Thursday, September 29, 2011

Photography Tip: Quick Release Your Camera Strap (How-to)

The straps that come in the box with your new camera are alright for carrying the thing but, for shooting outdoors, the strap's gotta go.  It causes too much camera shake.
I modify all my cameras so the straps have quick releases.  How-to depends on the make and model.

The latest addition to the RyukyuMike family was this CANON G12 and in the above photo you see the way the camera dude at the store, kindly assembled the strap for me.
Well, I didn't want to hurt anybody's feelings so, I left it that way until yesterday.  That way the wife and some of the party animal girls that run around here could test drive the thing with the strap hanging around their necks. And I wouldn't have to worry about them dropping it.

But, when I took the little guy along with me outdoors a few times on windy days, the strap started bugging me.  It had to be modified.  My other camera straps were much easier to make quick releases for and I'll show you how three different models were modified so you can decide which method best suits your camera.  The Canon modification I did here, I will be refining when I get around to it but, for now it's ready for all the festivals and sports days I have to shoot over the next few weeks.

A stainless steel bolt snap hook, needlenose pliers and a short piece of stainless wire were what I used.

Remove the camera strap and rethread it through the swivel-end of the snap hook.

It's a good idea to take your camera along when you visit the hardware store.  That way you can make sure the strap will fit whichever size hook you decide to buy. 
There are all shapes, sizes and styles of snap hooks.  This style,  a Bolt Snap Hook,  is the best.

How do I know ?   I have two Huskies to walk everyday.  We know what breaks and what don't.

The length of stainless wire I cut so, folded in half, it was about the size of the snap hook.

I used 0.9mm wire, just because I happen to have a few hundred meters of the stuff.  It comes in handy when the Huskies chew through my fence.  If I were to make a contraption like this again, I'd go with more narrow wire.  I had to wrestle with the camera and pliers trying to snake the wire through the slot for the strap.

Next, I twisted everything together with the pliers, making sure the loop that I formed was large enough to easily attach and detach my snap hook.  If it gets too tight you won't have a quick release.

  This ain't pretty and the Canon guys are probably grating their teeth and voiding my warranty.  Hah !
It's my damn camera and I can do anything I want with it.  Make a better model next time.  That's what I would do.

The PANASONIC LUMIX has, what I'd call, ears sticking out the sides with little slots wide enough for the camera strap.  All I needed to do here was find a couple of small, sturdy key rings and thread them through the camera's ears.  Again,  it's a good idea to bring your camera along when shopping for these items.  You want to make sure everything fits before blowing five bucks on something that doesn't work when you get back home.

The PENTAX K5 came with sturdy enough hardware.  I just had to make sure I didn't buy a bolt snap hook too large to attach the camera strap.

Camera straps are important.  When I'm cleaning lenses, changing, batteries, SD cards, reviewing on the LCD or attaching a quick release for the tripod the strap is on the camera.  When I'm shooting, the strap if off, almost always.  Now that you know how to make a quick release for your camera strap, give it a try.  Guaranteed, you will see an improvement in your photography.

It's a blast going to all the festivals I shoot and running into other cameramen loaded down with all their camera gear.  We're always spying on each other trying to see who has what.  Everybody wants to know in what mode the other guy is shooting, what lens and which make camera they have hanging off them.  So, I got thinking.  Maybe, at the next festival I'll put the Cannon strap on the Pentax, Panasonic on the Canon and one of the Husky's harnesses on the Panasonic just for the heck of it.  There's more how-to's in this business than just making quick release camera straps.  Ya gotta know how-to have some fun while you're working at it, too.

Like last year, I remember using every strap I had available to keep myself from blowing off a tall building while shooting the THE NAHA TUG-O-WAR


Alison said...

That's such a good how to. I need to do that because well... the strap gets in the way sometimes.

RyukyuMike said...

Hopefully, you have on e of those cameras that small key rings will do the trick on. Then it's just a 5 minute chore.