Photography, Reviews

Review: Luma Loop V2 glidestrap

The Luma Loop glidestrap is the last of the three glidestraps or sling model camera straps I’m reviewing. The Luma Loop is the most luxurious strap of them all. It has a leather shoulder strap and a unique attachment mechanism. The cliché says leather is highly uncomfortable and cutting in your flesh, while an attachment mechanism being unique doesn’t mean it is any good. In the case of the Luma Loop V2 strap, let me assure you that the two clichés proved to be wrong.

The Luma Loop camera strap is a product developed by James Duncan Davidson, a photographer and author. The strap has a very high quality finish and is made out of three components: the smooth ballistic nylon strap or loop itself, a leather and neoprene foam combination shoulder pad, and the attachment mechanism. I also received the podmount, an optional component to attach the Luma Loop to the tripod mount of the camera.

The loop is attached to the shoulder strap using a pair of nicely designed (and custom made, according to the Luma FAQ) satin nickel plated brass screws. Given the leather/neoprene/leather construction, Loctite adhesive is used to permanently epoxy the screw together under all conditions in all environments. The loop furthermore can be customised to your length by sliding the nylon loop between two steel rings and a steel fastener.

The mechanism with which you attach the Luma Loop V2 to the camera consists of a unique component: a steel Quick Detach sling swivel. This item is used by the US Army and Marine Corps, according to the FAQ, to secure soldiers’ rifles. The swivels are built by the factory that invented the QD Swivel with materials and tolerances that exceed the ones used in combat. According to the FAQ, the Luma Loop V2 version has been static tested to over 150 kilograms and has survived over 20 repeated 3 meter drops with a 5 kilo weight attached in a single test session.

On close inspection of the QD swivel, this mechanism looks made of heavy steel (stainless, it says in the FAQ) with three small balls sticking out of the internal ‘plug’. To attach the ‘plug’ to the ‘hood’ or ‘head’ of the swivel mechanism, you push a steel button on top of the hood/head which makes the balls retract a bit so the two components click together. Inside the head element is a nylon cord that is secured inside it (it leaves the hood/head through a 6 mm hole, making for a loop of approx. 7 centimeters). I checked the thickness of the rope and found it to be certified for weights up to 175 kilograms.

The QD swivel is what makes the Luma Loop V2 truly unique because it allows you to attach the camera to the strap pretty much anywhere you want — with an optional piece of kit to the tripod socket, but also to one of the camera’s native strap holders. The QD swivel in turn is attached to the loop itself using a rectangular heavy steel loop that has free movement. The whole construction cannot be described other than extremely strong — stronger, in fact than the Sniper Pro I tested earlier.

The only reason I can think of why your camera would hit the ground is when your QD swivel would have a factory defect, and even then I doubt whether the balls would easily losen inside the swivel hood.

The leather shoulder pad of the Luma Loop is quite slim; this shoulder pad is by far the least obtrusive pad of all camera straps I’ve seen in the past 5 years. That made me weary: I was expecting an uncomfortable experience. It turned out to be the other way around. The Luma FAQ explains that full grain leather has a unique, organic grain structure through which the weight of your camera transmits very evenly across the curved shape.

By comparison, the FAQ says, the grid pattern of yarns in a ballistic nylon shoulder assembly tend to shift weight along the shortest possible path and create high pressure “hot spots” that become uncomfortable. I don’t know if this is correct, but I do know that the leather curve on the Luma Loop V2 has foam neoprene sewn onto it at the bottom. This proved to be very efficient in preventing the strap from sliding off my shoulder, even when carrying the strap on one side instead of diagonally across my chest.

And yes, the leather/foam combination was at least as comfortable as the Custom SLR Glidestrap. Of course, leather takes on a patina of wear that just looks better than any synthetic material.

I tested and tried the Luma Loop V2 the same way as I did with the other two straps: I went out for a day’s photographing. I first attached the Luma Loop to the upper right camera stock strap mount point. That proved to be very unhandy as the QD swivel consistently hung in front of my face. I switched sides and that did the trick. The weight of the swivel makes it hang comfortably low by the side of the camera, and gets out of your way completely.

I also tried to attach the Luma to the vertical grip strap mount and that proved to be even better, as it comes very close to attaching the camera to the tripod socket. The only disadvantage of the strap was that it moves about a lot when walking — which is a common feature of all glidestraps that position your camera near your back, in my opinion.

My final test was to attach the Luma Loop to the optional PodMount. The PodMount was the smallest tripod strap mounting screw of the three straps I tested. It has a rubber with cork base to get a tight fit with the camera. Unfortunately, I found the PodMount’s rubber gasket to be too slippery to be really secure, unless I tightened the screw to an uncomfortable level.

My take on this: if you insist on attaching the Luma Loop to the camera using the tripod mount, then buy the C-Loop instead of the PodMount and you’ll be certain your camera won’t loosen because of the mounting screw. It would be a bit expensive perhaps, but if you can buy a camera of 2500.00 USD or more, it pays off to secure that camera with an attachment system that can handle the job.

I would not hesitate for a moment to recommend the Luma Loop V2 as one of the best glidestraps ever — it would be hard to choose between the Custom SLR and Luma Loop models. The Luma Loop is comfortable, looks luxurious, and allows for the most flexible handling of your camera. It costs approx. 50.00 Euros. The PodMount adds another 11.00 Euros to the price.

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