Review: BlackRapid DR-1

by Johnathan Aulabaugh

  • Length: 160cm
  • Width: 9.5cm at widest
  • Topside Material: Ballistic Nylon
  • Underside Material: 1.4 cm thick Foam Pad with Knitted Mesh
  • Hand/machine washable, air dry.
  • Price: $129.95

My Thoughts:
I often find myself using 2 cameras to speed up process between switching from telephoto to wide or normal focal length lenses.   I wanted a camera strap durable with enough room for a larger person and I think the DR-1 fills these gaps very well. Also the strap can be separated and used as a single camera strap, although for someone my size might prefer to have the extension (sold separately). Comfort also plays a role with a straps performance and the DR-1 does not leave us needing any more with its foam padding soft poly mesh underside. The DR-1 is adjustable in the sling as well as a little in the back width. There are also some handy accessories like the Joey 3 to hold batteries or memory cards.

Did I mention Durable? The top side of the strap is Ballistic Nylon and the webbing is 2.5cm wide. In all things photography we think of how to protect our gear and the great folks at Black Rapid have us covered here. When the CONNECTR and FASTENR (FR-3) are linked the CONNECTR (CR-2) has a twist lock to ensure that your cameras stay on the slings.

On a recent trip to the Redwood National and State Parks I had the opportunity to photograph some elk and deer feeding in the meadows. Waking up early I slipped into my cold weather clothing, grabbed my trusty cameras hooked them up to the DR-1 and slipped out into the cold morning air. I moved as quiet as possible along the grass, making little to no noise when I noticed a slight screeching from near the cameras. It was the camera CONNECTR and the FASTENR, metal on metal rubbing... it was the first time I had noticed it but it was annoying and has left me trying to find a solution.

If I had to gripe about something with this double sling style strap it would have to be the FASTENR that comes with the strap. As a wildlife photographer there are times when fast and light is what I need so the DR-1 seems like a no brainer with one exception. The FR3 and the CR2 rub together and tend to make a little noise. On the flip side though the rubber mount on the FR3 is near genius. With most quick release plates the screw comes loose over the days use; where as the rubber on the FASTENR never budges on me. Other than that I kind of wish that the BURT extension was part of the kit since it is almost a necessity for using the DR-1 as a single sling.

The Black Rapid DR-1 Double Sling is a very well thought out, comfortable; secure system to carry your gear into the field. When I have the DR-1 over my shoulders i know that my gear is going to stay put. I know that from the Redwoods of Northern California to the Florida swamps, which the DR-1 is going to be there when I need it. From hip to eye the DR-1 is fast but from 35mm to 400mm the DR1 is faster or should I say FASTR?

*Update 2013.04.30
As I mentioned in the original review, I thought the FR-3 made a bit to much noise when rubbing on the CR-2 connection out in the field. It has recently come to my attention that Black Rapids has released a black nylon coated connection with a stainless steel core. While they mention the product for videographers trying to quiet any sound while recording, for me, this could be the answer while I am out in the wilderness trying to be stealthy myself.  Just one more reason to like Black Rapid Straps!!!