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Review of the CameraSlingers
"Duel Delux" Dual Camera Support

Reviewed by Ron Risman -- June/July 2009




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CameraSlingers "Duel Delux" Double Camera Support

Description

The CameraSlingers 'Duel Delux' is a two-camera support system that was designed to comfortably support and provide easy access to two camera bodies for professional photographers. No more slipping neck straps, fumbling with criss-crossed straps while trying to switch cameras, or neck or back pain due to carrying around two cameras around your neck all day long. The CameraSlingers does not use a cross-strap so it is also female and wardrobe friendly. The Ergonomic design is made to support the weight of your cameras on the stronger, upper part of your back, while the unique bi-lateral binding takes the stress off your shoulders and spine. Your back will love you!

The Problem

Many hobbyists and professional photographers own two or more digital SLR's. While this may seem like a luxury, the reality is that having a backup to your main camera is often much more important than the few hundred dollars you might get by selling the older model. For professionals, having a backup to their main camera is a necessity, especially if they shoot weddings or other once precious life events. Just try walking over to the bride to let her know that your only camera stopped working.

Aside from having a backup for insurance purposes a second camera often negates or minimizes the need to swap lenses while on a shoot, helping to prevent dust from getting into the camera and sticking to the sensor. Take it from experience, the last thing you want to do is to remove a lens from your DSLR body while outside or when feeling rushed. Whenever I am on a photo shoot I carry two camera's with me, one over each shoulder. A typical configuration for me would be to have my Canon 5D Mark II with 70-200mm lens and 550EX flash over one shoulder with my Canon Rebel XTi with a 24-105mm over the other. Instead of swapping lenses I just pick up whichever camera has the lens on it I want to shoot with. Ideally, it would be great to have another 5D Mark II as a backup, but right now that is just not a feasible option for me.

Carrying around a camera with strap draped over each shoulder is an exercise in juggling. Your reach for one camera while the strap on the other shoulder starts to slip, or you're moving quickly around the room and it slips - catching it quickly in the bend of your elbow until you have taken the shot and can attend to it. There are a few other configurations that many of us have tried:
  1. Place the strap of each camera around the neck instead of over each shoulder. This criss- cross (X) design prevents camera slippage but makes it very difficult to pull the camera, who's strap is underneath, up to your eye to get the shoot. Most likely you'll will be wearing a collared shirt and/or jacket and the straps inevitably get under the collars and pull, crease, and fold them while you are doing your best to look professional.

  2. Place one camera strap over your head and wear it in front as you might do with just one camera. Then place the second camera's strap over your head with one arm through it so that the strap goes across your chest and the camera lays off to the side of the body. This configuration allows easier access to both cameras but makes it bit tougher to keep the cameras from hitting each other when moving and working. This configuration also causes the same issue with shirt or jacket collars.

  3. You could just place each camera over each shoulder the way you might normally carry just one camera, but once a camera / lens slips off your shoulder you'll quickly revert to one of the other methods mentioned above.
Aside from the awkwardness of carrying multiple cameras around while on the move, there is also the issue of ergonomics when it comes to neck and back strain. During a wedding or other event you will most likely be on your feet continuously for at least a few hours while asking your neck or shoulders to bear the weight of your gear. This almost guarantees a sore neck, headaches, and/or a sore back, especially over time. Ultimately, there really is just no real comfortable, reliable, and clothing friendly way to carry two cameras. Enter the new CameraSlingers "Duet Delux" dual camera support system.

The Solution

CameraSlingers Duel Delux Double Camera Support


The CameraSlingers was designed by a professional wedding photographer, Candice Cunningham. While reading her blog I discovered that Candice initially designed it for herself, but the product started to take flight after she was encourages to show it around at WPPI in Las Vegas. Candice knew first hand the issues of carrying multiple cameras around all day long - the sore necks, back pain, and the juggling of two cameras. The design is actually very similar to some shoulder holsters for guns. The design not only allows for fast access to two cameras, but also spreads the weight of the gear evenly across the upper back and shoulders.

When I first took the CameraSlingers out of the box it sort of looked like a brazier that Madonna might wear (okay, not really coned shaped) or as I first referred to it as looking like a man bra. While it might make for some fun laughs out of the box, once you put it on (correctly) and attach your cameras to it you'll never want to go back to any other way of dual-shooting. The CameraSlingers is THAT comfortable. Of course we all know that it's better to look good than to feel good (Billy Crystal) and the CameraSlinger will help you out in both of those areas
    First, the CameraSlingers is designed to support your cameras without having to cross straps over your chest area and around your neck. This means that you won't have to deal with straps interfering with collars, name badges, ties, or other wardrobe annoyances - not to mention how uncomfortable that is for women.

    Second, the CameraSlingers can be worn under a suit coat, blazer or jacket while still providing easy access to your cameras. This design allows you to look neat and professional at all times compared to the 'strangled' look that you're probably used too when working. So now you'll go through the day with no neck or back pain AND looking good at the same time. Even when worn above clothing, the CameraSlingers looks neat and professional, though may invoke conversation from other ammeter and professional photographers who know what it's like to shoot with two cameras.
The CameraSlinger is worn behind the neck, one pad over each shoulder. Attached to each shoulder pad is a strap that you put your arms through and hangs down your side. At the bottom of each strap is a spring-loaded connector that securely fastens the strap to each eye-loop that screws into the cameras tripod mount. (See photo below). The side support straps of the CameraSlingers Duel Delux is fully adjustable so that you can make sure that your cameras are in reach, regardless of your height. I found that making the strap just long enough so that the camera lays directly to the left or right of each pant pocket worked best for me. This made the camera easily accessible, yet far enough off the ground even if I wanted to shoot from a low, kneeling position. The CameraSlinger attaches to the tripod mount at the base of the camera using an eye-hook and spring-loaded fastener.

In the short time that I have been out shooting using the CameraSlingers I have talked to over a dozen people about how amazing it is and have easily sold at least a few for the company. Two weeks ago I was photographing the New Hampshire Girls High School Tennis State Finals and was carrying two DSLR camera bodies as well as a third HD video camera attached to a Trekpod. It was incredible how easy it was to carry these three cameras since I didn't have to worry about the two cameras that were being supported by the CameraSlingers. This freed up my hands to carry a third camera, which in this case was a camcorder. A freelance photographer for one of the local newspapers was there standing next to me and after seeing the fiasco of her trying to juggle two cameras AND a pocketbook I showed her the CameraSlingers. Until you have been in this position, you probably won't appreciate the design or the price of the CameraSlingers, but she instantly saw the benefit - especially since I was supporting three cameras with ease. She wrote down the name of the product and intended to order one.

A wedding photographer who I work with as a second shooter also ordered one after seeing it in action on a shoot we did together. She got it less than a week later and while she hasn't yet used it in the field, looks forward to doing so. Every photographer I show this to loves the idea and while I personally feel the price is a bit steep, there is truly nothing like it on the market. Expensive? Yes, Overpriced? Probably. The comfort and convenience it provides? Priceless. (Sorry for that, but it's true).

Product Specifications:
  • Slip resistant shoulder pads
  • Military grade components
  • Fully adjustable straps fit all heights and body types
  • Professional design
  • Ergonomically designed to help prevent neck and back pain, even when work all day!
  • 1 Year Manufacturers warranty
  • Weight: 11.3 ounces
I must admit that I wore the Cameraslingers around everywhere - with and without cameras attached - for the first couple of days. This allowed me to quickly discover some other interesting ways of using the CameraSlinger when only shooting with one camera. I also felt like sort of a bad-ass while wearing it. Must be that whole 'gun holster thing' I mentioned earlier.

One Camera Tips and Tricks:

  • When shooting with one camera I attach the my camera to the strap on my right, while attaching the left strap to my belt loop using the S-hook enclosure. This provides a way to freely use just one camera without having the left strap swaying as your work.

  • If you own a DSLR that records video and are only shooting with one camera, attach both left/right straps of the CameraSlingers to the single eye hook under the camera. This allows you to hold the camera out in front of you to view the LCD screen and provides three support points that will help stabilize the camera.

    Note: Connecting two of the straps to a single eye hook is tight, but you can get both on there with a little practice. This is not an intended use of the CameraSlingers, rather one I discovered while experimenting.

  • Shooting with just one camera? Connect one side to a small camera or lens bag while the other side is connected to your camera. This provides easy access to an extra lens or battery without concern of it slipping off your shoulder.

"Almost" Perfect

While I could find very few faults with the CameraSlingers Duel Delux, there are a few changes I would suggest. The first would be to make the camera connector flat in future models. Maybe something similar to the Bogen/Manfrotto 3157N - but more secure. This way when the camera is not on the CameraSlinger there wouldn't be a need to unscrew it - just keep it on and ready to go. In the current design the eye hook extends down about 1.75" from the base of the camera, forcing the camera to tilt at an angle when placed on a table and to roll around in the camera bag.

I also recommend to anyone who purchases a CameraSlinger to also purchase two traditional camera straps that feature quick release connectors (see photo). When you connect your cameras to the CameraSlinger you really won't want your standard neck straps dangling down near the ground, yet removing and installing standard 'loop' straps onto your camera each time is a big pain. You may also find a situation when you want to disconnect the camera from the CameraSlinger in order to hand if off to an assistant, but without a connected strap you'll definitely think twice.

Another advantage of using detachable straps when you're not shooting with the CameraSlingers is that the small length of strap left attached to the camera, along with their male/female connectors make it easy to connect them through each of the CameraSlingers strap loop - allowing them to act as a backup security strap. I hate to even put this in your mind because at NO time over a month and several photo shoots did I ever worry or have to worry about the security of the CameraSlingers connection to each camera, but hey! Shhhh-it happens so why not have that extra piece of mind.

Video Demonstration

Conclusion

If you have read the review above you already know how remarkable I think this product is. I know that it is expensive for something you may view as a camera strap - or in this case a dual camera strap, but sometimes a product is priced not for what it replaces but for an entirely new market that it creates. Just a few years ago mobile phones were essentially free with contract, but then the iPhone was introduced and millions of people gladly handed over $600 for a 'phone,' at least that is what the uninformed believed. $600 for a phone? Are you nuts? But the iPhone was a solution to a problem. It allowed us to carry just one device that could surf the web, read and answer emails, show off our photographs, listen to music, run applications, and oh by the way, it is a phone to boot!. The CameraSlingers is the solution to a problem that many event photographers have been dealing with for quite some time.

Truthfully, it was the Black Rapid R-Strap that started this "expensive" strap category and it also has garnered a loyal following. CameraSlingers went a couple of steps further by getting rid of the need to cross a strap over your chest while providing the ability to support two cameras - which by design reduces neck and back strain by spreading the weight evenly across your shoulders and upper back. In the end I can virtually guarantee that once you have used the CameraSlingers, with two camera's, on location, you'll never consider it expensive OR a luxury.

Cameraslingers is available directly from CameraSlingers.com and retails for $139.99. You can visit their product page here or their main page here.
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