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Review: BlackRapid RS-7 Camera Strap with FastenR-3 and ConnectR-2

Review: BlackRapid RS-7 Camera Strap with FastenR-3 and ConnectR-2

Overview : The BlackRapid RS-7 Camera Strap is a lightweight strap with attachment points to customize the strap with a choice of storage and other features. It is designed to work with Black Rapid's MODS system. The locking FastenR3 connects the strap to the tripod socket located on either the camera body or the lens. Once connected, the camera hangs upside down, resting securely at the side or in the small of the back, with the lens pointing behind. The strap has a curved pad with a mesh underside for comfort and breathability. The weight is evenly distributed for comfort.

Features :
  • Ripstop nylon
  • Bomb-proof webbing
  • Works with BRAD (Black Rapid Arm Defense) part of the Black Rapid's MODS system
  • Strap is designed to carry a camera or lens vertically
  • RS-7 strap is shaped to fit perfectly around the shoulder
  • Attachment points can customize the strap with a choice of storage and other features
  • Curved shoulder pad has a mesh underside for comfort and breathability
  • Locking FastenR3 connects the strap to the tripod socket located on either the camera body or the lens. Once connected, the camera hangs upside down, resting securely at the side or in the small of the back, with the lens pointing behind
  • CR-2 connector-2 a smooth swivel with a positive lock to ensure the safety of the camera and lens

Quality/Usability : Going to special events, conventions or even just family functions, I bring my camera with me whether its my Canon point and shoot or my Nikon DSLR camera. I have a wrist strap on my Canon and the neck strap that came with my Nikon. With my Canon, I find myself having to put the camera down or putting it away when I need to use both my hands. This can be annoying as I might drop it or forget where I put down my camera.

With my Nikon, the neck strap can put a strain on my neck especially if I have it on for a long period of time. Not to mention, the camera and lens can get in the way since its in front of my chest. If I'm walking, I can bump into a wall, door or person since the lens sticks out. And when you're at a convention with over 7,000 people and 20 or so people crammed around a representative trying to take video/picture and seeing what they are showing off, it can be dangerous to your gear. Even if I'm bending over to get something, the camera just dangles from the neck and can smack into a table or even the floor. Neither are good especially if you have expensive lens on your DSLR. Not to mention trying to eat/drink without dropping something on your camera and holding your camera at the same time.

Review: BlackRapid RS-7 Camera Strap with FastenR-3 and ConnectR-2

The RS-7 comes in a drawstring mesh bag (new packaging will be in a box when current stock is sold out) and is worn diagonally across the torso from shoulder to hip and is adjustable to fit most photographers. The pad has a mesh underside for comfort and breathability. Rather than a straight design, the shoulder pad has a curved designed. This contours your body when its over your shoulder. I tried their RS-4 which has a straight design and noticed that at times, it would sometimes get close to my neck after a certain period of time. It does not bother me but imagine wearing a shoulder bag. The straps are straight when worn diagonally.

Unlike the RS-4 and RS-5, the RS-7 does not have any zippered pockets to store business cards, ID, money or cellphones. If you want to store stuff on the strap, you would need to purchase the JOEY1 or JOEY2 (more information below). To install these, you will need to release the quick release clip on the back of the strap. Slide the JOEY over the strap and take the split ring on the JOEY and connect it to the loop on the front of the strap. You can also daisy chain them if you need more storage space. The clip on the back also allows you to adjust the size of the strap. I'm probably not the only one that thinks this but the quick release clip on the back is a big design flaw. Why? Since its on your back, its hard to reach and a potential prankster or thief can come up behind you, unclip it and steal or drop your camera on the floor. There are ways to prevent such a thing from happening is to use zip-tie to secure it in place (looks a bit tacky unless you use black) or purchase their BUCK mod which essentially is a wrap around velcro cover. It will prevent theft, would-be pranksters and even from you from using it unless you unvelcro it. However, once you have the strap adjusted to the correct length or mods installed, you have no need for the clip. Even when using the strap, you'll be taking it off over your head.

To connect the R-Strap to your camera, it consists of two things: ConnectR and FastenR. The FastenR attaches to the tripod socket located on either the camera body or the lens. The ConnectR clip is strong, swivels smoothly and locks to ensure the safety of your camera. Once connected, the camera hangs upside down, resting securely at your side or in the small of your back, with the lens pointing behind you. Since the FastenR takes your tripod socket, your camera will no longer sit flat on the table and will have to be on its side or faced down. This also means no hand straps on your DSLR. If you own a tripod, it will get annoying as you will have to unscrew the FastenR from the camera, screw the camera onto the tripod. When you're done, just repeat the process in reverse order. However, if you own a Manfrotto 200PL-14 QR Plate, BlackRapid has a FastenR-T1 that replaces the screw on your quick release plate with a compatible BlackRapid version. This allows you to leave the QR plate on your camera at all times and use the R-Strap. When you need to mount the camera to the tripod, simply unclip the ConnectR from the T1 and slap the camera with the QR plate onto your tripod. No more having to unscrew and taking up your precious time.

On the strap, there are two plastic bumper near your chest and one towards the back. You can slide these up and down the strap. The purpose of the bumper clips is to prevent your camera from moving. Moving the one near your back down to your hips stops the camera from going further back but it also brings your strap back to its normal position if the strap migrates towards your back. Sliding the bumper near your chest all the way down to the bottom and behind, prevents your camera from moving. With this, you can walk around without having the fear of your camera moving around or smacking into things. When you need the camera, move the chest bumper back up and bring your camera up to your face and begin taking shots.

With the camera at your hip or behind your back, you can maneuver easily through a crowd, carry a tripod or other gear or simply have both hands free. When you’re ready to take the shot, the camera quickly glides up the strap into shooting position.

If you're a more active person or after having purchased an R-Strap and noticed that the strap moves a lot, you may want to consider purchasing the BRAD. It is also known as the BlackRapid Arm Defense. This goes under your arm and prevents the strap from migrating backwards. This works on all R-Straps except the RS-Sport since it is already included. The video below will give you more information about the BRAD.

All BlackRapid straps are compatible with all cameras with tripod mount whether they are Digital SLR's, Point and Shoot or video cameras whether its a Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, Fuji, Sony, Casio, JVC, Kodak, Pentax and many others. So as long it has a tripod mount at the bottom of the camera, it will work.

Conclusion : Overall, the BlackRapid RS-7 Curved Camera Strap with FastenR-3 and ConnectR-2 is an excellent product. I no longer have to worry about neck strains or fear of damaging my camera or camera lens. The curved strap makes the strap even more comfortable. However, due to the curved strap, this may be the reason why there are no zippered pockets and requires you to purchase a JOEY. But the ability to add what you want and additional mods and add-ons are great. I can wear the RS-7 all day and not be in pain. Majority of the time, I barely noticed I even had the strap on. You're also not limited to a specific camera. If you have another camera, you can purchase the FastenR separately and mount that to a 2nd or 3rd camera. When you need those, just unclip the ConnectR from your 1st camera and clip it to your other cameras. What I love about the strap is that I can now leave my camera by my side without having to put it away and still enjoy my food/beverage.

The location of the quick release clip on the back of the strap is in such a bad place and is easily accessible to pranksters or thieves but not to the owner. I can see why they added it since there is no storage and its used for adding mods but I'm sure they could of thought of another method. For a more professional and semi-hassle free method of protection, you can buy the BUCK mod. If you don't want to spend additional money, you can just use a zip-tie. Just make sure to add what you need before putting the zip-ties or you'll end up cutting off the old one and putting new ones on.

Not everyone owns a Manfrotto 200PL-14 QR Plate. But I would love to see a new FastenR that lets you connect to a tripod or monopod without having to remove the FastenR everytime.

Manufacturer: BlackRapid
Site: Buy from Amazon / Buy from Adorama / Buy from B&H Photo

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