Spider Camera Holster Review

Gear & App Reviews June 18th 2010 12:35 AM 13 Comments

Ask a photographer about the “best” camera strap (or carrying system) and you may get sucked into a surprisingly complex conversation, no less debated than other classic photography arguments like Canon vs. Nikon or must-have lenses. For every need relating to camera carrying systems, there is a solution. Some photographers like to keep it simple (and cheap) and go with basic solutions like the default neck strap, while others prefer more complex, borderline monstrous solutions like the Comfort Cotton Carrier.

Then there are those that prefer abandoning the idea of a strap altogether. The Spider Camera Holster was created for those who prefer to place the weight of the camera at the hip instead of their upper bodies. This alleviates many of the upper body pains associated with long shoots and heavy equipment. The holster gives you “quick draw access,” hanging comfortably at your hip until needed.

After the basic introduction to the camera carrying system, we’ll go into the pros and cons of the Spider Camera Holster, followed by a brief summary. If you would like to add your experiences with this product, we invite you to comment below.

Basic Information

Compatibility: “Designed all pro camera bodies and lenses”
Official URL: http://www.spiderholster.com/
Price: $109.99
Where to Buy: Official Spider Website (Not yet available at Amazon, B&H, or Adorama)
Founder: Shai Eynav http://www.shaiphoto.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/spiderholster
Twitter: http://twitter.com/spiderholster
Includes: spyder camera holster, spider belt, and the spider plate (see video below for details)

Official Video: “Introduction to the SpiderPro Camera Carrying System”

Before we go any further, we can get a good idea of the basic features, functions, and aesthetics of the Spider Camera Holster by watching their official introduction video.


Review: Overall Pros:

1) Comfort - This is by far the biggest pro for this camera carrying system. While back and neck problems are almost inevitable with any occupation in which you’re carrying around 5lbs or more for 12 hours straight, using the Spider Camera Holster will significantly reduce the pain in both your neck and back in comparison to a basic neck strap.

2) Quality Construction - From the packaging to the actual product, you can clearly see the high quality of craftsmenship in this product. The Holster Belt itself is made from what appears to be a webbed nylon material which Spider states is the same material used in army/police equipment. We can say quite assuredly that there is no chance this belt would ever rip or tear during use. In addition, the actual Spider Pro Camera Holster is made of steel and hardened aluminum. From its smooth beveled edges to its overall polished look and feel, the Spider is definitely a well designed and manufactured product.

3) Placement – Girls with fairly large bust lines may not feel comfortable with straps that cut directly through their chest as they can often be uncomfortable as well as create an awkward appearance. Since that the Spider Camera Holster isn’t a strap based solution, this issue can be completely avoided.

4) Dual Camera Solution – Before the Spider Camera Holster, photographers that carry two cameras on their bodies, had very few options. You could use two neck straps and carry them both around your neck, putting all of the pressure around the neck and risking the collision of your equipment. You could use a basic neck strap in conjunction with a strap that slings around the shoulder and hangs down by the hip (like the rapid strap). Or you can use full two camera solutions like the DR-1 Double Strap by BlackRapid. While this is a better option than using two neck straps, all of these solutions still place all the weight of the two cameras around the upper body. Using the Spider with a basic neck strap, you have the weight of one camera around the neck and the weight of the other camera around the hip, creating a comfortable disbursement of the weight. (See left image below)

spider-camera-holster-dual

5) Compatibility with Tripod Mounts – Unlike solutions such as the Rapid Strap which screw into the camera’s tripod mount, the Spider Holster is compatible with tripods and accessories that attach to the bottom of your camera via the mounting holes on the Spider mounting plate (see right image above).

6) Free Movement - Using the Spider mounting system gives you full mobility and usage of your hands while the camera is secured in the Spider holster. Most strap solutions require you to use your hands to prevent the camera from swinging, moving, or bumping into other objects, thus restricting your movement and what you could normally carry or move with two hands.

7) Belt Usage - The Spider Holster is removable from the Spider belt allowing you to place the holster directly on any leather belt. You may need to tighten your belt quite a bit, as hanging 10 pounds from your belt can cause your belt to hang low. The image left shows the plate being attached to the belt and the image right shows the belt with a camera hanging from it. You will notice how it pulls the belt down, which can get uncomfortable with larger setups.

spider-camera-holster-belt

8) Pleasing Aesthetics – While the belt and holster may appear a bit bulky at first sight, we find that once you are wearing the belt it actually looks quite good on the body. When shooting in casual attire, we found that our un-tucked t-shirts completely concealed the belt making only the camera visible. While wearing professional attire for wedding shoots, we found that the black belt on our black pants actually looked quite decent. See the pictures below.

9) Safety - The Spider Holster has a locking feature which will keep the camera from coming out of the holster while still allowing the camera a limited amount of movement to shift naturally while walking (left picture below). It also has a safety on the buckle so that the buckle doesn’t accidentally come undone (right picture below).

Review: Overall Cons:

1) Security – Slight user error can cause thousands of dollars in repair bills. If you decide to use the Spider Holster, make sure you’re always using the protective band to hold the plate to the belt (see left picture below). Without this band, gravity and friction are the only things holding the holster onto the belt. If you happen to bump into something or wear a photography bag like the Shootsac on the same side that happens to bump the camera, you might knock the plate (and the attached camera) off the belt (see right picture below).

Unfortunately, the protective bands have come loose several times while testing the Spider Holster. While most of the time we noticed this issue and quickly corrected it, there was one instance during testing where this issue went unnoticed; and a slight bump from a tripod bag that I was putting on my shoulder knocked the holster along with my 5D Mark II and 50mm 1.2L straight off the Spider Belt and onto the concrete floor. Therefore, it does bear mentioning. However, this can be prevented by checking the bands throughout your shoot and avoiding the carrying of bags on the same side as the camera. In particular, we noticed that the bands tend to come off the holster when sitting down with the camera in the holster, taking off and putting on the belt, and while standing/sitting in awkward shooting positions while using the holster.

Along the lines of security, throughout the years, my camera has been saved by the strap in a few situations where a near drop is prevented by a last second, mid-air grab of the strap. Without a strap, you lose that added security. However, if this is a major concern for you, we find that a lot of Spider users will use them in conjuction with the Rapid Strap for an added layer of security if the holster were to come off the belt, or if the camera was about to drop.

2) Difficult to use with large setup – The holster works well if you have camera body, a smaller lens and maybe even a flash. But once you add on your Battery Pack, your telephoto lens, and your diffuser (a basic wedding reception setup), the holster becomes difficult to use, especially if you kneel often during your shoots (see picture below).

spider-holster-review-0027

We find that the holster really shows its strength during portrait shoots and engagement sessions when your camera body consists of, at most, a telephoto and a flash. Any more than that, and it becomes rather large and cumbersome to hang from the waist, making it less useful in night time wedding reception situations. However, depending on shooting style, this may not be an issue, as many photographers may not need or use such large setups.

3) Single Lens Shooters – For those of us who switch lenses often during a shoot, changing lenses from a camera hanging from the neck is much more convenient than changing lenses from a camera hanging on one hip. Admittedly, I got faster and faster as I used the Spider more and more, but the task never became as natural or as quick as it was with a neck strap solution.

4) Attaching The Mount – Attaching the mount could be made a lot easier with a hand twistable mounting screw. Currently, the Spider Mounting Plate can only be attached with an Allen wrench which adds an additional component needed to attach the plate and makes attaching the plate more cumbersome.

5) Allen Wrench Security – The Allen wrench that fits into the Spider holster easily slides out, making it easily dropped and lost. In fact, we lost our Allen wrench that came with the Spider Holster on our third shoot. If this was to happen during a shoot, you would not be able to remove the holster, which could lead to some trouble if you had to remove it for any reason (to attach a battery grip, etc).

6) Added Width – With the holster on your hip, you add an extra 4-6 inches to the overall width of your body. This can be an issue in tight spaces where you have to quickly move to be in position, such as a small wedding reception venue.

Conclusion

The Spider Holster is a great product. It’s innovative, comfortable, and most importantly, it puts the pressure from the weight of your camera somewhere else other than your overworked upper body. This is one of those products where there isn’t a clear cut yes or no as to whether or not a photographer should use it. It depends on a variety of factors, from your shooting style to your typical equipment set up. However, if you understand the cons outlined above and feel that the pros outweigh them, you can be assured that you’re getting a high quality, well thought-out product.

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Pye

About

Pye (AKA Post Production Pye) is a founder and the Managing Editor for SLR Lounge. Pye is also a Partner of Lin and Jirsa Photography, an Orange County based wedding, engagement and portrait photography studio. Connect with him on Google Plus

13 Comments

  1. Shai Eynav

    Hey there!,
    Thank you so much for this thoughtful review of our system. Please however make note on a couple of features you are not correct:

    1. When you use the Spider on your own belt–you need to THREAD your Holster through your belt (between the Spider clip and spring). That way–it CAN NOT come off. Please read our instruction booklet that comes with it and see about correcting this.

    2. The reason why you can not open the battery door is because your Spider Plate is NOT mounted in the right direction–again–please see our simple instruction booklet/or watch the first frame of our intro video you posted above to see!!.

    3. Try to use the bracket on the LEFT side of your body (using the LEFT “arm” of the Spider plate for the pin, and rotating you Spider belt so that the pad is on your left side.

    4. Available now are many accessories that would fit the Spider to Think Tank and LowePro belts..

    Many thanks,
    Shai
    Spider Holster

  2. admin

    Hi Shai,

    Thank you for your notes. We have experimented further with the Spider with all of the user errors mentioned in your comment corrected.

    We threaded the holster through the belt; and we agree that it is sufficiently secure.

    We also put the bracket on correctly and were therefore able to use it in compatibility with the battery pack as well as the bracket.

    Thank you for releasing this product and we hope that everything in the article is correct at this point.

  3. Eliud Matos

    I have been using this belt and I totally love it. I almost always shoot with two cameras so I bought an extra bracket for the second body. This way I can quickly switch bodies (different lenses) according to the shooting situation. I tried the double R-Strap which is also a great product, but I prefer to not to have the camera bound by the strap. I found that for my style, this worked best.

    I did however lose one of the allen wrenches one day but since I have two of the brackets it was not a problem. I will order another wrench.

  4. michael

    Thanks for terrific review that helped me deside on the purchase.
    I am a bit apprehensive on not having any strap, even wrist strap, on the camera. Is this in any way an issue?

  5. Fotografo Matrimonio

    Wow, great review. I own a Think Tank system but sometimes is little bit tricky.
    I’m wondering with strobes on hot shoes it’s not possible to wear it?
    I’m an editorial photographer and a photo teacher, while I’m earning my bread as a wedding photographer.
    Here my stuff:
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Milano-Italy/Vittore-Buzzi-Fotografo/146792108433
    http://www.wedding-photographer.it/
    http://photographer.photoshelter.com/
    I believe that spider pro could help me with my 2 cameras set up.
    It’s not cheap I have to pay more or less 200 dollars fro a complete sytem for my needs.

    If I will have enough free times I will try to come with you during one of yours photo tours.
    I believe that is nice sometimes to update and share knowledge.
    Vittore

  6. Cool.Braid

    If there were a small spring in the Allen Key Storage hole the key might not be lost, and for those in tight spaces in venues shooting, shifting the camera to the front would be a logical way to narrow ones profile in the Aisle…

  7. Mike

    NOTE: If you want to keep the allen wrench on the mount and not lose it, simple solution, go to a hardware store and get a tiny rubber o-ring and put it on the end that sticks out (where you push to get it out) make sure it’s small enough so it wraps around it tightly. Mr. Shai Eynav thanks for this great idea product maybe you should add the o-ring to the design

  8. Bob

    Could this be used to comfortably carry a 500mm lens from it’s tripod mount. Seeing it with pro bodies + heavy pro lenses so presuming it would support the weight ok?

    • admin

      Bob, while I think the hardware is strong enough to support the weight of a 500mm lens with body. I am not sure it would be comfortable to carry that much weight on your hip. I could see the lens just banging against your leg as you walked, not to mention the hip belt would sag significantly pulling down on your pants and shirt. I probably wouldn’t use this solution to carry more than a 70-200mm lens on the body.

      — Post Production Pye

  9. Karl Bratby

    thanks for the review, im going to give one a go, use black rapid at present and its great but a little to much swing.

  10. Doug Eamon

    I recently bought one of these and I really like it’s convenience and comfort. But I worry sometimes about whether the 1/4″ screw (writh 3/8″ adapter) that holds it on to the camera is strong enough or will loosen and the camera will drop. Using a regular tripod mount the camera┬árarely hangs down and loosening there would be more easily noticeable. So, is the screw that connects the Spider to the camera strong enough for continued use in this manner?

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  12. Mark

    Hello.

    Two years ago I have Spider Holster Pro For me it is the ultimate transportation device. The only drawback I saw is the belt that has incorporated, in fact I got rid of it and bought a belt worn by SWAT. Not very expensive and consists of two pieces: a belt thin, smooth layer of velcro and above other more heavy-weight.
    Although open the clip, belt and the camera does not fall because the velcro makes its function and the belt is just the width and is inside the Spider Holster Pro
    The SpiderHolster Pro is a great product but you have to customize a bit the belt where to wear it. Not very expensive: $ 40.
    Greetings from Spain.

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