Black Rapid RS-4 Camera Strap

rs4-04.jpegI've been shooting photographs for years and the common neck strap has always given me nothing but neck pain. My father though he had found a solution with a neoprene neck strap, but eventually it had the same shortcomings as its predecessor. One day, while attending a convention, a friend pulled a Black Rapid strap out of his bag. Within an hour I had found and purchased one for myself. The strap slips easily over one shoulder and allows your camera to hang comfortably at your side with no strain on your neck.
The camera attaches to the strap through a custom tripod mount and a carabiner connecting kit that allows the camera to be brought up to shooting position without having to shift the strap (the metal connection slides across the fabric strap). This makes it easy to swing your camera up and shoot in a simple fluid motion, and return the camera back down to your side the same way. Another benefit of this connection method is that it reduces strain on the camera body when shooting with large lenses that have tripod collars. RS4tw.jpeg The straps are sturdy, well built and come in a variety of sizes and styles including the RS-DR-1 which can hold two SLRs at once, although that's really more for the professional photographer. RS4 Connector.jpeg --Tim Edwards Black Rapid RS-4 Camera Strap $53 For more information there is a great thread detailing other camera strap models and using tripod quick release plates over at Cool Tools.

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  1. The RS-4 *is* a great strap. Easily the best one I’ve ever owned. It’s a much more convenient and comfortable way to carry a large camera then the usual “tourist” method.

    1. I helped fund the C-loop on Kickstarter…I love it, exactly what I had been looking for and it works with pretty much any camera strap.

  2. i shoot a lot in the city and urban environments. having ur camera hanging on your side is very unpractical. it can get damaged by passer-bys and/or can easily get ripped off you. i prefer having it on my front. surely there must be a strap for that too. id advise people to get something like that.

      1. Something has to be said about the negative aspects of over the neck straps as well. I have dinged many a forehead bending down to help one of my kids :)

    1. I beg to differ, when I am in busy, crowded area, having my camera hanging in front would get knocked by people pushing you forward. I love, LOVE, my Blackrapid strap. Wouldn’t go back! Have had it for almost a year now.

  3. I just started using mine yesterday. It’s great, and a good way to keep a big camera and long lens out of the way in a crowded event.

  4. I used to make my own out of guitar straps back when I lugged around a couple 5-pound Nikon Fs.
    My Panasonic digital is weightless by comparison.

  5. This strap is great but it has an annoying habit of the padded part slipping and moving around. The Split Strap (mentioned above) has silicone on the bottom of the strap which seems like it would help reduce the movement of the pad.

    Also, there is a very tiny pocket on the strap which is too small for two batteries but a little too big for one NB-2LH.

    1. Right. I like my Blackrapid. I use it for a place to “put down” my camera in crowded nightclubs (for most of the night I walk through the dance floor holding my 7D over my head, or next to it).

      But, the padded part of the strap keeps slipping forward and coming to rest on my chest.

      ANNOYING! But less annoying than having your camera knocked off a table, or Jaegermeister and Grenadine spilled on it (or whatever you youngsters mix with your liquor), or having it ripped off of a table.

      The main advantage this over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder has over a tourist strap is, you don’t look like a total loser-dork–which is important at the clubs I shoot–the weak do not survive.

  6. I’m curious if a single point rifle sling would work as well. It’s designed to hold something much heavier than a camera in roughly the same position, and it looks like the clip is similar. I believe you can pick up a cheap one for about $18.

  7. I have tried various ways of carrying my cameras over the years and they all left my camera open to swinging around and getting damaged. I bought the Cotton Carrier recently and have been very happy with it. Most of the larger camera shops have it or you can order direct (www.cottoncarrier.com)

  8. I have the Black Rapid strap and use it all the time.

    They have updated the mount since the one shown in the pictures. The new one is much better.

    A neck strap will suffice for the lower priced ‘compact body DSLRs’. But trying to use a neck strap with a larger lens and a metal body camera is a recipe for back ache.

  9. My issue with most cross-carry shoulder straps is not the strap or the connector technology per se. It’s the use of the tripod mount as the sole contact that is suboptimal. A single-point connection, whether the mount or the two strap mounts, leaves my D90 with a whole lot of floppy, swiveling motion that doesn’t inspire confidence or enable control, especially when scrambling or climbing. And the Split Strap, though well made and comfortable, doesn’t get around this. Neither does the Luma Loop.

    The best solution I’ve found is to combine either the Split Strap or my current favorite, the OP TECH Super Classic Strap-ProLoop with the Camera Strap Buddy from PhotoJojo. It’s fabulous because it provides for two mounting points which significantly increases the ability of the strap, the camera rest position against your body, and your shutter hand to keep the camera movement under control.

  10. My issue with most cross-carry shoulder straps is not the strap or the connector technology per se. It’s the use of the tripod mount as the sole contact that is suboptimal. A single-point connection, whether the mount or the two built-in strap mounts, leaves my D90 with a whole lot of floppy, swiveling motion that doesn’t inspire confidence or enable control, especially when scrambling or climbing. And the Split Strap, though well made and comfortable, doesn’t get around this. Neither does the Luma Loop. The problem with dual mounts at the strap points is a different one: the left strap gets in the way of a fast, comfortable shooting posture.

    The best solution I’ve found is to combine either the Split Strap or my current favorite, the OP TECH Super Classic Strap-ProLoop, with the Camera Strap Buddy from PhotoJojo. It’s fabulous because it provides for two mounting points which significantly increases the ability of the strap, the camera rest position against your body, and your shutter hand to keep the camera movement under control. Second, it allows you to make one mounting point the strap loop and the other the tripod mount. This is absolutely wonderful because it allows the camera to hang at a more comfortable angle and the tripod mount keeps the left side strap from crossing my face and getting hung up. It’s absolutely wonderful!

    I’ve looked a long time for the right side-carry, fast deploy shoulder strap and had considered building one, but the guys PhotoJojo saved me the trouble.

  11. If I’m carrying my camera but don’t intend to use it, I just put it in my camera bag, which is actually a canvas satchel which I carry slung across my chest. If I’m using my camera, then it’s in my hand.

  12. I made one of these myself.

    • First I bought the tripod mount nub ($14).
    • Then I found an old bag that had a shoulder strap I never use (free).
    • Next, I bought a couple of yards of 1.5″ nylon webbing from the fabric store ($5)

    • I extracted the metal clip and adjustment bar from the strap. Sized up the nylon webbing to provide a good fit + about 1′ extra for adjustment, pinned it and cut off the excess. Then I put it together the adjustment bar and metal clip, melted the edges of the cut nylon, folded it over 2x to give me a triple thickness by 2″ pad, and sewed the whole thing at both ends.

    Total cost $21, with the caveat that I had some of the stuff laying around. It fits me perfectly, didn’t cost half of what the R-strap costs, I can make a new one if it gets ruined or if I want to modify it, and best of all, I get the satisfaction of knowing that I made it.

  13. Plugs into the tripod mount?

    Does this mean I can use it with my Mamiya C220? Cuz that sucker is heavy.

  14. I love mine. I like the way I can adjust the length. I get it so the camera hangs precisely at my right wrist so I can “quickdraw” the camera like an old west gunfighter. The tiny pocket on the padded part of the strap is good for a memory card or two, not much more.

    My only gripe is that it doesn’t accommodate something like a pouch for a second lens, or even pockets for lens caps, filters, etc. But for your standard SLR outing, it can’t be beat.

  15. I have one on my 5DMkII and it should be noted that the strap attachment will scratch the paint on the camera because of its design.

    1. I have one on my 5DMkII and it should be noted that the strap attachment will scratch the paint on the camera because of its design.

      It does indeed, I’ve found shrink tube over the scratchy tightening part works wonders though.

      I don’t use mine any more however, because I have more need for a quick release plate on the bottom of my camera.

  16. i have had a blackrapid rs-4 for a while now and really love it. There really isn’t a “weak point” unless you don’t trust the tripod mount on your camera (which may be true if you’re using an aftermarket grip or something).

    I recommend fastening the strap to a small quick release clamp (kirk has a 1″ one that is perfect) so you can easily move the camera between it and a tripod…

  17. I carry a DSLR daily as part of my job. I’m not a big fan of ANY strap that uses the tripod mount for a couple of reasons:

    Fist off, it means you have to remove the strap if you need a quick tripod or monopod shot. For that matter, it takes time to take the strap off if you don’t want it for some reason (like indoor shooting).

    Second, any of these sling systems that lets the camera hang ONLY at the low point keeps the camera in harm’s way at your hip, especially if you have a flash attached.

    Most DSLR’s have loops at two or three corners of the camera to allow attachment of a strap. I thread key rings through each of the points, and use a Lowepro strap (http://products.lowepro.com/product/Transporter,2065,41.htm, about $20) with quick-release fittings to attach to the rings. I’d use the OEM strap, but they’re usually too short.

    When the camera doesn’t slide on the strap, it’s a lot easier to get around with it. For example, if I need to go up or down a ladder (which I do often), I can sling the camera around one shoulder, bandolier-style, and let it hang at the small of my back. Then, it’s out of the way, and all I have to do is grab it and slide the strap around so I can see through the viewfinder. I can do that with one hand.

  18. I love my R-Strap. I’ve been using one for a couple of years and have photographed all over world with it (sometime with 2!) Their new sport design is a big improvement as it stops the padded part from moving around.

  19. FWIW, my current solution is hip holster when I’m not actively expecting to shoot, wrist strap when I’m in shooting mode as insurance against butterfingers. Yeah, it means I don’t have both hands free. But generally, if I’m expecting to use the camera, I don’t need the hand for anything else.

    Might be different if I was spending all day with a particularly heavy lens attached. But I “grew up with” Canons that were rugged like cannon because they weighed like cannon, so the digitals are already featherweights by comparison…

  20. Industry Disgrace by Crumpler is the best strap I’ve ever owned and used. It’s the best, you can sling it aside like the BR or wear it front and it’s ultra comfortable. And it’s 40 bucks.

  21. I can’t be the only person that use their default camera strap, stretched long, and over one shoulder just like the rapid strap (albeit without the single pivot point). I use my forearm cupped underneath the lens to protect from my side walking through crowded areas.

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