The Sun Sniper camera strap is a very expensive camera strap (over £40) but it looked useful for an upcoming trip, so I thought I would splash out and see how useful it is in practise.

My initial trial indicates that it is not really suitable for my purposes although I will persevere in the hope that I can get some use out of it.

Today I used it to carry a Canon 7D and 28-105 lens, it sat ok on my side and was easy to get to when a shooting opportunity arose, however it kept moving around a little and I wished it could be ‘locked’ in one place and preferably to my back and not to the side where it got in way now and then and was always in danger of being knocked.

I also want to try the Sun Sniper out when I am using a 500mm on a tripod and the Sun Sniper will be for carrying an extra camera/lens combination ready for a different type of shot. I feel that it will get in the way even more with this setup but I will try it out at the earliest opportunity and report back.

One thing I noted was that while being worn the camera was upside down and therefore did not get scratched by the metal fastening when attached to the camera tripod socket, but when taken off and put down the fastening can cause scratches to the underneath of the camera unless you detach the Sun Sniper every time you take if off. This may not be as much an issue when used with a larger lens when using the lens foot plate to attach the Sun Sniper to instead of the camera tripod socket, but the tripod foot will still get scratched. I will wait until I have done another trial before I make my mind up but at present I don’t think this product is really for me.

PLEASE READ ALL THE UPDATES BELOW AS MY PERSONAL OPINION CHANGES OVER TIME.

UPDATE September 2010

I have been away and used the strap for a second camera/lens combination (usually a 100-400 lens) and have changed my mind a little as it did prove to be quite useful.  The one draw back on my travels was that you have to take off any tripod foot on the lens so that the strap can be connected, and then put the tripod foot back on if you want to tripod mount the lens, this involved in my case carrying an allen key around with me to remove/replace the tripod foot.

Also you have to remove your normal camera strap as you cannot use both at once.

FINAL VERDICT

SEE UPDATE BELOW FOR A WAY TO OVERCOME THIS PROBLEM VVV

To sum up, the Sun-Sniper is ok for a camera and lens up to about a 100-400 f5.6  if you are sure you do not want to tripod mount your camera/lens combination because you cannot have a tripod foot attached as well as the Sun-Sniper, you also need to be ok with removing and refitting your normal camera strap when the Sun-Sniper is attached/detached but using a strap that has  a ‘quick release’ mechanism (like the OpTech Classic) overcomes this to a large extent.

UPDATE (15 September 2010)

I have just read an interesting article where someone has been using a 1 inch Arca Swiss type Quick Release Clamp attached to the Sun-Sniper…

…this means that if you use Arca Swiss type of tripod mount foot plate you can keep your tripod foot plate on the camera/lens combination and still attach the Sun-Sniper and then quickly remove the Sun-Sniper to tripod mount the camera/lens combination.  This now means that my 2 negative comments above have both been overcome 🙂

See HERE for information on the clamp.

ANOTHER UPDATE (March 2011)

THIS UPDATE HAS BEEN SUPERSEDED BY NOW USING A BLACKRAPID BRAD – SEE UPDATES BELOW FOR DETAILS.

I have been away to Yellowstone park and found this strap VERY useful, however one really annoying thing was that when I using (say) my tripod and 500mm lens with my 100-400 lens/camera on the sun-sniper strap, everytime I bent forward the 100-400/camera would dangle in front of me where it could get bashed easily and it was also in the way. The strap NEEDS away of keeping the attached lens/camera on your BACK so that it does not get in the way. I have an Optech Classic strap with Uni loops and I have attached a Uni Loop to the top of the sun-sniper near my left chest and another one on the sun-sniper clip that attaches to the lens/camera. When I need the lens/camera on the sun-sniper to be kept out the way I now connect the Optech strap to the 2 Uni Loops around my left side and this keeps the lens/camera on my back and completely out of the way. When I need that lens/camera I just undo the Optech strap that connects to the sun-sniper clip (takes all of 2 seconds and can be done blindfolded) and it is then ready to use – simples 🙂 With this mod I am now totally happy with the sun-sniper, it took a while but I got there in the end 🙂

ANOTHER UPDATE 🙂 [September 2011]

Having used the Sun Sniper on numerous occasions I have come to the conclusion that it is very good if you are photographing from the same place or not walking very far, but I found it swung around a bit too much if I was walking, having said that I have been using it with a relatively big and heavish lens (Canon 100-400) and it may (or may not) be better with a smaller lens ?

LAST UPDATE (January 2012)

Two improvements that I have made, I can confirm that a Blackrapid  BRAD http://www.blackrapid.com/product/mods/brad/ fits my Sunsniper and stops it slipping around my shoulder which is a great improvement.

I am also going to fit 2 CAM Buckles to act as stoppers again like some Black Rapid straps have, in hind sight I maybe should have got a Black Rapid in the first place but I am now very happy with the Sunsniper although I have had to make modifications to make it work for me.