Why I Bought the UPstrapHere’s why I bought the UPstrap. Believe it or not, there’s only one valid reason to buy any camera gear. It has to solve a problem for you. Fortunately, photography is rife with problems. If you want to buy something, it’s not that hard to find a valid reason for it. Then you can go to sleep with content that you didn’t just splurge on something you wanted. Instead, you solved a problem.
My Camera Strap Problem
Although I bought a Black Rapid strap a few years ago, I haven’t used it in over a year. There are a few products like it. For those who aren’t familiar, the Black Rapid strap is a cross-body strap that attaches to your camera by the tripod screw mount on the bottom of the body, or to the foot of a large lens. Your camera dangles at your side, upside down. All you have to do is reach down and slide it up the strap into position to take a shot, and then let it go dangle at the bottom again.
It wasn’t without its problems, though. Soon after I bought it, there was a recall on the fastener that attached your camera to the strap. It seems some failed and the cameras gave way to gravity. That’s right, they crashed to the ground from about waist height. To their credit, the good folks at Black Rapid fixed the problem for free.
After using the strap for a while, I guess I just never got comfortable with the way my camera hun upside-down. It seemed rather precarious to me. As it turns out, that feeling was right, but for reasons I hadn’t considered.
Scott Diussa is one of the instructors of the Real World Concert Photographer pre-conference course during Photoshop World. In his day job, Scott works for Nikon Professional Services. One of the things he shared with the class during the concert class last fall was the danger of hanging your camera upside-down by that tripod threaded mount. It was never designed to support the weight of the camera in that position, but rather to hold it up. Then Scott told us about having seen a number of cameras damaged because they fell from systems that held the camera upside-down. Some were straps, some were holster mounts that clipped to your belt. They’re all convenient until they break.
I had already given up my Black Rapid strap before I heard this, but now I was convinced that I’d never use it again. Of course, my solution of just carrying it in my hands wasn’t all that brilliant, either. One good bump or stumble and it could go tumbling out of my hands. I’ve had a few close calls.
Scott gave the reasonable advice that the camera was meant to be carried by a camera strap. That’s why they have those little rings (or triangles, in my case) to connect a strap. Now my choice was to just pick the right strap.
Choosing the UPstrapThere is no shortage of camera straps on the market. My decision to choose the UPstrap was simply based upon observation. The photographers that I respect were using it. It’s comfortable, well-designed, strong, and it doesn’t slip off your shoulder. I wanted to get a new strap before Scott Kelby’s World Wide Photo Walk, and Scott mentioned it again on his blog as part of the gear he was taking.
The UPstrap seems to be available only from the manufacturer, which is just a small business here in Florida. As I read more about the product, it became clear that he put thought into his design instead of just slapping things together. He didn’t just thing about the weight of the camera, but also the force applied if the camera bounced and was snapped against the end of the strap.
I ended up buying the Large Pad camera strap with HD Rapid Release and Vectran Loop Ends. What does that mean? Well, it means I have a strap with a large, comfortable pad that won’t dig into my shoulder or slip off. It’s means that I can easily remove the strap from the Rapid Release clips without having to undo them from the camera strap rings. It also means it was extremely easy to install.Here’s how simple it is to install. You slip those Vectran loops through the camera strap rings on your body. Then you slip the HD Rapid Release clip through the loop. Do that on each side, and then clip in the strap with your pad. All done, very secure and comfortable.
I gave the UPstrap a test during my photo walk at Epcot this weekend and it lived up to its billing. There was no discomfort at all and it stayed on my shoulder. The pad grips well and doesn’t slide around as you move.
One of the reasons I wanted the HD Rapid Release Clips is because I didn’t want to have the strap hanging around when I use my tripod or store the camera in my bag. The clips remain, but they aren’t a problem at all. I suppose I could easily remove them if I desired, but I don’t see that as an issue right now.
Another benefit is the ability to use the same strap on different cameras. I just buy another set of the Rapid Release clips for the other camera and clip in the strap.
The only downside was rather minor. When I use my camera vertically, the damn strap on the top of the body falls right in front of the eyepiece. It’s not a big deal, I just have to remember to hold it out of the way. That’s one difference between using the strap loops on the body vs. the threaded tripod mount on the bottom. Considering my camera is more secure with this approach, I’ll deal with a minor detail like this one.
That’s my first impression of the UPstrap. It works as I’ve been told and I feel much better about the security of my camera. When I discussed this issue about tripod-mount straps on a photography message board, one guy really dissed the entire thing. His rationale was that you can’t trust a vendor rep.
Really? That’s his logic? What possible reason would Scott Diussa or any other manufacturer’s rep have to be deceptive about this issue? Nikon gives you a strap when you buy a camera, and I suspect that Canon and other vendors do the same. He wasn’t trying to sell anything, but rather to help people avoid damage to their expensive gear. For the life of me, I just can’t understand why anyone would disbelieve a person for suggesting that the safest way to hold up your camera is by using part of the camera that was designed to hold its weight properly.
That said, I’m happy with the UPstrap. It’s not the cheapest camera strap on the market, but it provides good quality and value. That’s why I bought the UPstrap.