I’ve always hated carrying a camera hanging from my neck and around the front of my body. It bounces if you walk fast or run and the camera strap is always getting in the way on a vertical shot. So I took that off and switched to a small side strap that your hand goes through. I liked that a lot, but it’s not convenient for all day use. There are times you just don’t want to hold something, or you need both hands.
The moment I first saw the Black Rapid strap, I knew I wanted one, so I purchased one on my next trip to the camera store. Then a month later, I won one for an honorable mention in a photo contest, so now I have two! Short answer, I love it.
I purchased the RS-4, due to it’s simplicity and that it has a small zipper for storing memory cards in. You wear the strap in the same style as a sling across your body. At first it seemed a bit odd attaching the strap to the tripod socket on the bottom of the camera, but having used it for a while now, it’s no big deal. I used to set the camera on a counter bottom down. Now with the strap on, I just lay it on it’s left side. If you have a battery grip or taller pro camera, this is better for a longer lens anyway, as it doesn’t “tilt” down onto the lens. The places the right side facing upward for me to grab and use quickly if need be.
The secret to using the strap is keeping slight forward pressure as you slide the camera up and down the strap. This prevents the strap from moving, so that the pad stays on your shoulder. My first real test for the Black Rapid came when I went to Washington D.C. for three days. I carried my camera all over town in museums, subways and monuments. It rested nicely on my side with no tension on my neck or shoulder. If I was worried about a doorway or crowd, I simply rested my hand on the camera (since it was right there anyway) and all was well.