Tag Archives: RS-7

Review: Custom SLR M-Plate Pro Universal Tripod Plate

Let’s not mince words here, the M-Plate Pro by Custom SLR is an unbelievably expensive item given it’s essentially a hunk of metal with some holes. I realize that’s not acknowledging the true quality of the product (and it is indeed a quality item), but the $70 price tag attached to this piece of gear is still hard to swallow. This damn thing is more expensive than the BlackRapid RS-7 camera strap attached to it, and that TOO is an expensive piece of gear.

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But even with this unbelievably expensive price for a piece of metal, it turns out this item’s usefulness outweighs its price. And let’s face it, when you consider the forces and stresses this product will have to endure, you don’t want it to be made cheaply.

Oh, so you want to know what the M-Plate Pro does? Well, I just assumed if you were reading this review, you already knew. But the quick and dirty explanation is that this tripod plate attaches to the tripod mount on your camera, with the idea being that it never gets removed. From this plate you then attach your various goodies like your proprietary tripod mounting plate and your sling-style camera strap. And it’s the latter that really is the reason a plate like this exists in the first place.

Most sling-style camera straps attach to the tripod mounting plate. When it comes time to use your tripod, you must unscrew the strap’s connection point and then screw it back in when you want to switch back to carrying the camera. The M-Plate Pro allows you to leave both your tripod mounting plate, and your camera strap’s connection point attached at all times. And if your tripod connection is Manfrotto RC2 or Arca-Swiss, the M-Plate Pro works out of the box, no extra tripod mounting plate necessary. But with holes drilled right into the M-Plate Pro, you should be able to use it with most tripod mounting plates without issue.

It was quite annoying to unscrew the BlackRapid “FastenR” every time I wanted to use my tripod. In fact, it was one of the reasons I avoided shooting with tripod altogether. But now the FastenR stays screwed into the M-Plate Pro full-time, as does my tripod’s mounting plate. I can leave the RS-7 strap attached or I can remove it, my choice. And almost as good as the convenience this product affords, it also moves the mount point for my BlackRapid RS-7 strap forward, creating a better balance between camera and lens. And on top of all that, and if this matters at all to you, this thing looks something fierce attached to the bottom of a DSLR.

So yes, if you couldn’t tell, I highly recommend this item.

I was not paid for this review and I’m not affiliated with Custom SLR.

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Why I Use The BlackRapid Curve (RS-7) Sling Camera Strap

This is not a paid endorsement and I’m not affiliated with BlackRapid.

The reason I use the BlackRapid Curve (RS-7) camera strap is simple, it’s more comfortable for my back. In case you aren’t aware, the Curve (RS-7) is a sling-style camera strap. The RS-7 is worn just as you would wear a messenger bag, slung over one shoulder and across your upper torso. The camera hangs upside down (attached to the tripod mount) at hip level.

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I found with a regular neck strap, my neck, shoulders and upper back would ache after a couple of hours. While I cannot claim pain-free multi-hour photography sessions now that I’m using the RS-7, it has nonetheless helped tremendously to reduce the strain on my neck and especially my upper back. You might be surprised how much lighter your camera feels hanging from this strap compared to a neck strap, and it has the added benefit of keeping the camera at your side (even slightly behind you), which keeps it out-of-the-way during times when that is desirable. And I always found it irritating how the camera would bounce and bob while walking when using a neck strap. With the camera hanging at my side, it generally stays in place, at most rocking back and forth, but not bouncing. And when the time comes to take the shot, I find it no less convenient to grab the camera from my side. Maybe it takes a fraction of a second longer than lifting it from a neck strap, but if I find myself in a hectic and fast-paced situation where I need to get a shot, I probably should already have the camera in my hands. For my purposes, any sling-style strap probably would have worked, I chose the RS-7 because it appeared to meet my needs at a price I could accept (just over $60).

I’ve owned the RS-7 for a few years now, but only recently started accessorizing, adding the BlackRapid “Brad” accessory (can be seen attached to the RS-7 in the picture above) which is an underarm stabilizing strap. This accessory is designed to prevent the RS-7 (and other BlackRapid straps) from sliding up and down. While I didn’t have much of a problem with this, from time to time the RS-7 would slide up and down and I would need to adjust it. I haven’t used it in the field yet, but the Brad accessory looks like it will completely eliminate that “problem.”

I also added the “Joey 3” storage pouch accessory that attaches to the lower front part of the shoulder pad section of the strap. This puts the storage pouch at chest level and is good for storing extra batteries, memory cards, a smart phone (although it may not be large enough for some phones), and even a small point and shoot camera. I plan to use it to hold my Sony RX100 II compact camera. This will be a great way to have a second camera offering focal length flexibility on photography outings where I only take my Nikon D7100 with a prime lens like my 35mm or 24mm. If you want built-in storage in your camera strap without the need for an additional accessory, for $10 more than the RS-7 you can get the BlackRapid Cargo (RS-5) strap. But for my purposes, I think the RS-7 paired with the Joey 3 is a better option because it offers enough storage capacity for a small point and shoot camera, something that does not appear to be possible with the RS-5 (without accessorizing).

And last, I added the BlackRapid Tether Kit, giving me some peace of mind that my expensive camera and lens won’t end up falling to the ground. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with the design of the RS-7 and how it attaches to the tripod mount, I’m simply paranoid. If you too are paranoid, and you decide to purchase the RS-7, you might want to consider the Tether Kit, which uses one of the neck strap posts as a second connection point back to the main strap. It will save your camera in the unlikely event the tripod connection comes loose. If you don’t like the cost of the Tether Kit ($23), I can offer you a cheaper alternative, just buy the OP/TECH USA System Connector Uni-Loop ($7), connect one end to the neck strap post (opposite the grip), connect the other one to the metal rectangle that slides up and down the RS-7 main strap (don’t connect to the loop that is part of the tripod mount because that will partially defeat the purpose of connection point redundancy). Then connect both ends together. Now you have a cheaper alternative (which I have personally used) to the BlackRapid Tether Kit.

With the BlackRapid Curve (RS-7) camera strap I’m able to relieve the strain on my back, while still lugging around my Nikon D7100 and fairly heavy Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 lens, and I have the added flexibility of bringing along a high quality compact camera and storing it in the Joey storage pouch. What this means is on most photography outings, I can leave my bulky camera bag at home, which also helps the ailing back! And that was precisely why I bought the BlackRapid Curve (RS-7).

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