The newest addition to my setup is a brand new Black Rapid RS-7 sling camera strap. Prior to finding this one under the Christmas tree this year I was using a homemade setup that consisted of a guitar strap secured to a post from an extra tripod mount - not the most professional setup in the world.

The Black Rapid RS-7 is simply the best camera strap I have come across in years. It allows me to go hands free when setting up a shoot, moving lighting around or directing my subjects while keeping my camera at my side right where I need it ready to go. It comes with the main strap and a fastener that attaches to your SLR body tripod mount (or long lens if need be). The strap clips into the fastener with a locking carabiner that sits well on the underside of your camera. I have a battery grip with vertical controls and the while the RS-7 attached I don't find it uncomfortable shooting vertically. The fastener sits right in the center of my palm without any discomfort. The carabiner swings out of the way and freely spins on the strap without un-screwing the fastener from the SLR body.

Black Rapid RS-7 Fastener on Canon EOS DSLR Camera

The whole setup feels great to use - I am usually paranoid about straps and hanging on to my camera, but I have no doubts when using it. As with any strap I always have a hand on the lens while walking in crowds or around anything that I can bang into, but I have no worries about it unclipping or detaching and dropping. Sliding the strap up to shooting position is very quick with little resistance, same with sliding it back in place at your side.

Black Rapid RS-7 Caribeaner clip for digital SLR camera

Another great feature is the locking 'bumpers' on the strap that keep the shoulder padding in the right place. There is a back bumper that you lock in right where you want the camera to hang - this way if the padded portion of the strap moves when you pull your camera up to shoot, as you slide your camera back down it catches the bumper and moves the strap back into the proper location. There is another front bumper that you can move down to lock the camera down by your hip which really reduces how much it swings around when you are hands free.

The RS-7 is also compatible with Black Rapid's Mods - like the BRAD strap or storage for memory cards or a cell phone.

Overall the Black Rapid RS-7 is a beautifully made camera strap that any photographer worth their salt should have in their bag. I only had the chance to shoot with it a few times, but I am in love with it and highly recommend it. Check out the RS-7 at Black Rapid's website. Don't believe me? Check out Jared Polin's (aka FroKnowsFoto......DOT COM) video review. All images courtesy of Black Rapid.