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BlackRapid Sport Breathe - How I Easily Carry A Telephoto Lens

Wallace's hawk-eagle (Nisaetus nanus) perched on a tree branch in Borneo, Sepilok, Malaysia.

Wallace's hawk-eagle (Nisaetus nanus) perched on a tree branch in Borneo, Sepilok, Malaysia.

I’ve been using the BlackRapid Sport Breathe strap for about a year, and it’s been a lifesaver. It is the best option I have found to comfortably carry a heavy camera and lens. It’s also secure and, with a small modification, incredibly fast and easy to attach and remove. Add in the fact that it is compatible with any Arca-Swiss plate, and it’s a real winner.

I have an incredibly bulky eight pound Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 lens that I carry around while photographing wildlife. I’ve tried hooking my Peak Design Slide strap to it, but it was never very comfortable, as my camera would just hang vertically on my hip. I tried holding the lens foot in my hand, but that made me uncomfortable, as one slip would turn my $3,000 lens into a paper weight. I looked at those chest clips that you can clip it into and then it stays steady and vertical on your chest, but with the size of my lens I would be resting my chin on the back of the camera. None of these were very good options.

After continuing my search I finally came across the BlackRapid Sport Breathe and a simple modification. Many photographers with large lenses had attached a Kirk QRC-1 quick release clamp onto the screw on the end of the BlackRapid strap using a little Loctite to keep it held on safe. This allowed the strap to quickly and securely clamp onto any arca swiss plate, including my lens foot or camera’s L-bracket.

Now, when I’m in the field, my lens hangs horizontally at my side, right where my hand can easily rest on it or pull it up at a moments notice if an animal runs across my path. I’ve hiked eight miles at a time up and down hills in the jungle of Sumatra with this setup, and even with ten pounds hanging on it it was never unbearable. Most importantly, my camera stayed safe from drops and bangs.

If you’d like to see a visual of how I attached the Kirk clamp to the BlackRapid Sport Breathe strap, you can check out the video below.