I had seen the Blackrapid straps for a while, and been to the web site, watched the amazing videos on usage, and decided I wanted one! Check it out here . I highly recommend it, and if you are serious, buy one!
But - apart from the fact that it IS a little pricey, I am suffering from the general financial crisis and cannot afford to put out for the genuine item. I even checked the copies and rip offs on eBay and elsewhere, and ........
.....after some research, .......I set out to make my own.
- A laptop soft case strap (most will do)
- A piece of angle bracket
- A small rubber (plumbing) grommet (or inner tube) or (anything you find in your shop!)
- A 1/4" bolt or a spare bolt from that tripod quick attach (that you never really use)
- Some tools (Mini drill/drill/file - anything you are comfortable with)
- A dog leash with a snap hook (the flat web type - not the retractable kind)
Step 1: Find the Strap!
Stock laptop strap. I had several laying around, and I almost NEVER use them, so they were neatly folded in the pocket. If you don't have one, ask your friends, I know a lot of people who do NOT use the strap, and carry the case like a briefcase.
Try to find one with a decent (solid build) rotating metal hook, not the plastic (compound) one. See picture examples.
Step 2: Prepare Strap. Waste Not - Want Not!
One hook moves freely on the strap and the other one is stitched at the far end. Although you could just as easily cut off the stitched end and remove a hook, I suggest you spend a few minutes with a sharp knife (blade, stitch remover from your wife's sewing box, your teeth, whatever) and CAREFULLY remove the stitching (ONLY for the attached hook - NOT both stitched ends!).
You stand to gain about 2-3 inches longer strap!
Remove everything from the strap, and you now have a nice clean strap with a securely stitched adjuster at one end.
Step 3: Strap Assembly
Put one hook through, and the padded shoulder support (if you want it) back on the strap.
Bring the loose end (the one one you removed the stitching from) and loop it to the locking adjuster. Wear strap across your chest (messenger bag style) hanging the hook to your hip height.
Adjust the length to suit your body.
After checking for size and making sure you are comfortable (you CAN do this later with the camera if you want) loop a small piece of strap back into the adjuster to secure it REALLY tight. See photos.
Your strap is now ready.
Step 4: Camera Attachment Eyelet
I was hoping for a 1/4" eyelet bolt to just fit into the tripod socket and be done, but I live in Europe and it is not easily available (unless you go to a marine supply shop - or machine shop) I didn't feel like hunting around, plus this is supposed to be FREE.
I did find some angle brackets in my toolbox, and 1/4" bolts (albeit 2" long). These brackets are galvanized steel, so they are fairly robust, and need some work done to bring them to size. The second one I made from a straight piece if steel I had laying around. Took a while to shape (not my best work) but I tested it by lifting my 25 kg+ toolbox, so I feel safe hanging my camera from it!
This is where patience and tools are needed. Cut the angle iron down to size, and enlarge the holes to fit the bolt AND the hook on the strap. I used a Dremmel, a drill, and a file! I cut down the bolt to size and filed the end smooth.
You are here because you are a DIYer, so get creative and make the little darn thing any way you want.
Photos are only there to help.
Step 5: Putting Eyelet Together
Looking through the workshop, I found some plumbing rubber grommets that looked perfect for the job. About 1 cm diameter, 1 mm thick with a small hole in the middle. They are used to repair leaky faucets. Which makes them water resistant. Which means a good non slip seal when attached to your camera!
Use any piece of rubber you can find, you are only trying to keep from scratching the base of your camera and to create a good friction grip for the bolt.
Bolt through the bracket and then the grommet which also locks into place, so it will not fall off when the assembly is removed.
Alternately to the bolt, I found (hmmm interesting what you can find in your junk boxes) some leftover tripod quick connect bolts, and I think one is from an o-o-o-l-d flash bracket. (look in YOUR stuff, I am sure you have something there)
If you choose to use this and don't have any, they sell them (cheap) at most photo shops (I know hama has them) Added bonus: these are threaded on the bottom, so you can tripod mount you rig WITHOUT removing your strap!
Step 6: So Here's the Result....
The more time you spend filing, sanding polishing, the nicer it will look (dur). I couldn't be bothered. I just wanted to finish so I could go out and take pictures.
That IS what THIS is about after all! Speed - so you can take MORE pictures, faster. <mad scientist grin>
Step 7: Attached to Camera
You need to fully understand how this whole system works to fully appreciate it. The shoulder pad SHOULD stay on your shoulder and not move back and forth. You grab your camera and pull away from your hip as you bring it up to your eye. The hook should slide freely on the strap, and then fall back to your hip after you are done shooting.
I have seen several DIY slings that simply dangle the camera on your hip (and yes, although more comfortable to carry than around your neck) if it does not SLIDE into position then you do not have the speed element you are trying to achieve.
Difference between THIS system and the commercial (expensive one):
- The commercial one really really looks cool!
- Has storage pockets on the shoulder strap
- Has a really cool adjusting mechanism. (once I adjust my strap, I don't keep changing it so...)
- Has a little locking device to ensure that the strap returns into its position should the shoulder pad move. It does sometimes. I am looking for this item at different stores, and if you have it, use it, it helps.
- Costs beaucoup money
- Looks reasonably cool and still maintains a professional look.
- Is adjustable (a little more work)
- is FREE
Warning: when you start using a quick strap, you will NEVER go back to a standard strap. It really makes a difference.
So am I a better photographer for using it? Hmm .... NO.
But I do seem to get the camera up to my eye FASTER and I get some pictures that I might have missed in the past. And it is so much nicer to carry it on your hip, across you chest.
A camera with a medium lens with battery grip pack and a speedlite can get pretty heavy after carrying around your neck for a while! Trust me, I've done it for years.
For those of you that worry if this rig will hold or not. I don't know. Tripod sockets are designed for a camera to sit on a tripod, and not to have all it's weight hanging from it (with everything else attached). But it has not failed me yet, or a lot of people I have spoken to. And some pros actually carry REALLY heavy lenses with them. Admittedly, if your lens has a tripod socket, use it instead, it balances the rig better.
Well, that's all folks. I hope this project works for you like it did for me. As always, if you like anything here, please don't copy it, just link to it.
Please remember to rate this 'ible and vote for it on top of the page!! and feel free to ask any questions, or add any comments.