Me and Grace are pretty keen on photography (albeit at a very novice level) and we have been looking for a while now for an alternative to the standard factory supplied Nikon neck strap, which is just awful. As well as being ridiculously uncomfortable to carry a large DSLR around your neck, the strap is also extremely garish with NIKON printed in bright yellow – which screams out ‘wealthy gringo’ and will make it hard to go unnoticed in South America.
As we are saving hard there was limited funds to make this purchase, so our number one criteria was affordability, then followed usability and comfort. In an ideal world we could of bought a strap from one of the market leaders, a noticeable brand being Black Rapid, who produce extremely good ‘fast-draw’ sling straps. However these were all too expensive – therefore we had to look at some other cheaper options, the strap that came up trumps was the Caden Sling Strap.
Caden Sling Strap
I recently purchased this strap off DX.com for $16 – a site which sells cheap gadgets among other things. The items themselves are priced in USD but actually come from China, hence the 21 day delivery time. I was pretty happy with how the item arrived however did not enjoy the long wait – so will be buying from a different UK alternative in the future. However it arrived in one piece and the testing began…
This strap, as the name suggests is a sling strap, so it fits across the shoulders distributing the weight much more effectively. This particular strap also benefits from the split design which further spreads the weight as well as being constructed out of neoprene. This fabric (same as in wetsuits) is very tough but also very stretchy – it’s this stretch which helps cushion the weight of the camera especially when walking/moving around. When compared to the factory neck strap you can barely even feel that the strap is attached.
The main selling point of the camera is the fact it has ‘quick draw’ functionality – which basically means that the camera is not attached to a fixed point on the strap but to a metal ring which allows the camera body to slide up the strap into a shooting position fast without the strap itself moving at all – a great invention and is why I will never again use a strap without this function.
When not in use, there are small adjusters that you can slide up and down the strap to fix the camera to a certain point along the strap – this is extremely handy during periods on non-use to limit camera movement. The strap length is easily adjustable and when fitted properly the camera body will simply hang upside down by your side where it is less noticeable as well as being safer and more comfortable.
The strap attaches to the camera via what’s known as a D-ring, this small loop screws into the tripod socket on the bottom of your DSLR. After you have fixed in the D-ring you then attach the strap to the loop using a carabiner hook which locks for added safety – see below:
Both these connectors are made out of strong metal and the manufacturer claims they have been load tested to way over 7KG – which is plenty. The D-ring itself screws nicely into the tripod thread and feels secure, however I would recommend checking this connection and tightening it throughout the day, especially if you have been moving a lot.
In conclusion the strap is pleasing to the eye as well as being less garish than the factory strap, It is also extremely comfortable and spreads the weight of the camera and lens very well. The ‘quick draw’ mechanism is incredibly useful as it keeps the strap in a fixed place across the shoulders whilst allowing the camera to be quickly brought up into shooting position. Although a strange feeling at first, the camera actually feels safer hanging upside down by your side, the strong connectors also provide confidence. I would happily recommend this strap to anyone, it is a great affordable alternative to some of the more expensive straps out there as well as being a massive improvement on the factory strap.
You can pick these straps up from eBay for around £13-£15 and in a range of different colours too.
I hope that you have found the above review helpful, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to leave a comment below.