Hiking with a DSLR - Part 2

Two years ago I wrote a blog post about Hiking with a DSLR.  I had just recently moved to Colorado and was enjoying all the great hikes but struggling with how to take my camera with me in an unobtrusive but accessible manner.  Since then I've tried a few new options and thought I would write an update.

My camera is a still the Nikon D300, and my primary hiking lens is the Nikkor 17-55 2.8.

First, I supported the Capture Kickstarter project.  I ended up purchasing two of them and found they were a pretty good solution for smaller cameras.  However, with my D300 and the 17-55 2.8 the camera and lens were just a bit too heavy for longer hikes.  I ended up giving these to my Dad, who has a D40 with some reasonably sized lenses and it works great.  I also like the Capture because the camera mount is Arca-Swiss compatible, so you can keep a single bracket on your camera and switch between the Capture and a tripod.  The kickstarter is long over but you can find them at peakdesignltd.com

The original Cotton Carrier (vest) was an good solution, but the chest harness was pretty bulky.  I certainly used it quite a bit, but something smaller and less obtrusive was appealing.  I bought the holster and liked it, but it was better for casual walks than hiking.  You really don't want something bumping against your legs on a long hike.

I'd also found that over time I was slightly annoyed by the solution I came up with to put the Cotton Carrier hub on the camera.  Here is what I wrote before:
I looked into using quick release plates with my Cotton Carrier and realized all I needed was an additional clamp.  You simply screw the Cotton Carrier round attachment to the Clamp, and then you simply clamp the clamp to the camera.  This approach increases the distance from the camera to the carrier a little, but I didn't find it to be a problem.
Since then, Cotton Carrier came out with a newer solution, the StrapShot.  They were nice enough to send me one, and I was intrigued.  It is essentially a competitor to the Capture, but uses the Cotton Carrier hub solution instead of the Capture locking system.  You simply mount the StrapShot on any strap (I put it on my day pack's shoulder strap) and then put the camera on it.  It comes with safety strap and a hand strap, which I really liked and now is now my main 'camera strap' for casual use.

However, I still wanted an Arca-Swiss plate on my camera full time, and the use of the clamp/Cotton Carrier Hub was just bulky enough to turn me off.  But Cotton also has 'Universal Adapter Plate' that mounts to your camera and provides Arca-Swiss style mounting with a Cotton Carrier Hub.  This removed much of the bulk in mounting the camera and has become my permanently installed camera bracket.

So I am pretty happy at this point with the StrapShot + Universal Adapter Plate solution.  It allows me to comfortably carry my camera while I hike, keep the camera Tripod ready, and still use the holster or my Rapid Strap for more casual outings.

I'm sure that there will be even better solutions in another two years, but for now I feel that I have a very solid solution.

Note: I purchased two Captures, the Cotton Carrier Vest and Holders, and various adapters myself, but Cotton did provide me with the StrapShot and Universal Adapter plate.
 

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