Warning for BlackRapid Users

Discussion in 'Digital Cameras & Equipment' started by Jeff Fillmore, Feb 15, 2010.

  1. Jeff Fillmore

    Jeff Fillmore Member

    Just thought I would share a scary experience from the weekend. ; I got a BlackRapid RS-7 Camera Strap a month or so ago and while I do like it- I had a good fright using it yesterday. ;

    Lately I have been doing a lot of tripod shooting so I have been using the D-Ring on the bottom of the tripods quick release plate for a connection point instead of the actual FastenR-2 that came with the strap. ; (See pictures below- not mine but you get the idea.) ; Interestingly- this was a topic of discussion at a Disney photo shoot a few weeks ago because when using the provided fastener the captive swivel connector on the strap tends to scuff up the bottom of the camera- while when using a wider release plate then the bottom of the camera is protected. ; HOWEVER, it looks like the D-Ring on the quick release plates (at least on my Bogen) is NOT designed to support the weight of a camera and lens. ;

    So here is the story: ; Out shooting yesterday- D700 & 14-24 f/2.8- the camera was hanging at my side as it had been all day. ; I reached down to take a shot and when I do something just feels different. ; So I look at it and it is completely disconnected from the strap. ; Puzzled- I checked the captive strap connector to see if it came loose or unscrewed or something- but it's tight. ; Then I see the D-Ring on the quick release plate is gone- and I find it on the concrete by my feet. ; I have no idea how the camera did not fall- since it must have been hanging just by half of the ring in the slot held in place by it's own weight and then let go completely when I picked it up. ; The D-Ring snapped back into place fairly easily so obviously it does not take all that much force to break it free either- probably just pressure from the side rather than from straight down.

    So be carefull out there- I don't want to even think about what might have happened. ; :eek:

    Strap Connector - ConnectR2

    Good Idea- FastenR-2

    Not a Good Idea- quick release plate similar to mine that 'failed'
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 11, 2014
  2. Roger

    Roger Member Staff Member

    Arca-Swiss FTW?

    Seriously, thanks for sharing Jeff. ; I'm actually *finally* going to be free of my last remants of the Bogen QR system as I bought a new Bogen head for my monopod, and I'm building my own Arca-Swiss Head using it. ; (It's the tilt model, but without the QR plate) ; Add your own bolt and an assembly and it'll be good to go.

    Now that leaves the issue of how to mount the Black Rapid to a Arca-Swiss plate.....
  3. Jeff Fillmore

    Jeff Fillmore Member

    I have no idea if another brand would be better. ; Hindsight is great but I figure all of them have been designed as a convenience to tighten the plate to the camera and none of them have really been designed for hanging a camera upside-down from all day long. ; Saturday the 70-200 VRII was on it all day also- seemingly with no issue.
  4. Roger

    Roger Member Staff Member

    Still seriously considering this strap though Jeff.

    My next "Disney" trip will involve the renting of a least one video-enabled body, but I'll use my D700 for night tripod stuff. ; I can put an Arca-Swiss plate on the 70-200II's tripod foot for the one monopod use for it.....it's the other trips that make it odd to consider....but then how often will I use a tripod? ; (Hey that's what VR2 is for, right? ; Except for maybe FW)
    Maybe I should keep the plate off the camera unless I need it. ; (the bad part: ; making sure I remember the hex wrench to do this!)
  5. Paul

    Paul Member

    I picked up the BlackRapid RS-7 a not to long ago myself and really like it. ; Used it with the 70-200 walking around Roger Williams Zoo all day and was very comfortable. ; I've only used the FastenR-2 connection, so that sounds like what I will stick with for now based on Jeff's experience.

    Thanks for the heads-up Jeff.
  6. BorisMD

    BorisMD Member

    If you go on BlackRapids discussion boards, there is a thread dedicated to this, and the company rep strongly states to not hang your equipment from a D-ring from the plate.

    The company is in the final stages of producing a new bolt/D-ring that will replace the one that came with your tripod QR plate. ; Then, you will be able to attach the BR strap to the bottom of the QR plate. ; They haven't given a release date yet, but say it's "very close".


  7. Roger

    Roger Member Staff Member

    Oooh, that would seal the deal.
  8. Jeff Fillmore

    Jeff Fillmore Member

    That would be ideal. ; Another issue is the FastenR-2 is starting to make the rubber on the bottom of the camera curl up.
  9. PolynesianMedic

    PolynesianMedic Global Moderator Staff Member

    sounds scary.
  10. Roger

    Roger Member Staff Member

    I went ahead and ordered one through Amazon. ; Work gave me a little bonus on a gift card that paid for everything except shipping.
  11. Roger

    Roger Member Staff Member

    Update on my Black Rapid

    Well, I've had it for a few weeks now. ; Getting the hang of it, trying to determine the best way to have the straps adjusted....but I *finally* noticed something that the RRS plate and the Black Rapid are compatible to a point.

    The RRS has a tripod mount, so I can screw the FastenR to the RRS plate, and then when I need to use the tripod I just have to unscrew the strap. ; Yeah, it's a pain, but at least I can keep my plate attached and use the strap at the same time. ;

    The thing I love the best about the Black Rapid is that the strap won't fall down in my FOV during vertical shots like a regular strap will.
  12. mSummers

    mSummers Member

    Roger, can you give me the measurements for the shoulder pad of the R Strap (length and width)? ; I'm working on making my own and wanted to compare the shoulder pad to the one I mocked up. ;

    I don't like the Black Rapid mounting options and prefer to connect it to the left camera strap post so I don't have to unscrew the connector every time I want to put it on the tripod, so I decided to build my own. ; I think I finally found all of the connection hardware that I need to attach it the way I want, so now I'm working on the shoulder pad. ; I was thinking about buying on of the R-Straps, but I would like to build in an ID holder for when I'm at Williamsburg or on a Railroad Photo Charter. ; The clip on holders that they give you at those things always in the way, or they're getting caught on the camera strap. ; So I'm going to try to give them a permanent place on the strap so they're out of the way.
  13. Jeff Fillmore

    Jeff Fillmore Member

    Can you post some info/pictures of how you are connecting it to the strap post? ; I don't really like the ConnectR2 on the bottom of the camera either. ; Aside from it being a pain when using a tripod- I hate how you cannot sit the camera on a flat surface plus It's tearing up the rubber seals on the bottom of the camera so I have been thinking about making some kind of modification to it.
  14. mSummers

    mSummers Member

    I'll try to post some pictures tonight. ; I'm now on my second set of hardware since the first one didn't work out like I hoped. ; I'll post pictures of both though.
  15. mSummers

    mSummers Member

    Here's hardware version 1.0:


    I was trying to keep it simple so I used a plastic D ring with a 200lb test stainless steel split ring (made for deep sea fishing). ; The problem was that the split ring gets bent open and had a tendency to try to work its way off of the camera strap attachment point.

    So, now I've tried version 2.0. ; Here's the hardware with the strap:


    Here it is attached to the camera:


    I can't take any credit for this hardware setup. ; I saw it on the internet, but stupidly didn't bookmark the page. ; The swivel hook at the end is a "Le Hook." ; http://www.lehook.co.uk/ ; The size is K50 and is capable of holding 110lbs. ; The construction feels solid and it doesn't seem like it will open on its own. ; You have to push both of the spring loaded silver bearings (one on each side) all the way before it will open. ; "Bearing" isn't really the best description... they're more like metal cylinders with rounded ends. ;

    The connection to the nylon webbing is a "Super Swivel" made by Uncle Mikes. ; http://www.uncle-mikes.com/products/qd_super_swivel.html ; Again, the construction is solid. ; To open the connector, you have to unscrew it and slide it open against a heavy spring. ; The plastic head on the screw spins freely in both directions and only comes unscrewed when you pull out on it and twist it. ; The only problem is that the plastic head seems to unscrew easily, but I'm not worried about it popping open on its own since it has a heavy spring inside to keep it closed. ;

    I'm a little worried that the metal hardware will rub against the camera and rub the finish off, so I'm going to get some nylon tubing to put over the Le Hook to keep it from rubbing. ; I bought 1/2" tubing, but its just a little too small, so I'm going to get a slightly bigger size.

    The super swivel was delivered yesterday, so I haven't had a chance to really try this setup yet, but so far, I'm really impressed. ; I'll give an update after I get back from the Cass Railfan Weekend in May since that will be the first real field test for this setup.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 11, 2014
  16. WillCAD

    WillCAD Member

    Oh, I hate to do this, being as how I'm giving advice on how to make a competitor's product work better, but here goes:

    Jeff, where the d-ring hooks to the bolt - does the hole go all the way through the bolt? If so, then you can easily replace the d-ring with a sturdy 1" or 1.5" metal split ring, of the type used for key rings (you may have to shop around a bit to find sturdy ones - some are not so sturdy). Once you put the split ring in, it will never slip out like the d-ring did, and the stock swivel on the R-strap should be able to easily connect to it.

    Michael, the metal hardware you chose for your strap mod is top-knotch stuff, but as you see, any metal hardware poses a scratch risk for your camera body and lens. It also tends to get hot in the Florida sun (see how I cleverly work WDW into every post?) and can be noisy when you use it, too. This is why I chose solid plastic hardware for my camera harnesses; while not as strong as steel and aluminum, it is plenty strong enough to hold any DSLR that comes along, and won't scratch up my camera gear.

    On a related note, I never knew that Nikon DSLRs use a post with those triangular split rings. My old Fuji S602 bridge camera used the same setup, and I always replaced the triangles with small split rings, which were not only sturdier, but were larger and easier to hook with a snap-swivel.
  17. Jeff Fillmore

    Jeff Fillmore Member

    Thanks for the pictures and description Michael- please let us know how you like it after an outing or two.

    No unfortunately- it just snaps in and rests in a tiny indent maybe 1/16th an inch deep.
  18. Jeff Fillmore

    Jeff Fillmore Member

    You have a competing product Will? ; What is it?
  19. Jeff Fillmore

    Jeff Fillmore Member

    I just saw the link- Duh. ; :D ; I'll check it out. ;
  20. mSummers

    mSummers Member

    Jeff, I'll post an update after I get back from the Cass Railfan Weekend (May 21-23). After 2 1/2 days of climbing on and off of trains and up the hills around Cass with this strap, I'll have a good idea of how well it works.

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