In early September of 2011 I went to the LA County Fair. During my six hour visit with friends something happened to my camera that has never occurred before or since: my Canon 1D Mark IV camera body literally fell off of my lens and made expedient contact with the pavement three feet below it. After recovering from my embarrassment I figured it was an unfortunate, freak accident and left it at that… until I read this article at Wired about pickpockets that steal lenses right off of camera bodies.
I spent the majority of the day either holding my lens between my arms or carrying it like an assault rifle. A couple of hours later, however, the 10lbs of camera I was holding began to get heavy. Enter, the BlackRapid R7 camera strap. My R7 has saved my back after countless 10 hour weddings and weekend-long music festivals — I swear by it.
I was standing against a wall watching someone do their best at the mechanic bull ride (< that is a slightly NSFW youtube link) with my BlackRapid R7 Strap attached to my 70-200 lens which was itself connected to my 1D Mark IV (see the crappy cell phone picture above). The camera was slung over my shoulder so it came to hang just below my waist. I was laughing with some friends of mine when suddenly I feel the weight shift on my shoulder and a hollow *thunk* on the pavement. I looked down in surprise to see my clean, new camera body come to rest face down after literally bouncing off the hot black top of the Pomona Fair Grounds.
All I could do was stare disbelief for the first few moments. How on earth did my camera simply fall off of my lens? After locking the lens on to the body you would have to have superhuman arm strength to rip it out of it’s perch. For the next week I was struggling to find a rational explanation. Perhaps I didn’t have it on the whole way? Maybe, as I was absentmindedly fiddling with the camera, I depressed the button and twisted the body at the same time? No matter what situation I came up with nothing fit.
Then I read the Wired article and it hit me. 70-200′s with the tri-pod collars aren’t very common at county fairs (who would be dumb enough to bring one?) and BlackRapid straps are not terribly common either. The potential thief, not knowing exactly what he was getting into, tried to get the lens off the camera but didn’t realize it was the lens that was secured. Thankfully all he (or she) did to the tank-that-is-my-Canon-1D was scuff up a corner next to the vertical-grip shutter.
I’ll be the first to admit that I am pretty naive. I didn’t think for a minute that bringing a big camera to a huge group of people would make it a target (six years shooting Coachella helped form that idea). I’ve been recommending BlackRapid straps to my friends and colleagues since I bought mine, now I can add “confuses dim-witted criminals” to my list of talking points!