Back in June, when I first reviewed the C-Loop camera strap mount from Custom SLR ($40), my favorite camera strap and mount was actually the RS-5 system from a company called Black Rapid. But since those long summer days, though I still really love the RS-5, I’ve noticed that the C-Loop has really grown on me and has become my de-facto strap mount.
After three months of use, I think I now know why, and in that time, I’ve also been able to identify some C-Loop issues my first review period was unable to reveal.
A quick word before I dive in to my review; if you’re new to photography, you might be wondering what the C-Loop actually does. That’s easy. It screws in to the tripod hole in the bottom of your DSLR, micro four-thirds, or mirrorless camera, and allows you to attach your strap to the bottom of your camera instead of the top.
Why would you want to do that? Well, carrying your camera this way lets it rest against your hip when you’re not shooting instead of protruding from your chest or side. Many feel this hip position is more comfortable, easier on the back, and since your camera is slung down facing your foot, safer for the $1500 lenses you’re walking around with.
But there’s more to the story than that, for the C-Loop’s real innovation lies in the way it moves.
The C-Loop works with pretty much any standard strap, and with your strap mounted to its free-moving arms, does a great job of keeping said strap from getting tangled while you move it about. C-Loop also allows your camera to swivel easily to and from a horizontal and vertical orientations. Many straps can get twisted or tangled in these maneuvers; not with the C-Loop. It’s free moving arm moves wherever the tension pulled it, so your strap always stays nicely untangled.
I also like how lightweight the C-Loop is. Machined out of aluminum right here in the beautiful USA, the C-Loop could’t weigh more than a couple of ounces. My RS-5 strap is built like a tank with solid steel parts, but it’s as heavy as one too, and by the end of a long day of shooting, its weight is definitely noticeable.
In my experience, though, one of C-Loop’s best strengths is its shape. The RS-5 strap has metal mounts that protrude from the bottom of my camera, making it a pain to keep on when putting my DSLR back in my bag. I found I was always taking the RS-5 off. On the contrary, the C-Loop is smooth and flat on the bottom, and since it’s compact in size, while mounted, C-Loop can pushed and pulled into any of my camera bags with ease. The C-Loop, simply speaking, is just much more convenient to use.
In my previous review, I mentioned that I wished the C-Loop had some kind of quick-release functionality, and boy, I wish that even more now. That’s because, to ensure a secure connection to my precious DSLR, I like to ensure the C-Loop is screwed in really tight. But, with its tiny little loop handle and essentially nothing else to grab on to, the C-Loop can be a real challenge to get off. Sometimes I’ve had to use a screwdriver to get it to budge. Not ideal when you’re shooting and on the move.
I’ve also noticed that the C-Loop’s rotating arm seems not to be turning as smoothly as it used to. When I first got it, the C-Loop turned like buttah, but now there’s some resistance, and it even makes mousy squeaking noises occasionally when rotated. Though not at all severe now, I wondering how much more this performance will degrade over time.
When I first reviewed the C-Loop, it was one of my favorite new camera accessories; I even gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars. Well, I still love it, and I still think it’s one of the best ways to mount your strap to your camera’s butt. But because of the degradation of performance, I had to knock off half a star.
Overall though? Still a gadget I would a highly recommend.