Single shoulder-sling straps help to keep a camera close to hand and bring it quickly to the eye. Jon Stapley tests six of the best

Blackrapid Cargo RS-5

Street price £60
www.johnsons-photopia.co.uk

The RS-5 Cargo strap is so named because it is designed with storage in mind. Three pockets are built into the cushioned pad, comprising two zip pockets on the inside, and one on the exterior that closes using magnets.

The RS-5 attaches to the camera via the tripod bush, and the grip feels secure. When its pockets are empty the strap is very comfortable, thanks in part to the breathable knitted polyester mesh on the inside.

However, when the cargo pockets are filled the pad becomes cumbersome and prone to slipping off the neck, requiring frequent adjustment. Care should be taken not to overfill the pockets, otherwise the strap’s functionality may be impaired.

Best sling strap score: Four out of five

Custom SLR Camera Strap and C-Loop

Street price £25 (strap), £35 (C-Loop), £50 (both)
www.customslr.com

Custom SLR has designed its camera strap with a split shoulder pad for maximum comfort. The result is a lightweight strap that adapts well to the shoulder. It’s certainly comfortable even with heavier kit, the strap distributing weight evenly across the shoulder. The swivelling buckles that connect the strap to the pad increase flexibility, although they do make the strap slightly more prone to becoming twisted.

Also available is the C-Loop strap mount, a clip-on attachment that fixes the strap to the camera via the tripod screw. The mount is fully rotational, and this allows it to work well with the strap to maximise the ease of bringing the camera up into a shooting position quickly.

Best sling strap score: Four out of five

Hüfa: The Strap

Street price £30
www.johnsons-photopia.co.uk

The Hüfa strap comes with a clip-on lens-cap holder included. The holder is a great product, and slotting a cap into it while shooting quickly becomes second nature.

The strap itself attaches securely through the camera’s eyelets, and the inside is coated with durable PVC. The movable cushioned pad provides some welcome extra support, although its rigid edges make it slightly uncomfortable, especially when craning the neck back to shoot upwards.

Best sling strap score: Four out of five

Joby UltraFit Sling Strap

Street price £40
www.daymen.co.uk

The Joby UltraFit Sling Strap’s SpeedCinch system allows the user to bring the camera tight to the body quickly and securely for transportation, minimising the chances of damage by swinging or bumping.

Tightening (‘cinching in’) the strap is carried out by pulling the camera and the chest-level ring in opposite directions. A clip then locks it, and unlocking it again allows the camera to glide up the strap into shooting position.

Both operations are very smooth and easy to accomplish. Cinching in the strap practically eliminates unwanted swinging with lightweight kit, even when moving quickly. With a heavier camera and lens, though, there is more movement during transportation, with the weight of the kit more noticeable. However, this is still an excellent choice for users of lightweight kit.

Best sling strap score: Four out of five

Op/Tech Pro Loop Strap

Street price £18
www.intro2020.co.uk

Op/Tech claims the Pro Loop strap will make your camera feel 50% lighter. We can’t really say we found this to be the case in the test, but the strap did fit well and was comfortable.

The strap loops through the camera’s eyelets to form a slip knot that holds the strap in place, and this feels secure without getting in the way of shooting.

It is worth noting that if your camera has narrow eyelets you may find the loop system difficult to fit into place, as the webbing is quite thick.

The strap is fairly short, even when fully extended, and it is a little awkward to move the camera into a shooting position quickly while wearing it over the shoulder. It works better as a reliable neck strap.

Best sling strap score: Three out of five

Peak Design Leash

Retail price $35 (£22)
www.peakdesignltd.com

The Peak Design Leash is the slimmest and lightest strap on test here, and is designed as an alternative to bulky traditional camera straps. It is made of smooth, seatbelt-style webbing that slides easily over the shoulder.

It is also adjustable, working equally well around the neck, over the shoulder or tied to a belt loop. The strap attaches to the camera via secure plastic mounts, called ‘Anchors’, that loop into the camera eyelets.

The lack of any padding means that owners of heavy pro kit may find a more heavyweight, cushioned strap to be the better option. However, for owners of enthusiast-level kit, or those looking to cut down on the bulk of their camera paraphernalia, this strap is ideal.

Best sling strap score: Four out of five

  • Joseph Farrugia

    Carry Speed straps WILL damage your camera.
    Read here: http://bit.ly/1pIIltp

  • Murray Falk

    I got a Black-Rapid as a gift. Hated it for my DSLR, as it would not stay in place. Got rid of it ASAP. Went back to my old neck-strap.

  • Drazen B

    I have to second Mike, Carry Speed straps leave both the Custom SLR and the over-hyped Black Rapid sling straps in the dust.

  • Mike Winter

    What a pity nobody added in the Carry Speed straps to this review. They out-perform the best here by some distance.

  • James

    Not surprised that the OP/TECH strap worked better as “a reliable neck strap” since that’s what the model you tested is. NB they do also make a sling strap version, which you can either buy as a complete package or just as a conversion kit for owners of their neck straps to convert them into sling straps.

    If this was supposed to be a comparative test of sling straps it might have been better to rate the correct model…