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DIY R Strap AKA charm bracelet strap

Should Straps of all kinds.

My take on the R Strap.  A new strap design that is simple, well known, but never applied to cameras.  It's simplicity also makes it very easy to copy.  So read on to see my version.

The photography forums are currently a buzz with a new strap design.  I think for a few millenia, the camera strap really hasn't changed much.  This new design is so simple, that I was just dumb founded.  It's been in front of photographers for so long, but it just wasn't recognized.  Slide pendents, and some charm bracelets use the same principle.

I just had to make one for myself.  And as you can see above, I've got more than enough raw materials to give it a real good try.

Sunpak Handstrap

So to begin, here is my camera.  My trusty Rebel XT has literally been all over the world with me.  It's managed to take snaps on four continents and come back asking for more.  In this shot, it's sporting my 35mm F2 lens.  And the best accessory I've ever purchased, a Sunpak hand strap.  More often than not, I don't use a shoulder strap, and simply use this.

Lowepro quick release extensions

Here's the other side of the camera.  The short extensions with split rings are the quick release extensions for my Lowepro strap.

My original setup.

This setup has served me so well, I almost feel sad messing with it.  But the end results were well worth it.  I got flamed by an Amazon reviewer about this strap.  It's not your typical setup for a strap.  The strap is sewn to the tri glide buckles.  All small parts are metal, from the tri glide buckles, to the split rings, and the swivel hooks.  This makes the strap jingle like a set of keys when in use.  But, that also makes it very strong.  I really like this strap, though I guess someone on Amazon didn't share my opinion.

The First attempt at a R Strap.

So, after cobbling some parts, this was what I came up with for my first attempt.  I used a long shoulder strap, in this case the original strap that came with my Rebel XT.

A close up of my first attempt.

The R strap works by allowing the camera to slide along the strap.  A conventional strap slides around your body.  To get everything to slide, you need two loops.  I first looped the original Canon strap to itself using both tri glide buckles.  When I tried just one, the strap would give a little.  Scary...  With both, it works really well.  The second loop is the split ring on the Canon strap.  Now, I could have looped the two split rings on the Lowepro straps to the Canon strap.  But like I mentioned earlier, I don't use a shoulder strap that often.  So, I added a metal clasp to the mix.  It worked great, and I was sliding my camera like a pro.  I was so excited I ran down and showed Eliza.  This setup however, felt flimsy.  I wasn't sure I'd trust my SLR with my Sigma 70-200 F2.8 lens on it.  Back to the drawing board.

Second attempt at the R Strap

Here is my second attempt.  Much better and much simpler.  The Caribiner, while not approved for climbing, I'm sure can handle my camera gear.  I also managed to get rid of a split ring, which in turn jingles less.  Now, I contemplated stopping here, and may go back to this in a couple days.  The nice thing about having a traditional shoulder strap setup is that you can use it to provide traction or tension to steady your shot.  With the R strap setup, you lose all friction.  A trade off to consider.

My DIY R Strap, version 2.0

Here is what I ended up with and am going to try out.  The Lowepro Strap extensions join to one medium sized split ring instead of two smaller ones.  That in turn mates to a Caribiner acting as the slide on the Canon strap.  I was suprised how well this setup works.  It even eliminated most of the jingling I use to get with my original setup.  Completely eliminating the jingling probably isn't worth it, since I'd lose the simplicity and sturdiness of this strap combination.  My Lowepro neoprene strap, sadly was too short to work in this way.

So, I'm pretty happy I must say.  But yeah, I may go with the setup I had two pictures above.  A traditional strap has it's advantages, and I may end up missing the ability to steady a shot using the strap.  The quick draw nature of this strap however, is really appealing.  So, we'll see. Eliza's interested in this setup too.  Her strap setup is similar to my old one, but with different components.  A trip to REI is in my near future.

UPDATE: REI trip was a success!