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CAMERA ACCESSORY:
BlackRapid RS-4 Strap

By Bet-TAY, Special Features Editor
Posted February 18th, 2009
Updated September 16th, 2009 with product UPDATES.

If you detest a dangling camera strap yet want the security and accessibility of having your camera attached to your body, a newfangled strap connection has been created by Black Rapid, Inc. This USA manufactured RS-4 Strap is so liberating, you will purchase more than one.

The Traditional Strap Problem
Detaching and reattaching a traditional camera strap can be time consuming and hard on the fingernails. So most of the time I work In the studio with my Nikon strapless so I don't have to worry about it flopping in my ChezBettay food projects. But whenever I want to go outside hiking, reattaching a traditional camera strap is a pain so I would usually just leave it off and hold the Nikon in my hand. This is tiring and risky, especially when hiking in snow drifts or rough terrain.

Camera Ready in Seconds
The solution to the traditional strap problem is gone now that I have the RS-4 Strap by Black Rapid, Inc. installed on my Nikon D200. It can be removed and reattached in a few seconds. When I'm hiking in snow or walking in the woods, I now have both hands free to balance myself. With the RS-4 Strap worn across my chest, I can just reach down and immediately access my Nikon D200 fitted with my 80-200 2.8 lens. I don't have to hold onto the camera. I can walk in freedom, yet access the Nikon in one action. It's like being a wild west gunslinger. And detaching the RS-4 Strap takes seconds for use in the studio.

(See internet video clips of how the strap works.)

Not Just For Still Camera
We have been enjoying our Sony HDR-CX12 HandyCam, but the conventional strap is troublesome. With the RS-4 Strap, it is a dream to use. It can even be worn under our jackets when hiking or enjoy amusement park rides -- just unzip and shoot! Amazing!

The R-Strap FastenR Attachment
Screw the R-Strap FastenR into the tripod mount, then determine which direction you want the attachment hole to face. Hold the FastenR in place and turn the lock nut to securely tighten the mount to the camera body. I suggest that you watch the R-Strap Instructions Video several times before installing the RS-4 Strap to your camera. This will eliminate any problems later. I've heard of users saying that the FastenR came loose. I believe this happens only if you fail to screw the locknut to the top exposing all of the threads that twist into the tripod mount on the bottom of the camera. The lock nut is then twisted down tight to ensure a solid mount. I've never had a problem with the FastenR becoming loose if mounted properly.

Recommendation
The Black Rapid, Inc. RS-4 Strap is now an indispensable addition to my camera bag accessories and I highly recommend its purchase.
Cost: $48 (Order Direct from Black Rapid)

Pros
black fabric, slim design, zipper pocket
30 day full-refund policy
made in the USA
lock-nut mount
"quick-draw" access
camera remains close to the body
stays in place without falling off my shoulder
easy to walk through crowds or nature settings with both hands free
easily removed for studio shots
feather-light with low profile
easily adjustable
storage pocket on strap for 2 memory cards inside their cases

Cons
must re-learn how to set the camera down on its side

COUNTERPOINT
If I were... traipsing through the brush and snow or jumping around rocks at the coast..., I would not use my R-Strap but attach an Upstrap to my camera and put my camera in a Think Tank holster that is attached to their Steroid Speed Belt. Now you have hands free carrying, weight on the hips not the spine, and protection for the camera. (L.R.)

PRODUCT UPDATES (September 2009)

BlackRapid has a new web site and new product upgrades. The BlackRapid RS-4 Strap has two significant upgrades: the ConnectR-2 and the FastenR-2.

Top: Original BlackRapid Connector and Fastener.
Bottom: New Updated ConnectorR-2 and FastenR-2

Once installed the ConnectR-2 and FasteneR-2 make the look and feel MUCH BETTER! My Nikon is easier to lay down without the BIG fastener and the connector is lighter. In my opinion this upgrade is worth the investment to make the BlackRapid Strap even better.

BlackRapid ConnectoR-2
The new ConnectR-2 (CR-2) is made from high strength steel and coated in black nickel. This connector is stronger, swivels smoother, and has a positive lock to ensure the safety of your camera. Retrofit your R-Strap with this beauty and your days are bound to only get better.
ConnectoR-2 - $16.00

BlackRapid FasteneR-2
The new FastenR-2 (FR-2) is the point of contact between your camera and your R-Strap. The FR-2 provides a lower profile, and provides a more secure FastenR. It’s machined from a solid stock of 304 stainless steel, and has an integral D-Ring for coupling to the R-Strap’s ConnectR. A high-grade rubber compression washer ensures a snug, positive connection with your camera. Switching to the FR-2 offers more comfort when shooting in portrait, and a sense of security knowing your camera is fastened tight to your R-Strap... and it even looks better!
FasteneR-2 - $12.00

© 2009 Rob Art Morgan
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