|Op/Tech Weight Reduction System
by Jim McGee
The ads say "Makes Cameras, Videos & Binoculars feel 50% Lighter".
That will get your attention if you carry around a lot of heavy gear. The question is - does it really work as well as advertised?
The answer is a qualified - almost.
When strolling past a booth at PMA I noticed a display for the Op/Tech strap that had the strap attached to a brick with an old lens glued to it. Having had many a day where my camera felt like a brick around my neck by days end I could appreciate the humor so I tried it out.
I was so pleasantly surprised that when I returned from PMA I bought Op/Tech straps for all of my camera bodies. Now with a couple of months using the straps I've found that they have some cons as well as pros.
First of all the straps do work. The straps spring and flex which acts as a shock absorber taking some of the strain off your neck. By the end of a long day this really makes a difference. The straps also include a quick release so you can easily disconnect them while packing your camera bag, something I've grown to appreciate.
The problem I have with these straps comes when I want to carry more than one body. When working in situations where I don't want to carry a camera bag, I throw a mid range zoom on one body and a tele-zoom on another. The camera with the mid-range goes around my neck and the body with the tele goes over my shoulder. The problem that I found with the Op/Tech straps is that the strap over my shoulder tends to slide off - a pretty serious problem with all those dollars hanging at the end of the strap!
My old straps had a rubberized coating on one side which worked great used this way but really tended to irritate the back of my neck on hot days.
With the Op/Tech it appears that the very construction that makes it so good at absorbing shocks would make it difficult to apply any kind of a non-slip coating as the strap constantly expands and flexes in use.
So the qualification is this: if your camera strap(s) primarily gets used around your neck and you're shooting with heavy bodies and lenses, this is a great product. Just don't throw that body over your shoulder or you might have an expensive oops on your hands.
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