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BlackRapid Camera Strap Review

BlackRapid StrapWhen we think about advances in camera technology, we tend to think of things like better digital sensors, fancy radio flash triggers, and such. If you’re like me, the last thing you think about improving is your camera strap.

After all, what is there to improve? The strap has a simple job: to hang the camera around your neck and never break. If you want to get fancy, you get a stretchy neoprene strap for added comfort. Mission accomplished.

Or so I thought until I tried the BlackRapid RS-7, my first “sling” style strap.

As you can see from the photos, a sling strap goes over one shoulder and it stays in that position whether you’re carrying or shooting. Your camera hangs by your hip, upside down. When you need to shoot, you quickly slide the camera up the strap to your eye.

The strap does not move. The camera slides along it like a bead on a string.

BlackRapid Strap in ActionI found that I like to hang the camera very low, so that my fingers just graze it with my arm fully extended. This not only makes me feel more like a gunslinger (added bonus), but it just felt most natural and relaxed. Some people carry it a few inches higher.

I put the RS-7 to the ultimate test recently when I shot an 8-hour event with it. And I found it very comfortable, almost liberating, compared to the oppressive feeling of a standard strap on my neck and shoulders.

Of course, it also has some disadvantages.

1. Sometimes the hip-hang position rubs against people in a crowded room. So I often hold the camera in my hand, sometimes even overhead, when moving in crowds, but I often do this anyway.

2. You can’t set the camera down easily on a flat surface because the strap connector screws into the tripod hole. So you end up placing it on its side, or on its bottom, carefully, at a funny angle.

BlackRapid Mount


3. You can’t put the camera on a tripod without unscrewing it from the strap first.

If quick tripod mounting is an issue for you, BlackRapid will sell you an extra adapter which allows you to keep your Manfrotto RC2 tripod quick-release plate attached to the camera at all times. That would solve the problem, but it adds a few more grams of metal to the camera that you’re carrying around for hours. But if I needed to quickly and frequently get the camera on and off a tripod, it would be worth it.

BlackRapid also makes a whole line of similar sling straps in various configurations. Some have pockets for carrying batteries, memory cards, and even smartphones. Some are designed for carrying two camera bodies.

You can watch videos on the BlackRapid website showing how each strap works.

Now that they got my attention with the RS-7, I have a feeling I’ll be investing in more BlackRapid straps and accessories in the future.

As always, my Amazon links are affiliate links, so if you buy from them, you buy me a beer!


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  1. Joe Scopino says:

    This strap appears to very similar in construction and functionality as the one made by “Sun-Sniper” ( that I’ve personally been using for about a year to lug around my Nikon DSLR fitted with an old AI 300 f2.8 & 2x tele-extender that weighs +10-lbs total. The strap did however require some modifications replacing Sun-Sniper’s standard inferior swivel lug ( poor reviews and doesn’t look terribly robust ) with Black-Rapids “FR-3” lug fastener and also replaced their standard strap connector unit with a stock extra heavy duty swivel snap hook from hardware store source, for extra piece of mind.

  2. Molly says:

    Sorry Phil .. can’t buy you a beer!! I just bought one of these about 3 weeks ago .. I bought the one that allows you to carry 2 cameras. These can be taken apart to become two single camera carriers; which was why I bought this one. I often use two cameras, but sometimes my husband uses the 2nd one. No more cameras falling off my shoulder or getting tangles if I carried them slung across my body (which was very uncomfortable, so I rarely did it) I have only used it twice so far, but I am very impressed! Great recommendation Phil, and I feel even better about my purchase after knowing that a professional photographer endorses it too!!

  3. Rick says:

    I use a Carry Speed Pro and it has a very large shoulder harness as well as being able to use more than one screw connection such as a tripod without taking off the strap. Check it out.

  4. Gary says:

    I love my Black Rapid strap. And I agree with all of your negatives. But the positive point more than make up for the negatives.

  5. Steve says:

    I have had the RS-7 for about a year now and have found it to be extremely comfortable and easy to use. It hangs fine even with the largest or smallest of lenses onboard and is ideal if you are wandering at an event and see a shot; slide the camera to your eye, shoot and back to comfort…well made too.

  6. Mike M says:

    @Phil: I use a combination of two straps, the Black Rapid Sport and Custom SLR split strap. I really felt the Black Rapid was not comfortable on my shoulder, especially when using the underarm strap. The Custom SLR split strap is way more comfortable but I think its connection to the camera is weak. They use a plastic clip with attaching leather shoelace thick straps. I really did not want to hang an expensive DSLR onto a plastic clip. Similar to what scuba diving companies use, they are pretty strong but I have seen them break. And I know the leather portion is an even weaker link. So I took the best of both worlds with the camera connection of the Black Rapid and the shoulder strap of Custom SLR to make a very comfortable strap. I also use a Spider Holster with this to keep the camera stable on my hip while walking.

    @Joe- The Sun-Sniper website is a little vague in details of their product. I see you also liked Black Rapids camera connection. I do like Custom SLR’s connector that attaches to the tripod mount, but not the plastic/Leather connection between the shoulder strap and this connector. It swivels whereas with the Black Rapid the swivel is provided in the attaching clip.

  7. Linda L says:

    I agree– they’re great. I have the women’s version of the BlackRapid strap and I love it. There’s something really awesome about not having a screaming neck ache after carrying my camera around all day.

  8. Hank says:

    I bouught the Black Rapid Sports Strap about a year ago and am totally satisfied
    with the product……As a landscape shooter I am often climbing over rough terrain and the under arm fastener along with the restrictor which prevents the camera from swinging out from the body really is a plus……I also have an additional Manfrotto tripod mount on camera which allows me to switch to tripod mode in an instant.

  9. Steve says:

    Phil, i have been using this strap for several years and love it. The problem you have about not being able to connect to a tripod has been solved. I recently purchase this product for CSLR. Check this out :

  10. Kim Gray says:

    I have the women’s style Black Rapid strap with the Manfrotto setup and love it with reservations. I have found 3 times where the screw has loosened. One time I was holding my camera and noticed the strap was no longer attached! I have become used to frequently checking the screw while I’m shooting. I wonder if a longer screw would help, need to figure out a safety strap just in case.

  11. Allan Ogilvie says:

    I have the Black Rapid Sport and am very happy with it. No no longer do I feel like a damn tourist using my old Canon over the neck strap!

  12. Michael Bevington says:

    To quote the friend that recommended it to me a year ago, you’ll have to pry it out of my cold dead hands for me to part with it.

  13. George Schrenk says:

    There is a much better and newer version of this same concept…..Check out the website……….Have used the CSLR product for more than a year and would never consider going to the Black Rapid unit….The swivel attachment is so MUCH better…..

  14. Richard Joseph (New Zealand) says:

    I have been using the twinned harnesses that make up the DR-1 for two years and have found them absolutely outstanding both in comfort and ease of use. I had started carrying two camera bodies to save time on changing lenses when out shooting and found the comfort of not having two camera straps twisting together so much easier to use; plus the rapid means to lift the camera with the sliding buckle was so much better than fighting the friction of tugging a camera strap around clothing (plus T shirts don’t get trashed now). The double harness is also useful when only carrying a single camera as I carry my 100-400mm lenses on the other sling connected by the tripod mount.
    Using the tripod fittings makes it simple for working with a tripod but the smaller rings on the bottom of the tripod fitting are fiddly to connect to when working fast.
    The double harness also has the ability to be split into two single slings for working with a single camera.
    I now use my double harness in conjunction with the Think Tank padded Steroid belt and four Lens Charger pouches to make an outstanding combination for event photography giving ease of use and rapid access to the 4 lenses I carry plus flash gun. This combination gives all day comfort whilst maintaining quick access making all day photography more comfortable as you become tired towards the end of a long day.
    The harness is made of high quality webbing with robust stitching that is going to last in all weathers for many years.

  15. Alan says:


    I was in the market for a camera strap and watched and read all sorts of reviews.

    I finally settled on the Carry Speed FS-Pro strap and I couldn’t be more pleased. Compared to the BlackRapid, I can sit my camera down flat. I can also easily put a quick release on it. The mechanism that attaches to my camera (5D Mark III) and the metal connection cannot come in touch with the camera and stuff it. The wide strap is easy on the shoulder.

    It’s coming with me on my upcoming vacation to Italy.

  16. Peter says:

    yes, agree with all the other comments. I bought my Black Rapid Sport last year in New York and spent a month walking and shooting with it. It was (is) very comfortable and I think it’s a great product. But after I got home (Australia) I noticed the stitching at one end of the strap had started to fray and the strap started to come away from the broad padded section that sits on your shoulder at one end. It got worse quickly and I needed it so got it stiched up at a local shoe repair place. I contacted Black Rapid with before and after photos. They were the model of courtesy and professionalism. They offered to replace it and I said no thanks, it was as good as new, I just wanted to give them feedback in case there was a QC issue. I didn’t need another. In the end they sent a double strap to Australia for me. I can’t complain about the product or the service.

  17. Jay_S says:

    So, I’m all for buying in the U.S. when I can.. and for most things I do.. But when I saw this on EBay, I had to try and see if it was the same as Black Rapid..

    At the price, like I mentioned, I just couldn’t pass it by without a look see. In almost every way, it is the same as the Black Rapid Double and improves in some areas. The cross chest piece is fully adjustable, the hanging straps are doubled up, adding some support, and instead of the curved screw in attachment for the bottom of the camera, this comes with a flat plate design (made of machined aluminum) which has a 1/4 – 20 threaded adapter on the bottom for a quick release or direct tripod attachment.

    Of course, if you want to look even more like the BR.. You can easily swap out the plates for curved ones for a little bit more..

    I’ve pulled and tugged in all directions looking for a weak link, looked at a friend’s Black Rapid.. We can’t tell much of a difference any where.. except on the Credit Card statement.. Obviously I’m not knocking Black Rapid, nor saying everyone should abandon them, etc.. But $100 difference is significant.

    Just thought I should pass this along…

  18. RoyC says:

    I have tried both the BlackRapid camera strap and the UPstrap and prefer the
    which allows me to do much the same but carries the camera upright…

  19. Lisa says:

    I have been using this strap for a little more than a year. I describe my feelings about it as love/hate. The strap is comfortable and I love my camera hanging off to my side. Keeping my quick release plate attached to my camera and lenses with tripod collars is important. For me, that’s a deal breaker. I have always just clipped it to the quick release plate screw head but now I’m going to go ahead and buy the BlackRapid screws. My least favorite thing about the strap is not being able to store my camera in my bag with the strap attached. Overall, the pros outweigh cons.

  20. Colin Darkes says:

    I have had one since January 2012 and would not be with out it. The beast camera strap I have ever had in my 40 years of photography. Well worth the heavy price.

  21. I have been using the BlackRapid RS-7 for over a year, on D2H, D70,D40, and D7000! I have both single and Dual camera straps! They work great!

  22. I respect those who attempt to go on their own but… being that I like to make things, guess what I made a while back and using commonly found parts on stainless, brass, and leather.

    It works as good or better IMHO. I also made a dual camera set.

  23. Ben Fienieg says:

    I own the BR Sport version. It gives just that little bit more stability.
    However a disadvantage is that I often find that the manual/auto focus switch on my 70-200mm lens goes to the manual position due the lens touching( rubbing) against my thigh.

    Ben Fienieg ( The Netherlands)

  24. Olie Lawson says:

    I looked at the black rapids and the SunSniper straps. I went for the Sun Sniper Pro Steel & Bear, which I think is brilliant for the following reasons:

    1. The SunSniper strap has a steel cable running through the middle of it – that’s the reference to Steel in the name. Sun Sniper give you a $500 warranty for 2 years if the cable is cut and your camera stolen as a result (make sure you register in time though).

    2. As for the comment above re. the SunSniper’s screw fitting into the camera, the ‘Bear’ in the strap’s name refers to their new mounting, which is very solid indeed and runs on bearings to ensure smooth operation. It won’t let you attach it to a tripod as it’s pretty chunky, but The reference in the above comment to SunSniper’s swivel lug being inferior must I think be to the older version – the Bear lug is very well made, solid and smooth.

    My SunSniper is awesome – my only adjustment has been to add a small carabiner to the strap so I can clip the strap to my rear belt loop. Without it, I find the camera can swing about, particularly if you bend over to pick something up. I think both black rapid and SunSniper sell an add on to do this, but a simple carabiner works well so long as your trousers (pants for my american friends!) have loops.


  25. Eddie Logan says:

    Hey Phil I also bought the 2 strap one that you can take apart and I Love it .I was using an Up-Strap for a while and I Love this new camera camera Strap I will never use anything else unless they come out with something better LOL Thanks for the Review .Awesome …

  26. Dan says:

    *** LENS LOOP *** is my favourite…. its simple, strong and NOT geeky.

  27. Roger Boeken says:

    Have a sunsniper, what is much the same , myself .But I find it very uncomfortale the way you carry it on the picture Phil. IMHO you have to shorten the belt in such manner that the camera hangs on your waist where the trouser belt is. The way you carry the camera it swings back and forward with every step you make, that drives me nuts when walking around leave alone you should try to run with it..
    Mine has some elastic part also that absorbs shocks, after all we sometimes carry a few kilo’s around. I hope you get the opportunity to test other makes too and share your opinion. It really is a good way to carry a camera around for several hours and having it ready to shoot in a second. Still the fact your tripod screw can no longer be used is a disadvantage. On a large lens you can fix the tripod plate on the lens support ring, but most consumer (zoom) lenses do not have such ring.
    Q-strap tries to solve this in some way but the fastening to the camera becomes much less reliable and may come loose I fear.

  28. Joe Parenti says:

    I have used this strap for sometime now, I thought at the time, a bit pricey. I would go out and buy it again if I had to. Way to convienent, like Phil mentioned in a crowded area, I hold it in my hand. When I want my camera off of the strap, this is a no brainer. Do yourself a favor…..go buy one!!!!

  29. Veronica says:

    I’ve been shooting with the Ladies’ Black Rapid Strap for a while now and am generally very pleased with it. However, I have had two issues with it:

    1. The screw on the hook itself (not the one that screws into the tripod hole – the angular one) does have a habit of coming loose. So each time I pick up my camera and ‘sling’ it I check and tighten it – sometimes there’s some give and I have to tighten it up and other times it’s fine.

    2. The same issue applies to the screw that goes into the tripod mount on the camera, if that’s the one you use. I’ve now replaced it with the one that screws into the Manfrotto quick release plate and attached that to my camera so that I can use my tripod without any bother. That seems to stay tight pretty much all of the time, although I always give it a little turn just to check it. The last thing I want to do is let my camera fall off the strap, which did almost happen in the beginning.

  30. Scotia says:

    Great review! I have had the Women’s verson and the Sport for 2 years, prefer having two since I often swap cameras (and the mounted different lenses) with another shooter or just my spouse who carries things. Both are easy to wear and use for many hours at weddings, in the field, wherever. I check my fittings each time I start a shoot and have never had problems with fittings coming unscrewed. I do have a small hand strap on the usual strap mount for each camera and user it when shooting just in case. I can use both straps at the same time by flipping the women’s version over and wearing it on the right shoulder with the Sport on the left. I do wish for a better mount for my tripods (not Manfrotto!!) and a steel wire in the strap to prevent a thief from cutting and running with your camera would be nice. Otherwise, I highlt recommend Black Rapid and I am glad you discovered them!

  31. Phil Steele says:

    Thanks, everyone, for the excellent and informative comments. Many of you are clearly way ahead of me on upgrading your straps! It’s great to have a community with so much experience and so many great suggestions based on your own personal use of these and similar products. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. You will help many readers make more informed choices. Meanwhile, I’m trying to decide which of the many straps and accessories mentioned here to try next…such a wealth of suggestions!

  32. Geoff D says:

    Did my homework checking out all these type of straps including the Black rapid.
    Final choice Carry Speed FS-PRO Camera Sling Strap. Main reason for its selection.
    The camera connector base does not have to be removed as it doubles as a arca type tripod connector. The strap can be easily disconnected from the camera plate ball mount.
    The Caddy Strap is US design, it is not easy to purchase in the UK. I ordered mine on e bay from a Hong Kong supplier. Check this one out Phil

  33. Elgin Kreska says:

    I’ve used the BR for nearly 2 years now on both a 7D and 5DIII. I’ve always been a little concerned using the tripod mount, which is designed for compressive rather than tensile use, so I simply put 2 rings into one of the camera strap loops (2 – because I want to make sure that the rings don’t unravel) and attach the BR to the rings. With this I only need one strap and the strap is easily attached or removed, whilst still being able to tripod or monopod mount the camera.

  34. (corrected, edited version)


    Yes, I’ve been using the Black Rapid system since August 2010. It has been a neck saver. When I carry two DSLR’s with big glass and both with power battery holders, I’m carrying some weight. In the old days, this would have been the classic “pain in the neck”, but no more!

    I don’t carry my cameras as low as your gunslinger stance, but rather much shorter so that my extended arms are longer than the cameras on the straps so that I can maneuver through crowds, as well as when I crouch down my DSLR’s aren’t scrapping on the ground.

    I haven’t found loss of the tripod hole on the camera bodies a big deal, as I shoot differently when using a tripod versus shooting sans tripod. When I shoot with a tripod I’m usually carrying much more gear, either in a backpack or shoulder strap bag (both excellent products by Ape Case), and I tend to stay in one position rather than be very mobile.

    For those folks who complain about the BlackRapid screw coming out of the bottom of their cameras, they’ve probably didn’t bother to read the instruction manual that came with the system. In it, you’ll see that part one of the attachment process is screwing the looped connector screw into the bottom of your camera, and part two is attaching the carabiner and then using the carabiner to hand tighten the screw even more. So far this has worked perfectly for me.

    Happy shooting!

  35. Craig says:

    I just purchased this strap along with the Fastener-T1 tripod adaptor. If I use the tripod adaptor, I ALWAYS have to have the quick release place attached to the bottom of my camera. I don’t know that I like this. The down side is that to go from the BlackRapid fastener that came with the strap to the Fastener-T1 tripod adaptor every time that I want to use my tripod is a real pain the the you know what. I’m interested in learning what other users of this strap have to say about this issue.

  36. All of my cameras haver Arca style l-plates so the SunSniper and Black Rapid straps, both of which I love, represented a problem as referenced above to attaching to a tripod. My solution was to put Kirk Quick Release clamps on the threaded attachments for both types of straps and use Loctite Blue semi-permanent glue to make sure the clamps didn’t work loose from the straps. So instead of threading the straps to the camera I attach the Kirk Quick Release clamps to the Arca plates instead.

  37. Max says:

    Awesome strap,

    Saw this type of a strap used by one of my partners on a engorgement shoot and DAM did it make a difference when i put it on my camera. My neck finally felt relaxed, i had easy access to my camera’s viewfinder. Overall I LOVE this product but would rather have it hand a little bit more close to my head versus letting it hang so low.

    Thanks for a great article!


  38. I call myself an art photographer; however, as a freelancer I spend most of my time shooting sports. I have a problem with arthritis on my neck so when hanging my camera and 70-200m lens around my neck for too long the pain can become a torture. So to minimize the pain I move the strap around one shoulder similar to the RS-7, but because the strap is not long enough I have to go back to normal for shooting. This strap most likely do the job for me. THANKS>

  39. Roy says:

    You forgot to mention a HUUUUUUUGE positive. When shooting in portrait orientation (camera sideways), with a regular strap, I find that very often the strap hangs directly over the eyepiece. If you are trying to get a time sensitive shot, this problem hampers your ability to shoot at a moment’s notice. The BlackRapid strap NEVER gets in the way of your eyepiece!

  40. Phil Steele says:

    Roy, very good point. I HATE the way a standard strap gets in the way of not only my eyepiece but sometimes camera controls, or the CF card door, as well. The sling strap avoids all that hassle.

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