In the past, we’ve reviewed a number of products that are designed to make carrying your camera easier and more convenient. One could spend a good deal of money finding the right tool for the task. But sometimes, the simplest of gadgets are all one needs. The Camera Strap Buddy was brought to my attention as one of those gadgets. Playing off of one key component of the many alternative camera straps that exist on the market today, the Camera Strap Buddy simply adds an extra strap fastening point – via your camera’s tripod mount. With the Camera Strap Buddy, you are now able to use any traditional camera strap that you probably already own. You hang the camera across your chest – just like the alternative camera straps – and the camera hangs at your side. By repositioning the left strap point to the bottom of the camera, your camera now hangs with the lens pointed straight down. This carrying position is much more comfortable with some of your larger lenses.
In practice, it works quite well. I traditionally carry my 18-135mm zoom lens mounted when traveling about and shooting street style photography. The Camera Strap Buddy did all that was promised – the camera hung at my side, lens pointed downward, ready for a quick-draw. The Buddy swivels so that your camera strap never gets tangled and it can be easily untwisted. The swivel action also allows it to hang in the ideal position at your side. In general, I consider the Camera Strap Buddy to be a great value – such a simple gadget that does so very much.
Nothing is without it’s pitfalls, however. I am always wary of camera carrying solutions that fasten to the tripod mount. If you’re not carrying a tripod, this is not as much of a concern. And I admit that this is a pet peeve of my own. But there are quite a few occasions where one might want the option to use a tripod or monopod. The Camera Strap Buddy is easy enough to unscrew – and you can quickly remove if as necessary. One could argue that the device could easily be removed in a pinch when the use of a tripod was necessary. However, the strap-fastening ring – the part that allows the camera strap to swivel around it’s bolt – is not directly fastened to the bolt. In other words, if you remove the bolt, you risk the possibility of losing the bolt since it is not attached. I’d pay an extra few bucks for a version of the Camera Strap Buddy that remained attached to its bolt.
The other potential flaw is not the flaw of the Camera Strap Buddy itself. Therefore, I only mention this as a warning to potential consumers. The Buddy works best if you have the right strap. With a nice after-market camera strap made from a seat belt, the Buddy worked best. The camera strap was a bit longer than normal, and the strap did not have any rubber or friction points that are designed to keep the strap in place. The strap slid nicely as I lifted my camera to my eye. However, when I used the gadget with the camera strap that came with my camera – albeit, something I often recommend against – the strap was too short and had a rubber anti-slip pad. The shortness of the strap prevented the camera from hanging comfortably at my side. And the anti-slip pad made it difficult to slide it into position. Again, I must point out that this is not a flaw in the device itself – just a potential issue depending on what strap you might use this with.
Street Photographers who always like to have their camera at their side will appreciate the Camera Strap Buddy. Street photographers rarely use tripods and the elimination of the tripod mount won’t be missed. I am also a firm believer in having multiple options for different situations. Sometimes, you may wish to have a traditional camera strap, other times you might want to have an alternative mounting – and the Camera Strap Buddy provides that. So while this isn’t the tool for everyone, the Camera Strap Buddy certainly has a lot to offer.
Things We Liked
- Swivel action – prevents tangles and easily untwists straps.
- Holds camera in an ideal position – especially with larger lenses.
- Great value – Less than $20 and it provides a solution similar to camera straps nearly four-times the price.
Thinks We Didn’t Like
- The Camera Strap Buddy eliminates the use of the tripod mount.
- The swivel mounting ring is not mounted to the bolt.