BlackRapid Sport Camera Strap Review

Maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks.  I hate camera straps, they seem to always be in the way and so more often than not, I end up ditching them.  Instead, I end up carrying the camera  by the body or by the tripod foot when using larger lenses.  I should say, I used to hate straps, until I finally used a BlackRapid Sport and in this quick review we will discuss the advantages of this strap.

BlackRapid Sport with D4 and 300mm

The reason I didn’t use straps was simple, I didn’t like them.  I didn’t like them because they usually weren’t  comfortable.  When used straight around the neck, the strap tended to pull and give me a neck ache.  Another reason for my disdain of straps was that If you placed the strap over your head and onto your opposite shoulder, it would be more comfortable but it was hard to bring the camera up to your eye to shoot.

The BlackRapid Sport model solved these problems for me. The strap is curved to fit over the shoulder and there is a small auxiliary  strap that goes under the arm, keeping the strap stable preventing it from riding up towards the neck or sliding down off the arm. The strap is wide enough and padded enough to be comfortable and prevent the strap from cutting into you.

BlackRapid Sport with Camera

As for straps being cumbersome and hard to bring the camera up to your eye, the BlackRapid straps employs a mounting swivel that allows the gear to slide up the strap while the strap remains in the same position on your shoulder due to the underarm stabilizing strap.  I found that the camera and lens quickly and easily slide up to my eye level with no problems and little resistance. The best way to grasp what I am talking about is to see it in action, check it out in this video from BlackRapid below:

Recently, I went on two hikes in search of bighorn rams butting heads and I used the BlackRapid Sport strap to carry a D4 with a 300/2.8 and a 1.4x Teleconverter. The hike was approximately two miles in and two miles out and I spent 4 hours with the rig which weighed in at just under 10 pounds on my shoulder. While I didn’t find any rams cooperating with head banging action, I did find a strap that I really like!

Big Horn Ram

Honestly, with my bad shoulders, I would have struggled to comfortably carry the gear that distance or for that duration, with a regular strap, but the Sport made it a nonissue.  I recognize the fact that some people may not be carrying gear quite that heavy, but I wanted to test it with some substantial weight to see how it performed.  I have also carried a D4 with a 500mm f/4 lens with no problem and a friend of mine uses the BlackRapid Sport to haul his Canon 1Dx and a 600mm and he is pleased with it as well.  If you are wondering how it works with smaller/lighter gear, I walked around a downtown area for hours with a D600 and a 24-120 f/4 len attached and hardly knew they were there.

The Sport strap is made of strong ballistic and cordura nylon with TPE foam padding. The 1/4”-20 FastenR that screws into the tripod mount is made of stainless steel.

FastenR and clip

I was worried that this bolt could fatigue when carrying larger/heavier gear and snap resulting in an unexpected and undesirable  crash of equipment to the ground.  I contacted the people at Black Rapid and they assured me that they do rigorous drop testing with several pounds of force, far greater than the weight that we would ever want to carry and they have never heard of a FastenR breaking.  They claim that their straps are capable of carrying any professional body/lens combination.  BlackRapid has made a very nice strap and they offer an extended 5 year warranty for free just for registering your purchase.  The folks at BlackRapid make a collection of straps tailored to your particular needs and in the future we will be reviewing some of them as well.

I’ve learned that a camera strap can be a wonderful thing, but instead of settling for the original manufacturer’s, consider the BlackRapid Sport strap to make carrying your gear much easier and more comfortable.  If you are looking for a Christmas gift  or a birthday gift for yourself or a photographer that you know, consider a BlackRapid strap, it truly is something that you should give a try.

The BlackRapid Sport is available thru B&H Photo or Adorama for $73.95 (at the time of this post)

BlackRapid Sport Camera Strap Review4.5Tom Redd2013-12-14 23:00:17Maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks.  I hate camera straps, they seem to always be in the way and so more often than not, I end up ditching the…
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Comments

  1. 1
    ) MattB
    December 14, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    I have this exact sling, and it really comes in handy for someone like me who has to take pictures AND notes on the sidelines at high school football games. A 70-200 lens is just too heavy to wear around your neck, so I used to have to tuck the lens under my arm and hold on tight while I tried to scribble down the yardage. With the Black Rapid, I just let go and take my notes, and the camera’s still ready to go in a flash.

    One suggestion I would make for anyone who doesn’t want to use the sling full time: I bought a second “normal” strap for my camera that has two release points that allow you to take it on and off without having to loop and unloop it. This way, I can just unclip the normal strap and it won’t be in the way when I use the sling, and it’s a lot quicker than fiddling with the default straps. I leave the hook for the sling screwed into the tripod mount, so I can switch back and forth in seconds.

  2. 2
    ) OT
    December 14, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    This is definitely a great product! I use the German-made Sun Sniper, and carried a D600 + 24-120mm f/4 on it during a 10-day trip through Italy. My shoulders/back were absolutely fine even with a backpack on my back. The version I have also has a metal wire going through the entire strap, which is supposed to prevent people from cutting through the strap with a knife or cutter. Perfect for travelling.

    • 23
      ) SA
      December 16, 2013 at 12:55 pm

      OT,

      How long have you been using it? Does this affect the lens mount on D600 in any way? What I’ve heard is, due to the weight of 24-120 f/4, it might damage (bend) the lens mount on the camera as it hangs pointing downwards (with lens’ weight). Have you witnessed any such issues?

      Tom – Would appreciate your inputs as well. Thanx.

      • 24
        ) OT
        December 16, 2013 at 4:07 pm

        SA,

        I’ve only been using my strap for 3 months now, but all the time. The 24-120 f/4 is a light lens (compared to the f/2.8 zooms and pro teles), so I would think the D600 mount will be fine. I’ve haven’t experienced any issues so far.

        My only issue with the lens-strap combo is that the zoom ring often turns while I’m walking. When I need to make a quick shot, it’s often turned to 120mm. Hope that helps!

        OT

      • December 16, 2013 at 5:37 pm

        SA,

        I haven’t heard of the lens mount being damaged but if abused or used with a heavy lens, it could happen. I have heard of the tripod mount being damaged (see #5 below). I am not an engineer so take my thoughts for what they are worth. I don’t see a stress difference when the lens hangs inverted compared to it being perpendicular to the camera body as in normal use. In fact, I would think that the amount of torque stress would be higher in the case of the lens coming off the face of the body under normal use. That said, let me state first, that I am referring to your question of the 24-120 lens and not a larger/heavier telephoto. Second, where a lens weighs more than the body, we should always support the lens to prevent a problem with the mount. Third, we all need to use common sense: a) periodically check to make sure the FastenR is screwed in snugly b) Attach the FastenR to the tripod collar on larger lenses and not the camera body c) don’t run with the camera dangling, these weren’t meant to be jarred/snapped up and down the way that running would cause. If you do run, hold the camera to take the weight off the bolt/mount, to steady the rig and to prevent it from spinning or bouncing. When I use mine (even just walking), I steady the camera between my hip/leg and my arm/hand to minimize jostling.

        • 28
          ) SA
          December 16, 2013 at 7:22 pm

          Thanx guys. Appreciate the inputs.

  3. 3
    ) Peter
    December 14, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    I’ve heard a few stories where the BlackRapid Sport snaps/breaks at the fastener (the part between the sliding metal piece on the belt and the clip). Can use some cheap plastic cable ties (I use 2-3) between the two to ensure that if it does sort of break, I have a split second to react.

    Just because something is made hard doesn’t mean it won’t break. There’s also how brittleness and temperature. Just throwing this in there for people who use the BR-Sport (I use the RS-Sport 2).

    • 6
      ) Global
      December 15, 2013 at 12:41 am

      Thanks for the tip and heads up!! I never believe manufacturers on their specs, there are invariably ranges of performance weakness and marketing guys only focus on strengths. Any time you carry a product upside down by ONE clip or screw, you are just asking for trouble.

      I was thinking a thin second line from one of the camera ears/hooks to the CLIP, in case the body somehow screws loose while walking (especially with a short prime, your camera might rotate?). But what you pointed out is much more serious.

      Indeed, things which are hard, are often brittle and are the pieces that break first under tension/abuse. Im sure it works within spec… its always the out of spec use thats going to kill your gear if not considering these things.

    • December 15, 2013 at 8:55 am

      Thanks Peter, not a bad idea at all!

    • 31
      ) Darrell
      December 21, 2013 at 8:51 am

      And the warranty covers only the strap, not the $10k rig you just dropped!

  4. December 15, 2013 at 12:05 am

    I have used an RS-7 with optional BRAD for over a year now with some pretty heavy equipment at times. I love it! I repurposed a Really Right Stuff mini clamp to attach the Black Rapid strap to my camera’s L-plate, so I could quickly go from handheld to tripod and back. I have a ball head with a quick release clamp. RRS now makes a special clamp for camera straps: http://reallyrightstuff.com/ProductDesc.aspx?code=B2-FABN&type=0&eq Just screw the Black Rapid FastenR to the bottom of the plate. Don’t use a quick release plate on your strap if you don’t want to accidentally catch it on your clothing and drop your camera though, use a screw clamp like this one on your strap! Also, the FastenR Stealth is quieter for weddings and such, but I’m not sure if it will hold up in the long term like the steel FastenR FR-3.

    • December 15, 2013 at 8:56 am

      Aaron, thanks for the tips.

    • 33
      ) Steve S
      March 12, 2014 at 2:57 pm

      I used exactly this setup when I climbed Kilimanjaro last year (Jan 2013). A BR-Sport with RRS B2 mini clamp connected to my camera’s RRS L-plate. That way I could easily switch the camera to my tripod’s ballhead or just take off the strap (e.g. to stow). Great system and my camera was out of the way at my side but always at the ready. (At 19,000 ft, if you have to dig your camera out of a backpack or case, you won’t take many photos!)

      -Steve

  5. 5
    ) Kambiz
    December 15, 2013 at 12:20 am

    I have been using BR RS-7 for a few years now. But since I bought my D800E, and since I have read threads like this: http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3338762 I have started to worry, not so much about FastenR breaking (I decided to use BR Tether just for added peace of mind) but more so about hanging all the weight off the tripod socket causing damage to the camera. I have heard Nikon customer service saying that the tripod socket technically is not designed for such straps. And while BR warranty would be applicable to their straps, I really doubt if their warranty would be of any help if the camera is damaged. Using a 3rd-party battery grip adds to my concern. Of course, when using large lenses such as 70-200/2.8 which have their own foot, there should be no problem as the strap would connect to the lens foot and not to the tripod socket on the camera body. Now, as much as I still love the convenience and comfort of my BR strap, I have decided to switch back to the straps which use the camera strap lugs as intended by design, and any damage would be covered by Nikon warranty, should anything happen. I am now looking at sling-type straps that do not connect to the tripod socket. I have found a couple but would still very much appreciate any recommendations. Thanks…

    • December 15, 2013 at 9:47 am

      Kambiz, thanks for alerting us to this possibility.

  6. December 15, 2013 at 1:46 am

    Tom, this is a wonderful review! Thanks!

  7. 8
    ) Sridhar
    December 15, 2013 at 3:46 am

    This is a great product which I am using it for almost a year now. Original camera straps hurts your neck if you shoot for long hours. The weight goes on the shoulder which is easier to carry for long hours.
    Its convenient and quicker to grab the camera when you are ready to shot.

  8. December 15, 2013 at 7:17 am

    This looks like a great product. I have been eyeing BlackRapid straps for a few years now. I’m just wondering if it can be used while wearing a backpack?

  9. 10
    ) Mark
    December 15, 2013 at 7:17 am

    I was looking into two options: CarrySpeed and BlackRapid. At the end I went with CarrySpeed for it’s ball-head joint. It is less likely than BlackRapid to get the screw unscrewed (in case of camera with short prime lens spinning around on your side while runing).
    Unfortunately the ball-head in my case wore off and the joint failed in 7 months (~40000 photos and ~700-800 km walking). Sent it for replacement under “lifetime warranty”…
    I’m seriously thinking of SunSniper now… and a new camera
    Based on what I found on forums the Black Rapid strap tends to fail after 2+ years of heavy duty. still better than CarrySpeed I guess

  10. December 15, 2013 at 9:02 am

    Hi Tom, Like Aaron I attached a quick release to my BlackRapid RS-7. I use a Kirk:
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/555485-REG/Kirk_QRC_1_0_QRC_1_Quick_Release_Clamp.html

    and like you, I use my 500 f/4 on it with no problems (typically on Audubon hikes). Shooting events with a smaller lens is also very comfortable. The quick release is a great addition because my tripod heads are arca-swiss, and it allows me to quickly switch from them to hand held and back, or just attach/detach the camera or lens when I’m getting in/out of a car or I’m packing/unpacking from a bag. I’ve been using it for 6 months and don’t bother with the safety strap that others add on since I attach/detach often.

  11. Avatar of Mitchell
    15
    ) Mitchell
    December 15, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    Hello and thanks for the review.

    However, I won’t buy one of these ever after witnessing a fellow wildlife photographer wreck his big Canon 200-400mm lens. He was happily shooting birds while wearing his BlackRapid rig. He lowered his camera, we exchanged small talk and then he started to walk away. We turned back to watch the birds and then we heard a small crashing sound accompanied by the sound of broken glass.

    The BlackRapid mounting screw had come loose from the tripod mount on his Canon body. All it took was a bit more motion from the photographer walking a few more steps to finally separate the camera from his strap. His whole rig had come crashing down on the front element of his lens.

    Big expensive ouch. Obviously, one can state that the owner must frequently verify that the mounting screw is always fastened tight. I wonder how realistic is that?

    • December 15, 2013 at 9:38 pm

      Mitchell, thanks and I am sorry to hear of your friend’s misfortune. I have heard that scenario playing out before and so I checked frequently and I never found that mine had loosened. It is a scary thought for sure so thanks for the heads up.

  12. 16
    ) Phil Wells
    December 15, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    I like the idea of carrying a strap with no major brand name on it. I like the idea of having the camera at my side. I am concerned about the inverse stress on the tripod screw hole and the interference with the quick disconnect tripod plate. Here is another option I am considering: http://www.bosstrap.com/bosstrapgeneration3slidingslingstrapsystem.aspx. It uses one of the 2 standard strap lugs.

  13. December 15, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Phil thanks for the info. I wonder about the stress being on one strap lug vs 2. Is that better than the stress on the tripod mount? Just curious, I don’t have the answer. These are all good points readers are bringing up.

  14. December 15, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    Just use a razor blade to cut that ridiculous red R and “sport” off the strap. That was the first thing I did when I got mine.

  15. 20
    ) Balaji
    December 15, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    Hi Tom,
    I own a Nikon 300mm f/2.8 lens + D7000 + MBD-11 battery pack for bird photography. My question is regarding using Black Rapid strap with the standard Nikon lens foot. Can I use it with the standard lens collar foot or should I buy a replacement foot from like RRS, before attaching the FastenR? I was looking at this specific replacement foot from RRS: http://reallyrightstuff.com/ProductDesc.aspx?code=LCF-14&type=0&eq=LCF-14-002&desc=LCF-14%3a-Foot-for-Nikon-200-400-%26-300-VR&key=ait

    Please let me know your opinion.

    Thank you,

    Regards,
    Balaji.

    • December 16, 2013 at 5:43 pm

      Balaji,
      You could use the standard lens foot that comes from Nikon, or use the RSS. You may wish to switch to the RSS foot so you can mount it in the tripod head you use. It is up to you.

  16. December 15, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    A few comments as I have been using a BR RS-7 for the past 2 yrs.

    To Samantha Decker’s question – put the BR on first, then put on your backpack. if you are using a camera shoulder bag, it won’t matter which you put on first. You will have to remove your equipment in reverse order of course.

    To Mitchell’s comment – That photographer should have attached the strap to the tripod mount of the lens, not the camera. Attaching to the camera’s tripod mount (when you are using a large and heavy 200-400mm lens) is asking for trouble. That is too much stress on a tripod mount that was never intended to support that much weight. Even if it did, the stress to the camera/lense mount comes into play.
    I use a Nikon D800 with battery grip and 70-200 f2.8. My BR is usually attached to the tripod mount of the 70-200 (like the first photo of Tom and his BR). If i am using a monopod, then I attache my BR to the camera, but only for security – I still carry the camera/battery grip/lens by the monopod. I have an extra BR FastenR on the camera tripod mount as well as the lens tripod mount.

    Tom – how do you like the underarm strap on the BR sport? I opted not to use one; instead I use a carabiner on my belt if I want to secure the strap (or the camera) to my hip – learned that trick while trying to help my young daughter on the toilet and trying to prevent my camera from swinging forward at the most inopportune times.

    • December 16, 2013 at 5:55 pm

      Thanks Stephen for your comments.

      The carabiner idea is nice. As for the underarm strap, I used it and it worked well but I am sure it works without it, too. It just may slip a little more.

  17. 22
    ) Edward Liu
    December 16, 2013 at 11:05 am

    I love my BlackRapid strap. Definitely one of those “never knew I needed it until I had it” kind of things.

    stephen hung beat me to the question about a BlackRapid and a backpack, though my Kata backpack lets me do the backpack first and then the strap over it. It’s a little bit easier to unfurl myself when I need a break.

    I also use the RRS plate to attach to the L-plate on my D600, and used a drop of blue LocTite to screw Fastenr. Also check periodically that the little screw thingie that keeps the clip locked is tight. Haven’t had any problems yet, knock wood.

  18. 29
    ) Ian
    December 16, 2013 at 11:12 pm

    I’m also happy with my BR RS-7. I keep a Kirk clamp on the Fasten-R and then just attach that to the arca-swiss plate on the camera body. I use a Peak Design Leash as a tether between the strap and the body (D7000) for extra fall security. Don’t usually have anything much larger than the 70-300 on, so this has worked well for me. Much more comfortable than the OEM strap.

  19. 30
    ) Joey G
    December 18, 2013 at 7:42 am

    As an owner who has a BR strap and nearly had his Canon 5d3 drop onto cement because of this, the BR screw WILL work itself loose to the point where it will unscrew completely from your camera, dropping it. BR’s response is to “always check tightness before you shoot”, which is a poorly worded way of saying, “yeah, we know but you bought our strap and that’s not our problem”. Just some FYI.

  20. 32
    ) Brad T
    December 31, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    I did not want to attach a strap to the tripod mount of my D800 and found a very comfortable and sturdy strap from Photojojo ( I think they sell it on amazon as well) called the Split strap for $25.
    Easy on the neck and shoulder without worrying about the camera coming loose from the mount.

  21. 34
    ) JP
    August 15, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    Hello, I use a BlackRapid RS-4 a long time and is seeking information on the RS-Sport I came here. The problem with my RS-4 is that it goes over the shoulder and neck, it gets uncomfortable pretty quickly. I think I’ll take a RS-Sport after reading this.
    I secure my BlackRapid like that : http://hpics.li/c6d3ddf
    To ring keychain I found the idea on ebay with Chinese vendors selling immitations of BlackRapid and have secured their system like that.
    Sorry this is the Google translate.

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