Now that I have finally figured out a good approach to capturing audio when using my Canon T3i to shoot video, I absolutely love the camera. Sure, I’m still a novice, but I am learning and, in the process, I am having a blast. The more I shoot with it however, the more I find myself needing specific accessories to improve the experience of using the camera. Case in point- while I love my camera, I absolutely HATE the Canon shoulder strap that comes with it. The strap feels cheesy, isn’t comfortable when hanging on my next and it connects to the camera at the absolute worst points. Sure, the stock strap attaches exactly where the camera is designed to have them connect, but with a larger, heavier camera, the upper corners on the left and right simply don’t make for a comfortable carry or quick grab when you have a split second to get the shot you want.
After using the camera and strap as designed and sold since June, I decided to go on the hunt for a better strap solution. The general solution is quite simple, and obvious- it is far preferable to have the strap connect to the camera on the bottom using the tripod mount rather than in the upper corners. Why is it preferable? Simple, when the camera is connected to the strap at bottom the camera hangs upside down and, when you grab it and lift it up to your eye it is already in the proper orientation. (When the strap is attached at the upper corners the camera hangs in an upright position. This means you need to lift it vertically in order to get it in the right orientation for shooting.) Once I went in search of strap options that connect on the bottom, I found some interesting options currently on the market. We’ll be looking at four different straps initially.
The DS-PRO Camera Sling Strap is specifically intended for a more compact camera like the Sony NEX series of the Canon G Series. I tried it with my Canon T3i and, while it worked fine, I think the second, heavier, system we’ll look at from CarrySpeed is a better option. This one is a bit on the lighter side.
The review sample came with the D-1 Wide Platform Ballhead. It screws securely into the tripod-mount on the bottom. A rubber gasket keeps metal from coming into contact with metal and helps insure the Ballhead doesn’t accidentally unscrew with use.
Here’s a good stock image of the Ballhead holding a smaller camera securely in place.
And this stock image gives you a look at the DS-Slim Camera Sling Strap and why it stands out. The strap itself it made from comfortable neoprene that has enough give to absorb the weight of the camera. It is also soft enough to be comfortable but strong enough to let you feel confident your camera is secure.
The buckles are strong and have a three, rather than two-point connection. That means that even if you push in on the two sides the clasp won’t open. There is a third secure-point that requires pressure from the top. Put simple, the clasp won’t come undone unless you consciously want it to. That’s good to know when $500-$2500 camera equipment is hanging from it.
Here’s what the company has to say about it:
The new DS-Slim Camera Sling Strap features an all grip, non-slip, and detachable neoprene shoulder pad which is a stretchy material that absorbs the weight of the camera. The DS-Slim has a front metal slider quick adjustment and 3-button snap buckle. The strap also comes with a D-1 wide platform ballhead locknut which will not scratch any camera surface it screws onto. The ballhead is super universal and fits all cameras with standard tripod mount.
But that is just the beginning. This strap is not only a great way to securely hold your camera comfortably but it is also designed to make stowing, using and swapping between the two simple.
It may not look like much, but having spent some hands-on time with it I can honestly say there is a lot going on here and all of it adds comfort and flexibility to carrying and using your camera.
So let’s do a quick rundown of the features and get into some final thoughts.
All grip, non-slip neoprene shoulder pad
Stretchy material, absorb the weight of camera
Wide platform ballhead connection
Scratch proof, CAN NOT scratch the camera
Super Universal, fits all camera with standard tripod mount
Front metal slider quick adjustment
Detachable shoulder pad
3-Button snap buckle
Together, the strap and the D-1 Ballhead make a grey combination and I wish I had this strap when I was using my Canon G11. The strap itself is comfortable. The D-1 Ballhead securely connects to the camera and holds it in a position that is both comfortable and easily accessible. And the easy adjustments you can make with the strap, from cinching it up tight so it won’t swing during activity to having it loose and in shooting position in a fraction of a second. And while, as noted, it does work with my DSLR, the larger FS-Pro system is better suited to my camera. It uses the same design but both the strap and the plate are a bit more heavy-duty. But that’s for the next review.
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What I Like: Secure grip on the camera in the proper, bottom position; Shoulder strap is comfortable and has enough give to absorb the camera’s weight as you move about; Buckles are extra secure thanks to the 3-point system; Simple to tighten and loosen the strap depending upon your needs and activity; Shockingly low price for the design and quality
What Needs Improvement: Could have used this with my Canon T3i at the last three CES’s!