Thursday, 18 August 2011

Black Rapid RS DR-1 camera strap

Officially my worst video ever!

WOW, hold on, did I just kill someones baby? Wait. no, I just didn't give the 'all loving' promotion video that people wanted for their expensive black rapid camera straps.

I can't believe the level of response regarding this video of the first 5 minutes with the black rapid DR-1 strap. It is like i have just spat in their faces.

The black rapid community is a fierce community. I am shocked by such out poring distaste for the simple video, here is a summary: Comments such as.

you shouldn't be doing this
I hope this is a joke.
i am terribly disappointed in this video
this is unfortunately your worst video ever
dom i like your videos but this one makes you look stupid
not the best review, at least have an open mind before trying something
the fro is going to have a melt down
you sound like a negative old man who doesn't like progress
anyone remember the good old days when Dom wasn't so negative,
this is your first video that gets a thumbs down from me

Over 110 comments in the first 24 hours and over a thousand views.47 likes and 38 dislikes. This STRAP has really got some people emotional.

I'll admit I am coming into this review from a slightly pessimistic view point, partly because i am shocked by the price £135 for an advanced version of something you get for free seems like a heck of a lot to pay. I have to seriously justify spending what would be 2-3 days wages for something that I already have and have been given for free when i bought my camera and been using for years with no complaint. £135 to me is a lot of money If for you it is your weekly pocket money then hey don't bother reading this just go and buy it, I am sure it will be good for your neck and shoulders...

More detail and video after the break

I am also coming from the point of view where I have read a number of reviews and the camera strap gets top marks and lots of love and praise, almost universally…. I am suspicious, yet i shall be open minded to having this thing blow my mind in terms of its comfort and its ability to aid me in my shooting. Will I be like all the other reviewers and in the end be giving this a 5 out of 5 rating?

Is this going to be a professional tool or an amateur gimmick?

SO yes I am a little pessimistic, rather that, and be pleasantly surprised than falsely perceive greatness and promote something which in the end turns out to be an expensive waste of money, and thus make me look like an ass. If the price wasn't so high I would be coming in at a much more optimistic level.

At the moment the way I feel about the Black rapid strap is that I am not really sure it serves much purpose for the way I shoot. I suspect it would be better for those who walk around all day with cameras around their neck (not sure who does that though apart from tourists).

I normally use a camera bag, either a shoulder back or a full on ruck sack. If i have the full rucksack on I usually have a tripod in there and although some have mentioned that you can now get a tripod adapted bolt so that you don't have to take the black rapid fastener off it still sounds like a Phaff.

If I have my shoulder bag with me i usually always put the camera back in the bag, to save it from accidentally bashing off the ground if i go down to tie a shoe lace or if i am getting into my car i can just throw it on the passenger seat with no worries, it is nice and padded you see.

I suspect if i am getting in and out of a car (as i do regularly if shooting a running event) having to unclip the cameras from the strap and place them on the seat beside me in the car would take up valuable time and become annoying. Or do i just sling them up so they are both sitting in my lap as i drive to the next shooting spot?

I have been told that this version the double strap is good for wedding photographers. And at a wedding I do shoot with 2 cameras all the time, so maybe here is where it will come in handy. I have a wedding in the next week so will try it out there.

However again. At a wedding I may be shooting with 2 cameras but i am usually taking about 4 lenses, and a tripod (rarely used now at weddings) and several flashes cleaning cloths and piles of business cards and extra batteries. The flashes wont be used all the time so they will be in the camera bag for the most part as will the other 2 lenses. will this mean that I will have my double strap and a camera ruck sack on my back….

lenses taken will be the 70-200, the 28-75, the 11-16mm the 50mm (and the fish eye on the odd occasion).

Also I worry if having my camera and say the big 70-200mm lens hanging down at my hip area, there is the danger of it bashing off some wall, or door or guests chair as i walk around, this would make a sound, disturb the guests and have me swear loudly, possibly.

Also I will need to figure out if this really fits well under a suit jacket

Video coming soon

Because at any wedding i shoot I am dressed smartly, in my shirt and jacket and I don't want to start looking like i have some strange shoulder growths from the shoulder straps. This will all be tested out soon.

My other slight worry is that with the cameras hanging upside down this means that the battery compartment is facing up towards the sky and thus the falling rain.

Using the Nikon D300, D700 or D3 I have no worry at all in shooting with these cameras in the pouring rain (provided they have a good weather sealed lens such as the 70-200) but the battery seal area is what i would consider the weakest point of the water/weather sealing. This may just be me worrying too much, but it is not something i want to find out.

I kinda get the impression that If i was shooting a sports match, say a football game and I was standing outside near the pitch for the length of the game and also going on the pitch to shoot the players at the end of the match, where i may need very quick access to two different lenses for different types of shots. etc then this item would really hold up its worth. open space, long instances of standing, and no time to open a camera bag.

My analogy is that this strap is like a straight jacket is to a pair of hand cuffs.
Hand cuff and straight jackets both restrain someone, but a straight jacket is more comfortable, more expensive, more restraining but also a lot more complicated and cumbersome , and looks bad ass.

The black rapid compared to your free strap, is indeed more comfortable, more secure but much more complicated and cumbersome, much more expensive and looks…. depending on your taste, more bad ass.

But do we need to put every criminal in a hannibal style straight jacket?

Here is the link to the amazon page selling black rapids

As you can see it has now been discounted to under £100, but it is still saying its RRP is £135
This is what I cant understand. is why would someone pay 2 days wages worth for a strap for their camera when they already get one for FREE when they buy one.  So this is my quest, to figure out what is making this thing so f-good to get the type of reviews you see on the product pages, (check the link above)
however i do like this video a lot 

Now Here is part 2

my 'review' is based on my 'view' of the product otherwise it is just a demonstration

My new photography book. click below




Browse other personalized gifts from Zazzle.

Do not look at the site or tshirts if you are under 18 years old
you have been warned

The link for UK photographers check out

For the US buyers click below

wedding website

Photobox gallery page


  1. I've never liked the look of these straps and can't understand why Gavin Hoey and Jared Polin rave on about them so much. I don't like the way it attaches to your camera, like you I normally have my tripod's quick release plate attached to the bottom of my camera. I don't like the way the camera hangs on this strap, I wouldn't want my expensive DSLR body and lenses flapping around by my thigh as I walk, I would be afraid of bashing it against something whilst I was walking.

    People buy this strap because they say they don't like the free strap which comes with your camera, they say they don't like the way the camera hangs and the weight of the camera pulls the strap off of your shoulder. If like me you turn your camera so as the lens rests against the small of your back ( I believe this is the correct way to wear it), this not only stops this from happening but it takes some of the weight off of the lens mount, plus it prevents your camera from swinging around whilst you walk and therefore keeps your lens out of the way so as it does not bash up against anything. On top of anything else wearing it this way is a lot more comfortable.

    If I was to buy an aftermarket strap I would go for the Upstrap; this is more like a conventional camera strap, it has a high grip / non slip rubber shoulder pad and is about a third of the price of the Black Rapid. The only thing is you have to buy them from their web site but they do ship to the UK.

  2. ok Dom..the prob here is that you just made a negative video reviewing a product that u clearly don't know how to use..we..the many people that are a big fan of your insightful video's are now wondering what the hell to think about your other this guy so dumb and cocky he says blahblah to instructions and starts bitching about a product he uses wrong?!?! Duh?? ..Nah not my worries but really man..way below par..I guess u have reached a status where u really have to think about what u are saying..I hope that is not gonna take the fun out of it and u will be entertaining us for quite a while..I really appreciate ur effort in teaching photography

    Cheers Arjen

  3. I wouldn't say it's your worst video ever Dom, it was just a true representation of the un-boxing and your initial reaction to the strap, if you had jumped up and down with joy saying how wonderful it is it wouldn't have been a true representation of your thoughts or opinion which we have come to expect from you and respect you for.

    With regards to your edited post. Yes that is my concern about the way the camera hangs which makes it easy to bash it against something whilst walking, which is what I said in my comment above. It makes me cringe when I see Jared with his D3s and 70-200mm hanging down by his thigh. Also with a lens such as the 70-200mm, it comes with a tripod collar so as the lens takes the weight of the camera when using it on a tripod / monopod rather than the camera trying to support the weight of the heavy lens which isn't good for the lens mount. In my opinion using the Black Rapid when having such a lens on your camera, baring in mind the way the strap attaches to your camera, is no different from using the tripod mount on your camera body to attach it to your tripod / monopod when using the 70-200mm lens, with the strap being attached to the camera as it is, the camera is taking the weight of the lens on its mounting plate. If we saw someone with their camera on the tripod using the camera's tripod mount with a 70-200mm lens attached, we all (including those moaning about your video) would shout idiot!! As I said in my comment above I would rather use a strap with a conventional fitting, hung over my shoulder with the camera turned so as it rests against the small of my back, thus it is not only out of the way so it does not swing and bash up against something whilst I am walking, but wearing it this way also helps support the lens.

    I think probably a lot of the people on You Tube complaining about your video don't own one and think they should, or think they are the bee knees because of what Jared says about them.

  4. Nice to see a review that does not coo over the Black Rapid nice 1. I agree that price is just barmy, especially if you look at alternatives, try the Carry Speed Strap. not even a 1/3 of the price, looks identical. I always have the quick release for my tripod on so where does this go, it would be attached to the battery grip aswell and I would not want it pulling on that either...

  5. luvit...cant believe how crazy some people are... if u like it u like it and if ya dont ya dont, for whatever reason.. personaly i couldnt care less if dom likes the strap or not. freedom of opinion. its only a f. strap. wonder if people back in the day lost their minds the same way when jock straps came out and someone one said "dont like em!".... get out there and improve yer shots if it takes dangling from a rope tied to ur nipples just to get the shot... anyway dom i respect u and ur first opinion, luv ur vids...enjoy them loads ..keep it up. and i too have to agree on the fact the br strap is trendy at the mo but it doesnt improve ur shots...

  6. please make a video where ur ripping on the ugly looking think tank bags.. bet u some folks out there will faint...that would be gas!

  7. I have the RS-7 and I have to say, as a concert/festival photographer, it is really nice to have. Changing lenses and letting the camera rest on your hip is just amazing. I can see why the Double strap isn't convenient though, it's just too big and annoying and all that.

    I noticed that the RS-7 comes in handy when you're shooting with a bigger lens, like a 70-200 for example. With the original strap I always felt like I was hanging myself, with the RS-7 I don't and it feels really comfortable.

    So like I said, I wouldn't buy the double strap... seems like too much of a hassle. But the single straps (RS-4, RS-7, etc), they are really good product for the price you pay and a definitive improvement on your original strap, which usually sucks!

  8. I own a single strap (RS-7, I believe) and I couldn't do without it. Hanging my Nikon D90 from my neck for extended periods of time was starting to really put a strain on my neck and shoulders. The Black Rapid is so comfortable I can keep my camera on me for hours at a time without any discomfort at all.

    I fashioned my own 'double strap' with a pair of military LBE suspenders and a military belt that I bought at the army surplus store - works like a champ. I can clip multiple lenses, my speedlite, just about anything I need to it and it does exactly what its supposed to - it distributes the weight and allows me to carry tons of gear very comfortably for extended periods of time. Then I put my RS-7 on over it, and I'm good to go. Way more comfortable than an over-the-shoulder bag, IMHO.


  9. The vast majority of shooters would never buy a double strap anyway. Thousands of lovers of the single straps can't be wrong. If you like it great, if you don't, then don't buy it.

  10. Part 1 ...

    A few years ago I was diagnosed with severe RSI in my wrist. My doctor 'prescribed' an ergonomic keyboard - you know, those stupid bent ones which look ridiculous. I had my doubts, but over the space of three weeks I learned how to use one properly and then never looked back. They take the strain off your arms, wrists and fingers; they make you hold yourself correctly when typing and, although they do technically the same job as the 'normal' keyboard which comes with your computer, they reduce any damage or pain you may be subjecting yourself to whilst doing the everyday mundane task of typing.

    A couple of years later WHICH? Magazine did a review of the ergonomic keyboard. They slated it. Said it was a pointless waste of time and why would you spend sixty quid on something which came free with your computer. Said it was a gimmick which was being bought by people who wanted to look cool. Never once did they take a step back and consider that there may be some real benefits from using it, or that there were people out there who wouldn't be able to do their job without one. I cancelled my WHICH? subscription that day - that single, narrow minded article about something I had personal in depth knowledge of made me doubt their credibility in all the things I didn't know anything about!

    So … where the hell am I going with this, you say? I like your videos Dom - I like them a lot. You have some good ideas, amusing anecdotes; you entertain me. A bit like WHICH? magazine used to ;) Then suddenly, from out of nowhere, you post a video which made me wonder if you'd had a knock to the head! Seriously - doing an unboxing and review of a product in which your opening statement was "… something which I really don't see the point of …" - you've created a mountain to climb before you'll like this strap, any Black Rapid strap, indeed any other strap!

    I won't go into the ins-and-outs of all the things which made me sigh about the videos, suffice to say that most people wouldn't spend money on a technical strap without at least wanting to learn how to use both it and it's mods properly! I agree - the DR-1 isn't the strap for you. It's a specialist strap for journalists, music festival and sports photographers - that sort of thing. It's not there to look elegant, it's there to carry two cameras easily. But as your gripe seems to be with, and I paraphrase, why would anyone want to buy a strap when you get one free with your camera … hmmmm, remember that keyboard I mentioned? Well maybe the thing that comes 'free' isn't always best for the job.

  11. Part 2 ...

    Let's state the obvious. You're a bloke. And a very well toned, young, muscular, fit bloke at that. You look pretty strong, like you wouldn't notice the weight of carrying 'stuff' all day, every day. Me? I'm not! I'm an unfit thirty-something woman with a bad back, a crumbling neck and a very heavy D700. I use the 'girly' Black Rapid, the RS-W1 - a strap specifically designed for those of us with bumps on our fronts. Nikon didn't think of that when they supplied me with a crappy strap with D700 emblazoned all over it in bright yellow. Speaking of which, I know you adore your supplied straps, but strangely I don't want to walk around advertising that I have a massively expensive camera dangling from my person.

    So in answer to your questions - no, there is no problem with weatherproofing by hanging the camera upside down, unless like you you have lost the electronics cover which should, by all rights, be sitting in the nice little home Nikon made for it on the bottom or your camera - or, when you're using the grip, in the nice little home Nikon made for it in the top of the grip! Honestly Dom - I can't get my head around the fact you would "chuck them away" and then worry that this camera strap might let water into your camera! There's no reason why having your camera upside down would let any more water into it than say when you're shooting portrait! Plus if it's raining *that* much, anyone would put their camera away. An upright, sideways or upside down camera is still a wet camera when it's pissing it down!

    Secondly, your fear of losing a lens cap or hood. When I'm wandering around with my D700 and 24-70, sometimes even with the SB-900 on board, this is £3,000 to £4,000 worth of gear hanging from my BR strap. Do I therefore let it just bang around smashing off everything, or do I have my strap adjusted properly so that the lovely bit of the camera I want to hold when I take that award winning picture is resting nicely in my hand by my side, or nestling just behind my back - or front. Which brings me to your bruised hip complaints. I have big respect for my camera and my lenses and I do not let them bash against anything, be that my hip, that passer-by or a brick wall.

    As I said on YouTube, the Black Rapid is a strap. It's not a padded camera bag, it doesn't pretend to be. You shouldn't compare the two in a review. Be it the strap which came with your camera or the well designed Black Rapid, a strap is, at the end of the day, a strap! If you're thinking it will pad your camera against knocks, wear, tear and the weather, well, you're thinking of a bag! It all comes down to user error. Oh - and @Russ - yes, I am a Black Rapid owner - but did I buy one just because Jared told me to? Jared who ;) I bought the Black Rapid because although it does technically the same job as the 'free' strap, it confidently not only supports the weight (and value!) of my equipment, but it takes the strain off my neck and shoulders, distributes the weight of my camera and lens perfectly, whilst reducing any damage or pain I may be subjecting myself to whilst doing the everyday mundane task of carrying my camera …

    Bringing me nicely back to my cancelling WHICH? Magazine. I didn't give them a second chance after their review. You? Well you dug yourself a massive hole last week with your unboxing review, one which was impossible to climb back out of. But we all have to make a total dick of ourselves occasionally, so I'll let you off this one :D

  12. You finally nailed it Dom after 2 videos when you said it doesn't work for me for my kind of shooting. Bingo. I'll bet that you'll be a little happier with the single strap and your beloved bag.

  13. Sometimes I agree with you Dom, sometimes I don't but in this review I agree with you. Yes, some people will be negative I can understand them. Very high reviews opt them to buy this product which will make their photo shooting easier and they have money.

    And yes I own RS7 and it is convenient for me than a strap included in the camera, however on a RS-DR1 it is a hit or miss to some. For me I wouldn't go for it like the way you point out some issues on your second video. And guys this is a review of Black Rapid RS-DR1 not all black rapid straps around. The only problem for me is it is to pricey.

    Black Rapid, Carry Speed and Sun Sniper are leading in this category. The rest of straps selling in Ebay or Amazon have cheaper alternatives although I can't guarantee your thousands worth of camera/lens safety.

    Lastly for all - Exercise, even when buying this kind of product you still have some wrist, back or shoulder pain. No one told you to buy D3s with 70-200 and SB900 and complain this aches you're having. I'd suggest buy an Iphone or a point and shoot camera.

  14. Thanks crystalfairy for your posts - exactly my sentiments!
    While your strap (and my Sun Sniper Pro) aren't directly comparable to the harness Dom is trying to find reasons against the main problem is the same: We paid for something that is provided with the camera body.

    After watching the first video I was irritated quite a bit and didn't know how to respond at first (though I wanted to). Now that I've seen the second video I can at least see the effort Dom put into it. That's worth something and I don't think that Dom did damage his reputation.

    Dom errs in two things, though: The original strap is a) not free (you pay for it with the body) and b) not the same as a BR or clone strap. The latter is much more comfy to wear. For this you pay an in my eyes acceptable price.
    Add to this the free advertising for the camera manufacturer which I also hate to do. I also don't put stickers on my car. And no I don't want money for it - I'm an amateur and I do what I want to.

    The only real downside on this kind of strap is that it isn't exactly tripod friendly because it uses the same screw hole. This I accept.
    My solution is simple, though:
    If I don't bring the tripod I'll use the strap.
    If I bring the tripod I don't use this strap but another one that connects to the side eyelets of the body and is *still* more comfy than the original strap (it's called Aircell and shockingly they also want money for it!)
    So I *never* use the original strap. Think about it!

    As for the price of the harness: I guess BR doesn't want to slash the price of their single straps and is therefore asking for about twice the amount (because you can hang two bodies on it). If it works for you it's worth the price, IMHO. If it doesn't work for you then even one pound/Euro would be too much in my book!

    The lection of this story is an old one: Don't buy it if you don't need it!

    Dom obviously can live without it and so he should.
    I for one can't live without the single strap and surely won't, even though I admit that it isn't the one single perfect piece that will stay on my D7000 all the time.
    The same goes for all lenses, too, doesn't it?
    Or do you leave your wide angle lens on and record video with it, too? I mean this would result in extremely large biceps and a shrunken head! Oh wait... ;-)

  15. The conclusion is that you don’t need to wear these straps to obtain stunning photographs.
    Learning form experts –Dom Bower Photo Blog- will improve your photography. It has improved mine.

    I found a “photographer” stuck in a reed bed with theses straps. I had to cut the reeds to free him.

    Thank you

  16. A friend of mine has one of this straps and he is happy with it. Even though lately he doesn't wears it that much when we get out to take some photos. In the first place I thought this thing is quite handy and I wanted one.

    However, when I looked at the price I decided that my current standard camera strap isn't annoying me enough to put that much money on the table. Besides this I god my Think Tank Slin-O-Matic 30 wherever I go with my camera, what is a very comfortable bag.

    But back to the Black Rapid strap. I see the use of it but I find it way too over prized. Let's be serious, no matter how you put it, it's just another strap. Well designed but still the price is just unreasonable and I rather put my budget into equipment I really need rather than a hip strap.

    I'm glad that you did this video, though I was a little surprised that you didn't praise the strap as everyone else did. In first instance I thought you did it to tease the Black Rapid community, but you have some very good points there.

    I have just one question: did you buy this thing or did they send you one to review?

  17. Hi Dom!
    Another interesting review by you, keep it up!

    Now for the BlackRapid strap. I bought a RS-4 strap on ebay (new) for about $65, or £40. Thats a single strap, so I cant complain about your review. But for youre problem of not being able to use the stands quick release adapter, why not only use the adapter? I use my manfrotto mounting plate/quick release adapter with the RS-4 carabine. Problem solved :)
    You can also get extra mounting plates at ebay for about $12. Ebay <3

  18. i was thinking to get this strap as well, but I don't have the money. So first I tried to emulate the rs-7 using the strap that came with the camera and setting it to it's maximum length. It looked cool or at least the other photographers said so but I wasn't feeling right. Then I got a hand strap and get rid entirely of the camera strap. That didn't work either after a few weddings because all the time i had to be careful to put mi hand inside the strap and take it out for verticals. Now I simply do not use any strap. I use one camera and switch lenses from the lowepro s&f lens exchange 200. I also wear a suit at the wedding and i am constant looking of ways to have on me the lenses and the camera. Let me know if you find a better way