Following on from my review of my bag I must review the Blackrapid R-Strap RS5.
I've just returned from 5 weeks of traveling with all my gear. We traveled from Melbourne to Thailand, then England where I spent 5 days walking around London, and a further 3 weeks driving all over England and Scotland. Then returned the car, went by the Eurostar train and spent a few days in Paris and back to London to fly to Thailand where we spent a few days and finally home. So the strap got a good test in a variety of situations. Many places I went had warnings of pickpockets and the like so security was also important.
The R-Strap was on my camera for the entire time. It screws into the tripod socket on the bottom of the camera and provides a very secure connection. I wear the strap over my left shoulder across my body with the camera at right side. I used it the entire time was using my camera which many days was up to 10 hours in the day. I have previously used neck straps and found them to be a pain in the neck (boom tish!) always irritating my skin, or getting caught up in clothes and being a weight pulling me forwards all the time. Also with a neck strap the camera sits half way up your middle and sits un-naturally with the lens either poking out and/or the camera body digging into your chest.
I used this strap with my 7D and various lenses attached but the biggest rig I used was when I had the 70-200 F2.8L IS attached. All up this setup weighs 2.8kgs. I found the strap to sit very comfortably over my shoulder and I felt no fatigue at all carrying it around for hours. The camera sits very nicely at your side and you can move it to in front of you, at your side or behind you as you wish.
I found walking through crowds etc the camera as suitably close to my body and wasn't banging into anything. It is also at a great position for your right arm to naturally reach the camera and keep a hand on it if you wish to have it more secure. Walking through the busy streets where bag or gear snatchers can be an issue it was reassuring to know that I could keep one hand on the camera and have it secure without giving my arm a hard time! I also often wore a jacket over the entire thing so the camera was concealed under the jacket (only with a smaller lens though as the big 70-200 would have poked out the bottom!). I could also just hold the lens barrel and have the camera lie across my waist and have it very secure. At no stage did I think my camera was in danger with this set up.
Another benefit of having it at your side is that it frees up two hands. You can easily let it hang there and you have two hands free to do things, eat, write, read a map whatever. You can also bend or lean forward with it at your side and not bash the lens into things. This is a big plus for me.
Storage wise the R-Strap has two zippered pockets. I only used one and put 2 CF cards in it. There is ample room for more things though. I also used the phone pouch for a spare battery. So in the one package I had everything I needed for a walk-around session. I found this great, as it was easy to access and fast. The pockets are held in place with small magnets which worries me having memory cards around, but I haven't had an issue at all. They are very easy to access and very quiet (ie no velcro to be seen) and are also very secure.
The strap itself sits over your shoulder pretty well and you can very quickly pull the camera up to your eye and start shooting. It sits nicely over the shoulder generally but I did find that when I had a slipperly rain coat on the strap did slide around a bit. The adjustment is good for length and the excess strap is safely tucked away in the shoulder padding. The strap itself is reasonably thin and can twist around a bit which annoys me a little. I would prefer it to be a little more rigid, which might also make it less able to be cut if someone wanted to steel you camera.
The latch is very secure with a double acting clip making sure it won't come off the camera. Unfortuately though the size of the clip has meant that it has rubbed on the body of my camera and worn off the back coating along about 15mm of the edge at the bottom. No big deal but a little annoying.
Overall for comfort, ease of use, security and I'll stress again comfort over a long day, I would highly recommend this strap. A few minor revisions might make it better so I rate it 9/10.
Again, if you find this useful or wish to comment or ask questions please don't hesitate to post a reply.