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Tripod Socket Strength Test

February 20, 2012

Sling style camera straps have become very popular the past few years. Many of the sling straps attach to the camera via the tripod socket by way of a plate or screw, such as the Carry Speed CS-2B (see review here). There have been some concerns raised on whether the tripod socket is strong enough to hold the weight of a camera, lens, flash, etc, usually upside down. After all, a tripod socket is usually meant to hold a camera upright. Although a ball head can be tilted sideways and some tripod posts can be reversed to hold a camera upside down for low angle shots, these are usually done for only a short time. Carrying a camera around all day will put a lot more stress on the socket. I wanted to see how the tripod socket held up over an extended period of time so I rigged up a crude test.

I didn't want to risk one of my DSLRs, so instead I used a broken Nikon N50 film camera. The tripod socket on this camera is comparable to Nikon's current DSLRs. For the test I used my Carry Speed CS-2B strap. I attached 60 pounds of weight to the camera with 12 gauge wire (much more weight than anyone in their right mind would hang off the end of a strap). I let the camera hang for twelve hours to simulate a full day of photographing.

Tripod Socket Strength Test

As you can see my make shift rig wasn't pretty but did what it was supposed to do. After hanging for twelve hours there was no visible damage to the tripod socket. The sling strap and mounting plate didn't show any damage or wear either. I was also going to try a similar test with my Capture Camera Clip (see review here). The Capture, along with several other clips on the market, attach to a belt or strap and hang down vertically. The stress from a belt clip on a tripod socket is different compared to a sling strap because the camera is sideways instead of upside down. Unfortunately, I couldn't rig something up to simulate a camera hanging from a belt clip. But from my use of the Capture clip it appears that most of the stress is applied to the clip itself and not the mounting plate.

From the results of my little experiment I personally am not concerned that a tripod socket will fail when using a sling strap or belt clip. However, my results are far from scientific. My test only involved one type of camera with one type of strap. Most major camera manufacturers currently don't recommend you use a tripod socket for attaching a strap. I'm guessing they just say this to cover their asses since they don't test the stress loads of the tripod sockets (if they do test them they don't make the data available). I've yet to hear or read of a tripod socket failing. That doesn't mean it can't happen though.

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