As most camera users would know, a DSLR tends to be bulky and heavy (particularly depending on your lens). To the best of my knowledge all DSLRs come with a neck strap with prominently displayed brand and model embroidered on for the world to see. Personally I detest the neck strap as it can put a lot of pressure on my neck, particularly bad in hot weather with sweat thrown into the mix. My pet hate is advertising to the world what camera I am carrying and looking like I'm a tourist when I least want to attract attention carrying expensive gear around.
As a result I have a tendency to carry my camera in a pouch that does not scream camera and dispense with the neck strap altogether. I have used a hand strap with my previous DSLR, the Canon EOS 450D, but the experience was less than ideal. Without naming names I will make some comparisons to highlight what is important to me as a photographer.
In most cases my first impression of a product is when it arrives in my hands. With the Camdapter it will be remiss of me to start at that point. Before the product arrived I exchanged emails with Jim Garavuso seeking his advice on what will best work for me. I have been through his website but did not find the answers I was looking for. Right from the start Jim was prompt, informative and extremely easy to liaise with, he gave me the advice I needed and recommended the correct plate to match my equipment.
The Camdapter Hand Strap System consists of two components - the Hand Strap and an Adapter. The Hand Strap is available in leather and suedes, and is the part that goes over your knuckles as you hold your camera. The Hand Strap that came in my review kit is a black kidskin "ProStrap" which is actually pretty good quality leather.
The Adapter is the part that makes the system work by securing to the tripod mounting point and provides a pin for the Hand Strap to attach to at the bottom of the camera. The Adapter is machined from satin black anodised aluminium.
One of the things that I really appreciate with the Camdapter is the step by step instructions that come with the product. It is double sided A4 piece of paper with clear good size photos and text to accompany each step of getting the Camdapter onto your camera to work. Believe me this is refreshing as the last one I got had no instructions, took me ages and I never got it right.
Getting the Camdapter on my camera took about 2 minutes, a little longer to adjust it over my hand in my normal shooting position. All up it probably took about 8 minutes and it was done.
I settled into using the Camdapter pretty naturally. It felt snug but did not need to be too tight before I feel it to be secure. The design allows it to flex and move a little with my hand as I work with the camera which was great. The Camdapter felt really comfortable and it did not restrict my finger movements, best of all it feels natural to use. It certainly was worlds apart from my old hand strap.
One feature I really value about the Camdapter is that it is designed not to change how you use your camera. The Adapter plate is large enough to be stable but does not interfere with the battery door operation. My previous hand strap requires me to remove the plate completely to get access to the battery door which is extremely annoying. With the Camdapter I can easily gain access to the battery without having to unscrew the Adapter.
The tripod mount is on the Adapter itself rather than a passthrough screw. This allows me to tighten the Adapter to the right tension and securely mount my tripod head separately. Again in comparison with my old hand strap with the passthrough screw, I had found myself having to over tighten each component to keep the tripod head from moving in the vertical position and resulting in having great difficulties removing everything to get at the battery and reassembling it all back together.
The Camdapter comes with an Allen key for installation. It is even attached to a piece of leather embossed with "Camdapter" so you do not mix it up with other tools in your kit. A lovely touch!
The Camdapter is a very simple but well thought out piece of kit. The clear concise instructions makes installation a breeze. The Camdapter Hand Strap System suits my shooting style beautifully, and I love being able to access my battery for recharging without having to remove all the attachments to my camera.
The Camdapter Adapter starts from USD$30 and Handstraps start from USD$25. There are a variety of choices for the Adapters and Handstraps to suit different cameras and personal taste. Camdapter systems are available for point and shoot cameras as well. More details available on the Camdapter website. I understand the website will be undergoing a revamp shortly to make it more friendly, but as my experience has shown Jim has been extremely helpful over email. Kudos for excellent customer service.