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Carry Speed CS-2B Camera Strap Review

Carry Speed CS-2B  


 

March, 2011 (original review)

Update February 07, 2012: According to the Carry Speed website it appears they redesigned their entire system, including a new mounting plate. As of this writing the old system reviewed here is still available from the CarrySpeed Amazon store (see link at the bottom of this page). If I buy or try the new strap system I'll write a separate review.

 
CarrySpeed CS-2B

 

The CS-2B is a sling style camera strap made by CarrySpeed, a Houston based company which specializes in photographic and electronic accessories. The strap attaches to a camera via a connector which screws into the tripod mount. Connecting it this way means your camera will be dangling upside down at your side against your hip. If just the thought of this makes you cringe you're not alone. I had my doubts about this method of support but I decided to see if it works.

 

The CS-2B comes packed in a nylon mesh pouch. I guess the pouch can come in handy if you travel a lot and want to keep everything neat and compact. But I'm guessing for most people the pouch won't be necessary since the strap will always stay attached to the camera.

 

 

The advantage of using a sling style camera strap instead of a traditional one which goes around your neck is that you avoid neck and back strain, especially if you carry your camera around all day. Having the strap draped over your shoulder provides more support and less pressure since it's spread out over a larger area. The CS-2B has a bubble cushion on the strap which allows air to flow between the strap and shoulder. The idea is to keep you from sweating, avoiding a wet strap. The original version of the strap, the CS-1, doesn't have the bubble cushion, and as such costs a little less than the CS-2B. As someone who sweats a lot I can say the bubble cushion does work. It's not perfect, but it helps. I had the CS-2B and the strap for my camera bag over the same shoulder and the CS-2B produced cooler results.

CarrySpeed CS-2B Bubble Cushion
The bubble cushion allows air to flow between the strap and shoulder, designed to prevent sweating.

The heart of the CarrySpeed system is the speed mount. The speed mount is a metal plate which attaches to the tripod mount of a camera with a special screw. The screw has a hole in the center which allows you to attach the camera to a tripod without removing the speed mount first. The bottom of the plate has a rubber pad to prevent scratching the camera. On one end of the plate is a hole to attach the speed connector. The other end has a slot to attach a handstrap if you want to travel light.

CarrySpeed CS-2B Speed Mount
The addition of a hole in the screw allows for tripod mounting without removing the plate.

The speed mount attaches to the strap with the speed connector. It has a loop on one end which goes through the hole in the speed mount. It has a safety screw lock to prevent it from accidentaly coming off. The other end of the connector consists of a rectangular metal piece which slides up and down the strap. It can only be removed if you take the strap apart at the buckle. The connector was tested to support 150 pounds.

CarrySpeed CS-2B Speed Connector
The safety locks prevents the connector from coming off the speed mount.

Attached to the strap are two plastic clips, one in front of the speed connector, and one behind. These are used to prevent the camera from sliding up and down the strap. Once the strap is adjusted to the position you want, the back clip is place up against the connector. This prevents the camera from sliding behind you. The front connector is used to prevent the camera from moving if you lean or bend forward. It's a simple design, but it works. The clips are the weakest part of the entire system. They appear to be cheap plastic so I doubt they will hold up over time. I'm sure they can easily be replaced though, even with a paper clip.

CarrySpeed CS-2B Plastic Clips
The plastic clips keep the camera from sliding along the strap.

The top of the strap has a small zippered pocket built into it. It's not very big and is really meant to store some memory cards. But I guess you could also fit some cash and a few keys in it. It's too small for an id card though.

CarrySpeed CS-2B Strap Pocket
The 52mm lens cap was a tight fit and the pocket couldn't be zippered.

My order also included the uni strap. Currently it's being advertised as free for a limited time. The uni strap has two functions. First, where the plastic clips prevent the camera from sliding up and down the strap, the uni strap prevents the entire CarrySpeed strap from moving forward when you bend over. On one end of the uni strap is a loop which is placed around and under the screw of the speed mount. On the other end is a metal clip which attaches to a belt buckle. When attached if you bend over the camera and strap will stay in place. The uni strap can also function as a back up strap if by some chance the speed connector ever slips off the speed mount. Attaching the clip to the rectangular end of the connector provides a second level of security.

CarrySpeed CS-2B Uni Strap
The  uni strap can be used as either a back up strap or to prevent the CarrySpeed from sliding.

The Carry Speed CS-2B is well thought out and on paper should work well. But how does it perform in the real world? In short, excellent. I wanted to see just how well the CS-2B stood up to heavy gear so I attached my Nikon D90 with the MB-D80 battery grip, the Sigma 100-300mm f/4, and the Nikon SB800 Speedlight (with a big lens you need to attach the speed mount to the tripod collar of the lens or else it will point straight down). The Carry Speed handled the weight fine. To be honest I really didn't worry about the camera falling off.

CarrySpeed CS-2B with heavy gear
The CarrySpeed CS-2B can easily handle more weight than most photographers will ever carry.

I was really suprised how easily the camera slid up and down the strap. With my big lens it was a little awkward bringing the camera up to my face. But with smaller lenses it took no effort at all. Using a sling style strap is definitely more comfortable than using the traditional style that goes around your neck. There are a few things to be aware of though. When I had my heavy gear attached the bubble cushion part of the strap had a tendancy to ride up onto my neck, which was mildly annoying. When I used smaller lenses that didn't happen. I usually carry a camera bag with a strap over my shoulder, so I had to get used to having two straps on one shoulder.

Another problem I ran into was that the camera competes for the same space as my mobile phone. Being right handed I keep my phone on my right hip. So when I'm out shooting I need to reposition my phone. Not a big deal, but something to think about. If you use a small camera bag that's tightly packed you may have some trouble getting all of the CS-2B to fit in. But you could always just unattach the speed connector from the camera if that's a problem. Since the camera is at your side you'll have to be careful to not bump into things or people if you're in a crowd. It's a little different than using a neck strap where you have the camera in front of you, always in view.

Overall I highly recommend the Carry Speed CS-2B (and the CS-1). However, I wouldn't use it if I were shooting with a big lens, as in the photo above. The reason being is that when walking the camera and lens tend to bounce around due to the weight. The lens kept banging into my leg which I found very annoying. Unless I knew I was going to be stationary most of the time, I would use a neck strap instead. But that's me. I guess it really depends on the individual. For more info visit the CarrySpeed website. Clicking the image below will take you to Carry Speed's Amazon product page. (Update: as of June 2011 it appears the CS-2B is no longer being made. The CarrySpeed website lists only the CS-1 MKII on their product page).


CarrySpeed Amazon Store



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