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Black Rapid RS W1

The search for the perfect way to carry a camera has led me on a hunt for camera bags, backpacks, and bags with enough space for both a camera and lens.

Little did I know that an award-winning company out of Seattle has perfected the art of wearing my DSLR in style, while saving my neck in the process. Black Rapid, makers of an assortment of straps, fasteners, and add-ons for smart phones, now carries the RS-W1, specifically designed by women photographers to fit a woman’s build.

Black Rapid recently sent me an RS-W1 to check out for reviewing. Out of the box, the strap comes folded and secured with a band. Attached to the strap is the FastenR, the steel screw that connects to your camera’s tripod mount, and the ConnectR, a steel carabiner. After unfolding the strap, check under the padded area for the keeper, a small plastic open clip. It will come in handy when taking up extra strap length after adjustment.

Black Rapid RS W1

Once you’ve adjusted the length to fit your body, the extra strap comes off of the webbing and gets put back into a plastic loop. The keeper gets that (now folded) extra length of strap.

Black Rapid RS W1

A small instruction booklet is included in the box with the strap, but I found it easier to refer to the website’s own video for proper placement and adjustments. I’m 5’4″, so I needed to take up a good amount of excess strap in order to attain the correct ‘at the hip’ length for attaching the camera.

Black Rapid RS W1

The above photo shows the excess strap that later gets tucked into the keeper (photo below), the aforementioned small clip located on the back of the RS-W1.

Black Rapid RS-W1 keeper

All Black Rapid straps are meant to be worn sling-style over the shoulder. The big plus about these straps is in the ease of shooting. There are two bumpers (aka ‘brakes’) that snap into place on each side of the fastener, securely holding your DSLR.

Black Rapid RS W1

The bumpers will help stabilize your camera when you’re on the move. By releasing the front bumper, the camera freely glides up and down the strap so you can be ready to shoot at an instant. The back bumper prevents the camera from moving too far away from your hip. It’s also helpful against theft, knowing that the camera won’t move too far back there!

Black Rapid RS W1

I tested the strap first with a prime 35mm and later a heavier 18-200 mm, both attached to my Nikon D90. It does take some getting used to, as the bulk of your equipment is now at the hip. I walked around town without too many people around, but I would consider keeping my camera closer to me if I were to encounter a large crowd at an event. As well, your camera is now upside down, a small trade-off for having your hands free.

Black Rapid RS W1

I was able to freely move about with both weights of lens.

Black Rapid RS W1

Pros:
I love this strap’s simple, stylish design, with the subtle floral fabric pattern. The curvy shape is comfortable against my body. There’s also a ballistic nylon version available (also in black).

The FastenR attaches quickly and easily to the camera and I feel secure in using a bit of muscle with the ConnectR to get a tight fit. The video suggests making sure that it’s on there tight enough, but not to go overboard.

Black Rapid RS W1

The strap comes with a one year replacement warranty, but given the fact that Black Rapid straps are constructed of ripstop nylon and sturdy webbing and both the FastenR and ConnectR are made of high grade steel, I don’t think I’ll need to replace this strap for a long time.

Cons:
You’ll need to remove the RS-W1’s FastenR when using a tripod, as the FastenR screws right onto that bottom part of the camera.

Black Rapid RS W1

The RS-W1 retails in the States for $58.95 and is available in stores around Vancouver.
Disclosure note: I was sent the Black Rapid RS-W1 for the purpose of writing this review: cmply.2

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10 Comments

  • Comment by Antoine — September 8, 2011 @ 11:11 am

    Nice addition to the Rapid line. We love the RS-7s we bought last year for our 2 Canon DSLRs. Great pix too.

  • Comment by Candy W. — September 8, 2011 @ 11:46 am

    I like it!! Looks pretty solid. Getting tired of hanging a heavy camera round my neck as well.

  • Comment by TylerIngram — September 21, 2011 @ 4:06 pm

    I have 2x RS-7 and a Sport too. Love them!!

  • Comment by Christian — September 21, 2011 @ 4:49 pm

    great review! I love my RS-7!

    If you have a Manfrotto tripod (or just have the head/release plate), there’s a fastener (FR-T1) used specifically for it.

  • Comment by Katrin — September 21, 2011 @ 8:58 pm

    It is a great strap, I just bought it and am very happy with it. Isn’t it possible to screw snap it on the tripod “plate”? Well, my tripod has a thing that is screwed to the camera as well and I think that the black rapid could be snapped onto this bit. (Haven’t checked it though ’cause I very rarely use the tripod.

  • Comment by arianec — September 21, 2011 @ 11:23 pm

    Thanks, guys!

    @Christian and @Katrin, I have a simple tripod so no, nothing with that possibility.

    I have read that Black Rapid are planning on coming out with a product that will accommodate the tripod without having to unscrew the bolt from the camera.

  • Comment by Alan Lawrence — December 9, 2013 @ 9:32 am

    Hey, thanks for the nice writeup on our strap. We also have the KICK which is a new strap made just for women as well. Enjoy!

  • Comment by Ariane Colenbrander — December 9, 2013 @ 11:08 am

    Hi Alan,
    Thanks for checking out our site! I will have a look at the KICK online 🙂

  • Pingback by JOBY's UltraFit Sling Strap | Vancouverscape — July 2, 2014 @ 7:43 pm

    […] review without drawing comparisons to Black Rapid’s RS-W1, a ladies’ DSLR strap that I reviewed last year. After all, the two straps are similar in features and […]

  • Pingback by Reviewed: JOBY UltraFit Hand Strap with UltraPlate | Vancouverscape — September 15, 2014 @ 12:25 pm

    […] At 58 grams (0.13 pounds), the strap will also work with a standard 1/4”-20 tripod mount as well as any Arca-Swiss quick-release system, bullhead or monopod. Via two additional 1/4″-20 mounting holes, you can use the UltraFit with a bottom-mounted sling camera strap (see my earlier reviews for JOBY’s UltraFit Sling Strap and Black Rapid’s RS-W1 Camera Strap). […]

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