The Black Rapid RS5 has to be one of my favorite accessories I have for my camera. In fact I am not sure I would consider it more of a staple than an accessory.
I threw this on my amazon wish list as one of those items that I had been wanting, but wasn’t buying myself because it fit into that affordable gift idea price range. Fortunately for me I did receive it as a gift, but had I known how great this strap is I would have purchased it for myself long ago.
My thought process in selecting this particular model was in an attempt to carry less gear. I would say that more than half the time I am out shooting it is while doing things with my family. In these types of situations I was getting tired of always carrying around one of my bags filled with gear. I felt that if I could limit myself to just my body, lens and what I could carry in the strap I would be able to enjoy my outings just a bit more. All this turned out to be true.
In the strap I normally carry extra Compact Flash Cards, an Extra Battery (depending on my plans for the days), business cards, and my cell phone. I was surprised at how much I enjoy having the cell phone in the strap. I am much more likely to feel the ring vibration there than in my cargo pants pocket.
Soon after getting the RS5 I decided to pick up the Black Rapid Brad Strap. This item I continue to have a love hate relationship with. After watching the video presentation on how this device worked I thought it would provide the functionality I needed in keeping the camera securely nestled next to my hip when needing to bend over. And it does a fairly good job of this. The irritation I have with the device is the entanglement it seems to always get into. The plastic connector that attaches to the rear strap seems to always twist up and on occasion un-clip itself. It also creates a bit of a restriction when putting the camera in from of your face. There is a small amount of movement loss when the brad is connected. Without the brad connected I have about another inch or two of play between my face and the camera body. This is essential for me when on a shoot to move the camera from in front of my face when directing my clients. I find it bothers me the most when in a squatting or kneeling position. All that being said though, by simply knowing the limitations you can easily work around them. The brad is very easily connected and disconnected with one quick simple press of a button.
I think what I love most about this system though is the ability to use the Manfrotto RC2 Rapid Connect Mounting Plate. This allows me to unclip the carabiner attached to the strap and clip the camera onto the tripod head without having to attach anything else to the camera. Simplicity is really what it’s all about. When things become difficult or time consuming we tend not to do them anymore. Picking up this accessory brought me back to using my tripod again.