Blackrapid R-Strap: Review & Giveaway

In GEAR by David


The good folks at Blackrapid were kind enough to send me some of their new straps to review and I’m passing the love on to you. Read to the bottom and I’ll tell you how you can win one.

The Problem
I hate straps and the less they get in the way the better. As a result I’ve come up with a way of working and rigging my straps that allows me to get them out of the way as much as possible, while still allowing me to grab my camera quickly. But until now there hasn’t been a strap that really jived with the way I work.

For years I’ve rigged my camera by one strap point – the bottom right corner, which you will only have on a pro body or if you use a vertical grip. Doing this allows my camera to hang out of the way and when I need it the straps aren’t in my face. I’ve also mostly used my strap in bandolier mode, across my body. Just feels more secure. But the problem is that bandoliers generally have no padding, and a conventional strap used as a bandolier doesn’t slide well and makes pulling the camera to the eye difficult. I also want a strap I can remove easily anytime I don’t need it.

The Premise
Enter the R-Strap
. It’s a padded bandolier-style strap and it uses clip-on sliding camera mount hardware so the camera can be drawn from a suspended position to a shooting position very quickly.

The R-Strap comes in 3 versions right now. The R-Strap, the RS-2, and the RS-3 Camo. All function basically the same, though the RS-2 has a cell pouch and pockets for memory cards, and the RS-3 Camo is a camo version of the R-Strap, with a cell pouch, but not the other pockets. The website will help you understand the differences, but here’s some pics:

The strap is pretty simple in concept. The camera attaches, with a clip, to the camera in one of two ways – to the d-ring on your tripod plate, or with a supplied bracket that mounts to the camera by screwing into the threaded tripod socket. Once attached the camera hangs by your side and out of the way from that point. When you want to use the camera you reach down and pull it to your eye – the buckle slides easily along the strap allowing the strap to remain where it is. The camera moves, the strap doesn’t. Here’s a shot of the camera hanging – one from the tripod socket on the body, one from the socket on a longer lens.


The Review
It’s about time someone came up with this. It’s simple and works as promised. What I like best is how fast the camera can be brought to the face without the strap hanging up. The strap is comfortable and well made and the hardware is solid. There is a small plastic sleeve supplied with the clip to prevent the gate from accidental openings, and while it seems like a bit of an afterthought, it works well. I’m very confident in this product. It came in a nice mesh pouch – always handy for storing bits and pieces and a refreshing change from our packaging-addicted society that seems to demand shrink-wrap, plastic and cardboard to feed the landfill sites.

Of the three, I prefer the original R-Strap. The RS-2 is great but I’m less sold on the pockets. I’m a bit of a minimalist when it comes to this kind of thing, but some people will love this. The camo isn’t me at all, but again, some people will love it.

What don’t I like? With the strap mounted to the camera bottom via the fasten-R hardware, it’s nearly impossible to use a vertical grip. For me this is not a problem. As I said, for years I have been mounting straps to the bottom right strap point on the body, so I did the same here, clipping the R-Strap to a piece of climbers cord I’ve threaded and knotted into a secure loop. But without this I’d find it hard to hold, and for smaller hands than mine, virtually impossible. If this is a problem for you I’d encourage you to try my workaround, or mount the strap straight to a tripod mount plate without use of the fastenR hardware.

In an ideal world I’d also love to see a David duChemin Limited Edition R-Strap that has none of the padding. Just a long bandolier with the adjustable buckles and the clips. Sure, I could make one, but a guy can dream, right? I already wear alot of gear on the field, and a simple, no frills bandolier would be great. Anyone else want one? I’ll lean on Ron Henry, the inventor, and see what he can do for us minimalists.

Well made, easy-on/easy-off of strap, fast camera access, puts the camera where I like it when not shooting. I really like where it hangs with my 70-200/2.8 attached at the tripod mount ring. Some will love the pockets and pouches for CF cards, business cars, cell phones, batteries.

Some will say price but I’m a big believer in the “get what you pay for camp.” They retail for $44 to $56, depending on the model. I’d love to see a version even more basic than the original R-Strap.

Take a moment and watch the demo video to get a better understanding of all the wordy stuff above. The video can be seen HERE.

Would I recommend the R-Strap?
Absolutely. Everyone works differently, so if you still like a conventional strap hung around your neck like a millstone, this might not be for you. But if you want comfortable, fast access to your camera, in a well-made strap, I’d give this one a 5 pixel rating.

So how do you get one for free?
I have 4 of them to give away and all you have to do is:

1. Go to the R-Strap website,
2. watch the video and decide which one you like best.
3. Leave a comment here with your name and email, and which R-Strap strap you’d like. Additional comments are fine, but no name, no email, and no specifying which strap you like will get you a big, fat, nothin’. Them’s the rules.

In exactly one week from today, I will randomly choose 4 names and email the winners for a mailing address. I can’t guarantee you’ll get the one you want, but I’ll try. Extra points given if your comment indicates you’d like to see a David duChemin Ltd Edition version.

See? Easy. Ok, on your marks, get set…(wait for it…) Go!