Sunday, January 12, 2014

Luma Cinch Camera Strap

Ever since I bought the D600, I've wanted a new camera strap.  The ones from Nikon are clearly meant as a token, and work as advertising for them (and to thieves as to the expense of your camera).

Our older camera, a D50, has a strap on it that I first bought 14 years ago, to replace the "vintage" stap that I had (woven blue/white/black pattern).  It's neoprene was far more comfortable.

So I've been looking at the Black Rapid, and a few others, and was pointed to Luma Labs by a friend.  The Loop was interesting, but out of production due to a patent lawsuit from Black Rapid.  Which also excluded the Black Rapid strap, as I wasn't too keen on their business practices with that lawsuit.

After reading a number of reviews, I settled on the Luma Cinch, with the QR plate, although I don't have a need for QR at this time.  I wanted the solid mounting point that the QR plate offers, and the positioning for when a heavier lens is attached.



The cinch with plate includes:


  • the cinch strap itself
  • arca-swiss compatible qr plate
  • mounting screw for qr plate
  • optional locating pins for qr plate (if your tripod mount uses them)
  • allen wrenches for the pins and mounting screw

My first impressions:

The strap is really nice.  Well stitched, with a thick neoprene pad, with solid hardware.  The cinching sliders are really impressive for their each of movement, and their ability to stay put.




But... The mounting screw is a typical black oxide socket head cap screw.  This will rust in the wet.  They should have used a stainless screw for this, not black oxide.  I'll be swapping this out at a later date, as I'm not sure I can find 1/4"-20 socket head cap screws very easily here in Paris.



The allen wrenches and the screw are lightly oiled (for rust prevention), so your fingers will get a little dirty when installing (you can see some residue in the below photo of the bag).




Mounting the straps to the camera and the base is straightforward:




And all done, now to just adjust the straps and get it to sit right while wearing it.


Wearing

Going from a "neck" strap, worn loose (and often worn cross-body), to a dedicated cross-body strap is a little unusual feeling.  But it's easy to adjust the camera to different heights at your lower-back or hip.

Fully cinched up, the camera is quite stable, easy to put into the small of your back, which is where I prefer to carry it, especially here in Paris with crowded streets and with bollards right at camera-bashing height if worn to the side of your hip.

When you want to "deploy" the camera, it's quick and easy to loosed the strap, and rotate it to bring the camera up and around.  I've found that I need to keep the back strap almost fully extended to be able to easily bring it up and forward.  Fully taking in the front half of the strap nicely plants the camera again.

If wearing the camera low at your side, you should be careful of having it too long, so that the camera can touch the ground when crouching.  As the parent of a toddler, this is a common occurrence for me.  A lightweight lens plus speedlight rotated the camera such that the speedlight could easily hit the ground when crouching down to her level.

After an evening of food blogging photography, I definitely like it.  But the real test will be a longer photowalk trip, or a day out sightseeing with the camera being continually brought up for use, and then put back for ease of movement.