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06-24-2014, 05:27 PM   #1
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Op/Tech Bino/Cam Harness

I bought one of these harnesses before a recent trip to Scotland and Ireland. I can say, without hesitation, that this was the best "strap" of any sort I've ever owned in 40+ years of shooting. I bought it (the one made from webbing, not elastic) on eBay for about $13 including shipping. The only downside is that it takes a few moments to remove it and put it back on if you need to change your clothing (jacket, sweater...y'know, layers). However, once you get used to it, it only takes about 30 seconds extra for this process.

I can't stress enough how nice it was not to have anything hanging around my neck. Distributing the weight to both shoulders makes carrying my camera (a K-5IIs with 18-250 Sigma lens) a pleasure.

I'll post soon with my "One Lens" story.

06-24-2014, 09:45 PM   #2
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Thanks very much for the notice and preliminary evaluation. About how much weight, and swinging effect from a long lens, do YOU feel is still comfortable for a longer stretch, using the Op-Tech? What did you consider to be the comparative downside of the stretchy option? Also, do you note any subtle "feedback" from other people to the effect that, outside of true nature treks, your harness is taken to be any of the following: dorky... slightly pretentious... an invitation to unwanted attention to your gear kit? All these, of course, being completely independent of matters of practical utility; or even reasonable comprehension by hypothetical critics. I've seen those Cotton Carrier things, which do seem to be "a bit much", outside of birding expeditions and such. I wouldn't want to, even inadvertently, make a statement: like you, I'd just like to get the job done. The Bino/Cam option is plainly more minimalist.

I also have a question specific to my own needs. How do you think this would interact with sling bags (over left shoulder type), designed for quickly flipping around to chest position? I have two I like -- the Mountainsmith Andy Mann series Descent, and the F-Stop Millar Brooklyn Sling bag. Thanks for any guidance!
06-25-2014, 04:24 AM   #3
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I've been eyeing this strap for a long time. I've always wondered how it would work with a flash attached. I've lusted a little less for this strap since I started using the hand strap that came with my used K-r.

Tim
06-25-2014, 11:21 AM - 1 Like   #4
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In answer to Kayaker-J: I would prefer the Bino/Cam harness to -any- neck strap regardless of the weight or size of attached lens. As the camera is still suspended by its strap rings, the balance doesn't change (neck strap vs. bino) but the weight of the camera tends to hold it closer to my chest . There's no "swinging" of any sort. Remember: The two straps go around the shoulders and back under the arms. The webbing slides through the plastic snap connectors so moving the camera up to your eye makes the camera slide up the straps. This is what permits the camera to be held closer to your chest - no swinging.

I wouldn't use the elastic model of this strap; I can't see any benefit to it except it -might- be possible to remove the harness without disconnecting the camera. (It's actually -possible- to remove the webbing harness with the camera connected but it would be more difficult to put it back on.) The downside: Elastic wears out and, frankly, would be more "bouncy"; didn't I buy this so the camera wouldn't bounce against my chest? I think the elastic model might be useful for much smaller cameras and, even then, would be worn much tighter.

As for the "style": I was on a bus trip with 35 non-pro's. I'm not sure if the harness or the fact I was carrying a much more capable camera imparted a "wow" factor. I did hear a few comments about me using a "pro" camera. Other than that, some of those using bridge cameras asked me where they could buy the harness. They saw the advantage of the "no-swinging" camera.

Regarding sling bags: I would imagine swinging a shoulder bag around to the front would interfere with camera access. Funny thing: I had originally designed a harness that would use the strap from one of those bags but, when I found the Op/Tech harness, I knew this was the answer.

Answering "atupdate": If you use a normal neck strap and stand straight, however the camera "leans" (based upon where the weight is - like adding a heavy flash) is somewhat like it will be with the Op/Tech harness although, perhaps, a little less because the sliding design of the clip attachment points (letting the webbing slide through) keeps the camera closer to the chest. I understand the attraction of the hand-straps but I had two reasons for using this harness: 1) It's hands-free when I'm not in shooting mode. 2) It made carrying the camera almost weightless. I wore this harness most of a 10-hour day both on the bus and off at the various venues through 14 straight days.

Hope this answered all your questions but feel free to ask more if I've not been clear or complete.

Barry

06-25-2014, 12:04 PM   #5
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Thanks, Barry. Even though my grasp of physics is pretty solid, I wasn't sure all aspects of the bounce factor were intuitively clear to apprehend. Remember the Tacoma Narrows Bridge -- they weren't expecting that, either!

Thinking a bit more about appearances and sensible discretion in the display of gear, I suppose there are a few more ways to cover up a DSLR sitting close against one's chest, than the same hanging about anywhere else... if the need should arise. A sweater tied over the shoulders, an oversize shirt worn as a light, loose jacket... even some bit of dark cloth cut and arranged for the purpose (as an overlay) might do the job.

I don't know if you use zooms mostly, but I anticipate changing prime lenses more frequently than most; so the sling bag idea appealed to me. I could avoid setting a bag down on wet or muddy ground; I have a short, probably harmless drop into my main bag should I fumble with something like my newly acquired FA 31mm/1.9 during a lens changeover; and so forth. You can see a short, very pleasant little video demo of that nice Descent bag by co-designer and nature/adventure photographer Andy Mann on Mountainsmith's main "desktop" website (much better than the mobile one) and see how he whips that thing around into chest position and back. Pretty slick, I thought. Well, thanks once more for your insights and recommendations! -- Fred
06-25-2014, 02:09 PM   #6
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Fred,

If you're changing lenses, then the front-carried bag makes sense. I am a reformed bridge camera user but the idea of not having to change lenses is why I bought the Sigma 18-250. I do, however, own a few other PKA lenses (both Pentax and 3rd party) but, in the field, I'm not keen on getting dust inside the camera if I can avoid it. The Sigma proved to be a reasonable compromise.

Barry
06-25-2014, 09:41 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by rumplestiltskin Quote
Fred,

If you're changing lenses, then the front-carried bag makes sense. I am a reformed bridge camera user but the idea of not having to change lenses is why I bought the Sigma 18-250. I do, however, own a few other PKA lenses (both Pentax and 3rd party) but, in the field, I'm not keen on getting dust inside the camera if I can avoid it. The Sigma proved to be a reasonable compromise.

Barry
That particular Sigma seems like a pretty good choice for what you needed, Barry. I did just cave in a couple of weeks back and picked up a LN single female owner 17-50mm Tamron for reasons you mentioned, and to maybe help fill a prime lens gap between 15mm and 31mm P-Limiteds (along with an adapted Nikkor 24mm/2.8) for landscapes and such. I can accomplish much the same no lens change coverage by mounting something like my MF 50-135mm/3.5 Nikkor on my Olympus E-PL5 second/complementary body -- a fast f.3.5 out to 270mm equivalent; or 378mm at about f.5 with Tamron SP 1.4x tele converter attached. The Op-Tech might be perfect for that. I'll just have to experiment with the combinations. -- Fred

P.S.- Regarding the dust concern, one really nice thing about those two sling bags is that both sport a really open and quickly reconfigurable interior with just the single broad top opening (when swung around to the front). The bags are fairly deep, so I can change lenses like the Limiteds pretty much inside the bag confines if I wish. The stable platform means I could also throw any handy cover over the top during a lens change, if conditions demanded it. A smaller belt-attached pack or two will keep the sling bag uncluttered internally. I'm planning to get the dual back-to-back Op-Tech rear lens caps (with O-ring seals) to keep everything as clean, tidy, and easy to handle as possible. Check out these dual lens caps, Barry, if you haven't already: they'll let you bring along a second lens -- a macro? -- without ever having the cap off one lens or the other. Cheers!


Last edited by Kayaker-J; 06-25-2014 at 10:17 PM.
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