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Pro-Tip: Safety Cords

11/15/2023


No bird pictures this post. Just a quick post about a $4 piece of equipment that saved my camera and my trip, recently. I promise - bird pics in the next post.


I mostly hand-hold when shooting. I find it easier. To carry the camera in the field, I use a camera strap. Nothing special about the strap; it is just the standard nylon webbing strap with a clip that attaches to the camera. The clip is cheap metal and attaches to a harder metal button that screws into the camera or lens foot. The clip wears over time. The end result can look something like this.


In the end, it was the safety cord that saved me. I had finished shooting and simply let the camera down to my side. This is not a drop or anything jolting. I slowly lowered the camera to my waist until the strap took hold and the camera hung from it. At this point, I reached for my binocs to look at something. As soon as I took my hand off the camera, I noticed it was banging against my knee. I looked down and the camera is dangling from the safety cord. The clip had failed. Instead of a potentially trip-ending accident, I was saved. It was a rather painful day of physically carrying the lens the rest of the day, but at least the camera was safe.


What is this miraculous safety cord? It is pretty simple, and you can see it in the photo above. The safety cord is a simple screw-gate carabiner with a bit of shock cord attached to it. It fastens to the box of the clip (not the clip itself) and then either the camera body or the foot of the lens. I prefer the foot. Here is what is should look like.

In the event the clip fails, the box of the clip is still attached to the strap, and the cord is attached to the foot. This will hold the camera - or at least keep it from crashing to the ground.


Luckily, the guide had a backup solution I could use. I could not find an exact match to what he had, but I have since purchased a similar backup solution. This is what I got. Note: I do NOT recommend this type of carabiner. I have purchased a locking gate carabiner, but it has not come in yet. This is just for a visual demonstration.


This is a simple D-ring that has an eye large enough to accommodate a standard carabiner. In the event the clip breaks, I can use this to rig a backup solution until I can properly replace the strap. This backup solution is light enough and small enough to easily throw in my travel gear without taking up a lot of space.


The backup setup looks like this. Again, the carabiner is for demo. Get one with a locking gate.

Sorry about the blurry pic. So, the idea is that the button typically used for the clip is replaced by the new D-ring. The carabiner fits through the ring and then attaches to the strap. The safety cord is left attached to the box of the broken clip; allowing it to still serve its purpose. This setup rattles a bit. It also does not slide as well. It is usable, though, and is a lot better than just carrying the camera by hand.


Anyway, I just wanted to share. I hope this helps.


Thanks for reading,

Mike



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