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09-14-2017, 10:00 AM   #1
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Thoughts on neck straps

Someone in another thread said that sling straps are vastly superior to the neck strap. Rather than hijack that thread, I'm starting a new one. I'm curious. Can anyone recommend an alternate strap solution that might work better for me? I've looked in stores and at shows yet the "best" solutions tied up the tripod port.

I'm a neck strap advocate for outdoor photography. My K-1 neck strap gets used in these ways:

1) As a conventional neck strap. This works well when I'm photographing from a stationary standing or sitting position. If I'm using a heavy Sigma 50-500, I use a neck strap on the tripod foot so the lens mount isn't holding all that weight.

2) Wrist strap. I wrap the neck strap around my right wrist to take many photos while walking. No risk of dropping the camera. When I'm done photographing and walking, it's easy to revert to conventional neck strap.

3) Diagonal strap with the strap passing under my left armpit. This is purely a storage position, holding the camera snug when I'm doing more walking than photography. The camera is protected yet remains more accessible than stored inside a bag.

4) Strap around my neck, with camera tucked under chest strap of my Manfrotto Hiker bag. The lens points downwards in this position. The bag has a special strap for this but it's easy to add to other bags. The camera and lens are tight against my chest and can't bounce during fast walking on long hikes, yet I can get into shooting position in a fraction of a second. Works well with the 28-105 lens not heavy lenses.

5) When using a tripod, I loop the strap around part of the tripod so the camera can't fall even if my quick release failed. The quick release plate always stays on my camera and doesn't interfere with strap usage. Many fancy sling solutions tie up the tripod port.

09-14-2017, 10:08 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
Someone in another thread said that sling straps are vastly superior to the neck strap. Rather than hijack that thread, I'm starting a new one. I'm curious. Can anyone recommend an alternate strap solution that might work better for me? I've looked in stores and at shows yet the "best" solutions tied up the tripod port.

I'm a neck strap advocate for outdoor photography. My K-1 neck strap gets used in these ways:

1) As a conventional neck strap. This works well when I'm photographing from a stationary standing or sitting position. If I'm using a heavy Sigma 50-500, I use a neck strap on the tripod foot so the lens mount isn't holding all that weight.

2) Wrist strap. I wrap the neck strap around my right wrist to take many photos while walking. No risk of dropping the camera. When I'm done photographing and walking, it's easy to revert to conventional neck strap.

3) Diagonal strap with the strap passing under my left armpit. This is purely a storage position, holding the camera snug when I'm doing more walking than photography. The camera is protected yet remains more accessible than stored inside a bag.

4) Strap around my neck, with camera tucked under chest strap of my Manfrotto Hiker bag. The lens points downwards in this position. The bag has a special strap for this but it's easy to add to other bags. The camera and lens are tight against my chest and can't bounce during fast walking on long hikes, yet I can get into shooting position in a fraction of a second. Works well with the 28-105 lens not heavy lenses.

5) When using a tripod, I loop the strap around part of the tripod so the camera can't fall even if my quick release failed. The quick release plate always stays on my camera and doesn't interfere with strap usage. Many fancy sling solutions tie up the tripod port.
check out the optech usa utility strap

Utility Sling - Neoprene Quick Release Camera Shoulder Strap | OP/TECH USA

it attaches to the attachment at the top of the camera body and does not interfere with the tripod attachment so it should be no problem with a QR plate

I use the Joby UltraFit Hand Strap with UltraPlate

Joby UltraFit Hand Strap with UltraPlate JB01277 B&H Photo Video!

along with the strap

there is enough room at the upper attachment point to have both strap and hand strap attach and the ultra plate has attachment points for a tripod
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PENTAX K-5 II  Photo 
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09-14-2017, 11:53 AM   #3
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Neck strap when I might want the camera. A shoulder bag to protect the camera when I'm just walking.This ensures two things. The camera is ready when i want it. The camera is protected when I don't. I've seen no workable solution that provides both things. For me the whole issue is , what happens when I fall? And if you hike where I do, a couple of times a year at least you're going to fall. My whole goal is to behave in such a way that my camera is protected when I do. I've never found a system where the camera isn't fully enclosed that meets that criteria. And anything but a shoulder strap isn't going to work. because with a shoulder strap , I can shift the camera as I fall.

I was using a waste belt last year. My feet went out from under me on the ice and I fell directly on top of the camera. There was no damage, but because i was lucky. As former photography teacher, I used to enforce a strict, "neck strap around your neck, camera in your hand" policy. That way, you always have a choice to save the camera. Even with a back mounted backpack, what happens if you fall on your back?

When your hand gets tired. put more of the camera weight on the neck strap. If you neck is starting to get tired, carry more of the weight in your hand.
When I really don't want to carry the camera and lenses in shoulder bags, a slingshot that allows me to shift the weight from one shoulder to the other is what I go for.

I won't use my camera with a wrist strap, because if I need that hand to break my fall, the camera is going to get pounded into the ground. I've been through all these scenarios out in the wild, and though I may use a backpack, or slingshot on a given day. Shoulder bags and straps are my preferred MO.

As for people who want the camera ready in positions where you might fall, you're going to be depending on that rugged Pentax construction. It's saved my gear dozens of times.

That's why my FA35-80 doesn't go anywhere. I like the lens, but I don't want to break it.
09-14-2017, 12:05 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
If I'm using a heavy Sigma 50-500, I use a neck strap
You must have strong neck I use Bigma with Op-tech in sling configuration only. The nice thing about Op-tech is that it was created as a system, so you can easily build various configurations. Conversion between sling and neck strap is pretty easy, albeit takes a while as you have to disconnect and connect buckles. Peak Design is also worthwhile - it allows for superfast conversion between sling and neck without any buckles. PD also includes quick release plate with holes for anchors - this way wrist strap does not block tripod mount.

09-14-2017, 12:37 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Neck strap when I might want the camera. A shoulder bag to protect the camera when I'm just walking.This ensures two things. The camera is ready when i want it. The camera is protected when I don't. I've seen no workable solution that provides both things. For me the whole issue is , what happens when I fall? And if you hike where I do, a couple of times a year at least you're going to fall. My whole goal is to behave in such a way that my camera is protected when I do. I've never found a system where the camera isn't fully enclosed that meets that criteria. And anything but a shoulder strap isn't going to work. because with a shoulder strap , I can shift the camera as I fall.

I was using a waste belt last year. My feet went out from under me on the ice and I fell directly on top of the camera. There was no damage, but because i was lucky. As former photography teacher, I used to enforce a strict, "neck strap around your neck, camera in your hand" policy. That way, you always have a choice to save the camera. Even with a back mounted backpack, what happens if you fall on your back?

When your hand gets tired. put more of the camera weight on the neck strap. If you neck is starting to get tired, carry more of the weight in your hand.
When I really don't want to carry the camera and lenses in shoulder bags, a slingshot that allows me to shift the weight from one shoulder to the other is what I go for.

I won't use my camera with a wrist strap, because if I need that hand to break my fall, the camera is going to get pounded into the ground. I've been through all these scenarios out in the wild, and though I may use a backpack, or slingshot on a given day. Shoulder bags and straps are my preferred MO.

As for people who want the camera ready in positions where you might fall, you're going to be depending on that rugged Pentax construction. It's saved my gear dozens of times.

That's why my FA35-80 doesn't go anywhere. I like the lens, but I don't want to break it.
Interesting Norm on several counts. 1) the wrist strap: I've just started to try this for a walkabout/scouting option. It's great and handy, but I did think what if/when I slip where's the gear going to end up ? Wrist entwined around camera as impact is made ... not good. So the wrist strap, is probably not for rough terrain (wasn't actually planned for this, I was just trying it out)
2)"neck strap around your neck, camera in your hand" couldn't agree more. The neck strap, with camera protected when making changes/re-configuring gear/tripod has saved me many times. I also you fishing line to secure those quick release buckles, which I've known to 'spontaneously. quick release. Belt and braces ? Maybe. But I prefer to buy my gear once only ...

I will take another look at the sling systems that others have mentioned, but I don't like quick release fittings anywhere - they can fail. I don't mind slow release and safe methods to move gear about.
09-14-2017, 01:34 PM   #6
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when I carry my heavy lenses D FA 150 - 450 mm or D FA * 70 - 200 mm 2.8 possibly plus the DA 1.4 rear converter

I have them on the camera body ( which has the battery grip attached ) which is supported by the optech usa utility cross body sling and the Joby UltraFit Hand Strap with UltraPlate

I usually have my hand loosely on or in the hand grip to help control any swinging and if I want to, I can take some the weight off the strap by lifting the camera slightly

I also will put the set up across my body supported in the crook of my bent left arm or on top of my right shoulder

the key is to vary the position of the set up

as was said, there is no perfect solution and there are risks to every option.

however I was taught long ago by my dad:

" you paid for that strap use it "

and some day I will meet up with him and there will be h#ll to pay if I hadn't done as he instructed, of that I am convinced.
09-14-2017, 03:01 PM   #7
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Use an Optech sling or strap on all cameras at all times through the traditional lugs. Easy to use and on the tripod it provides that 'safety net' when attached properly to the tripod. Use it in a variety of configurations. The only time I take off the strap is when doing astrophotography where the weight and bulk are problems and it is firmly mounted piggyback style or at prime focus on my Meade 10" SCT.

09-14-2017, 03:42 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
what happens when I fall?
I've thought about that. I haven't fallen face-first in over a decade, which is why strapping the camera to my chest with the Manfrotto Hiker bag is an acceptable risk, but I recognize that such a fall would be bad for my camera and my sternum. If I'm doing a long rock scramble I stick the camera in the top compartment where it seems to be best protected if I fall. I am on ice much less often than you are.

QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
I used to enforce a strict, "neck strap around your neck, camera in your hand" policy
Yep, I always keep my hand on the camera if I'm moving faster than a snail's pace. Our arms act as good shock absorbers to protect the camera.

QuoteOriginally posted by pentageek Quote
You must have strong neck I use Bigma with Op-tech in sling configuration only.
The Bigma neck strap is more for backup than weight bearing. I use the carrying handle (aka tripod foot) to take most of the weight. If my hand slips, though, nothing hits the ground. The Bigma weighs enough, and the strap is thin enough, to feel like a garrote if I just let it all dangle from my neck for too long.

QuoteOriginally posted by Aslyfox Quote
check out the optech usa utility strap
I've looked at that. The camera weight is held by a single quick-release plastic buckle. I realize modern plastics are great but that seems risky.
09-14-2017, 03:57 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
. . . I've looked at that. The camera weight is held by a single quick-release plastic buckle. I realize modern plastics are great but that seems risky.

ah, I thought of that,

I forgot to mention that on the other attachment point, I have placed

Camera Safety tether for backup protection


which allows me to attach the camera to the strap in a different location should I wish. it has a locking " D " ring on one end

I could also attach the tether to the tripod foot as well I think

sorry about the image size it is from joby
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Last edited by aslyfox; 09-14-2017 at 04:04 PM.
09-14-2017, 04:47 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aslyfox Quote
ah, I thought of that,

I forgot to mention that on the other attachment point, I have placed

SNIPPED FOR BREVITY
I think I understand that. If I don't keep the sling and wrist strap attached all the time, how long does it take to remove one and attach the other. Around a minute?
09-14-2017, 05:15 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
I think I understand that. If I don't keep the sling and wrist strap attached all the time, how long does it take to remove one and attach the other. Around a minute?
If I understand your question

The strap has a quick release

The ultrafit hand strap and Ultra Plate would take the longest to detach from the camera

The ultra plate screws on at the tripod attachment and the hand grip is a thread through

On the other side, the cable is a slip through which you double back and the other end has the lockable d ring

The joby web site show how they work better than I can describe
09-14-2017, 07:30 PM - 1 Like   #12
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I just picked up a peak designs strap for my K-30 and it's everything I've been wanting in a neck strap. Easily adjusts from neck to sling, easy to disconnect if you want it off the strap but requires a positive action to break loose so it's safe, and it really distributes the weight well (though I'm only dealing with a 50-135 or a sigma 10-20 f3.5 at most currently) that it makes the camera feel almost weightless.
09-14-2017, 08:15 PM   #13
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A timely thread as my Joby Pro Sling Strap and Joby Ultra Plate were just delivered today. So far it seems comfortable, convenient and intuitive to use. I didn't realize how much I would love not having straps dangling over my hands from the lugs. I can still thread my arm through the strap to create a make-shift wrist strap, should I choose to. The Joby Ultra Plate means I always have a built-in Arca-Swiss for my Sirui tripod, and it adds two standard threads --- one for the sling-strap mount, and one for my little table top Manfrotto tripod. So far it's a home run combo!

Joby Pro Sling Strap for DSLRs (S-L) JB01301 B&H Photo Video

Joby UltraPlate Quick Release Plate for DSLR & JB01313 B&H
09-15-2017, 02:51 AM   #14
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if you don't mind a suggestion, I would recommend returning the ultra plate

and replacing it with this Joby UltraFit Hand Strap with UltraPlate

Joby UltraFit Hand Strap with UltraPlate JB01277 B&H Photo Video



you would retain the ultra plate and its advantages and gain the hand grip

Last edited by aslyfox; 09-15-2017 at 02:57 AM.
09-15-2017, 04:22 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aslyfox Quote
if you don't mind a suggestion, I would recommend returning the ultra plate

and replacing it with this Joby UltraFit Hand Strap with UltraPlate

Joby UltraFit Hand Strap with UltraPlate JB01277 B&H Photo Video

you would retain the ultra plate and its advantages and gain the hand grip
I would not want to sacrifice being able to be hands-free like I can with the crossbody style strap... or did I misunderstand?

A neck strap can always play a wrist strap if necessary. A wrist strap can never be a neck strap.
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