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The Pros, Cons, and Alternatives to Using a Camera Strap

The Pros, Cons, and Alternatives to Using a Camera Strap

Camera straps will give you safety and security, but they’re not always comfortable and they can get in the way. The photo experts at Stack Exchange offer some advice on whether you need a strap and present some alternatives.

What are the pros and cons of using a camera strap? My personal preference is to use no strap at all, which I find best for my shooting habits. And what other straps are available? How do they address the problems of the default strap?

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Context is what defines what a photographer should use. Without knowing in what context people use camera straps, it’s tough to pick if a strap is right for you, and if so, which.

The strap I use is a heavily padded version of the standard neck-strap. It makes a world of difference for comfort, but otherwise works much like standard strap, although it does have a quick-release system which I rarely use.

Faster lens changes: Straps allow a camera to hang conveniently right in front of me—a great spot to change lenses, which I sometimes do dozens of times per day. When strapless, it takes me at least twice the time.Fail-Safe: The neck-strap I use stays on my neck most of the time. If I set up my tripod on a precarious location, I keep my neck through the strap. Shooting downwards from a balcony, you better keep the strap on!Security: Keeps the camera safe from accidental knocks. If it gets knocked or I get pushed, chances are the camera will not fall. In some environments such as crowded streets or markets, it is impossible to prevent something from knocking the camera.Hands-Free: There are plenty of things to do while taking pictures that work better with both hands free: handing out business cards, writing people’s emails, handing out model-release forms, etc.Anti-Theft: There’s less risk someone can take away my camera if its attached to my neck. Some camera straps have an embedded metal wire to prevent slashing.Multiple Cameras: The straps may get entangled but at least it makes it easy to shoot with multiple cameras.Noticeable: A camera strap makes it obvious that there is someone with a camera taking photos.Shooting Down: When shooting the nadir shot for a panorama, the strap needs to be carefully folded up to prevent it from showing up in images.There are a few different straps which I use regularly, mostly with smaller cameras. My favorite stealth strap is a Hand-Strap, which wraps around the palm, though some photographers prefer a wrist strap. There are pros and cons for these straps as well:

Pro: More safety than no strap. Particularly from accidental knocks.Con: Strain risk. With a hand strap, you support the weight of the camera at all times, so I rarely use it with something big.There are tons of custom straps and I have had some of the following issues with all of those that I’ve tried, except for the Bosstrap:

Block the tripod mount: Most rapid straps hook to the tripod mount which can be annoying when using a tripod.Poor tripod contact: Even the few models with a pass-through offset the mount making it so your camera is no longer aligned on its optical axis. Straps can also reduce the contact-surface between the camera and quick-release plate.Issues with camera bags: Have you seen the videos selling rapid straps? People never use a camera bag! My guess is that it would get entangled with a shoulder-bag (my favorite), not work at all with a sling (second favorite), and probably cause difficulty with a backpack, which you should probably never use for photography anyway.There are a few more complex options aimed at professionals that I haven’t yet tried:

Harness: A harness can provide good comfort and distribution of weight, while holding multiple cameras easily. It can be extremely secure.Holster: You can have holsters which attach to your belt (a friend actually had two sewn to a padded belt) and simply draw the cameras out and drop them back when you need to free your hands. This worked well for two cameras with one lens each but probably won’t work if you need to carry more.Belt-Clips: Clips are also available that attach to an ordinary belt with a matching piece that screws into the tripod-mount, but lets the camera slip and lock into the clip quickly.In addition to camera bags designed as a “holster” such as the Naneu C5, there are systems such as the Capture Clip, and the Spider Holster which allow you a little more versatility.

The Capture is pretty nice because the mounting plate is Arca Swiss (you have to use their plate with their bracket, but their plate works with other Arca Swiss products, like tripod heads), and it has a fairly low profile. I have medium sized hands and I can use my camera in portrait mode with my hand wrapped around the grip and over the bracket without any issues. It’s not uncomfortable like other brackets I’ve tried. The only disadvantage I can think of is that the bracket can be uncomfortable if you’re sitting down and it’s around your waist.

The Spider Holster comes highly recommended from some pros I know. At over $135, the Spider is relatively expensive, but it is supposed to be very comfortable and secure.

Disagree with the answers above? Leave your own answer or submit a comment at the original post. Find more questions like it at Photography Stack Exchange, a question and answer community for professional and enthusiast photographers. And if you’ve got your own question that requires a solution, ask. You’ll get an answer. (And it’s free.)

Image remixed from Dennis Cox (1, 2) and Diego Schtutman (Shutterstock).

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Posted by on May 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Introducing Camera+ 5, featuring The Lab

Camera+ 5

With this huge *free* update, we’re very happy to present to you The Lab, which brings world-class photo editing to your iPhone. Our goal was to bring you best quality adjustments, delivered in a very slick UI, and we think we’ve really nailed it.

The Lab

Here’s what you’ll find in it…

Clarity ProAt the head of The Lab you’ll find Clarity Pro, which gives you adjustable Clarity and also adds a Vibrancy Boost adjustment which really brings out the life in your photos.

StraightenNot only can you manually straighten your photos in The Lab… we’ve also included a slick auto-straighten feature.

TintEasily tone your photos whatever color you please. Go just a tad to set a subtle mood, all-out to make a bold statement, or anything in-between. And if you’re having a hard time choosing a color, simply roll the dice to get a random one… will it come up lucky seven or snake eyes??

DuotoneThis takes the Tint adjustment and brings it to a whole other level. Try it. We’ll leave it at that.

Soft FocusGive your photos a beautiful, ethereal quality with Soft Focus. This one’s addictive so promise not to overuse it, ok?

Film GrainFor the look of analog film. Fully adjustable so you can get the exact look you want.

SharpenThis can often be the answer to a photo that came out a bit blurry.

BlurSoften harsh pics. Or go to the extreme to make the perfect iOS 7 wallpapers. More on this later… ???

SaturationTake it down for a cool, faded look. Or crank it up to make your pics pop.

TemperatureEasily enables you to make your pics look “warmer” or “cooler”. It can be used for a simple compensation, or turned way up for a bold look.

ExposurePhoto overexposed? Underexposed? This is the fix.

Brightness & ContrastTwo classic photo adjustments. You’d think that not much needs to be said about these two… but we went out of our way to make them look really good.

Highlights & ShadowsBoost or cut the bright and/or dark parts of your photos. Compensate for imperfect lighting conditions, or go for an intense, artistic effect.

VignetteTop-off the perfect set of adjustments with a stylish Vignette. Not only can you put on a traditional dark one, you can also go light for an airy feel.

iPhone 3GS users please note: The Lab requires some pretty intense processing and unfortunately, your meager phones aren’t fully up to the task. But instead of bolting The Lab door on you completely, we’ve given you access to the sections that didn’t melt our test phones. The 8 lucky phones that lived yielded Rotate & Tilt, Straighten, Tint, Duotone, Soft Focus, Saturation, Temperature, and Exposure.Camera+ for iPad users please note: We have an update in the works for Camera+ for iPad that’ll be bringing all the goodness of The Lab over to the Big Screen. We tried hard to get it done in time to launch simultaneously with the iPhone version, but we didn’t make it. We wanted to let you know that we haven’t forgot about you at all and we have some very nice things in the works for iPad.

Exposure CompensationWe’ve taken yet another pass at streamlining the shooting experience in Camera+. In Camera+ 5, we’ve split the exposure compensation and exposure lock controls so that you can have even easier access to each.

As mentioned earlier, Camera+ 5 enables you to make some very awesome iOS 7- style wallpapers. Here’s the ticket: Simply grab one of your favorite pics and take it to The Lab. Then crank the blur way up and add a touch of saturation. Apply one of the new iPhone wallpaper crops, and voilà… a nifty iOS 7 wallpaper is born!
WallPaper CropDemo

SaturationWe’ve renamed Effects to Filters and Borders to Frames. We’re letting you know so you can avoid that feeling you got when Bewitched switched Darrins and Roseanne switched Beckys on you without uttering a word.

Dozens of icons in the app have been redone and have the perfect look to go with iOS 7.

Jack's Work

Camera+ IconAnd the most obvious icon that changed for Camera+ 5 is the app icon itself. It was hard for us to let go of the old icon. But we came up with one that captures the essence of the longstanding Camera+ icon (albeit in abstract form), and fits like a glove on the first page of your home screen alongside all your other iOS 7 icons.

Jack HollingsworthSince the earliest days of Camera+, professional photographer Jack Hollingsworth has been a very prolific user of the app. Today I’m happy to announce that Jack’s officially become a member of the Camera+ team. In the coming weeks, you’ll be seeing a lot more of him around here and he’s got some pretty cool things lined-up for you. Here’s a little look at some of his work…
Jack's Work

Get Camera+ in the App Store

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Posted by on May 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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