We Broke Two Lenses with This: PolarPro Traverse Strap Mount Review

The PolarPro Traverse is the weirdest Peak Design Capture Clip competitor that we’ve seen, and we can’t recommend it.

This review has resulted in the most awkward phone call I’ve had in 11 years with a camera manufacturer. Who would’ve thought that the PolarPro Traverse Strap Mount would have broken an Olympus lens? Olympus! The camera manufacturer is probably only rivaled by Pentax and Leica when it comes to the durability of their products. But indeed, the PolarPro Traverse broke an Olympus lens and then also majorly dented the hood of my Voigtlander 17.5mm f0.95 lens. This product is meant to be a Peak Design Capture Clip competitor. And I praise PolarPro for their efforts, especially because we stopped reviewing Peak Design products for ethical concerns. They didn’t include a manual, but instead just a little section of a pamphlet. One would think that it’s supposed to function and be used just like the Peak Design Capture Clip, but one would be wrong–and it turned into one of the most perplexing and stressful reviews that I’ve done in years.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Well built as in its solidly constructed

Cons

  • Poor design of the camera mount
  • The twisting motion required to get the camera out of its position can easily be affected by a lens that’s against your leg
  • An Olympus OMD EM1 Mk III fell out, and the Voigtlander 17.5mm f0.95 lens attached got dented
  • It broke an Olympus 12-100mm f4 PRO lens
  • You have to remember to lock it every time. And that’s very awkward to do.

Gear Used

We used an Olympus OMD EM1 Mk III with the Voigtlander 17.5mm f0.95 lens and an Olympus 12-100mm f4 PRO lens.

Tech Specs

Ergonomics

The PolarPro Traverse can be attached to your backpack strap, your belt, etc. They call it a strap mount so you can use it with their strap system. For what it’s worth, their strap system is pretty solid though it also has its own flaws. But the PolarPro Traverse is far worse. Here, you see the Traverse attached to my belt. It connects just like a Capture Clip. See that switch? That’s the lock. The design is kind of cool in that you can only take the camera out with a twist. But the twist happens too easily. And if you put it closer to the front and not right on the side, then your leg is going to make the camera and lens fall out. That switch needs to be engaged directly after you take the camera out for the best results. Then you can put the camera back in when you’re done.

To mount the camera in, you affix this plate into it—the plate screws into a tripod port with an Allen key. The plate itself is also well built. It’s an Arca Swiss plate, so it’s an industry standard.

One problem we ran into is that the screws for the fasteners don’t always stay down flat. It could be a build quality issue. But you sometimes need to tighten and then retighten them. It’s a pain in the ass.

Build Quality

Focusing on the unit itself, it feels excellent in your hands. The screws are nice and tight. The unit itself I doubt will ever break. But the problem again is the terrible mechanism. Your camera is either going to fall out if the lock isn’t enabled, or you’re going to have trouble putting it into the unit, to begin with.

While the units themselves are very rugged in design, the twist happens way too easily. That and the system doesn’t lock automatically. So it resulted in two lenses taking a fall.

These pictures, I hope, illustrate everything.

Ease of Use

When I got to this section, I let out a long sigh. It’s completely counter intuitive if you’ve used a Capture Clip before. You have to do the following:

  • Lock the unit
  • Put the camera with the plate inside
  • Unlock the unit in a very clumsy way
  • Twist the camera so it can come out
  • Lock the Traverse again
  • Shoot
  • Struggle to put the plate back into the Traverse

If you’re using it with a camera strap like they sort of say you should, then you’ll have extra protection. And in that case, it will be easier to work with. But I don’t understand why you’d use it with a strap. The whole point of these units is to get away from straps. But personally speaking, I love camera straps. Paul hates them, but even he shook his head at this unit.

Conclusions

Don’t get this unit; plain and simple. Stay away from it. It’s not ready. PolarPro makes some otherwise pretty solid products, but this one will cause a lot of issues for consumers.