. With time, you can feel pain in your neck and back.

Crossbody – this is definitely a good option because the weight of the camera is more evenly distributed than with the previous solutions. However, if you already experience some pain, it’s a good idea to switch your camera to the other side of your body from time to time.

Dual strap – this is a handy solution for photographers who use two cameras. It’s also a good option because the weight is evenly distributed and there are no forces on the neck. But, it needs to be secured on the front so you don’t feel like it’s gonna slip. Otherwise, you may compensate for it by leaning forward, which could cause back pain. Also, if you carry two heavy cameras for more than two hours, you may want to choose a different option, because this one could put pressure on your shoulders.

Belt holsters – Wes’ favorite setup includes two belt holsters for two cameras attached to his belt. John notes that this is the best setup so far. It doesn’t put any pressure on the neck, back and shoulders, while the cameras are easy to access. But there’s one thing to remember: if you’re carrying two cameras this way, make sure that they’re not too far forward. In that case, you’d have too much weight on the front of your pelvis, which would put extra pressure on your lower back. Keep them lateral and you’re good to go.

Spider Holster – the last one is Spider Holster, and it’s by far the best solution in terms of your health. If you carry it around your waist (right above the iliac crest), it’s ideal for your posture. The weight is evenly distributed on your pelvis, which can hold more force than your shoulders and neck.

Since I rarely shoot for several hours, I’m perfectly fine with the neck strap, it doesn’t cause me pain. I often wrap it around my wrist for safety while I’m shooting, but I generally carry the camera around my neck. However, if I shot weddings or other long-lasting events, I’d probably go with the Spider Holster.

How do you carry your camera? And have you experienced any problems that made you change the strap you were using?

[Camera Strap Ergonomics – Stop Hurting Yourself! | Wes Perry]

Filed Under:

Tagged With:

Find this interesting? Share it with your friends!

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Join the Discussion

DIYP Comment Policy
Be nice, be on-topic, no personal information or flames.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

17 responses to “Stop hurting yourself: These are the best and the worst ways to carry your camera”

  1. W Douglas LeBlanc Avatar
    W Douglas LeBlanc

    BlackRapid for the win. For me anyways. ??

    1. Alexandre Ayoubi Avatar
      Alexandre Ayoubi

      W Douglas LeBlanc same here

  2. Adrian J Nyaoi Avatar
    Adrian J Nyaoi

    I use my right hand.

  3. Andrus Chesley Avatar
    Andrus Chesley

    A case attached to my belt or strap.

  4. Matt Owen Avatar
    Matt Owen

    Peak Design slide, clutch, and capture clip. Then I rotate between my shoulder, hand, and waist depending on the situation or if I have any discomfort (I never carry two bodies but sometimes use a second capture clip with a capture lens on the opposite hip).

    1. KP Avatar
      KP

      Yup — backpacked hundreds (thousands?) of miles with my DSLR clipped to my backpacking shoulder strap with a Peak Design Capture clip. No ill effects, and it’s super convenient while being out of the way. Sometimes I’ll carry a second body on short trips with a Black Rapid sport clip AND the peak design clip.

  5. Todd Wallarab Avatar
    Todd Wallarab

    I was a BlackRapid user but had recently started using more strobes and moving my light stands with my camera flipping around all over my hip while walking from place to place became a pain. I recently got a Spider Holster and I will never go back! Safe, secure and stays in place while walking. I can carry 2 light stands and not have to worry about my camera! Love it! #spiderholster

  6. Trey Mortensen Avatar
    Trey Mortensen

    I use a poor man’s waist holster. I just roped up some parachute cable around my camera strap point, then used one of my leftover carabiners and boom. Clip to my belt at any time all for the price of free (all material was laying around the house). I really do like having my camera at my waist though. Really does save the shoulders and back

  7. meyerweb Avatar
    meyerweb

    Can the spider be used as a belt, so I don’t need to have two belts strapped around my waist?

    1. Wes Perry Avatar
      Wes Perry

      It’s in the video. I wear the holsters with a normal (strong) leather belt. According to the physiotherapist that makes it sit a little lower on the hips than is ergonomically ideal, though. I wouldn’t recommend it with anything super heavy, though. But I do have a camera on each side, usually with an 85 1.4 and a 35 1.4

  8. John Doe Avatar
    John Doe

    Au Naturale for me.

    1. Wes Perry Avatar
      Wes Perry

      ?

      1. John Doe Avatar
        John Doe

        no straps at all.

        Fuji X100F nice and lite

  9. Durant Imboden Avatar
    Durant Imboden

    Just don’t use a diagonal strap that puts pressure on one of your carotid arteries. (I wore a heavy camera bag like that about 14 years ago, and I ended up in the hospital.)

  10. Captain Jack Avatar
    Captain Jack

    I’m a disabled veteran with a back injury and knee problems which forces me to walk with a cane. For holding my camera, I use a leather hand strap when I’m actively shooting. It’s very wide and has a second strap that goes around my wrist to make it even more secure to my hand. I can let go of my camera and grab things or hold my coffee. If I’m waiting I take the hand out of the strap and clip it to my backpack shoulder strap or stow it away. I do have the over the shoulder strap I’ve used with my backpack on or without. It has a very large (oversized) pad that is very comfortable. It also has straps that go around my chest which makes it very secure to my body. I can even clip the camera to my belt loop and run with it. I can shoot for 8 hours with no problems. That said, I’ve been using the leather hand strap and the backpack clip most often as I’m carrying my backpack every day. It has a waist strap which puts all the weight ( 31 lbs) on my hips.

  11. Rob S Avatar
    Rob S

    This thread is a refreshing alternative to just buying a solution. I thought I was doing something unwarranted. I have been using a Waka sling strap, and found it convenient for a tamron 150-600mm. That long lens defies hand holding, so I attached the sling to the lens collar and added a monopod. The lens rides horizonally at arms length and the monopod nests against my back. It works well, until time to change a lens. The strap is connected at the wrong point, the monopod becomes a pole and it could become a slow motion train wreck. I was carrying my 24-85mm in a lens case attached to my belt. The case was large enough for the 150-600mm. Now it was like juggling a watermelon and a banana. I doubt if I could ever learn to do this smoothly or quickly.

    The answer (I think) is to use a clip that attaches to my belt. (I bought it for my DX.) I went out today, the long lens attached to my sling, the wide angle on my second camera body. I have to pay attention to narrow passages, but it seems to work fine. The 150-400 supports itself and doesn’t stress the lens mount. The 24-85 is ready to be unclipped and shot. Having the same camera (actually, a Nikon D600 and D610) makes the switch out a snap. And it was all done with stuff I already had.