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If you aren’t in love with how traditional camera straps leave your camera awkwardly bumping around or feel they are uncomfortable, you may be tempted to get a sling. The frustration of this, of course, is that you have to leave the sling adapter in your camera to use the sling. This means that you have to have an awkward, round piece of metal sticking out the bottom of your camera and if you use a tripod plate, you have to remove the sling adapter and then install the tripod plate before using your tripod.
This trick will have you going from your sling to your tripod and back again without hassle. But first, credit where credit is due, I originally found the idea on the Enthusiast Photographer’s blog, and although my solution isn’t any different, I will link you to more affordable products.
So firstly, you will need a sling. If you have the money, getting the less-padded BlackRapid Curve for lighter cameras or the BlackRapid Sport would be best, but of course those are expensive. If you’re looking for the frugal approach you can definitely save money by getting a cheaper sling. The problem with these is that they have been known to break, especially when holding heavier cameras. To get around this problem we’ll attach a safety strap later, but first, this strap seems to have a lower chance of breaking based on reviews and is cheaper than many to boot.
You can, of course, buy the strap, attach it, and be on your merry way. And if you think you’ll never remove the strap then that’s actually what I recommend you do. However, most people don’t do that– they want to take it off to casually take family photos, or to put it on a tripod, or maybe they need to detach it to get a very low angle. Therefore, what we’re going to do is leave a tripod plate in the camera body instead of the sling adapter.
That done, we’ll then attach the sling to a tripod quick release adapter.
If you already use a tripod with an Arca Swiss plate or a Manfrotto plate, then you can buy your plate style tripod adapter. If you have a Dolica or some other minor brand with their own plate style then you’re probably out of luck, but you can try searching for the necessary adapter. If you do not already have a tripod then I recommend buying the Arca style plate and adapter; these are more common and are cheaper.
For Arca plates, I have the Neewer adapter, and I am very impressed with it and highly recommend it. I cannot think of any reason to spend more money on a more expensive one. If you are in need of plates then you have a wide variety available to you: get one very cheaply, get two very cheaply, get one that has a D-ring to allow you to tighten it by hand, get one that has an attachment point that will allow you to attach the safety to it instead of the camera body.
For Manfrotto here is a tripod adapter.
When installing the sling adapter onto the tripod adapter I recommend gluing them together. Ideally you would use Loctite, but super glue will work fine. Use a fair amount of pressure to turn the one into the other, you don’t want these coming out on accident and there really isn’t a reason to ever remove them in the future.
Another piece of genius on the Enthusiast Photographer’s part was recognizing the ease with which an already existing photography product could be utilized to act as a safety: the Optech Uniloop. You attach one end to either the camera strap or to your quick release plate, and the other to your sling right above the part that might break some day.
Now, if you have a very light camera I wouldn’t bother with this. If you’re carrying around a full frame DSLR, however, I would consider it necessary. Even with the BlackRapid strap, if I were carrying a beast like the Nikon D5 or even just a full frame DSLR with a heavy lens, I think it would make a lot of sense to have a backup. I don’t want to trust thousands of dollars to a tiny piece of metal even if it is manufactured by a reputable company.
The whole setup looks like this:
There is one other option that I’m not as much a fan of, but some might find it useful so I thought I’d bring it up. If your tripod plate has a D ring on it then you can attach your camera strap carabiner directly to it. This is a bit fussier than the previous option, but it doesn’t involve a tripod plate and is therefore a bit cheaper. Personally I really enjoy the tripod plate on my camera strap, and at less than $15 for something I use almost every time I shoot I don’t see an incentive to not buying it. It’s an option that’s there if you want it, though.
So here is my recommended setup with links again and the costs at time of writing:
Sling – $10: http://amzn.to/2zphEUq
Arca tripod adapter – $14: http://amzn.to/2A9ms45
Arca plate – $8: http://amzn.to/2A56qaR
Or Arca plate w/ attachment point – $15: http://amzn.to/2iPNFyC
OpTech Uniloop $7: http://amzn.to/2znAv2f
Total: $39, or $47
Also, Loctite if you don’t have it: http://amzn.to/2zrnRiI
(You’ll use it again in the future, I promise, I am always finding screws that I’d prefer not work themselves out.)