One of the perennial problems of hiking with a decent camera is lugging the gear around.
The camera, in particular, is a problem. With a traditional camera neck strap, the camera not only swings all over the place, but it gets in the way when you bend down. If I keep my camera in my pack, then it takes ages to get at it, and most of the time I just don’t bother taking pictures, it’s too much trouble. A neck strap is just as much of an issue when I’m working in a church, it gets in the way, and taking communion with a camera strapped around your neck is not exactly an inconspicuous way of working. Finally carrying a camera on a neck strap gives me a neck and backache — even with the small and light Fuji’s.
… it’s one of the most useful pieces of camera gear I’ve bought …
I have found an excellent solution to the problem. I first saw the Peak Design Capture Clip several years ago. It lets you clip your camera to a belt or strap and it has a quick-release lock that holds the camera in place so that it cannot accidentally fall out. However, two things put me off buying one at the time. First was the price, and secondly, I didn’t want the big heavy Nikon hanging off of my belt or backpack.
Having ditched the Nikon, and wanting to take more pictures while I’m hiking and backpacking (if I say I’ll be going hiking and backpacking, just maybe I will actually get out more), I decided that the time was right to buy one.
Expensive it is — well-made it is too. There is a lot of attention to detail, and Peak Design provides a lifetime warranty. There’s no fear of it falling out, it’s out of the way and instantly accessible.
- Would I buy another? Yes, it’s an essential bit of gear for me.
- Would I recommend buying one? Absolutely.
Update after five years’ use
Quite simply it is a must-have piece of gear for me. It works very well and allows me to take my camera everywhere without a bag, hands-free, and without it swinging in the way. I’ve used it on planes, in cars, I’ve backpacked hundreds of miles in all weathers with it, at work I’ve used it in loads of church services and events. It is discrete, it is great.
Tip: Always lock the release button If you fit the clip to your belt and you will be sitting down. It is possible to accidentally release the camera by various body parts (your leg for example) pushing in the release button. This can (and will) result in a dropped camera. It’s not a fault of the clip, the locking mechanism is there, just make sure you use it.
I see the Capture Pro V3 is now available on Amazon (I bought mine direct from Peak Design).
Monopod / Tripod
The Capture Pro’s ARCA-SWISS style camera baseplate also dealt with another problem. I’ve been looking for a monopod I can use when I’m shooting in a church. I can’t maneuver a tripod around in the middle of a service, but carrying a monopod — especially collapsed, should be easy.
My first-step towards getting a monopod was to purchase an ARCA-SWISS compatible ball-head for my existing tripod. No sooner had I researched and ordered a ball-head, than a special offer came up on a tripod that converts to a monopod and is fitted with a removable ball-head. The cost of the tripod was the same as buying a monopod and ball-head. As an added bonus it allows me to retire my existing tripod which has a missing foot, is huge even when collapsed, and weighs a ton. Sold!
I sent the ball-head mount I’d just bought back (which was a shame is it was a very nice one) and ordered the new tripod. My initial impressions of which are that it is so much lighter and easier to use than my old one. I hope this means I’ll be using it a lot more, certainly I will have fewer excuses for handheld shallow depth of field images. We shall see.
The tripod’s makers claim (in Chinglish) that the monopod can be used as an “Alpenstock”. If it really can be counted on to replace my hiking pole, that might be another advantage. Though I’m not so sure I want to use one of the legs of my tripod in the mud and rocks of the Ozark’s trails, let alone immersed in the creeks and puddles.
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