How to build your own camera strap. Introducing "The Rapidinha Camera Strap".
I've become a regular at local photography Meetups. These are local goups of photography enthusiasts that meet regularly at various places just for the purpose of photographing and socializing. It was in one of these Meetups that a colleague first introduced me to the Black Rapid Strap. This was a camera strap that worked in a very different way from ordinary camera straps (you know, the ones that ship with the camera and sit uncomfortably on your chest). The Amazon.com link gives you an idea of how it works. Here's also a youtube video showing one in action. With the "Black Rapid", the strap goes over your shoulder, sort of like a seat-belt does, and the camera rests on your side rather than on your chest. Whenever you need to photograph, the camera slides quickly to your eye level. I found this arrangement much more natural and comfortable; I was hooked. While the Black Rapid Strap is not very expensive at about $60, it seemed to me that I could easily build one myself. When I returned home that day, I set out to make one. I ended-up actually making three of these straps, one for each of my cameras, and found the process quite easy. It's this experience that I share in this article. You can do it too!
Always mindful of copyright issues, I thought of naming my creation the "Quickie Strap", but I suspect that could be misconstrued... I opted instead to use the Portuguese word for "Quickie" and so was born the "Rapidinha Strap".
What you will need
Figure 1 list the "ingredients" you will need. They key "ingredient" is an old purse or bag strap (laptop bag for example). This not only provides you with the strap itself (usually some sort of nylon fabric or leather) but also with the articulated end hooks that are a key component here as they allow the camera to freely rotate when attached to the strap. Be sure to buy tripod compatible screws with the specs shown in Figure 1. These were bought at Walmart though they are normally available at any hardware store. The small piece of metal will be used to attach the end piece to the camera through a screw. It can be any small piece of aluminum (easier to work with than other metals). If you have the tools, steel can also be used though it is harder to work with.
Figure 1 - Ingredients - what you will need
Figure 2 shows the tools you will need for this project. Some straps I swed together while others I simply glued with a hot-glue gun.
Figure 2 - Tools
The first step is to drill holes on the small metal bracket; one is for the screw mounting on the camera tripod mount, and another where the strap hook will loop into.
If you started with a flat piece of metal, bend it to form a 90 degree angle as shown in Figure 3. Install a nut and bolt as shown.
To prepare the strap, you will typically need to sew it or glue it to complete a loop. Be sure to insert the end hook first. I've used both sewing or glue for different straps and both worked well. Use the method you are more comfortable with.
Figures 4 through 6 show the results for several of the straps I made. I used different width straps depending on the camera size . Large ones to support heavier cameras (think DSLRs), and narrower for smaller, lighter "point and shoot" cameras (shown is the Panasonic LX-3). As you can see, making these straps is quite easy. I've been very happy with the results having used them for over a year now. A welcome improvement over the old straps I've used before.
Figure 3 - Hook and metal piece detail
Figure 4 - End piece mounted on Canon Rebel
Figure 5 - Panasonic LX-3 "Rapidinha Strap"
Figure 6 - Panasonic LX-3 "Rapidinha Strap"
Comments, questions, suggestions? You can reach me at: contact (at sign) paulorenato (dot) com