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Review: The Lens Loop Camera Strap (Classic XL)

by Chris Gampat on 11/19/2011

The Lens Loop is a camera strap that I’ve been using for a little while now. When it was initially pitched to me, I thought it all a bit odd. I mean, really, a recycled seat belt holding your camera in place at your side? As time went on though, I came to appreciate the quirky but cool strap.

Ergonomics

The Lens Loop is an all American-made camera strap that is meant to target a different market than Black Rapid and Sun Sniper. While the latter two are the overall industry preferred straps of many professionals, Vadim, the strap’s creator, tells me that professionals that he meets are trading in their old straps for this one.

The material of the strap itself is made of recycled seat belts from cars. That means that there is two inches of strap along your chest and shoulder: effectively lessening any fatigue you may get from a heavy camera being down at your side. This is how the Lens Loop compensates for not having padding on the shoulder.

It’s strong, natural to the every day human being, and will sometimes require a cleaning. Depending on which color you get (and it comes in many different shades including cream, black, white, green, burgundy, and more) you may want to walk with a Tide Stain Stick. The strap can stain like any seat belt. If you’re the fashionista type (sort of like myself) then you may want to take good care of the strap. In fact, I’d personally market it to hipsters. Not that that’s a bad thing, they’re a necessary part of the market in the overall grand scheme of things.

Also keep in mind that since this is a seat belt, strings are more likely to come out from the sides, but those are easily clipped off.

The photos you see here are the production version of the strap. That ring you see is actually an industrial strength ring. Though it looks a bit flimsy in the photos, it actually is extremely strong. There is no need to have any fear of your camera pulling the ring apart. I’ve tested this many times with my 5D Mk II, 7D and various heavy L lenses.

In fact, I even used it when my 7D had a 300mm f2.8 L IS attached and I had no issues. For reference, lifting the 300mm f2.8 L IS each and every day will replace your need to go to the gym in order to give your biceps a workout.

The rest of the metal you see in the photo above is also made of industrial strength stainless steel. The design is very different. A Black Rapid strap gives you a bit of friction when it moves along the length of the strap. Instead, the Lens Loop provides the user with a much smoother experience; therefore letting you access your camera even quicker when it is by your side.

When I first got it, the tripod screw didn’t have as large a cushion to buffer in between your camera and the strap’s connection. The new connection gives the screw some extra gripping force when it is screwed into the bottom of your camera.

Durability

I’ve been using two versions of the strap since I got it over the summer of 2011. The production version has been used by both myself and my lighting assistant/second shooter. It has proven to be extremely durable. That doesn’t only go for the seat belt itself (otherwise known as webbing) but it also applies to the split ring and the tripod screw. After shooting event after event after portrait session after street photography session after event it has still stood up to time and functions perfectly still.

In Use (The Shocking Truth)

This is very much a strap for the person that prefers to have a strap around their chest. For the most part, I like to keep my main camera in my hand with the strap wrapped around my wrist. In the long run, I’ve felt that the Lens Loop doesn’t wrap around my wrist so well. When it does, it consumes my entire hand and makes it look like I’ve got a weird appendage with interchangeable lenses.

Instead, I prefer the Lens Loop to hold my secondary camera around my chest and have that around my waist. But I’ve used it for even more than that.

While walking around at trade shows and events, I decided to find something to try to hold my off-camera flashes being triggered by my wireless triggers. What I used to do was hold the flash in my hand. However, my triggers have a tripod socket. The Lens Loop now holds my flash down by my side while screwed into the tripod socket of the trigger. This goes for a bare flash or one with a modifier like a Rogue Flash Bender or even my beauty dish hack.

I rarely carry a second camera on my anymore, and if I do it’s probably a Micro Four Thirds camera which is easily stored in my camera bag.

In the end, the Lens Loop has been regulated to holding my flash in place and giving my a free hand.

Conclusions

So do I recommend the Lens Loop? To be honest, it depends on your market segment.

Wedding Photographers: Surely. If you sweat a lot though, be prepared to embrace the strap leaving a band of sweat across your chest.

Event Photographers: Use it the way I do mentioned in the section above

Sports: Yes, faster access to your camera and even faster access than a Black Rapid is always a plus.

Landscape photographers: If you’re traveling far distances on foot, yes.

Street Photographers: If you don’t want to bring attention to yourself, no. If you don’t mind being the center of attention, go for it. This strap is beautiful in every way.

Photojournalists: Yes yes and yes. I don’t need to say more.

Portrait Photographers: No real point to be honest. Stick with your standard strap. Most of us barely pick up our camera and are too busy posing the model or directing lighting assistants. The camera is really only in our hands for a short amount of time.

Videographers: Yes. My lighting tech is a videographer first, and he loves this thing.

If you’re interested, head over to the Lens Loop product page. Purchasing from their site directly in no way benefits The Phoblographer.

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