Product Review: BlackRapid Slim Double Strap DR-2

I’m a 2-camera shooter, and I’ve been using the manufacturer straps for years.  I got used to angling one shoulder to keep a strap from slipping while I shot with the other camera, but it still had problems because my shooting hand would often get tangled in the strap or get in the way because of where the straps attach to the camera.

The solution to these problems:  The BlackRapid double strap!  All their straps attach at the bottom of the camera with a solid stainless steel connector.  This means the strap is never in the way because it will always be below your camera when you are shooting!  Just this past month, BlackRapid added the DR-2 to their line of products.  The DR-2 is a slimmer version of their original double strap, the DR-1.

Here is what I wanted to know:

* Is the Slim Double Strap DR-2 comfortable to wear after hours of shooting?

* How do the double camera straps fit on a woman’s body?

* Is the slimmer DR-2 just as padded and durable as the DR-1?

* Are there any constraints or downfalls to having a double strap?

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Please note: I do not work for BlackRapid, so I’m not going to talk about the technical specs, like measurements and materials or how to adjust the straps.  This review is for photographers who shoot with 2 camera bodies and would like to hear another photographer’s opinion of the DR-2.

So let’s start with a visual comparison between the Slim DR-2 and the original DR-1

[ DR-1 vs DR-2 COMPARISON ]

The Front

It’s clear as day:  the DR-2 (bottom left) is much smaller than the original DR-1 (bottom right).

But here’s the thing!  I don’t consider myself petite by any definition, as I am 5’8″ with broad shoulders — and let’s not even get into the added Baby Weight — so, I assumed the one with wider straps would be more comfortable for my body.  Not necessarily!

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“Baby’s Got Back!”

Though there is a lofty difference in size, the Slim DR-2 was just as comfortable as the original DR-1.

In fact, I noticed the biggest difference in comfort in the back because the shape of the DR-2 fit better across my shoulder blades, which made it easier to move around than the DR-1. 

This was the biggest shock because I thought the wider the padding, the more comfort!  This was not the case.

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“Grandma!  What Wide Straps You Have!”

For the majority of photographers who fall into the “average” body size range, choosing between the DR-1 and DR-2 is more a matter of taste.

I found that both straps fit my frame, and I was only able to detect a noticeable difference in comfort when I tried them on with cameras and lenses attached, one strap after the other.  This is definitely worth the extra research time when you’re wearing these bad boys for several tireless hours, and they’re holding up heavy (not to mention, expensive) equipment!

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[ THE DETAILS ]

The Underside and Thickness

The underside of the straps are really soft, so it’s comfortable to wear for long periods of time.  The outer material is durable and lightweight.

The thickness of the straps are about the same.  See the below right photo.  I bet you can’t even tell which strap is which!

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FastenR-3 Connectors

Screwed to the bottom of your camera or long zoom lens, these weighty little guys are made of material even superheros couldn’t break!  Your cameras will stay safely secured upside-down.  Comfort and durability are important features to look for in camera straps, but how securely they hold your gear is numero uno!

There is a rubber piece under each hardware that keep the connectors sealed tight to your camera.  If you give it a little moisture (aka, water or spit ), it will create a tighter seal.

As part of my pre-photoshoot preparation, I will still check that all screws and connectors are tight.  But so far, it has never loosened on me during a photoshoot or surprised me during my pre-shoot prep.

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[ CONCLUSION ]

* The DR2 was surprisingly more comfortable than the DR1 for me.  (I thought the DR1 would fit my frame better since I don’t consider myself “petite”, so this was a surprise!)  This means, if you fall within the “average” body size range (whether you are a man or a woman), I suggest you try them both out before you stick to one.  It’ll be worth your time!

* The durability and quality were the same for both straps.  When BlackRapid made the DR2 “slimmer”, they only meant narrower, not thinner!  Phew.

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* Shooting with my camera bodies hanging upside-down was a natural way to shoot.  Since the straps are adjustable, I put my cameras at the length of my arm, so I could easily grab one and shoot at a moment’s notice.  For the first time, I didn’t have an instance where my straps were in the way!

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* I also preferred the DR-2 when it came to fitting better for a woman’s body.  Because of the narrower padded straps above the chest, the straps sat more out-of-the-way.

* Shooting with the DR-2 meant that I no longer needed to tilt one of my shoulders.  It was so nice to not have to worry about my straps slipping off my shoulders!

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The negatives:

* Everything was sooooo secure that there was no easy way to detach my camera from the straps when I needed to hold it far from my body, which I often do when I am shooting babies and children who are running with me or crawling on the ground.  I need a Quick Release feature!  (This probably doesn’t impact most photographers, but I wanted to mention it because it’s something that effects the way I shoot.)

* With the hardware screwed tightly on the bottom of my camera bodies and 70-200mm lens, my cameras can no longer sit flat, which I like to do for stabilization when I shoot near a flat surface.

All in all, these are small prices to pay for added security, comfort to my neck and back, and ease of shooting with the straps out of the way!  And there are ways to work around these issues.  I highly recommend the BlackRapid DR-2!


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22 Comments

  1. Thank you for the wonderful review!
    I completely agree with you that the BlackRapid systems could defnitely benefit from having a quick release feature! As for the camera not being able to sit flat – my solution is to use the Manfrotto quick release plate with the BlackRapid FasteneR-T1. This combination now allows the camera to sit flat, attach to tripod/monopod – and still easily attach to the BlackRapid straps.
    Happy Shooting!
    Dawn.

  2. Dawn, that is a fabulous idea! Thank you! I will use that ‘trick’ for sure!

  3. Great review, thank you for sharing

  4. Thank you for your review. I’ve looked at BlackRapid products before but not quite sure how I would like having a camera upside down but after reading your review I’m ready to make a purchase thank you for sharing.

  5. Mitch, I’m so glad to hear my review was helpful to you!

  6. Bill YEung

    so cool. it will suit my 7D and 70-200mm lens
    will sort out how it connect it to my quick release plate on my camera and 200mmm lens.

  7. you did a great job of showing the Rstrap.. thanks so much.
    Ron Henry Founder of Blackrapid

  8. Thanks for the review Annie! I’ve been thinking about the BlackRapid straps for a bit now–trying to decide between the single and double…your review helps a lot- thanks for sharing!

  9. Taphath

    Thank you so much for this review, I have been wondering which one to get that would be more comfy for a girl. After your review, I am going to go with the DR-2. I have had an RS-W1 for a while and love it, but I got it when I only had one camera. Now that I shoot with two I am looking for an upgrade. Your review was very helpful in making the decision between the two easier.

  10. Hi Annie,
    great review! i have a question though. Is the sternum strap on the DR-2 removable? i’m looking at pictures of yours and it appears that it is. but then i look at pictures on the site, and it doesnt have the same slits.

  11. Annie

    Hi James! I just double-checked the DR-2 and the answer is yes! You can remove the sternum strap and also detach the horizontal strap on the back to turn the DR-2 into a single camera strap! I haven’t done that yet, but plan to review that in comparison to a BlackRapid RS-W1.

    I hope that answered your question!

  12. I have been shooting with the DR-1 for years. As another two camera shooter (mostly concert photography) I find these straps invaluable. They are well worth the money you pay for them and I can’t shoot without them. Thanks for this review.

  13. Tim

    To create a quick release system you could use a Manfrotto RC2 (200PL-14 to be accurate) plate with a Manfrotto MN323 quick release platform. You then screw the FastenR-3 into the bottom of the MN323 and use the RC2 tripod plate on the camera in the usual way. You can see the MN323 plates in use with my DR2 in the image here….

    http://tinyurl.com/MN323

  14. Excellent review. I’ve been a Black Rapid fan from the beginning, as I have two RS-7s, a WS-1 (for my partner), and now a DR-2.

    I’ve never been a two camera shooter, because I’m rarely in a situation where I truly need instant lens chances. Even with weddings, I’ve always had a second shooter, and enough time to switch from my lens bag. It’s only now that my live concert photography has reached national-act status where I no longer have the time. When you only have three songs to photograph, and you’re in a photo pit with several other photographers… and there is sweat, and water flying around… lens changes can be risky.

    But anyway, I agree whole-heartedly that the DR-2 is actually the way to go for most people. I’m going to be writing up my own review this week, and something I want to hit on that none of the other reviews have… is it’s ability to function as a single strap when the double is not required. I haven’t used it in the real-world yet, but I’m shocked at how great it feels when you have it converted to a single… dare I say, better than my RS-7s? I think I may just sell them. ;-)

  15. Hi Sean!

    I love that you are a long-time user of Black Rapid! I wish I had discovered BR products sooner.

    It’s funny you mentioned reviewing the double straps converted into a single strap because I was going to do the same thing! I’m sure we will have different takes on the review and perhaps even different opinions on it. I am waiting for something from Black Rapid, and then I’ll be able to give it a proper review.

    Take good care and happy shooting!

    Annie

  16. Indra

    was looking out for Blackrapid review and found your blog. Thank you!! :)

  17. I’m glad you found my product review helpful, Indra!

  18. murray nz

    thanks for the excellent review

  19. Cyril Ng

    Great review! Wish I had read this before I bought a similar wider padded but non-separable, non-BR double strap rig! :(

  20. Thanks for your comment, Cyril! Sorry you didn’t see my review until after you had already purchased something. Well, if you’re unhappy with that one, maybe you can sell it online and put the money towards a BlackRapid double strap system! The comfort, security and ease of shooting make it worth every penny!

  21. heyy…this is one of the nicest and most authentic reviews i’ve come across. and that across various categories of reviews one keeps reading across the net!
    thanks a bunch for making the decision so much simpler.

  22. Thank you so much for this review! I have been trying to figure out if this pricy gear was worth the money and which one I needed. The technical jargon doesn’t quite give the needed details I need to make a decision and you’ve cleared it up. Thanks again