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DIY DSLR Camera Sling Strap

Too much time, too little money

May 14th, 2011

The strap that came with your camera is quite useful. Not only does it remind you of what brand you have (in case you forgot), but it is also able to help avoiding fatal damages to the camera. However, the strap often gets stuck or tangled up when you need to move the camera in position, which could kill the shot completely.

Now, wouldn't it be so much better if the strap could just stay in place, and the camera would just move along it instead? These do exist, but I decided to give it a try myself before shelling out some EUR 50 for such a simple thing.

Read on for a tutorial on how to make your own sling strap.

What you need

  • A strap (e.g. from some old bag) with "dog hooks"
  • A tripod quick release
  • Some fabric (a carrying pouch for example)

Oh, and if you try this on your own, you do it at your own risk. So don't blame me when the strap snaps and that Canon 5D with L-glass falls to its death. ;)

Step 1: Find a strap

The strap I used had metal hooks on each end. The hooks seem quite strong and should easily be able to carry the weight of the camera.

My old bag.
My old bag.
The metal dog hooks.
The metal dog hooks.

Step 2: Adjust the length

This type of trap usually has one hook fixed to the end, while the other can slide along it. This is necessary in order to be able to adjust the length of the strap. Now, adjust the strap to be as short as possible. What you will end up with is a loop, which is exactly what we need.

The strap, now forming a loop.
The strap, now forming a loop.

Step 3: Attach the hook to the quick release

This may be a bit tricky. I was lucky enough to have hooks with just the right size to fit into the quick release. I guess you could attach a keyring or so between the hook and the quick release if the hooks are too big.

If you don't have a quick release, try to find something "suitable" with a 1/4" screw at your local hardware store.

Hooks nicely into the quick release from my Velbon Sherpa 200R.
Hooks nicely into the quick release from my Velbon Sherpa 200R.

Step 4: Cover the second hook with some fabric

This is optional, but we still have the second hook on the strap, doing nothing. You could remove it, but I wanted to keep the strap intact. Therefore, I covered the hook with a carrying pouch from a portable scanner. Doubles as a shoulder pad. Just imagine what you can achieve with some double adhesive tape!

It may be no R-Strap, but it works.
It may be no R-Strap, but it works.

Step 5: Try it out!

With the quick release attached to the camera, it is now easy to go from here...
With the quick release attached to the camera, it is now easy to go from here...
... to where the action is.
... to where the action is.

Conclusion

So that's basically your zero-cost camera sling. I need to try it out some more before I use it with a heavier lens (and maybe an external flash), but so far it works really well with the Canon 1000D and a 50mm 1.8.

May 15th, 2011 21:53

I was close to buy a Blackrapid RS-4 for the hideous price of 700 SEK. Until a found that my the bag to my new lens came with a basic sling strap. Everyone should have a sling strap, because it´s just better!
Get an extra strap and fasten to your tripod aswell. It isn´t perfect but it makes life a bit easier.
Great article btw.

May 17th, 2011 22:12
Erik

Good idea about a tripod strap. I like my tripod, it was definitely a big upgrade from the el cheapo I had before. But the better they are, the bigger and heavier they get (mostly). Next DIY project, maybe?

May 10th, 2012 17:21

Hey dude this article is great.

Something I wanted to add, I have a nikon d700 and I think all nikon's have on their sides triangular "keychains" placed to attach your strap. I managed to place my hook directly on it, eliminating the need for the tripod base.

Keep up the good work
Ben

May 10th, 2012 19:38
Erik

Hi Benjamin,

why, thank you. :) And yeah, that makes things easier. Just don't let it fall, it's a great body!

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Erik Moberg  2019