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Thread: The blackrapid RS-4 Strap - UPDATED May 26-09

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    Default The blackrapid RS-4 Strap - UPDATED May 26-09

    The RS-4 Strap from blackrapid is touted as offering "unparalleled peace of mind and ease of access to your camera." The RS-4 is a cross-body shoulder strap that connects to the tripod thread on the bottom of a camera. With some major caveats it does the job.

    With my Olympus 14-54MarkII lens mounted on my E-520 the strap is comfortable, and the camera hangs nicely at the hip. It's a very ergonomic design. Kudos.

    But! There are a number of buts.

    1. No instructions - if you haven't seen the video on the site on how to adjust the strap, you might have a problem.

    2. The throat on the Connector clip is just barely big enough to accept what they call the FastenR. Blackrapid rightly recommends that the plastic "gatekeeper" (a piece of clear hose!) be used for safety. The problem is, this makes connecting and unconnecting the clip a royal PITA. In fact, in the promotional clip on their website - Intro to the R-Strap Video - Ron Henry is shown using the clip WITHOUT THE GATEKEEPER. I'm sure they realize that a video of them fumbling with the catch/hose combination would not make a great impression.

    3. The above might not be a problem for those who keep the strap on permanently, but I use a quick release plate - the Manfrotto 200PL-14 - on my camera to fit my existing 2 tripods and monopod. And let me tell you, trying to connect/unconnect the strap from the release plates D-ring, as recommended by blackrapid, makes the phrase "quick release" an oxymoron.

    4. The strap is very bulky, and makes on-camera storage in my Lowpro 200 bag a problem.

    5. The bolt on the FastenR - their spelling - is too long. The longer the bolt, the greater the danger of damage if you do happen to whack it.

    6. Larger lenses - the more the weight, the less my "unparalleled peace of mind". I don't know if I'd trust the camera + 50-200mm hanging off the thread of my E-520.

    7. Price. At $48 plus shipping, this is, in my opinion, over-priced. For us Canucks, this turned into Can$78, plus the border taxes. Ouch!


    And last but not least - service. Apparently once blackrapid has your money they don't want to talk to you! I ordered the unit, they informed me it was shipped and provided a USPS tracking #. Unfortunately 4 days later the USPS said my item was not yet shipped. I asked blackrapid for clarification, but they ignored both my e-mails. In my book, a cardinal sin. Makes you wonder what they'd do if you had a real problem. Now obviously I did get the strap, but IMO they should have addressed my concern.

    General impression - I'll be keeping this pricey strap for the times I'm going "walkies" without a tripod/monopod. But for usage with a 200PL-14 quick release plate and a tripod/monopod I'll look for another solution.

    UPDATE May 26 -09: In the last few weeks blackrapid has issued a replacement for both the FastenR and the ConnectR, both now in version 2. These upgrades deal with the main issues I had with the strap, ie: the FastenR is now a screw-in d-ring, much the same as the d-ring on the Manfrotto quick release, though larger. And the ConnectR clip now is lock-able, thus there is no reason to use the plastic hose as a keeper. The two together (pictured below) work very well. Better still, the new ConnectR-2 clips onto a Manfrotto 200PL-14 d-ring quite nicely, enabling easy, and quick, usage with a tripod/monopod and mounted quick release plate.

    While I still have concerns over the amount of weight to hang from the thread of my camera, blackrapid has addressed the primary concern over how the strap attaches to the camera. With this fix the RS-4 strap will be my primary means of carrying the camera, and I highly recommend it.

    Note: The pictures are from the blackrapid website.
    Last edited by PdO; 12-18-2011 at 12:21 AM.
    Paul
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    Default Re: The blackrapid RS-4 Strap

    Quote Originally Posted by PdO View Post
    The RS-4 Strap from blackrapid ... With some major caveats it does the job.
    ...There are a number of buts.

    2. The throat on the Connector clip is just barely big enough to accept what they call the FastenR. Blackrapid rightly recommends that the plastic "gatekeeper" (a piece of clear hose!) be used for safety.
    Ah yes, the "Gatekeeper"!
    Personally I think this item was designed by BlackRapid's attorneys for the avoidance of law suits in the event of the connector clip opening unintentionally. Actually the connector clip is pretty much identical to one used on the strap of (very expensive) high quality Tumi computer bags & luggage and they don't seem to have a problem.
    Perhaps the non-existant user instructions should say:- Step 1; Remove and throw away the Gatekeeper.
    Quote Originally Posted by PdO View Post
    3. The above might not be a problem for those who keep the strap on permanently, but I use a quick release plate - the Manfrotto 200PL-14 - on my camera to fit my existing 2 tripods and monopod. And let me tell you, trying to connect/unconnect the strap from the release plates D-ring, as recommended by blackrapid, makes the phrase "quick release" an oxymoron.
    I also use a QR plate (and used to use a Manfrotto 200PL-14, but gave that up as unsatisfactory a long time before I bought the strap - because of the difficulty of operating the D ring on the tripod screw). Here's how I use the strap:-
    The blackrapid RS-4 Strap - UPDATED May 26-09-pict0034.jpg The blackrapid RS-4 Strap - UPDATED May 26-09-pict0035.jpg

    Apologies for the quality of these grab shots - taken in a hurry with an old Minolta P&S.

    Quote Originally Posted by PdO View Post
    ...
    6. Larger lenses - the more the weight, the less my "unparalleled peace of mind". I don't know if I'd trust the camera + 50-200mm hanging off the thread of my E-520.
    When I use my E3 + 50~200mm I attach the strap to the QR plate on the lens's tripod mount - not the camera body. It rests more comfortably this way.

    Quote Originally Posted by PdO View Post
    7. Price. At $48 plus shipping, this is, in my opinion, over-priced. For us Canucks, this turned into Can$78, plus the border taxes. Ouch!
    ... It's even more horrible if you import it into the UK! As I recall, the earlier threads on this warned that it wasn't cheap.
    Chris

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    Default Re: The blackrapid RS-4 Strap

    By far the best strap I have ever used! I would gladly pay double the price for it.

    I use it for long sporting events with the E3 (with grip) & 35-100mm f2 combo.

    Today I will use it with the E3 (with grip) 35-100mm f2, 1.4TC, Demp flash bracket and an FL50. It very confortability hangs at my side. Great when cutting through crowds as it slides behind me very quick and easily.

    You will not find anything better and more comfortable on the market. At $50US its a steal, thats why this Canuck ordered 2 and I might order another before the price goes up.

    The system for attaching the strap to the camera needs some work. I would rather they use some kind of screw lock rather than the plastic hose Gate Keeper. I know they are working on a new one but the first batch they produced failed quality control on the manufactures end.

    Kelly

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    Default Re: The blackrapid RS-4 Strap

    Quote Originally Posted by Gwyver View Post
    Perhaps the non-existant user instructions should say:- Step 1; Remove and throw away the Gatekeeper.
    Actually, the one instruction they do give is a little card that says, in effect, "Don't throw away the "keeper".

    Quote Originally Posted by Gwyver View Post
    I also use a QR plate (and used to use a Manfrotto 200PL-14, but gave that up as unsatisfactory a long time before I bought the strap - because of the difficulty of operating the D ring on the tripod screw).
    I'll just note that in the demo tape on their site they use the 200PL-14.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gwyver View Post
    When I use my E3 + 50~200mm I attach the strap to the QR plate on the lens's tripod mount - not the camera body. It rests more comfortably this way.
    Yes, their demo shows that as an alternative, but my point applies to the thread on the tripod mount as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by KellysCayman View Post
    By far the best strap I have ever used! I would gladly pay double the price for it.
    A great strap, a comfortable strap, a terrific idea, but ....

    Quote Originally Posted by KellysCayman View Post
    The system for attaching the strap to the camera needs some work.
    ... that is an understatement. I wouldn't trust the clip to not open without the "keeper", and with it, especially out in the field, the clip/hose combination is much too unwieldy.
    Paul
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    Default Re: The blackrapid RS-4 Strap

    Hi Paul , and here is the new clip /D-ring/fastener looks promising .cheeers Pete
    Last edited by Petephoto1; 07-02-2009 at 12:50 PM.
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    Default Re: The blackrapid RS-4 Strap

    Quote Originally Posted by Petephoto1 View Post
    Hi Paul , and here is the new clip /D-ring/fastener looks promising .cheeers Pete
    This is the new FastenR2, they're still waiting for the new clip, the ConnectR2. And yes, with a better connecting device, it looks promising.
    Paul
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    Default Re: The blackrapid RS-4 Strap

    Quote Originally Posted by Petephoto1 View Post
    Hi Paul , and here is the new clip /D-ring/fastener looks promising .cheeers Pete
    I don't own a blackrapid strap yet, so i'm not an expert on it. But this new thing, ConnectR-2 i belive they call it, isn't it just a substitute for the old fastenR camera mount - and not for the clip with gatekeeper on the strap?

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    Default Re: The blackrapid RS-4 Strap

    Quote Originally Posted by guzzisti View Post
    I don't own a blackrapid strap yet, so i'm not an expert on it. But this new thing, ConnectR-2 i belive they call it, isn't it just a substitute for the old fastenR camera mount - and not for the clip with gatekeeper on the strap?
    I believe there are 2 new pieces coming, the FastenR2, shown above in Petephoto1's post, and the ConnectR2, which, when it comes out, will replace the clip/hose gizmo. Between the 2 it should, hopefully, be a decent replacement for what is now a poor attaching system.
    Paul
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    Default Re: The blackrapid RS-4 Strap

    The only item I know about is the what I posted above and what Tony confirmed through PMA. Logic dictates if you are worried about the clip part with hose coming unclipped , duct tape it shut ,its as simple as that. As far as lens weight its your call,I would NOT put a monster lens suspended on it . cheers Pete
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    Default Re: The blackrapid RS-4 Strap

    Not to make a double post here folks, but the new connector is in and it looks like problem solved ! cheers Pete

    http://www.blackrapid.com/connectr2.php
    Last edited by Petephoto1; 07-02-2009 at 12:47 PM.
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    Default Re: The blackrapid RS-4 Strap

    Quote Originally Posted by Petephoto1 View Post
    Not to make a double post here folks, but the new connector is in and it looks like problem solved ! cheers Pete

    http://www.blackrapid.com/connectr2.php
    My new fastener and connector are in the mail - I'll do an update to this thread after I've had them for a bit.

    Note though that they've already had production problems with the new ConnectR-2 (the swivel comes apart on some of them - not good!), and anyone who's bought one recently should be getting a free replacement, as notified by Black Rapid.
    Paul
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    Default Re: The blackrapid RS-4 Strap

    Paul mailman deliver yet? Thanks for the follow up. cheers Pete
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    Default Re: The blackrapid RS-4 Strap - UPDATED May 26-09

    Original post updated May 26,09.
    Paul
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    Default Re: The blackrapid RS-4 Strap - UPDATED May 26-09

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for the update on the RS-4. I'm seriously considering this strap (my other choice is the Optech Pro Strap) for my E-3, which I find quite heavy on a normal camera strap...

    How do you find the new connector-2? I heard on other forums that the new connector has some problems and has come apart. In 2 cases I've heard, the owners claim their cameras crashed to the ground as a result.

    I've also heard that Blackrapid has attempted to fix this problem, but the fix is just consisting of glueing the new connector-2 at the base which doesn't quite inspire confidence in their quality.
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    Default Re: The blackrapid RS-4 Strap - UPDATED May 26-09

    Quote Originally Posted by toronto18 View Post
    How do you find the new connector-2? I heard on other forums that the new connector has some problems and has come apart. In 2 cases I've heard, the owners claim their cameras crashed to the ground as a result.
    They have acknowledged a problem. To quote from an e-mail from blackrapid : "It has recently come to our attention that there are a small number of the new ConnectR-2 (CR-2) swivel hooks out there that have a problem with detaching at the swivel. It involves the threaded pin that attaches the swivel to the hook. In a few rare cases, this pin has come unscrewed."

    They are in the process of replacing all the new ConnectR-2's they've sold, so I can only assume the problem has been solved. I checked mine when it arrived, and it looked OK, but I'll be keeping a close eye on it till the replacement arrives.
    Paul
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    Default Re: The blackrapid RS-4 Strap - UPDATED May 26-09

    Please keep us updated as to the replacement. My understanding is that the parts were just glued together and the ConnectR-2 no longer swivels. If that is the case, it sounds like a fairly shoddy fix for a $54 camera strap...

    I wonder if there will be a ConnectR-3 in the near future?




    Quote Originally Posted by PdO View Post
    They have acknowledged a problem. To quote from an e-mail from blackrapid : "It has recently come to our attention that there are a small number of the new ConnectR-2 (CR-2) swivel hooks out there that have a problem with detaching at the swivel. It involves the threaded pin that attaches the swivel to the hook. In a few rare cases, this pin has come unscrewed."

    They are in the process of replacing all the new ConnectR-2's they've sold, so I can only assume the problem has been solved. I checked mine when it arrived, and it looked OK, but I'll be keeping a close eye on it till the replacement arrives.
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    Default Re: The blackrapid RS-4 Strap - UPDATED May 26-09

    Quote Originally Posted by toronto18 View Post
    My understanding is that the parts were just glued together and the ConnectR-2 no longer swivels. If that is the case, it sounds like a fairly shoddy fix for a $54 camera strap...
    My replacement ConnectR-2 arrived this morning (in fact they sent me 2 packages, one of which had 2 clips, so I've ended up with 3 replacements for a part that doesn't appear to have the problem) and I'll just confirm that the replacement does still swivel. So it appears the "fix is in".
    Paul
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