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This post is a small review of the BlackRapid Double Breathe Double Camera Strap that I’ve started using in 2018. This is my first ever double camera strap, so I can give my opinion only on it and cannot compare it to other popular double camera straps.
Back in 2014-2016 I was very passionate about the wine industry, I was taking a lot of wine-related photos: wine tasting events, wine bottles, winery tours, etc.
One thing lead to another and I was offered the opportunity to attend the major ProWein 2016 event in Düsseldorf, Germany.
ProWein is the world’s leading trade fair for wine and spirits, the largest industry meeting for professionals from viticulture, production, trade and gastronomy.
That year I had to fly to Germany with limited gear, it was a simple trip for the event without any prior engagements. I simply wanted to taste a lot of great wine and maybe shoot some interesting wine labels. I had my Canon Mark II and the 24-70mm 2.8L lens. The results were OK, but even with a single camera I was very tired after walking almost non-stop for 3 days in a row. ProWein usually spans over ~70,000 m2 (764,240 square feet), so there’s a lot of walking involved.
In 2017 I got to visit ProWein again, and this time I took two cameras, one with the 24-70mm lens and one with a 100mm macro lens. I decided to wear them on my neck almost all day, but at the end of day 1 I was completely exhausted. My neck hurt and I was a real mess.
On day 2 and day 3 I again relied on just one camera but had to carry an extra lens in a backpack. It was pretty inconvenient.
In 2018 I had yet another opportunity to attend ProWein Düsseldorf, and this time I had some agreements to shoot a couple of winemaker stands and events. As this was no longer a “just for fun” event, I knew I have to be more careful about what I do and how I use my energy.
And then I thought about buying a double camera strap, to somehow be able to walk around with two cameras at once. I remembered all the wedding photographers that I’ve seen with such camera straps, so I reached out for some recommendations.
One of the recommendations was the One of the most popular HoldFast Gear MoneyMaker Two-Camera Harness, but I wasn’t ready to spend over $250 on it, considering that I’m not shooting events every month.
That’s when the BlackRapid Double Breathe Double Camera Strap popped up on my screen, and it was under $150.
BlackRapid Double Breathe
The official description of the product sounds like this:
“Double camera strap/harness: shoulder pad built with nylon mono mesh, curved TPE foam and polyester air mesh, adjustable length nylon webbing with buckles, includes 2 full sets of connector (CR-3), 2pcs Lock Star & fastener (FR-5) hardware and a polyester dust bag.”
I’ve ordered the strap online and a few days later I was walking around the house with two cameras attached to it. After making sure that everything is properly connected, I decided to test it with my heaviest lenses.
On one side I had the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L II lens and on another the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens. You might recognize them as rather heavy ones :)
I was immediately surprised by how comfortable I felt with nothing attached to my neck, as all the weight falls on your shoulders like it would do with a normal backpack. No neck strain, no back strain, nothing.
At first I thought I need to walk for a minute or two and then I’ll feel the weight and pressure. Nope. After 15 minutes nothing changed. No pains, no discomfort, nothing.
I was extremely happy and excited.
With my new double camera strap I was finally able to try out a more versatile lens combo for ProWein 2018. I ended up with this setup, as a right-handed man:
On the right: Canon Mark II (810 g) + Canon EF 70-200mm 2.8 II L (1,49 kg) = ~2.3 kg.
On the left: Canon 6D (680 g) + Canon EF 24-70mm 2.8 II L (805 g) = ~1.5 kg.
The BlackRapid Double Breathe strap weighs ~350 grams. Thanks to these extra 350 grams I was able to comfortably walk around for 3 days straight with almost 4 kilograms of photo gear on me.
The effect of walking around with two cameras
The average person can be surprised and impressed by a photographer with two cameras on him/her. If you are a shy photographer and try to keep a low profile, then this strap might need some time getting used to it. Mainly not because of the strap itself, but because it does stand out a little bit.
Wear dark clothes underneath it to minimize its visibility. Weak light clothes if you want to highlight this accessory.
Occasionally I would get people turning their heads or looking more closely at me and my gear, but nothing out of the ordinary. If you feel comfortable with the strap then you will stop noticing it quickly.
A Quick Warning / Word of Advice
I suggest you make a habit of regularly checking the camera fasteners (FastenR FR-5) during the day. At the end of the second day of shooting, after walking around for ~9 hours, bumping into people, turning the cameras left and right, picking it up and down every few minutes, one of my fasteners got loose.
Right when I was about to take off the strap off my shoulders, I starting lifting it and my right hand camera simply got loose and fell down. It was my Canon Mark II with the 70-200mm 2.8 II L lens attached to it. Oh the horror!
Thankfully I was standing right over a table and the camera fell down less than 10 centimeters, so there was zero damage. But it did scare me A LOT.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, this is my first ever double camera strap, so I cannot really compare the comfort of the BlackRapid strap to anything else on the market. If you have tested multiple straps including the BlackRapid Double Breathe and would like to share some of your experience, please comment below, I’ll be glad to read about it.