More than a year ago, I decided I was done with camera straps.
- They always fall in front of the viewfinder when I rotate the camera to vertical.
- They don't let me hold the camera far enough from my old eyes to focus on the LCD screen or control panels.
- They chafe my neck, and a heavy rig would make me downright sore after a long day.
- When working with two cameras, the second rig always gets in the way.
- They let the camera fall wherever gravity takes them when you bend over.
Then I found the Spider Camera Holster by Shai Gear LLC.
This is a well-engineered, well-built system consisting of a padded heavy-duty belt, industrial strength holster, and a plate that screws onto the camera's tripod mount with a ball-head pin that engages the holster.
The camera hangs with the lens pointed to the rear. The system is strong enough to keep even a heavy lens pointed back and out of the way. This shot shows a 1D Mk III, 70-200 f/2.8 IS, and 580EX II.
A lighter rig like this 20D w/ Tamron 17-50 hangs the same way.
The front view shows how it keeps the camera in easy reach. Retrieve the camera one-handed (if you lock the safety catch open), and return it to the holster with one hand on the grip, blindfolded.
Here's the holster by itself. It seems to be made of a tough plastic under the fabric that won't twist or buckle with a heavy lens.
The holster has a safety catch that can be locked open if desired for one-handed retrieval. This part is made of cast aluminum and stainless steel, screwed to the plastic/fabric part through the back. You couldn't bend it if you tried.
Bottom view of the plate on the 1D Mk III. It comes with an allen wrench to tighten the mounting screw, which sits in a groove so the head doesn't protrude. It has two 1/4-20 threaded holes for a QR plate. The wrench stores in the plate if you want to keep it handy (it tends to bite into my hand when shooting vertical so it normally stays in my bag).
The plate on the 20D. No interference with the battery door. You can move the pin to the other side for a left hip holster.
In the shots above you can see that the edges of the plate are rounded off. This makes it comfortable to shoot with a vertical grip.
- The belt is made with velcro to keep the loose end from flopping around. And it works great for belt-mounted accessories like a lens case or filter case.
- The maker also sells a two-camera version, or you can add a second pad/holster to the one-camera version. However, a camera on your left side would not be quite as easy to retrieve, in my opinion.
- You need to have a waist. If you're the kind of guy whose pants won't stay up without suspenders, this isn't for you. I think it should work well on most women.
- The ball-head pin protruding from the plate prevents the camera from sitting flat on a table. You can still set it down though.
- The extra hole on the plate for alternate (left side) pin location gets in the way somewhat when shooting vertical. I have a mind to grind it off.
- It isn't what you'd call cheap. They sell the one-camera kit for $135 on their web site, and you'll want an extra plate for each extra camera at $25 each. When you see how well it's built, you'll understand the price. I bought mine at a local camera shop.