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Thursday 27 December 2018

Active photography bag strap

My preference for holding a camera, is freely with a wrist strap however, that is not comfortable for long periods between photographs, such as when I'm on a walk. In those cases I prefer to use a cross body strap, where the camera hangs to my side and allows the camera to be quickly brought to bear.

The first brand I had of this type of strap was BlackRapid. I'd used that for many years and although I liked the motion and where the camera hung, it was distracting having to regularly slide the strap back on to my shoulder.

There are variations with slings under the arm to help hold the strap in position but they did not work to my satisfaction

I have come up with a solution that I have been using for a few months and I am happy with. It's as simple as using a bag so the weight of the bag keeps the strap in position. The strap of the bag acts as the harness to support the camera.

The reason I use and like the cross body straps is because the camera is easier to carry but also still quick to use. I can also easily remove it from the harness and use it with a wrist strap.

I struggled to find a bag exactly the size I wanted and in a style I liked. I came back to my favourite bag producer, Billingham Bags to get something close to my ideal. They only had one with the features I needed and a size that was not too big.

It fits a 300mm zoom lens, some spare batteries and even a small charger, if I wanted. There is an open pocket on the front, ideal for a lens cap.

I don't stow my cameras while I carry them. I want them ready to use. There is no reason a larger bag could not be used that did have space for the camera.

I wanted a 25mm wide strap and luckily the bag I selected, came with that. I have added a wide section of two layers of 3mm thick leather to the end of the strap to stop the 4mm x 30mm (inside diameter), ring getting caught on the loop at the end of the strap where it attaches to the bag. It's just two bits riveted over the 25mm wide strap.

The leather had to be fairly substantial because it takes the weight of the camera when hanging freely.

The Billingham bag uses Sam Browne style studs to attach the straps. I like these and there was just enough space to fit the 3mm leather in between to hold it in place at the end of the strap.

I prefer my camera to hang from one of the strap rings on the top left of the camera instead of the more typical tripod screw. I've never understood why the camera had to hang upside down on a screw thread that could accidentally work loose!

My solution, from years ago, is that I add a 15mm or 20mm split ring to the left hand neck strap ring. I have a short strap between the harness and the camera so I am not tethered too close to the cross body strap. The sprung clip fits easily and quickly in to the larger ring.

One end of the short strap has a spinner so it can freely rotate. The end attached to the camera has an easier to operate sprung hook so I can quickly remove the camera to hold it freely. I use a wrist strap on my left wrist, in those situations where the camera is not attached to the main harness.

The wrist strap is just a loop of Paracord with two more loops of smaller strong cord to adjust the sizes of the loops. I keep an eye out for a more professional looking solution but very few are as efficient as my loop of Paracord.

I am very pleased with the bag as the harness to carry my camera. The strap stays roughly in place and the camera can be used quickly.

I can let it hang freely on the strap and I have it adjusted so I can easily hold the lens, which is more comfortable while walking.


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