Carrying a camera around all day long can be tiresome and makes it more prone to damage as it doesn’t really have a place on your body. You can of course use a shoulder bag or backpack but, they do take up a lot of space, makes you overheat and might cause some back pain. If you want to take a walk and only need your camera and no other accessories then an extra bag becomes cumbersome. The answer? A camera strap. Question is how effective are they when it comes to simplicity, size and of course practicality. We take a look at a strap from Carry Speed and see if it ticks all the right boxes.
The one on test is the Carry Speed CS-Slim model, one of their ‘medium weight’ straps for more general use. One of the first things you notice when handling the strap is the nice soft neoprene shoulder pad it has. It has some elasticity – this kinda makes you wonder how strong it is and how much weight you can put on it – but do seem strong enough though to carry a medium DSLR system and sort of acts like a shock absorber for a camera’s weight.
My guess on the weakest point on this strap is where the webbing and neoprene meets, the stitching is good, but by pulling on both ends it seems as if the neoprene might give way when overloaded.
Being a bit critical here, I think the strap is quite strong for medium DSLR systems. I’d be a little bit concerned with a full frame body and say the heavy Nikon 24-70mm putting stress on this joint – I would rather opt for one of Carry Speed’s heavier duty straps for peace of mind. The underside of the pad has a rubber-like material and the advantage of this is that the shoulder pad stays in place and won’t slip forward and backward on your shoulder, nice. The shoulder part have some ventilation holes in it to help with heat built up = sweat. It also has an extra D-shape ring for hanging stuff on, mine sunglasses goes there.
The strap part is made from nylon webbing which gives a sense of security. Two plastic buckles connect the strap with the shoulder pad and they seem durable enough. These buckles have a 3-way clip configuration to make sure it stays locked, it’s almost impossible to unlock it with only one hand, nice.
The length of the strap can be adjusted by pulling on the D-shape ring: it’s fast and smooth and really easy to make quick adjustments.
How does it mount onto the camera? The kit has a small metal ball head which can be screwed onto Carry Speed’s mounting plate or directly onto the camera.
The strap has a metal socket permanently attached to it and the ball head fits into this socket and is secured by screwing it down. A rubber ring, which should be pushed down, makes sure the socket will not unscrew itself. This method seems very secure.
The mounting plate itself is made from metal and has a few extra threaded holes to secure a tripod quick release plate onto it, which means you don’t have to remove the Carry Speed plate when using a tripod.
The plate can do with a rubber lining on the mounting side, to protect the camera body and to prevent any shifting, when shooting in a vertical format on a tripod. You have to tighten it quite a bit to prevent any movement between the plate and camera body when using telephoto or heavy lenses. The mounting plate fits nicely on a cropped sensor body… But during this exercise I have found a bit of a setback. I hate to bring this up but this is a review… This plate cannot mount on a full frame body as its elevated corners push on the camera body, I was not very impressed.
The strap was returned to the store it was purchased from, but the unsurprised salesman just shrugged his shoulders. His suggested using the plate upside down, which meant he knew about the problem, no apologies or refunds. Using the plate like this means a tripod cannot be used as the screw from the mounting plate stands out, instead of being recessed. This was of course a design flaw from Carry Speed on the product, but why not inform the customers that support them? Paying for a plate that’s not gonna be used 90% of the time now is bit of a waste.
This was Carry Speed’s first generation plates and the problem has been addressed since then. Apparently their new designs work quite well.
I now use the Carry Speed strap most of the time without the supplied mounting plate. I either screw the ball head directly onto the camera body or onto the tripod quick release plate (a work around).
So how does the Carry Speed camera strap perform out in the real world? This is a really smooth and simple strap; no hick-ups in the field, letting you enjoy your photography. The passive position from where the camera is hanging from feels just right; you simply grab the camera when needed and shoot away, then return it to its normal position again. Thumbs up for this design!
You might notice that the strap is a bit longer longer sometimes when returned to the passive position, after length adjustments were made with the D-ring. It adjusts itself depending on the shooting position when lifting the camera, like shooting with live view through the LCD screen, which means the camera is hold out further away from the body. The strap can easily be shortened again via the D-ring slider. To be honest, I love this camera strap! The fact that it don’t slide off your shoulder is awesome. The elasticity from the neoprene really absorbs camera bounce and the weight distribution from the shoulder pad don’t make you feel as if your carrying a big DSLR. Walking around for 2-3 hours is not tiresome at all, no stress on the shoulders or lower back. Only drawbacks if I should be picky, it gets a bit sweaty underneath the shoulder pad, which is rather normal in this arena. Also, when walking in crowded areas or confined spaces, you’ll need to slide the camera to the front or back of your waist to prevent it from being hit, guess you can’t have it all. I don’t mind this every now and then, as the normal hanging position is really comfortable. The camera doesn’t sway back and forth around your leg/waist when walking around too, cool.
There are not much negatives things to carry on about this strap, except the mounting plate blues which should be sorted out with the new designs. Something that bothers a bit is not being able to put the camera down on its belly, but rather on its side when the small ball head is attached to it, its not ideal. I usually just unscrew it when sitting down for a coffee. Not really a negative point as Carry Speed does sell foldable plates which overcome this problem. Personally I won’t recommend putting a full frame body and heavy metal lens combo on this strap, the slim neoprene shoulder pad and nylon webbing joint is probably not the best combination. This strap was designed for light to medium weight applications, rather opt for one of Carry Speed’s heavy duty straps.
I would highly recommend this strap to any photographer that wants to carry around his camera without the hassle of a camera backpack or shoulder bag; it’s comfy, operates smoothly and the overall design gives peace of mind.
Now one more thing.. Keep the weather in mind when going for a walk as you won’t have any protection from rain like you’ll have with a bag. I usually carry a small foldable nylon bag in my pocket. A pouch though, with a rain cover, built into the shoulder strap would be the cherry on the cake… whichever manufacturer listens. 🙂