Most photographers only need to use one camera at a time. But for wedding, sports, and news snappers, who often don't have time to change lenses, carrying multiple cameras, often heavy DSLRs, can be a back-pain-inducing occupational hazard. We recently spent a bit of time with the Custom SLR Dual Camera Strap to see if it could make wielding two cameras more comfortable.
The Custom SLR Dual Camera Strap consists of two of the firm's Glide One Straps, which are joined together with a sternum strap and back-pad. In this configuration one is worn on each side of the body, whereas if used individually, they sit on the shoulder and across the chest. As with most sling straps the idea is that your camera – or in this case cameras – hang at your side ready to be grabbed as needed, gliding up and down its strap.
While our review sample came ready assembled, putting the Dual Camera Strap together is a simple process which only takes a couple of minutes and consists of clicking the ends of the strap pads to the neoprene back pad, and adding the sternum strap in the same way. The Dual Camera Strap can then be worn and the strap length, which is adjustable up to 178 cm (70 in), means the harness system will be able to fit the vast majority of users, and it can hold 7.25 kg (16 lb) of gear.
We found it was a wise move to adjust the straps to the correct length before attaching the cameras, as they can otherwise swing around more than you'd like. Cameras then attach using a strap with a C-Loop Mount which screws into the tripod socket of a camera (or its lens) at one end, and a quick attach buckle at the other. Custom SLR advises checking these connections are secure each time the system is worn, and that sounds like good advice to us.
Once set up and ready to go, the strap system allows users to carry two cameras which are both ready to be grabbed, and without the fear that they are going to constantly bash into each other as you move around. We found cameras hang comfortably close to the body, making them easy to grab when needed, and the split second it takes to have either one in your hand and ready to shoot is a lot quicker than rooting around in your kit bag.
The Custom SLR Dual Camera Strap has a definite sense of sturdy quality about it, which is something you want when its job is to carry several thousand dollars worth of camera gear. In particular the swiveling C-Loops, which screw into the camera's tripod socket, are very well designed with a flip-up bit for tightening them. The swivel connectors are another interesting part, as they allow the strap to move more naturally than those of some competitors.
But the best part of the Dual Camera Strap is that once you get past the feeling of looking like an under-equipped SWAT team operative, you'll suddenly realize it's surprisingly comfortable. A split strap design makes each strap more ergonomic and cooler (temperature-wise) to wear, while a silicone print on the underside reduces slippage. The chunky neoprene back pad provides cushioning at a common pressure point, and spreads the weight of your gear more evenly. Meanwhile, the sternum strap gives an added sense of stability and security to the system.
In our tests we found that the Dual Camera Strap feels best when the attached devices are of roughly equal weights. For example, two DSLRs even with differently weighted glass were very comfortable, while having a full frame Nikon D800 DSLR on one side of the strap, and a lightweight Ricoh GR II compact on the other, caused the strap to twist slightly and need constant adjustment. However, chances are that if you're interested in this strap it will be to carry two DSLRs or two larger mirrorless cameras, so that's unlikely to be an issue.
As with all sling straps there will be a certain amount of sway when moving around, meaning that even if you're not holding your hanging cameras, you might still need to use your hands occasionally to prevent them from moving too much. Having two cameras hanging by your side, you'll also want to be more careful when moving through narrower doorways or crowded areas than you might be used to with one camera. Photographers who tend to jump around a lot when shooting, get lost in the moment, or are partial to getting low and crouching or lying on the floor, will also need to remember there's second camera dangling next to them, especially around hard surfaces.
For professional photographers who need to have two cameras on the go at the same time, the Custom SLR Dual Camera Strap is a great option. While it might be more bulky than some other dual straps like the Black Rapid Yeti, we found it to be considerably more comfortable to wear, and if you are a photographer who may be carrying their cameras for eight hours at a time, that's going to matter.
If we needed a strap system for carrying two cameras at the same time, the Custom SLR Dual Camera Strap would be our preferred option. It spreads the weight of heavy camera gear, wearing it and two cameras for several hours feels more comfortable than we thought was possible, and if you're not using two cameras it can be quickly split down into two individual straps.
The Custom SLR Dual Camera Strap is available now priced at US$135, or if you already happen to have two Glide One Straps knocking around, a connection kit will set you back $25.
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