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Gear Reviews

Camera Sling & Harness Review | The Andino, Clydesdale, & Derringer by RL Handcrafts

By Amii & Andy Kauth on April 23rd 2016

Our hope is that you didn’t click on this review thinking, “not another camera strap review” just so you could flame it … ha! (Of course, we’d never expect that from the awesome community that is SLR Lounge.) In any event, we’re pretty stoked you decided to give this review a look, because here’s the deal: these are some quality products by RL Handcrafts.

We met RL Handcrafts at WPPI 2016, even though we didn’t actually plan on speaking with them. But after stopping by their booth for a quick chat, Andy put on a harness and ran down one of the aisles with two cameras strapped on him. Then he came back and did multiple jumping jacks, etc. We were sold. In fact, from the moment Andy put one one, he could tell he put on something that was comfortable and well-made–a product that took a lot of thought in the planning and care in the production.

Richard and Liem, the founders of RL Handcrafts and alumni of the Academy of Art University, sent us three of their pieces for Andy to wear and for us to review:

The Andino Camera Sling (Pro-DLX)

Andino Camera Strap

The Clydesdale Dual-Camera Harness (Pro-DLX)

Clydesdale Camera Harness

The Derringer Multi-Camera Harness (Pro-DLX)

Derringer Camera Harness

According to Richard & Liem, RL Handcrafts, “is the result of their shared passion for photography, crossed with a need for comfort and style in their equipment.” They describe their products as being birthed out of a need, “to solve for variants in people.” In other words, we aren’t all one-size-fits-all people. RL Handcrafts’ products come in three sizes (S, M, and L) with what Richard & Liem refer to as “fine fitting adjustments.” They are also hand cut, oiled and waxed, made in the U.S.A., and available for purchase via their website: https://rlhandcrafts.com/.

You can get a quick intro to the strap and harnesses via the three videos below.

[Rewind: WHICH CAMERA STRAP IS RIGHT FOR YOU?]

Performance

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We put these products through their paces.: Andy wore them religiously on multiple occasions, including the Andino Camera Sling on an editorial shoot and drove around in the car with it to test it for comfort.

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(Andy rocking the Andino Camera Strap post-editorial shoot.)

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(Polaroid 660 shot, on Impossible Instant Film for Polaroid 600 Cameras: Andy driving & still rocking the Andino Camera Strap.)

He wore the Clydesdale Dual-Camera Harness for the entirety of a 15-hour wedding day (from a nail salon to brunch to well into the early morning, all while hopping in-and-out of our vehicle):

sunshineandreignrlhandcrafts101 sunshineandreignrlhandcrafts103 sunshineandreignrlhandcrafts201

And he rocked the Derringer Multi-Camera Harness when we shot a magazine editorial/cover shoot (that was a 10+ hour day):

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We gave the strap and harnesses 5 stars for performance because you literally forget you are wearing them. Andy has worn different harness systems and straps, but they’ve all dug into his shoulders or needed constant adjustment. This is just not the case with RL Handcrafts. When they do need a bit of adjustment, it’s an easy process. And the next day? No back pain (this is due to the construction/their “6-points of rotation,” so that each strap or harness forms with your body) and no muscle memory of carrying around $4k+ worth of cameras the day before.

Features

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Giving these 5 stars for features is a no-brainer, these things are loaded with the ability to be modular. You can wear the sling with or without the stabilizer, and adjust the stabilizer easily (and it freakin’ stores on the strap itself!). You can wear the harnesses with one camera, four cameras, and attach just about any bag you want. Check our vid below!

Design

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Their designs are so money. You can tell Richard & Liem are artists, because the strap and harnesses are just pretty to look at, and we got tons of compliments on how awesome they look. We have no problem matching them to our branding or the professional look that we rock when shooting weddings. They even make matching belts . . . Come on! The edges are stitched, and the black harnesses we got come with red stitching and a red padding underneath – that’s just good design thinking right there. The designs set RL Handcrafts apart and, in our opinion,  set an industry standard (without a doubt). 5 stars. Easy.

sunshineandreignrlboxed201

Quality

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Right out of the box, the leather is ready to rock. It’s soft, pliable, and comfortable. Like we mentioned, the edges are finished with stitching, which just adds to the overall feel, and look, and quality of construction. And every rivet, edge, etc. was pristine on the products we received. If we had to be picky (and when we spend a good amount of cash in an effort to protect our expensive gear while remaining true to our branding, you can believe we will be), all the hardware on the strap and harnesses is silver and shiny (nickel plated brass). That’s fine with us, however, the camera strap mounts are black and shiny.

That said, we still gave them 5 stars for quality. Our cameras are black anyway, and, in truth, we use Custom SLR C-Loop Strap Mounts. Picking on RL Handcrafts for having strap mounts that don’t match? Maybe that’s kind of going a bit too far (especially for a company that really thought of everything).

sunshineandreignrlhandcraftsblackandwhite01

Value

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Here’s the thing: they aren’t cheap. Here’s the other thing: we don’t want cheap straps or harnesses (quality-wise). When we need to project our brand and protect our gear (because we personally carry around 2 D750s, a backup, and a Polaroid 660 at weddings), we’ll spend money on a solid product. And what was it that Andy’s grandfather used to say? “You get what you pay for, so pay for quality,” or something like that. Well, that’s what you have here, so we had to give ’em 5 stars for value.

Now, is every photographer going to drop $200-$400+ on a system to help them carry around their cameras? We don’t think so. But if you’re in the market for such a system, you won’t be disappointed that you spent some cash on RL Handcrafts’ products. Do some looking around. We just don’t think you’ll find another product on their level when shopping at a similar price point. By the way, the strap and harnesses we used/reviewed are $260, $425, and $485, respectively.

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Conclusion

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We gave RL Handcrafts 5 stars, because other than the mounts not matching the rest of the hardware, they deserved it and totally nailed every aspect of their sling and harnesses. It’s just solid construction and a good looking, professional product all the way around.

If you’d like to get your hands on RL Handcrafts’ products, and  those mentioned in this article, head over to their website: https://rlhandcrafts.com/. They are currently offering 10% off and free shipping with the code INTRO10OFF.

We can definitely see why “RL Handcrafts is the result of Richard & Liems’s shared passion for photography, crossed with a need for comfort and style in their equipment.” 5 Stars. All day. Good job, ‘gents!

Clydesdale Camera Harness

How do you think RL Handcrafts compares with the straps and/or harnesses you use? What are some of your favorites? We’d love for you to join the conversation by commenting below and/or heading over to our ever-growing Facebook Photography Community group.

All photographs and videos by RL Handcrafts are copyrighted and have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify, or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist. Watermarked images are by Andy & Amii Kauth (Sunshine & Reign Photography) . . . and so is the review vid, btw.

Amii & Andy are a wife and husband team of rad portrait and wedding photographers (Sunshine & Reign Photography) who absolutely love life and are generally just stoked! Yeah! When they aren’t photographing or writing and teaching about photography, you’ll find them off on a seriously legit adventure with their little ones, lifting weights in their garage, training jiu-jitsu, refining their archery skills, or surfing every chance they get. And on the rare chance they escape off on a “date night”? Yep! They’ll find a wedding to crash (true fact).

Website: Sunshine & Reign Photography
Instagram: @sunshineandreign

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Aeric Goh

    Hi , I would like to know how to contact RL handcrafts Richard , possible with email , I have a deal with one of them but I have not been getting any response for more than 2 weeks after a payment for a month 

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  2. sanjeev soni

    thanx for reply 

    but sir  plz conrfm me how to conect  camera wiyhout any screw tighten bcoz how to fit camera body with hook sir plz explain 

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    • Amii & Andy Kauth

      The straps come with the necessary camera attachments. Best to contact the company to get any more specifics you require as we can’t speak to your specific situation (what camera you have, if their included hardware will integrate, etc.). :)

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  3. sanjeev soni

    what is in box plz ciear me bcoz i want to buy ,camera slider ,stablizer come with box  or buy sepratly plz conrfm me

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    • Amii & Andy Kauth

      You get the strap (“hooks”) included on sliders. Also attachments for your camera and security straps! :)

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  4. Mark Willis

    How do you find going in to portrait orientation? I just got one of these, and the hasp they use is so big, the camera does not go smoothly in to portrait orientation. It catches on the little ring which is threaded in to the tripod mount.. The entire strap then has to pull and its a stretch to get there.. It would be better with a circular hasp..

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    • Andy & Amii Kauth

      Maybe check to make sure it’s sized on you correctly, w/ the “hook” hanging at waste level? We’ve never had that specific issue. What did RL have to say about it? Appreciate your comment/sharing that experience/issue!

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  5. Ramanpreet Sohal

    All the pictures on their website are with Mirrorless / lighter cameras, I’m seriously considering buying but could the users please answer my queries…

    – How’s load distribution with a DSLR+BatteryPack+70-200? ( Clydesdale Pro)
    – How easy is shooting in portrait mode?

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    • Andy & Amii Kauth

      Thanks for the comment/questions Ramanpreet. You should have no issues with heavier gear. In the video for the Clydesdale, they have DSLRs (+ the images on the ‘site of the guy in the blue shirt show heavier cameras than the guy in the white shirt). And while we don’t use battery packs, we do rock several D750s and occasionally have our older 80-200 on one of them. As well, all our images in our article have our D750s or our backup (a D7000). We put them through long days as well … Even when taking one camera off and leaving one on, without the Clydesdale properly balanced (proper balance would be similar to what the Derringer looked like in our video), we had no issues.

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    • Ramanpreet Sohal

      Thanks for the reply.
      Is it comfortable shooting in portrait orientation? I mean the straps are long enough to be confortable and short enough for the cameras not to hang too low (I’m 6 feet so thinking size M)

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    • Andy & Amii Kauth

      Hey Ramanpreet. You should check with RL Handcrafts on sizing. As long as you have the hook hanging at waist level, it is comfortable in any position: sitting, kneeling, standing, on the ground, etc. Even kneeling the camera doesn’t hit the ground (has to be sized correctly).

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    • Tram Tran

      DSLR + 70-200 is super comfortable. I have the Clydesdale with a 5D MK3 /battery grip and a 200mm f/1.8L or f/2L and the other 5DMK3/batterygrip with a 85mm f/1.2L during wedding ceremony and it’s never an issue. In fact it looks super badass that you are running around with such a huge setup and looking comfortable doing it. Also we dress really nice, slacks, dress shirt and a tie. It never gets in the way of the tie.

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    • Andy & Amii Kauth

      Thanks for weighing in, Tram. Good to know about the tie too!

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    • Ramanpreet Sohal

      Thanks for the reply.
      Is it comfortable shooting in portrait orientation? I mean are the straps long enough to be comfortable and short enough for the cameras not to hang too low (I’m 6 feet so thinking size M)

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    • Andy & Amii Kauth

      Replied to your other comment, Ramanpreet. Cheers!

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    • Tram Tran

      Old news now, but ….

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    • Andy & Amii Kauth

      Thanks for the comment/image, Tram! Solid construction point proved! :)

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  6. Mark Romine

    Anyone see any good clear close-up shots of their camera clips and how the strap attaches to the camera body? I looked all over their site for some shots. Strap makers fail in this area all the time. How the strap attaches is one of the most important aspects of the design so they need and should be providing clear photos of their clips.

    Andy, you attempted to show the clip system in your video but your vid was constantly searching for focus when you tried to get close so we really couldn’t make out what the clips looked like. You also could have used much better lighting for your video. Sorry man but your video kinda sucked.

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    • Andy & Amii Kauth

      Thanks for your comments, Mark. And we appreciate the feedback about the vid. Sometimes our artistic-side gets the better of us … we were focusing like that on purpose for the transitions but now realize (thanks also to Pete who commented on Youtube) that we should have just shot it “as is.” Also, yeah: just took another look (focus is super poor when showing the mount and clip. Always room for improvement. As to the quality of the clip: the second-to-last image shows it (though focus is elsewhere). We’ll get a better image in a bit. We did question it and should have commented on it a bit more. We literally tried to make it “unclip” and had no luck in that regard. The RL guys at WPPI also have been testing it for some time with no reported failures (on their end of that of customers). They also include an extra strap for added protection (it’s in the image right above our needs-improvement-video-skills video). :)

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    • Andy & Amii Kauth

      Clip & Mount.

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    • Andy & Amii Kauth

      Btw, the front mount is the one that comes with RL Handcrafts’ products. The rear is the one by Custom SLR (mentioned in the article) that we use more often than not.

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    • Lawrence Smith

      Would I be able to use my tripod mount her instead of the there screw in mount?

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    • Andy & Amii Kauth

      We guess it would depend upon the type of mount, Lawrence. Can you hook it? For example, we tend to have a Custom SLR C-Loop mount on our cameras (you can see it in the above image). No issues with that.

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  7. Sarah Murray

    Andy and Amii, thanks for the great review! I am new to a dual camera strap system and am considering this one based on your awesome testing + photos. I am unsure of which Clydesdale option to choose though – are they different colors/materials or is the quality even better the more $$ you spend? The Pro is what I am considering but want to be 100% sure. Also a quick unrelated question to the strap… What is the tripod you are using in the photo with the softbox? I’ve been looking for something similar. Thanks so much!! :)

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  8. Shelli Quattlebaum

    I purchased this strap at WPPI this year. I have shot 1 wedding in it and several other sessions. When I am not shooting 2 bodies I attached a lens flipper to the other side. This RL strap is comfortable, looks kick ass and fits properly. Everything they havw reviewed is true. I stand 5’5″, I am a broad German girls with big boobs. Straps are hard to find and general suck. As soon as I tried on the Clydesdale air I was in love.
    The hold fast has some metal parts on it that catch long hair. Not cool.
    For some reason I can’t get my picture to post of me in it. But all in all I give this strap a 10.

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    • Andy & Amii Kauth

      Thanks for sharing your experience with RL’s gear, Shelli!

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    • Sarah Murray

      Shelli, I am new to the dual camera straps and am seriously considering this one. What is a lens flipper? :) Thanks in advance!!

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    • Andy & Amii Kauth

      Hey Sarah! This article mentions GoWings’ Lensflipper: https://www.slrlounge.com/ppe-2014-three-companies-you-should-know/

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    • Liem Nguyen

      Shelli, great to hear from you post WPPI and your experience with our products thus far. Comfort and ideal fit or women photographers and various body types was a central part of our solutions to solve for in our designs. Would love to see photos of you during your shoots with our gear on Facebook or Instagram. Keep up your photography endeavors while balancing family life.

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    • Mario Vaden

      The RL straps appear to be at least a 9/10 … and today I’m split between Holdfast and RL Handcrafts.  Oddly, what may tip the scale from one side to the other, is RL’s videos focus so much on models, music and show, that little is said about features (even if the features are great). Holdfast on the other hand, invested much more into telling about details and showing parts in action. Looks like two good brands, but one emphasizes showmanship, and the other emphasizes information.  Cheers, M. D. Vaden, the redwood photographer

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  9. Valters Pelns

    Looks really stylish and legit. For that price point it better be :) Great review, I am thinking to buy another system with better design. Currently I am using Op tech USA dual strap for about 3 years, 13 hours wedding days, some times 3, on rare weeks 4 weddings consecutive , also in and out of car, etc, and I still trust my straps. Only price group is completely different ~60$, and styling is very debatable. But they are comfy and reliable.

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    • Andy & Amii Kauth

      Thanks for your comment, Valters. For our branding and the weddings we shoot, we need something at this level (style + solid construction, function, quality, etc.). As you mention, it is definitely in another price group, w/o a doubt, compared to your current set up. We were straight up shocked at the lack of noticing wearing them at the end of 12+ hour days.

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    • Maykell Araica

      Totally with you on that Andy & Amii.
      I am working towards reaching a higher end clients (from where I originally started) and I realized that style gives me a little bet more edge when it comes to running around witht two cameras hanging from my buddy, not to mention how comfortable they are.
      frankly, the OP and other brands just look a little funky haha.

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    • Andy & Amii Kauth

      For sure, Maykell!

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  10. Ralph Hightower

    Okay, I haven’t tried carrying around my camera(s) hanging from the tripod screw; I’ve use straps that use the two camera mounting points provided by the manufacturer.

    The Holdfast Gear and the Hold Fast clone (RL Handcrafts) look great. I would love to be able to wear three cameras. Both look fantastic and unfortunately, have the same price points.

    I bought the OpTech/USA shoulder harness to carry two cameras for a practice round of a sporting event. Ergonomically, I chose to carry my Canon F-1N with the FD 28mm f2.8 lens on the right so that my thumb would be next to the film advance lever when I wanted to shoot with that camera. My 5D Mk III with EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L II was hanging on the left. The system worked well and the setup was comfortable and I didn’t need to visit my chiropractor the next day either.

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    • Andy & Amii Kauth

      Thanks for commenting, Ralph. As much as we don’t mind the chiro., visiting because of a shoot is not on our to do list. Ha! And we totally get that about the price point. We like the mount from the “tripod screw” because we can still attach a neck strap or wrist strap as needed (second to last image) and both HF and RL have “safety straps” so you can add an extra level of protection to the system (image right about the quick vid we posted).

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  11. Maykell Araica

    I own a HoldFast MoneyMaker and I love it – This one looks a lot like it…I am not sure who was the pioneer making these, however I must say the back support on the Clydesdale ones look a little better than HoldFast Money Maker. I guess I would like to try one out before jumping ship, either way, great review :)

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    • Andy & Amii Kauth

      Thanks, Maykell. Appreciate the compliment. We’ve tried several. The back support is really nice, in our opinion. We were surprised how non-existent it became even beyond the 12-hour mark.

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  12. Clark Cottongim

    Wait, wait, wait. Does no one else see this is another ripoff of the HoldFast Money Maker? First Barbershop Bags and now this one? You usually only see this sort of thing out of Chinese companies… There is still only one original, sry.

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    • Liem Nguyen

      Thanks for mentioning that. We understand that we’ll get compared to other products but once you’ve tried our products you may think differently. Brand and feature differences are entirely a personal call. We are photographers ourselves and entering the marketing to allow for innovative features and variety of style. Hoping you’ll get a chance to use our gear in person now that our online is open.

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    • Andy & Amii Kauth

      Fair enough, Clark. In fact, that was one of our first questions to them at WPPI: how do you handle those types of questions/comparisons. They answered that they focus on their product and their potential and current customers. Competition is good as long as everyone plays by the rules, in our opinion, and from what they told us, they didn’t violate any rules, patents, etc. in the creation of their gear. That’s why we’ll have endless debates over what’s the best: Canon v. Nikon, Pixifi v. Sprout, Ford v. Toyota, Nike v. Reebok, etc. Heck, we have friends who have made their own “harnesses”; they don’t sell ’em, but they didn’t want to drop the cash and figured out how to make ’em on their own.

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    • Black Z Eddie

      Lol, going by your logic, everyone ripped off Karl Benz. He invented the first car to go into production with an internal combustion engine. Shame on the rest of the car manufacturers for being such copy cats.

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    • Black Z Eddie

      Btw, my comment was towards Carl.

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    • Andy & Amii Kauth

      Fair point, Black Z Eddie.

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  13. Herm Tjioe

    I saw these at the WPPI show. At first glance it was booth curiosity . . . .but I ended up lingering for far longer than budgeted. These are some badass camera straps. Despite the he-man rugged looks, and metal clangings, it looks , feels, and oozes rugged quality able to handle any stresses you can throw on these babies. The product was selling fast and furious while I was there. I seriously had considered getting one on the spot, but budget dictates otherwise . . . .for the time being.

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    • Andy & Amii Kauth

      Thanks for commenting, Herm. We had no intent of meeting up with them at WPPI. We passed by and ended up staying for quite some time as well . . .

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  14. Paul Empson

    For me just way off.. looks great but fails massively in several key areas of function and adjustment. The only system that ticks all of the boxes I require is no longer made ( black rapid put a block on them )

    – It is noisy.. just listening to it jingle in the video.
    – single point of failure: the metal clip
    – adjustment straps, not happy with their design though I can see why they didn’t use a belt buckle style
    – camera attachment.. my biggest bug bear.. I don’t want to be removing the plate to attach the camera to a tripod plate.. just a complete non-starter.. and I don’t trust the metal on metal not to just crack and crash my camera to the floor.

    It looks, very much, like style over functionality.. and will appeal to many and will work to a well for most, however I looked for ages before buying the system I did.. I’ll not name it, it is still available outside the US.. but it is as close to ‘right’ as I’ve seen in a system..

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    • Andy & Amii Kauth

      Thanks for the comments, Paul. You have some well-thought out points. For sure there was some jingling in the video, but that was mostly our fault due to the fact that we didn’t have all the hooks attached to cameras. Didn’t notice any noise when live shooting. The metal clip is the main attachment (yes), but there are small straps to tether to the side of the camera (additional safety measure). The other harness systems we have used (and a few wrist straps) also make use of the bottom mount (takes some time to get used to). You can feel free to name the system you prefer. We are here to discuss and learn from one another!

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  15. Justin Haugen

    Great review ?!

    I had a place in my heart for the holdfast moneymaker and bought one at wppi, but I heard great things about these harnesses and a lot of people were conflicted over getting the better product.

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