Selecting a sling strap

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by SojiOkita, Sep 26, 2016.

  1. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2014
    Hello everyone.

    I'm not satisfied by my current neck strap, and I was considering trying some sling strap as a replacement.
    (I also have a joby hand strap that is perfect for some other occasions)
    I'll use it with my E-M10.

    I've selected 3 models:

    * OP Tech Utility strap:
    Utility Strap™ - Sling
    The cheapest one of the 3. No need for specific attachment.
    I've read some comments that shooting in vertical orientations is sometimes difficult with this strap.

    * Black rapid street breathe:
    BlackRapid | Street Breathe
    It seems very nice, but I've 2 concerns:
    - does something prevent the camera from moving along your hip when you walk?
    - it seems incompatible with my L-plate. Blackrapid sells a specific arca plate but I prefer using L-plates when I'm going to use my tripod a lot.

    * Peak Design Slide Lite:
    Slide LITE
    This is the one I prefer for now... because it's easy to put an anchor on anything so it's seems to be very versatile (and will work with my L-plate).
    However, the strap seems quite bulky... and I don't know if it's as comfortable to use as a blackrapid style strap...

    Do you have some feedback about any of these straps?
    (or another one that could be interesting for me)
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2016
  2. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    I have the PD Slide Lite. Love it. It's easy adjustability is nice. Mostly though the easy to use anchor system is a favorite feature. They're easy to use wherever you want them - camera strap lugs, arca plates on camera or on lens feet. They're unobtrusive and never in the way.

    I have a lot of items with the anchors and moving straps between items is fast and simple.

    So easy, flexible, comfortable. The whole PD system is easy to use.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2016
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  3. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    @SojiOkita@SojiOkita, you have been tricked. You are comparing apples and oranges.

    There are two types of straps being marketed as "sling" straps. One, like the Peak Design is simply a long neck strap. Other than making it easier to carry your camera at the side of your body, there is nothing to it. When you lift the camera to your eye, the whole strap has to shift.

    The second type is what I call a "glide" strap. With this style strap, the camera is connected to a piece of hardware that slides on a strap that encircles your body and doesn't need to move when the camera is brought to your eye. IMHO this is a huge advantage. (Try to slide a long neck strap when you're wearing a jacket over it!)

    Glide straps are ridiculously easy to make, too. OpTech and others have camera conectors. The connector can either directly slide on the strap or it can be fastened to a metal ring that is the sliding part. (Don't use a split ring. The sharp ends will chew up the strap.) The strap itself can be made of nylon or polypropylene webbing, from leather, or from rope or cord. Whatever material you like, whatever color you like, whatever length you like. My most-used glide strap is made from 550 paracord. No shoulder pad. I use it with a belt clip that carries the weight of the camera, so it is basically a safety strap.

    Here is a picture of the paracord prototype that I posted here a couple of years ago. The final version is a camo-type colored cord with a stainless steel fishing line threaded through it so it cannot be cut by a thief. (My camera connector is a quick-release rifle sling fitting attached with stainless cable. But that is another story. You can buy simpler connectors off the shelf.)

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  4. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    I used a Joby Ultra Fit sling and it was very comfortable.

    Then I decided I wanted a convertible strap so I got the PD Slide (original, the lite was not out) along with the Cuff.
    The PD is definitely bulkier and heavier, but it still fits in the same bags (neither fits in the MM10 on the E-M1).
    The PD is slightly easier to adjust the length.

    The Joby may be a lot cheaper though, and if you don't need the features of the PD, I'd recommend it.
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  5. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2014
    The thing with the Joby fit strap is that it seems difficult to use it with a tripod plate, and I want to be able to use an arca plate or L-plate when I need to use my tripod.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2014
    Yes, you're right, but I see it more like 2 different ways to obtain the same comfort.

    There is something special about the PD strap, that is the fact that it is made to slide easily when used as a sling strap whereas neck strap are conceived to prevent this.
    The other thing is that you can attach one or two anchors to the plate below the camera.
    The point is to have the camera upside down to be able to take it more spontaneously.

    However, Peak Design is *very* good at marketting products and to show what a marvel they are... and sometimes the reality is not so bright.

    Yes, that was my first preference, but I see two disadvantages:
    - as the "piece of hardware" is free to slide along the strap, the camera can move easily along your hip... when you walk a lot with it, I'm not sure it's a good thing (and I like to walk fast between the times I take pictures).
    - most straps like this are attached by a specific sccrew that make it impossible to use your favourite tripod plates.

    As I never used such a strap, I'm not sure the first point is really annoying.

    I'll think about this... I'll try to simulate how each type of strap works with the straps I already have to see which sort I seem to prefer.
  7. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    I have the BlackRapid double (which easily converts to a single camera strap) and their backpack strap. Both of them have stoppers on either side of the hook that you attach to the camera. When I want to move around I can push the stopper behind the hook up to mid back if I want but find setting it just above my hip to be perfect. Then I push the camera back to that stopper and hold the camera in place with the other stopper. The camera will sit back there out of the way, even when moving thru thick brush, also very useful when going pee. If you need it really secure it is easy to pull the strap tighter, but I find just moving it behind me with the stoppers is usually enough.

    I only use Arca compatible stuff so the Arca plates that BlackRapid have work perfectly for me if I will be using a tripod and the strap in the same outing. They also have a screw that can buy that will allow you to attach the camera to the strap and can also replace the screw in a non-Arca style plate. So there are lots of options available with the BlackRapid straps.
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  8. retiredfromlife

    retiredfromlife Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2016
    Sydney, Australia

    I have the * Peak Design Slide Lite: a nice strap but as you say fairly bulky. I just use mine as a safety strap, always carry the camera in a bag of some sort.
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  9. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Found a video that shows the stopper (they call it a bumper), towards the end he shows using both to hold the camera behind you.

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
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  10. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2014
    @Phocal@Phocal, Thanks for the info on the stopper/bumper.

    The problem is that I want to use not only their plate, but any plate: but when I'm going to shoot landscapes I like to put my L-plate on my camera, and it won't work with BR screws.
    It's not a blocking point... but it's a drawback.
    There's a solution but which requires removing the screw every time I use the tripod...
  11. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
    I use a blackrapid with my cameras, all of which have L-brackets. You just need to add an arca clamp to the setup, and you're golden. The blackrapid screw screws into the arca clamp, and the arca clamp grips your camera by the L-plate.
    This is the clamp I use now, and it's fully trustworthy with all my heaviest setups(em1 + 300/4 being the heaviest I use it for regularly).
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  12. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    In my experience that's not an issue. It doesn't slide. The camera will, however swing like a pendulum because there is nothing really constraining it; it is hung from a single point. That's why I also use a home-made belt clip with my glide straps. The long-neck-strap products will produce less swinging because they are supporting the camera at two points.
    Yes. I suggest that you avoid the systems that use the tripod socket and use systems that attach to one of the camera strap lugs. In my case, I have an Arca plate on the bottom of the camera and that's what goes into my belt clip. When not clipped, the Arca plate is used with my monopod and my tripod in the usual way. Both Optech and Peak have products that can be used in the camera strap lug. Probably others, too; I have not really surveyed the market.

    You can easily play with the concept. Get a length of lightweight rope (3mm?) and tie it into a loop with a medium (20mm?) key ring to slide, then use some string or cord to tie your camera strap lug to the key ring. Lift the camera from your hip, the key ring will slide, and the rope loop will not move or won't move much. That's the "glide." To test the other style, use the same rope and tie each end to one of your camera strap lugs. Loop it over your body, put on a jacket, and see what happens when you raise the camera to your eye.

    Life is a series of tradeoffs.
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  13. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Hi Soji,
    I have the OpTech Utility Sling Strap and I really like it. I bought it for use originally with a Canon 7D, which was so heavy with lens attached that the neck strap was too uncomfortable. When I bought my Olympus, I continued to use the sling but got a lighter neoprene pad from one of their other straps (their stuff is modular) to substitute for the wider, bulkier original pad.

    OpTech instructs users to hang the camera from the right strap lug. I hung it from the left strap lug and found that works better and the connector does not get in the way when doing portrait orientation. I used the second sling connector to attach the OpTech Digital-D camera pouch, so when I remove the pouch from the camera, I just let it drop. Another good reason to do that is that the pouch connection provides a second link to the sling, providing a bit of a safety link. If you prefer, you can get a tripod socket connector similar to a Black Rapid and connect your camera that way. I prefer hanging it from the strap lug, but it's good to check to make sure the lug doesn't work loose.

    You can hang lens pouches and other pouches from the sling too, as I've shown in another post. This is with the smaller pad.
    messenger bag for em5 12-40 40-150/2.8?

    OpTech has a lighter weight Mirrorless Sling too. Mirrorless Sling
    This is the one I use: Utility Strap™ - Sling
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  14. dalto

    dalto Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 6, 2016
    I love sling straps and have quite a few different models.

    I can respond in more detail later but I would start with a few quick questions.
    • How large/heavy are the lenses you typically use on you e-m10?
    • Do you always use the viewfinder, the screen or both?
    • Do you you shoot from the waist or above your head often?
    • Informative Informative x 1
  15. sriracha

    sriracha ballistic photons Subscribing Member

    Jan 22, 2011
    @SojiOkita@SojiOkita from the selections you listed, you are choosing between a single or a two point strap. to me, both serve different enough use cases where i have one of each.

    a single-point sling (e.g. the BlackRapid or anything that connects at only a single point) is probably the easiest to go from non-shooting into shooting position. the trade-off, as someone mentioned, is stability. not that best choice for hiking (i have dinged quite a few lenses) but nice to use in the city. not a fan of BlackRapid for a variety of reasons but i have never owned one... can't provide any input here.

    two-point sling (e.g. PeakDesign) is more stable but the trade-off is that it can be slow(er) than a single-point. i had the SlideLITE and found it ok. i found the cinching mechanism not easy to manipulate but the strap was comfortable, and the quick detach mounts were easy to use. i eventually sold it but kept the PD mounts.

    i run RRS L-plates on all my bodies so i use their strap clamp (B2-FABN) and achieved something less dangly than a single-point but not as stable as a two-point. also, through some trial and error i found straps greater than 1" in width are the most comfortable... even without padding.

    the straps i use are from a company named Luma.
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  16. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2014
    Yes, I've seen solutions like this, for example here:
    Quick-Release for Shoulder Straps
    But I find it too bulky and I won't feel secure... (I'm not saying it's not safe, just that I won't feel safe).
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2014
    I choose m43 mainly for size so my lenses are pretty small: P12-32, O9-18, small primes. My biggest lens is the Panasonic 45-150.
    I use both viewfinder & screen, and I also shoot from the waist and from above my head (less often than from eye level... but it happens).
  18. retiredfromlife

    retiredfromlife Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2016
    Sydney, Australia
    I agree while those plates may be OK I would not feel comfortable using one. I also worry about using a single sling screw going into the tripod hole. I gather it has never happened but I would worry it would come undone.

    I remember when younger taking cameras caving etc, I would use a thin stainless steel cable between both clips on a strap so the camera would not fall / drop if one side failed.

    Jewelry wire about 0.5mm with the plastic coating makes a really nice safety cord. You can very nice small swages to go with it. Good if you really want a discrete safety cord. Very flexible as well as it is multi strand.

  19. TheMenWhoDrawSheeps

    TheMenWhoDrawSheeps Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 15, 2016
    em-10 is preatty small camera, and it is really hard to find a good strap fitting it´s style.
    at least i found it hard on my em-5ii.

    after testing quite some i ended up with with PD slide lite.
    now my issues with it - it is still too big - especially when attached to such a small camera. the shipped squary arka style plate isn´t small either, so i ended up buying a PD microplate(still arka for1/2 the size). the best thing about this strap is - you can instatnly detach it from camera - may sound horrible(the wish just to deattach strap, because it´s just to big for anything exept carrying around), but it´s a really good thing, with anchors being small enough not ro come in any way of using the camera.

    Still for travel, hiking, and just carrying around it´s one of the best solutions - i keep the camera hanging on my side - so it sticks to my body, rather than let it hang down by my hip.

    But if I intent to photograph, i take the strap off, and rather use selfcombined PD/Matin handstrap - it takes my hand off, but it doesn´t come in my way handling the camera both handheld and on a tripod.

    as for my ideal sling strap - it was 30 years old yashika leather wire.)5mm thick, and sturdy.=) and it fits a the OM style just fine.=)
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2016
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