Carry Speed is a Houston, Texas based company developing accessories for photographers. Among their first products are straps. Carry Speed asked me to review their FS-PRO Camera Sling Strap, a genuine camera strap system for heavier dSLRs.
The FS-PRO came in a blunt cardboard box with a large sticker on the side that said it was made in China. The strap costs 69.99 USD.
What was inside I cannot but describe other than a complete strap system. The box contained a shoulder padding — which must be the largest and widest any manufacturer has ever made — the nylon strap itself with a heavy duty metal connector, an extra wrist strap, a special shorter strap for attaching to a telephoto lens, and a camera plate.
The FS-PRO Camera Sling Strap is innovative in that it clearly takes ideas of the former three, tries to improve on them and bundles them together in one product. However, that also means most of the concepts worked into the product are probably copies of originals found elsewhere.
From Spider Holster probably came the idea of a ball which allows you to swivel the camera freely. From Custom SLR or Black Rapid the attachment interface on the camera plate, and from Luma Labs the cinch and its previous military grade “carbine” system — all my guesses.
Usually the original is better than the copy. In the case of the FS-PRO, it depends. Some of the copied stuff is just as bad as the original, while some others are just as good. The system is comfortable, the huge shoulder pad ensures a good distribution of weight. It also looks secure enough for really heavy equipment and the cinch system works brilliant.
But then there’s the plate. The camera plate is an Arca-Swiss style plate with a swivel element onto which the ball, to which your camera is attached, is screwed. The idea is to be able to swivel the ball out of the way when using a tripod.
The idea is great but as so often overlooks one important issue. Just as Custom SLR overlooked the possibility of people using lenses with quite large barrels the attachment “bulb” gets in the way of, the Carry Speed designers have forgotten about another category of users.
Those of us who use a vertical hand grip will find that the swivel mechanism bumps into the finger dents on the grip, not capable of swivelling all the way into horizontal position, thus making the plate useless for quick attachment to a tripod.
With the FS-PRO Camera Sling Strap, the ball is locked into what seems to be the re-invention of the Luma Loop’s “carbine” system. In this case, the coupling system is heavier with a threaded cylinder that is open on one side. You slide the ball into the open half and then screw a full cylinder over it, effectively closing the system. To secure the cylinder into place, there’s a rubber O-ring that you need to push in place with your fingers.
I have two comments on that system.
When it’s cold, I don’t see myself securing the rubber O-ring in place with gloves on. It’s simply too small.
The second issue is that the system originally used by Luma Labs was the same as the one used by the military, i.e. it had a push button on top and the system locked in such a way that if it would break it would be hard to unlock it again — which is a whole lot more secure for your camera than the opposite.
The cinch works really well. When you pull the D-ring towards the camera, it will fasten your camera against your body. The other way around will make your camera hang more freely, so you can immediately focus and capture. The cinch itself is metal, the D-rings are made from plastic.
In use the FS-PRO Camera Sling Strap worked well, but the shoulder pad was a bit too wide for my skinny posture. It had the tendency to creep up against my neck and started to irritate after a quarter of an hour. If you’re more athletic or just heavier, I’m sure this won’t happen.
Some images courtesy Carry Speed.