Gear Review – Optech Pro Strap

Wed, Nov 9, 2011

Gear

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Anybody who owns a heavy camera knows the painful feeling in the neck and shoulders after hauling it around for a whole day. The first thing that many beginners struggle with is finding a comfortable way of carrying their camera for hours on end so they can enjoy taking photographs. This is where the Optech Pro strap comes in. Made out of neoprene, the Optech Pro allows the cameras weight to be distributed more comfortably across the shoulder or neck compared with the standard OEM strap.

From the Optech website …

The PRO STRAP™ is rapidly becoming the choice of professional photographers and people who use large cameras with long heavy lenses. It’s also ideal for use on portable power packs. The patented weight reduction system makes the PRO STRAP™ absolutely essential for prolonged use of a heavy camera or portable power pack. Equipment instantly feels 50% lighter and 100% more comfortable when using a PRO STRAP™ . The weight is evenly dispersed while the strap functions as a shock absorber to eliminate neck and shoulder fatigue. The Non Slip Grip™ adds the finishing touch which enables camera gear to be safely carried slung over the shoulder. You’ll definitely feel the difference!

Adaptability

The best thing about the Optech Pro is its ability to be used as a modular system which is quick to swap between cameras. The shoulder/neck padding section of the strap and the connector part are two separate pieces connected by a clip buckle. This means that you can buy connectors for all your cameras, batteries and rucksacks to allow the camera to quickly switch between each depending on the situation..

For this reason alone I often find myself picking my camera up with its Optech Pro strap whenever I go shooting outdoors. I have a set of the 3/8” connectors which I have adapted to fit on the buckle of my F-stop Loka. This then allows me to attach my camera to the rucksack when I am walking long distances relieving me of the weight of my camera.

However, when I put my rucksack down I can quickly clip on the neck strap padding section and be off shooting with my camera around my neck.  Since I got hold of the strap, Optech has released some backpack strap connectors which make this solution even easier to achieve.


Comfort

As far as neck straps go the Optech Pro strap is by far the most comfortable I have tried. This summer I spent 5 weeks working on the Thai-Myanmar border and I used a Nikon D7000 and Tamron 17-50 f2.8 with the Optech Pro strap for 90% of my shooting.  I never once saw the weight of my camera kit as a hindrance when trekking through the jungle to remote tribes or hanging off the back of a crowded pick-up truck.

The strap stood up well to the humidity and the non-slip grip dimples on the reverse of the strap stopped the camera sliding of my shoulder even in the dampest of conditions. If you are shooting with kit as heavy as a Nikon D3s with a Nikon 70-200 f2.8, the sheer weight of the camera and lens will make a neck/shoulder strap a less than ideal solution.

With a heavier kit a sling style strap from BlackRapid or CustomSLR will distribute the weight more evenly across the body. This is where the Optech camera system comes into its own again, for only $10.95, Optech can supply you with Sling Strap Adapters to convert your Optech Pro strap into a sling strap!


Verdict

If you want a strap that will work day in day out, the Optech Pro is the strap for you. Versatile enough for any situation you may find yourself in. I admit it may not be the best looking strap on the market, but I would choose reliability over looks any day. Optech even offer strap customisation which allows you to add your own personal/business branding on. Literally this is the most customisable, versatile and comfortable shoulder/neck strap I have ever used.

  • Value – 10/10
  • Comfort – 9/10
  • Build Quality – 9/10
  • Looks 8/10 … or (when customized) 9/10

Jacob James  – Jacobjamesphotography.co.uk

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