BosStrap Alternative Camera Strap (Review)

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There are few constants in the photography world, a world based around technology.  But there are at least a few accessories that seem to have been in stalemate for decades.  The camera strap happens to be one such accessory.  The classic around-the-neck camera strap may be fine for many shooters.  But to a good portion of us, it’s dated and archaic.  Enter the sling-style straps which are intended to solve many of the problems evident in the classic neck strap.  One such strap is the BosStrap™, which is a lightweight version of the concept.  The creator was nice enough to provide a copy to us for our review.

It is difficult to review the BosStrap without comparing it to some of the other straps that are available on the market, some of which we have reviewed here at Shutter Photo.  At first, I wanted to refrain from doing so as I believe the BosStrap and the others each have their own merits and benefits.  One may be more suitable for you, the other may not.  But I find that it would be very misleading to ignore the differences in our review.  And so I will start out by jumping right into the main design elements that make the BosStrap different from the others:

  • The BosStrap uses a 1-1/2″ wide nylon webbing, not unlike that of an automotive seat belt.  It’s durable, we know it can handle the weight and it is a lot more flexible and folds easier than the other brands.  The strap is notably wider than the other brands
  • The BosStrap does not have a shoulder pad.  The weight is distributed across the width of the strap instead.
  • The BosStrap fastens to the camera by means of a BosTail™, a narrow webbing that fastens to your camera’s strap rings in much the same manner as a typical neck strap.  The BosTail can remain permanently fastened to the camera and does not tie up your tripod socket.
  • The BosTail fastens to the BosStrap by means of a TriggerLoc™ mechanism.  It is essentially a heavy-duty hook lock that fastens to the ring at the end of the BosTail.

In Use

BosStrap In Use

(Photo courtesy of BosStrap LLC)

Getting set up to use your BosStrap is fairly straight forward and can be put to use rather quickly.  The most difficult part of the set-up is getting the BosTail fastened to your camera’s strap ring.  Like a traditional neck strap, the BosTail is a narrow webbing that loops through the ring and doubles back on itself through a slide clip on the BosTail.  This is frustrating, but no less frustrating than using a traditional neck strap.  Besides…such a fastening method is tried and true and it’s quite secure.  The sling strap portion of the strap is fitted to your frame by adjusting the strap through a fixed buckle.  The slack is then taken up and held fast by a sliding buckle.  Depending on how you choose to wear the strap (there is not really a front/back face of the strap), you can make adjustments while wearing the strap.  As I mentioned, the strap does not have a shoulder pad.  I prefer to use the area between the buckles – where the strap is doubled up – as the portion that rests upon my shoulder.  Some may prefer to slide both buckles across your back (as I suspect was the intended use) so you get full range of motion from the TriggerLoc system which is hindered only by the buckles.  Since there is no shoulder pad, you can pretty much wear it any way that you want.

(Photo courtesy BosStrap LLC)

The BosTail is actually a nice feature.  At no time did I feel that the interface between the BosTail and my camera was at risk.  It remained secure and unmoving the entire time I had the BosStrap on my camera.  I appreciate the fact that it fastens directly to a point on the camera that was designed and intended for carrying the camera.  I cannot speak for the camera manufacturers, but I am not comfortable hanging a camera from the tripod mount screw.  The BosStrap of course does not even try.  And if you needed to fasten your camera to a Tripod, nothing needs to be removed; the BosStrap can remain in place.  As an additional side affect, the BosTail – in conjunction with the TriggerLoc – also gives you a little bit of room  between the camera and the strap.  This space is necessary for comfortable use of your camera with such a system, especially when the fastening point is the camera’s strap point.  You will, however, be limited to a single vertical grip as the BosTail (or any sling system) will not allow enough range of motion to use the camera in both vertical positions – that is unless you unhook from the BosTail, which is always easy to do.

The TriggerLoc is a heavy-duty nickel-plated  slide clasp that is fastened to the BosStrap.  It freely slides up and down the strap without resistance.  It’s also heavy enough that it will quickly and gracefully fall to the lowest part of the strap (at your side) even when the camera is not fastened.  The clasp swivels to allow for free movement of the camera when fastened, and it easily hooks into the BosTail’s loop.  Therein, however, is possibly the only real design flaw in the BosStrap system:  The TriggerLoc is a little too easy to use.

Personally, I found the TriggerLoc to be a bit of a security loop hole.  The clasp fastens through the BosTail ring by means of a spring mechanism.  The flap on the side of the clasp get’s pushed towards the slide and the entire clasp opens up.  There is an overlap at the bend in the clasp and it is tight enough that I don’t think casual bumps would send your gear plummeting to the ground.  But it would not be very difficult for a bystander to quickly and easy snag your gear and start running before you have time to react.  I would like to see a dual-locking mechanism of some sort in lieu of the current design.  Perhaps some sort of button on one side of the clasp that must be pushed in order for it to be opened.  To be fair, the security concerns of the TriggerLoc will only apply to those shooters working in populated areas such as street photographers.  A trip out to the countryside or casual shooters should not be concerns.  For that matter, on the occasion you are shooting in the city, it is certainly viable to simply twist some wire around the clasp at the narrow point and any such concern will be avoided.

One advantage of the TriggerLoc system over other systems is that it is quite versatile.  Sure, it is intended for use with the BosTail and your camera.  But there’s nothing preventing you from hooking the TriggerLoc to any device that will accept it.  For that matter, the BosTail can loop around just about anything narrow enough with as much security as it would hold your camera.  A simple modification to your off-camera flash, for example, and you can use the BosStrap to carry and quickly access your other gear.

In The Field

I used the BosStrap exclusively on my camera for about three weeks.  During this time, it came with me throughout my normal daily routine, on short site visits for my other job as well as a day-long photo excursion in the city.  Each scenario provided unique situations allowed me to get a pretty good feel for the BosStrap.

Storage is a no-brainer.  The BosStrap does not take up very much space as compared to other sling style systems.  Not having a shoulder pad is a big advantage here.  The seat-belt like material is very flexible and can be folded neatly (or even balled up haphazardly) and jammed into a small pocket in your bag.  Since the system quickly disconnects from your camera, I found that I tended to do so when stowing my gear throughout my daily use.  As a reminder: Photography is not my primary profession, though I do carry my camera always.  So for the quick unexpected shot, I can quickly pull out the camera, take the shot, and stow it without getting tangled up in the strap.

For times when I need to keep my camera at the ready, a sling style system like the BosStrap is ideal.  The camera hangs at your side close to the trigger finger.  You can quickly draw the camera to the eye, take the shot and slip it back down to resting position quickly and smoothly.  The sling system has two major advantages over a traditional neck strap.  First, it does not rest the camera at your chest which is more comfortable for moving about and does not obstruct any other task you might need to do (take notes, etc).  Second, for those of you with longer lenses, the camera seems to hang much more naturally at your side than from your neck.

My longest excursion wearing the BosStrap was nearly four hours long.  It was fairly comfortable throughout the trip.  My only complaint is that the edges of the strap mildly irritated my neck as time went on.  I was wearing a collarless shirt, however, and I am prone to hypersensitivity.  This will likely not be an issue for most people.   Throughout the day and after repetitive shooting, the strap occasionally shifted so that the buckles were in a position to conflict with the TriggerLoc slider.  In most cases, the buckle slid to the lowest position from the back, and so it naturally shifted to a more viable position once I put the camera back at rest.  On very rare occasions did the buckle slide forward to the point that it obstructed my draw.  I should note that this only happened when I placed one of the buckles forward of my shoulder – once again, a wearing position I suspect is not as intended.  In the end, I was surprised that the BosStrap was such a viable solution for longer excursions.

Final Thoughts

The BosStrap is ideal for those of you who are hobbyists or casual shooters.  The small size and simple inconspicuous design will appeal to your needs.  Street or travel photographers may wish to further scrutinize the clasp.  If you shoot regularly in populated areas, the clasp design is a potential security flaw.  However it is fair to say that the great majority of you, who are not exposed to such situations regularly, should not be concerned.  As I mentioned above, there is little concern for losing your equipment to the hard pavement below.  The BosTail fastener is a simple and well-established design that is based on years of traditional neck strap use.  It holds quite firmly to the camera’s carrying point.  This is one main feature of the BosStrap that I feel will be most appealing to the majority of you.  But perhaps the most appealing feature is it’s price point: The BosStrap starts at $39.95 (USD).  It is therefore the most economical of the sling style strap solutions – and I don’t feel there is any quality-trade off.

In the end, I feel the BosStrap is a great product.  It is worthy of consideration if you are headed down the sling-style camera strap route.

As of this writing, the BosStrap is available from the official BosStrap website.

Things We Liked

  • Smallest alternative camera strap that we’ve seen.
  • BosTail fastens to your camera’s strap loops which are designed to take such loads.  It also keeps your tripod socket available for its intended purpose.
  • Durable and flexible seat-belt-like strap.
  • Far more comfortable than a traditional neck strap.

Things We Didn’t Like

  • The TriggerLoc clasp is a little too easy to open.

Updates:

  • Regarding Camera Strap Eyelets (April 29, 2011) – One of our readers raised a good question and concern (see discussion below) concerning the viability of fastening any strap to the Camera’s strap eyelets.  The concern is that the camera’s strap eyelets/posts may not be an ideal fastening point if only one of the eyelets was used, as would be the case with the BosStrap and other sling style straps.  Such posts are intended to be used with a strap at both eyelets/posts, after all.  It was a viable concern, and so I got in touch with BosStrap to see if I could garner any further insight.  As it turns out, BosStrap did indeed consult with repair technicians and test such posts and eyelets to see really what they could handle.  Their findings were that the straps did not fail until about 125 lbs, and no posts that were tested showed any sign of failure with 60 lbs (their initial test)  of force.  Bottom line:  The 60 lbs of force should be plenty enough for your gear.  Granted, if you’re swinging your camera with your heaviest lens over your head, it could cause failure – but we don’t condone such practices with your gear anyhow.
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About Author

D. Travis North is a professional Landscape Architect, a Freelance Photographer and founder of Shutter Photo. Ever since he picked up his first SLR, his father's Nikon N2000, he's been hooked on photography. Travis likes to photograph urban environments, architectural details and has a new-found interest in close-up photography. His work can be found at D. Travis North Photography. Follow Travis on twitter: @dtnorth.

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