A while ago I purchased (at significant cost, I might add) a ‘professional’ camera sling strap produced by a well-known camera accessory brand (I won’t mention any names). It looked the part, and based on the reputation of the company and the price tag associated with the strap, I assumed that I wouldn’t need to buy another camera strap for years to come. I was wrong. I can only describe wearing that strap as like having a serrated breadknife around my neck. Nevertheless, because I had spent the money on it, I thought I might as well just suffer through the discomfort. It was also unnecessarily complicated to adjust. After a few months of using that strap, I eventually reached out to the folks at Peak Design to see if they might have some alternative that I could try. They graciously obliged. I’ve been using the Peak Design ‘Slide’ for a few months now, and I couldn’t be happier.
I suppose this begs the question, why not just use the strap included with the camera?
Comfort is one reason. The supplied camera straps aren’t usually very well padded. So, if you’re using a heavy camera body like the Canon 1D-X with a significantly heavy lens attached, the included strap isn’t particularly comfortable (especially when used for extended periods).
Security is another reason. If you’ve got a 70-200mm lens (or similarly heavy lens) attached to your camera you, it’s advisable to rather attach the strap to the tripod mount of the lens. This relieves strain on the mount between the camera body and lens.
Finally, you may want to consider an after-market strap for convenience. The strap supplied with your camera may work fine as a neck strap (worn around your neck, and hanging down in front of you). But they don’t always work very well as a sling strap (over your shoulder and slung under the opposite arm). As a sports and action photographer, having a secure sling strap is a huge advantage. It keeps my camera secure and out of the way when I’m on the move, but rapidly accessible when I need to get the shot.
What do I like about the Peak Design Slide strap?
It’s very comfortable when worn as a sling strap, even with heavy gear attached. I can happily wear the strap for long periods of time without any problem. Sometimes the lull between sets of waves when shooting surfing can be quite long, and it’s great to have a strap that will support heavy gear without cutting into your neck while you wait. Likewise, when walking long distances to more remote surf spots, it’s nice to have your camera ‘at the ready’ on a strap. The Peak Design Slide strap is secure and comfortable for this purpose.
It’s also really versatile. The Peak Design strap design also allows me to attach the sling to the tripod collar of heavier lenses with the included plate and anchor link system. If I want to then change the anchor points it’s as simple as unclipping the sling and then reattaching it to anchors on the camera body or on another lens. You can basically do this with one hand. Initially, I questioned the integrity and security of this system, but it’s proven to be incredibly strong and durable (apparently each anchor can hold over 90kgs!).
I also love the adjustability of the strap. It’s so quick and easy to adjust the length of the strap, even while I’m still wearing it. If I need more length to work with, or if need to pull it tight while I’m on the move, it’s really easy to do. While wearing the strap, you can have your camera securely hanging at the ready, and then very quickly reach down and bring it up to get the shot. I thought this might not work while wearing a backpack over the strap, but my experience has been that it works just fine even with a backpack worn on top of it.
What could be improved?
I like to leave the anchors attached to a couple of my lenses and on my camera body to facilitate quick and easy lens changes, or if I want to change the position of the strap from a lens to the camera body itself. So, it would be nice if the strap came with an extra plate and set of anchors. However, extra sets of these can be purchased separately if you require.
The plate that attaches either to the tripod collar of your lens or to the 1/4″ tripod mount of your camera body, requires the use of a hex key to fasten it in place. It might be nice to have a folding D ring on this plate (similar to what’s on most tripod base plates) so that you can remove or attach these plates without the use of the hex key. This isn’t a deal breaker, however.
Would I recommend the Peak Design Slide strap to a friend?
Definitely, without reservation! In my opinion, the strap is a great investment and I love that Peak Design as a company are continually innovating and listening to customer feedback as they improve their products.Matthew Eaton]