Product Review: BlackRapid W1 & a split DR-2

This review answers some questions that I’ve received from other photographers.  It focuses on the two BlackRapid straps that are suited for women photographers:  the single strap RS W1 and the slim double strap RS DR-2 (divided into a single strap).  This review can also be helpful to any photographer who is interested in the double strap system and wonders how it performs as a single camera strap.

Some photographers want to know:

Is the RS W1 really that comfortable for women photographers?  A strap is a strap, right?!

If I’m a two-camera shooter most of the time, but want to shoot with one camera some of the times, do I need to get two different straps or can I just split my RS DR-2 (or DR-1) into a single strap?

How comfortable is a split DR-2?


First, let’s go over the double strap conversion…

Double Strap to Single Strap, Presto!

To change your DR-2 (or DR-1) into a single strap, simply detach the velcro in the back that connects the pads that sit on your shoulder blades.

Black-Rapid-taking-apart-the-DR2-strap

That took about one second.  Two, if I were blindfolded.

You can also remove the sternum strap, but I left it on because that’s what I’d normally do.  I don’t want to have pieces I need to keep track of, and I like being able to make quick conversions between single and double straps.

Black-Rapid-DR2-strap-split-up

[PRODUCT DETAILS]

Side-by-Side Comparison:  the Split DR-2 vs. the W1

Black-Rapid-W1-and-DR2-straps-side-by-side

The W1 (below right) has a narrower strap, but the padded portion is longer since it was made to be worn across your body.

The W1 also has the “C” curve, made to contour with the curves of a woman’s body.

The split DR-2 (below left) is wider and the padding is thicker, but the padded area is shorter since it was made to hang down from your shoulder.

Black-Rapid-W1-and-DR2-straps-side-by-side-2

There is also a difference in thickness.

The DR-2 (below left) has significantly thicker padding than the W1 (below right).

Black-Rapid-W1-and-DR2-strap-thickness

The ballistic nylon strap, the stainless steel hardware… they all have the same heavy duty quality details of signature BlackRapid products.

Black-Rapid-strap-hardware

[PRODUCT FIELD TEST]

How Does it Hang?

The split DR-2 (below left) felt very comfortable with the thick padding.  It made my 24-70/2.8 feel light on my shoulders!

Wearing the W1 felt like putting on an old pair of jeans.  It looked and felt good!

When compared to the split DR-2, the W1 felt noticeably thinner in the padding department, but the W1 was perfectly comfortable.

Black-Rapid-front-of-split-DR2-strap Black-Rapid-front-of-W1-strap

How Does it Move?

Below Left:  I found that the nylon portion of the DR-2 moved around more than a dedicated single strap — probably because of the shorter padding.  (The underside of the padding sort of grips your body, so there is less sliding around.)

Below Right:  The W1 hugged my body where I wanted, in the front and in the back.

Black-Rapid-back-of-split-DR2-strap Black-Rapid-back-of-W1-strap

The Final Test

The final test was wearing both straps with the same camera and lens combo for the same length of time.  Which strap was more comfortable?

***The W1***

For a short shoot, either strap would work.  They both have their pros and cons:  the DR-2 is cushier, the W2 wiggles less, etc.

But if I had to shoot with one camera for over an hour, I would choose the W1 over a split double strap because the W1 stays where I want it.  I’d also pick the W1 over any other dedicated single strap!

Let’s face it.  For a woman’s body, you need a strap with a “C” curve and a strap that doesn’t slide over to or onto your girlie parts! (Hey, I tell it like it is!)

I don’t want to embarrass myself TOO much — though sometimes I can’t help it — but I really can’t make my point here without a photo!  <:)

So below is a shot of me with the split DR-2 after an hour of wear.  The nylon portion of the strap shifted on my body in a less-than-flattering way.  (There were images that *ehem* proved this point more, but I’m not posting those!  You get the idea.)

Black-Rapid-front-of-split-DR2-strap_lifestyle

[FINAL CONCLUSIONS]

1.  For Men Photographers:  If you are a two camera shooter who sometimes shoots with one camera, you are in luck.  Get a DR-1 or DR-2 and call it a day!  (Read my double strap review, which compares the DR-1 and DR-2.)  You can split your double strap and turn it into a sweet single strap in an instant, saving you time and money.

The only exceptions are if you are a bigger dude who needs a longer strap, then I’d get a dedicated single strap; or if you are the rock-climbing, bungee cord-jumping kind of photographer, then you will benefit from a specialized strap, like the RS Sport.  It’ll be worth the investment.

2.  For Women Photographers:  If you are a two camera shooter who sometimes shoots with one camera, then get a double strap AND a W1.  Though a split double strap would work, you would save yourself from the discomfort and embarrassment of squished girlie parts!

3.  The W1 is one sleek and sexy strap!

Los-Altos-Wedding-Photography-annie-with-BlackRapid-W1-blog

Thank you, BlackRapid, for providing these straps for me to review!

Leave a comment on Facebook!

4 Comments

  1. I love that you tell it like it is! I have no need for fancy camera straps, but always enjoy your blog. Also very nice to see pictures of you :-) Hope all is well!

  2. Kelley, you are much too kind! Thank you for reading the review, even though you aren’t even in the market for a strap! =:) I cringe when I have to be in front of the camera these days, but HAD to do it for this review as I needed to test out the products as well as show how they hang and move.

  3. Great review – honest, clear, and succinct. Fantastic product photos.

  4. Thanks, Rob! Glad you enjoyed it.