Up next is the Black Rapid RS-Sport Sling Camera Strap. Over the past couple years several PAC members have professed the awesomeness of the Black Rapid camera strap products. Recently, I came across a nice discount offer on the purchase of the RS-Sport strap and decided to give it a try. I have been a user of the California Sunbounce sling strap for about four years now, so the transition would not be a challenge for me. Black Rapid camera straps feature a few unique designs that are a key characteristic of the Black Rapid line of products. The ballistic nylon fabric construction is a detail that screams durability and translates into years of use under any and all shooting conditions. The under-arm safety tether is perhaps the most eye-catching feature that sparks plenty of interest in my mind. My current strap does not have this feature and I am constantly adjusting the shoulder pads’ position, to be back over the shoulder, where it belongs. There are also a pair of bumpers (front bumper and rear bumper) that feature easy access to your camera, while hung at the hip. Plus, there is an added safety bonus that is incorporated by the bumpers, when it comes to keeping your camera gear safe from those inevitable damaging swings during use.
First impressions: Out of the box, the R-strap seemed rather bulky and awkward. I felt that I may not like the R-strap very much, because of this reason.
But that conclusion faded away, once I got a feel for the strap during use. I also noticed that the R-strap is fairly light-weight, as compared to my other sling-strap.
The construction is very durable and the bumpers lock solidly in place when set and engaged.
Ballistic Nylon Fabric: The ballistic nylon fabric construction of the R-strap is very high quality. The stitching is strong and durable on both the shoulder pad and fastening joints. The material is quite stiff, probably because it is still new. The stiffness makes the strap difficult to adjust, while wearing. I typically have to remove the strap to adjust it, then put it on again. However, I feel this is an easy trade-off for the durable high-quality fabric. I’ll take that any day. There was an elastic band inside the box which I now assume is for banding the R-strap together when not in use (still figuring that one out).
Under Arm Safety Tether: The under arm safety tether is the best feature of this product. Once engaged, the shoulder pad remains in place and does not shift around during use. I grew accustomed to this feature immediately, as if this were how all sling-straps were meant to be. So far, I have not encountered any discomfort under the arm, when the safety tether is attached. Keep in mind that I have not tried the strap with a tank-top, or sleeveless shirt. Some folks, such as ladies, or outdoorsmen may find themselves in a tank-top, or sleeveless when shooting with this strap.
Front and Rear Bumper: The front and rear bumpers were surprisingly more sturdy than I expected. When I first noted that both of the bumpers were made of a “plastic” material, I didn’t expect them to hold in place very well. However, that wasn’t the case, when in use. The bumpers held in position quite well, especially with the heavy DSLR that I carry. The flared-out tab makes the bumper easy to fasten and unfasten, even while wearing gloves. To exaggerate this, I tested the tab with a pair of winter gloves. Easy finger adjustment was not affected by the glove at all, (pictured on right). The added security from wild swings of the camera while in motion is a huge bonus that can’t be discounted. We all know how any DSLR, with an attached lens, can easily swing into objects. Photographers are constantly on guard, monitoring their cameras, lenses and any objects in their proximity.
Overall, I would rate the RS-Sport Strap five stars, out of five. The high quality material and durable construction surely indicate that just about any photographer can squeeze out many years of use, from this product. The safety tether is a huge stabilizer that helps to keep the sling in the perfect position, on the shoulder. The front and rear bumpers are a tremendous benefit towards keeping your camera at the ready, between compositions. Plus the added safety from damaging swings is a nice bonus feature that’s included.
Reviewer: Joe Aragon