During Trey Ratcliff’s after-party there was time for questions to Trey. I shot my hand up first and I was rewarded with a gift. Before I tell you about it though, what’s our problem to be solved (other than loving free stuff?) Most cameras come with a neck strap and they work ok to keep you from dropping your camera over the side when you’re on a boat, but they’re ill-designed for just about everything else. They hang straight around your neck with your camera bumping around on your chest, and if you lean over they swing way out and can crash into things like rocks when you’re hiking. You can try putting the strap around one shoulder but they’re just not designed for this in length or band thickness or pretty much any kind of comfort.
Back on show #400 I told you about the BlackRapid Curve RS-7 I had just acquired for my Nikon D5100. It was perfect for that large DSLR because of the padding and how well it fit across my chest. But now I have a diminutive micro-four thirds camera, the Olympus OM-D EM-10 and that strap was just overkill. I gave it away to a friend of mine who bought some of my lenses and he’s delighted with it.
Ok, back to Trey’s party – the gift I received is the SlideLITE from Peak Design. This is a sleek strap with just the right thickness to make it comfortable to wear, but is still light enough to make sense with a light camera. The real delight of the Peak Design straps is their attachment mechanism design. They have a little button with a loop on it that you thread around your attachment points and then you simply press and slide to attach the strap to the camera. This means that really quickly I can detach the strap from my camera, instead of 10 minutes of unthreading it like the traditional straps.
The SlideLITE also has two mechanisms for shortening and lengthening the strap. I put it on to go for a walk and found it very easy to tighten them way up so that it wasn’t banging around at all. Then later I went for a bike ride and I found I liked it somewhat longer. I was able to one-handed lengthen the strap so I didn’t even have to stop riding. Steve and I stopped for a bit at one end of the ride, and later on I suddenly panicked because I thought I’d forgotten to put my camera back on. Of course I still had it on but it was so light and comfortable that I couldn’t even tell I was carrying it.
The little button mechanism I described is part of their way of getting you into their ecosystem. Pat Dengler has some others of their devices and they all use these little buttons. For example, they’re working on a bag that will have attachments on the outside, so you can hang a lens, and even a camera on the outside of the bag using these buttons.
The loop that comes out of the buttons also has an indicator if it’s getting worn out. I haven’t seen it in person but the instructions show that if it’s getting worn out, it will be stretched to show yellow material and red when it’s critically in poor condition. Luckily they give you 2 extra buttons to go with the SlideLITE.
Here’s the only bad news. The SlideLITE isn’t available yet, it’s on their site under “Development” but since I received a fully packaged unit, I suspect it won’t be long before you can buy one. You can pre-order it now for $45, which is about $10 less than I paid for the RapidDesign strap a couple of years ago. Go check out all of the Peak Design products at peakdesign.com.