I’ve been using the BlackRapid straps for years with my previous DSLR gear. I love their straps, they are just so much better than the kit strap that comes with pretty much any camera. In fact, the kits straps are so useless that I haven’t even bothered unwrapping one from it’s packaging in years!
However, as I moved to smaller mirrorless gear, the BlackRapid RS-7 strap I had fell by the wayside. That was until I got the Fujifilm X-Pro 1, where with the bigger body the RS-7 didn’t look totally ridiculous! There was one big problem with it though – the FastenR (the bit that screws into your tripod socket) was just too big and obstructed the battery and SD-card door. Personally I don’t think this is entirely the fault of the FastenR, rather that Fuji put the tripod socket too close to the door in the first place! This causes the same issues when attached to a tripod too – even a small one like the Gorillapod.
Now I’ve known about the BlackRapid Snapr strap and bag combo for a while, but didn’t get around to ordering one until I went and tried one out at Photokina this year. I bought one at the show for the X-Pro1, and ordered the smaller bag version online later on for the X100.
FUJIFILM FinePix X100 (23mm, f/8, 1/40 sec, ISO2000)
The one big advantage with the Snapr system is that the tripod attachment comes with a significantly smaller connector, and it fits perfectly into the X-Pro1, X-E1 and X100’s tripod socket without interfering with the operation of the battery/SD card slot door. It’s a close shave, but it doesn’t rub on the door so there’s no fiddling involved to open or close it. Perfect! A little rubber washer gives a tight fit in the tripod socket and ensures it won’t unscrew accidentally.
The Snapr comes in three sizes, the 10, 20 and 35. The 35 is the one that BlackRapid aim at the mirrorless market and is probably the only one most serious mirrorless cameras will fit inside with lens attached. The straps on all three are identical, but each comes with a successively bigger bag. The idea of the system being that you slide your camera into the bag when you’re done shooting. However, you can use the kit in one of two ways. The cross-shoulder strap with the camera attached via the tripod socket dangling at your side from the strap and the supplied bag in-line on the strap, or you can simply remove the bag completely and use the strap on its own, just as you would with their bigger DSLR RS straps. Using it in this second way means the bag size isn’t important, so if you intend not to use the bag at all then just buy the smallest cheaper version. Though I think that you might find the bag more useful than you think for carrying accessories as I’ll mention later on.
The Snapr strap is also considerably smaller and lighter than the RS line of straps, so it looks much more at home on the smaller mirrorless camera bodies. I use it with the Fuji X-series gear, but there is no reason you couldn’t use it with any of the other mirrorless cameras out there.
The camera simply hangs at your side out of the way until you need it, at which point you simply grab the camera and pull it up to your face. The extra part of the strap attached to the camera simply slides along the front of strap, no snags, no fuss. When you’re done, just place the camera back down by your side. If you choose to use the bag as well, it hangs on the strap to the rear of the camera. There is a little velcro accessory that you’re supposed to put over the clip fastening to stop you accidentally unclipping your camera, at least that’s what I assume it to be for, and what is shown as being for in the photos – it isn’t exactly easy to open the clipped connection so I find it a rather pointless extra bit of fluff to loose somewhere eventually! Mine are in the cupboard in case I ever find a better use for them!
NIKON D3 (42mm, f/8, 1/250 sec, ISO200)
The X-Pro1 will only just fit into the 35 bag with the 18mm lens (or 35mm w/out the hood). Likewise the X-E1 with 18mm lens attached (or 35mm w/out hood) will fit into the 35 sized bag. The X100 will fit into the 20 sized bag without the lens hood attached. So if you’re carrying the X-Pro1 and the X100/X-E1 with you, the X-Pro 1 can go on the strap and you can store the other camera in the bag. My preference when carrying two cameras though is to have two straps, one over each shoulder with a camera on either side, that way I can access whichever one I want quickly.
I can’t say I have a preferred way of using these straps as I tend to just rig them up depending on how I’m going out to shoot. I’ve used the 35 size bag to carry two X-mount lenses inside and the X-Pro 1 on the strap, in that way I’ve got the full complement with me! I’ve also used the 20 sized bag with either camera on the strap and a flash, my keys, wallet, whatever I want to carry inside the bag! It’s a versatile system and can be used to suit whatever needs you have. Both the 20 and 35 bags have two zipped pouches on either side of the main compartment, which I tend to use for batteries and SD cards, along with cash and credit cards. The 10 bag only has a flap over top, but does come in cheaper than the others if all you’re really after is the strap. It’s surprising that BlackRapid don’t market the strap individually given the ever expanding mirrorless camera market. I tend to treat is as buying the strap and getting a free bag, though a cheaper strap-only option would be nice to have.
The straps and bags are very well made, as you would expect from BlackRapid. Mine have been used and abused pretty much on a daily basis and show no signs of wear or damage. The shoulder pads give a good amount of protection and you never feel that aching pull, even with a relatively heavy mirrorless camera such as the X-Pro 1 and two lenses in the bag. I happily carry mine around all day. The lining of the bags main compartment is a nice soft material that won’t scratch your kit and has a reasonable level of padding to protect it from everyday knocks. The non-scratch zips are strong and look like they will stand up to many years of service. Although they aren’t marketed as waterproof, the outer fabric seems to do a good job of keeping your kit dry and I wouldn’t have any problem using the bags in the rain.
FUJIFILM FinePix X100 (23mm, f/4, 1/40 sec, ISO320)
There is a CoupleR accessory that will connect two straps together behind your back to stop them moving around too much. I haven’t tried it, and I’m not sure I really find wearing two straps that much of an issue to feel the need to use it, not that I’ve ever seen one for sale here in the UK to be honest anyway!
The only thing I can fault with the Snapr is the tendency for the shoulder pad to work its way over onto your back from time to time as you lift the camera up and down, but the system is so light with a mirrorless camera on that half the time you don’t notice it has moved out of place. It’s easy enough to drag it back around when you do though.
A great street or travel companion. A fantastic well made quality bag for the mirrorless camera enthusiast. Leaps ahead of the kit strap, and much more convenient with the camera hanging by your side. For me it’s a must buy.
Pricing is around £29/$29 for the 10, £35/$39 for the 20 and £39/$45 for the 35.
BlackRapid have a great YouTube channel with some videos on the Snapr range.