You Should Read This UPstrap Review Even if You Don't Need a New Camera Strap
My UPstrap review came out of a combination of personal experience and information from other photographers and Nikon camera reps. Usually people look at a product review to find something to alleviate a problem or pain they're experiencing. What if something could protect you from a pain you're about to have?
My Camera Strap Problem
I bought a Black Rapid strap a few years ago, but I no longer use it. 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. The manufacturer issued a recall on the fastener that attached your camera to the strap soon after I purchased the Black Rapid.
Some of the fasteners failed and the cameras gave way to gravity. To their credit, the good folks at Black Rapid fixed the problem for free.
There is a Right Way to Support Your Camera
After using the strap for a while, I guess I just never got comfortable with the way my camera hung 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 Scott shared with the class 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. Design isn't just about how something looks. It's primarily about how something functions.
Your camera, no matter the brand or model, was designed for support by camera straps or to sit on a tripod. It was never designed to hang upside-down by the tripod mount.
Now my choice was to just pick the right strap.
Choosing the UPstrap
There 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.
The UPstrap seems to be available only from the manufacturer, which is 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 think 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 for about $40. There are other models, some more expensive and some less expensive.
What did I get for my money? 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.
Installing the UPstrap
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've used the UPstrap for years now and it lives up to its billing. There is no discomfort at all and it stays 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 without getting in the way.
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 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.
My Experience with UPstrap
I first wrote this UPstrap review four years ago in 2012. During that time, the UPstrap never let me down. Even when I've put myself in some precarious positions with my camera, it never failed me. The UPstrap never fell or slipped off my shoulder. The rapid release clips never broke. My camera is easily accessible and ready to shoot.
It doesn't matter if I was in a studio, walking around the streets of Havana or Washington, D.C. The UPstrap worked while clambering on rocks and mountains in Nevada and Utah. I never dropped my camera into a Florida swamp because my camera slipped off my shoulder.
The UPstrap works as I've been told and I feel much better about the security of my camera.
Dealing with Disbelievers
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. I just can't understand why anyone would disbelieve a person for that reason. Scott said that the tripod mount wasn't designed to hold the weight of the camera upside-down, and that the camera strap rings are the safest choice.
The material around the tripod mount can crack under the weight of the body when upside-down. If you think about it, there is precious little material on a helically wrapped bolt to support the weight of a camera and lens.
I'm very happy with the UPstrap. It's not the cheapest camera strap on the market, but it provides good quality and value. I bought the UPstrap and I'm happy to recommend it to you. This is not an affiliate linked review. I don't earn anything from my recommendation, but it doesn't matter. I'll never recommend something if I don't believe it's something that will be a good value for you.
The UPstrap is a very good value because it lasts a long time and protects your camera.