Category Archives: product reviews
HoldFast Dual camera-strap review UK
If you’re shooting weddings professionally, buy one. It’s that simple.
I honestly do not know how I’ve managed to come this far without one, this simple camera strap upgrade has changed my life and the way I shoot forever.
The year is 2009, I am in Birmingham photographing a boxing match as a freelancer. In between fights I notice there is something stuck on the bottom of my shoe, I lift said sole, remove the detritus and all is right with the world. Until the moment where I bring my foot back to the floor. The camera strap in my other hand has looped under my foot and is whipped out of my hand and thunders into the floor, goodbye lens. If I only there were a solution…
It’s a classic cycle of upgrades, lens, camera, laptop. After five years maybe a new camera bag, on the odd year a new accessory or flashgun, it never crossed my mind to ditch the absolutely appalling straps that come with a two thousand pound camera. If you add together a camera and a chunky lens you’re easily carrying a few kilos, couple that with a shocking strap and you’ve got about five kilograms pulling your back and shoulders in all the wrong directions. I’d get home after a twelve hour day and wonder why my back kept clicking, at first I thought it was my posture, always ducking and weaving to change position and get better angles, but it got to a point where at twenty eight years old, I was feeling eighty, so the research began. It was in fact Ed Godden who put me on to the dual camera strap system. He posted an image of his on Instagram and offered insight into how it had helped his back. I began googling and quickly found that like most camera accessories, there are a million and one suppliers of the same product. Different materials, attachment mechanisms and of course, costs. A quick glance over some forums throws up the name HoldFast as the guys to go to for top quality gear, but whaddayaknow, they’re difficult to get hold of in the UK.
Step up Andrew Bowness and Rigu.co.uk.
Andrew in fact states in his about section that he had the exact same issue, wanted a fancy camera strap, but couldn’t find anything in the UK. The joy of a company like this is that Andrew is a photographer himself, so products are geared to what the people want (got a bit lefty there for a second). For wedding professionals and consumers alike the criteria for any product is simple, good quality, good value and does the job properly. If you’re amateur enthusiast or seasoned pro then there’s something in the site for you, so don’t be put off if you’re just looking for a snazzy number to take away on holiday.
The camera-straps that come as standard with a new camera get tangled, twist and hang in the the wrong place on you body, placing unnecessary stress on your lower back. I shoot with two cameras so I knew I needed something that could hold two big SLR’s and be easy to use.
- Hold two cameras
- Reduce stress on lower back and shoulders/neck
- Well made
- Easy to use
I decided to go for the Black Water Buffalo Money Maker for £259. This may seem like a lot, but when you’re talking about avoiding long term back pain, this is a steal. I fully intend for wedding photography to be a long term career, so this was a no brainer. Andrew’s customer service is excellent, regular updates and a very personal service, something that is sadly hard to find these days. The item arrived on next day service and this thing is a beast. One wonders when they spend over two hundred pounds on a camera-strap how it is going to offer good value, as soon as you open up the package you understand the price tag. This is a solid piece of kit, real leather, quality construction and sturdy. I had absolutely no hesitation in attaching a few thousand pounds worth of equipment to it, this thing oozes quality and reliability. Attaching the camera is relatively self explanatory and the extra fail safes add re-assurance that even someone who is as clumsy as I am can’t drop their camera.
Real life testing
The straps are leather, thick leather, so it has taken a few weddings to properly soften up and break in, but I can say that this device has changed everything I do for the better. No more tangled straps, no more back pain, no more dropped lenses, all cured overnight by one device. It takes a little while to get used to the sliding mechanism which allows you to bring the camera up to your eye, I definitely recommend practicing plenty at home to adjust the lengths of the straps. Both cameras now sit happily at waist height, and their weight is distributed evenly thanks to the straps that cross over on the back. The cameras weight is in line with the shoulder, which keeps you upright and corrects your posture, no more cricked necks! Something worth noting is how compact it keeps the camera at your side, by that I mean how it negates a lot of swing when moving. Previously if I had quickly moved forward or back the camera would act like a pendulum and cause all sorts of issues, I am most grateful that this issue is now gone. You will get some funny looks from guests at the start, but in all honestly it works as a really good ice breaker. Rock up to the brides prep with this thing on and bam! instant conversation piece.
Are there any downsides? I usually wear a white shirt and of course the black leather has marked them all, but hey, just wear black shirts instead. Maybe one improvement would be to make the D rings detachable, as wedding photographers we want to remain inconspicuous and shoot with minimal gear, so the D rings probably won’t ever be used. Does it matter though? No, this camera-strap is awesome. Dear wedding photographers, both male and female, buy one! The end.