Sun-Sniper Sniper-Strap Pro Camera Strap Review

I am an avid digital photographer, and I love to bring my DSLR with me where ever I go. I take great pictures that help me create memories that will last forever.  But I, like many of my photography-loving friends, hate carrying the added weight of my DSLR around my neck. I am also self-conscious as I feel that I have the dreaded “tourist look”, not to mention that the strap on my camera cuts into my neck causing significant discomfort over longer periods of an hour or more. Because of the “in-front” position of my DSLR the strap puts it right in front of me and I feel that my $500+ DSR with its protruding lens is in a precarious position waiting to be bumped into a preoccupied passerby. I have always tried to sling my DSLR under my arm, but to no avail, as the camera strap would not allow this kind of positioning. A company by the name of Sun-Sniper has solved my decade old problem by developing and delivering the Sniper-Strap. The company sent me the Sniper-Strap Pro to review.

The photos in this review can be clicked for a larger view.

The Sniper-Strap is truly a revolution in camera straps as it moves the weight and support of your favorite camera from around ones neck to ones shoulder, much in the same way a messenger bag does the same thing for your important computer and papers. The Sniper-Strap works by mounting an intuitive and proprietary strap connection to your Camera’s tripod mount, creating a sliding mechanism to support the camera – thereby eliminating your original camera strap all together and allowing you to support your camera on your shoulder. The Tripod mount has a soft piece of dense foam to protect your camera’s tripod mounting location from any damage due to connecting with the steel of the Genuine Bearing – a well designed piece. For those of us that regularly use a tripod with a shoe we are all to familiar with the shoe connection coming loose and I feared that this would be the case with the Sniper-Strap, but my fears were put to rest as no matter what I tried, the camera stayed firmly connected. The Sniper-Strap comes in several versions and the one that I received for the review is the Sniper- Strap Pro with a “Genuine Bearing” as Sun-Sniper calls it.

The Genuine Bearing is composed of a twist-able rotary connection to your camera supported by a set of stainless steel ball bearings.

This configuration enables one to “Quick-Draw”, as the company calls it, quickly reaching to one’s side, grab their camera, and start snapping pictures – just like what I assume it must be like to draw a handgun from a holster to shoot the bad guys in an old western movie or modern day police show.

I tried the Sniper-Strap on both my right and left shoulders and found the strap to be extremely comfortable. In fact, I hiked a trail with it and forgot that it was even there. I should point out at this point that I usually carry a mini camera backpack with a couple of lenses and my DSLR, but for this trip I went out on my hike only with the Sniper-Strap and I enjoyed not having 10 pounds of gear on my back. I carry a Nikon DSLR with a 15-200 lens to shoot my pictures. While not the heaviest of DSLRs on the market, it is still a couple of pounds with the lens. To make it virtually disappear from my load while hiking is a welcome capability of the Sniper-Strap. The strap is adjustable to meet the needs of any size individual.

The comfortable top part of the strap, the “Shock Absorber” as the company calls it, can be easily removed thanks to some simple Velcro closures in the strap. The strap itself is extremely durable as I tried to “throw” it around on my hikes and it easily held up to the light torture that I doled out. The strap on the Sniper-Strap Pro has an embedded piece of steel braided cabling in it to protect it from being stolen by a robber with a knife that tries to slash the strap and run off with your expensive camera. I did not try this in my testing, but given the look of the cable, I am sure it would hold up to a thief with a knife as it would take more than a knife to cut through the cable – can you say “cable cutters with big teeth”?

The company needs some “marketing” help as they have named every possible feature of the Sniper-Strap with names, that while inventive, can be somewhat confusing for the regular photographer.  I highly suggest sticking with plain old English, or other regular form of translated language for features and benefits – trying to name everything adds up to nothing from a market perception perspective – you spend all of your time and money promoting terms instead of the value of the term in plain English.  Anyone for a ‘Cutter-Crasher”?

Sun Sniper is so proud and sure of their Sniper-Strap that they offer a $500 insurance policy to anyone who uses their camera and has it stolen by a thief with a knife. This is a welcome addition as many travelers and tourists are fearful of carrying around their expensive DSLR only to be met with a thief on the streets of a big city. Not sure if the steel strap would help if the knife is directed at the individual carrying the camera and hearing the words “Hand over your money, jewelry, watch, and that camera!”, but it is a step in the right direction.

I usually talk about the packaging of the products that I review (see top picture), and the Sniper-Pro packaging is a little on the basic cardboard side as it is packaged to be hung at a retailer location next to the rest of the camera straps and accessories. The packaging is a little confusing to open as I expected to open it from the top or bottom, but it actually opened up from the side. The packaging could have used some “Open Here” directions as I usually like to avoid ripping the packaging to get at the product – never know if you will rip up an important piece of instructions, or the product itself.

Since I take a good deal of action photography on the move at my kids sporting events, hiking, and touring locations I enjoy the quick draw capabilities and the comfort of the Sniper-Strap and would recommend it for those professional photographers that wear their cameras for long periods and need quick access to their cameras; such as event and sport photographers. As well, avid hobby photographers should take a look at the Sniper-Strap as it will change the way that they use their cameras.

Sun-Sniper straps are available in a variety of configurations from about $60 to over $200 for a harness that supports three cameras.  At these prices, one has to think long and hard about paying over 10% of your camera’s value for a strap, unless you are a professional photographer or an avid hobby photographer.

The company is based in Europe.  They ship directly to many countries, but they have a list of distributors for other countries.  Check this list of distributors (near bottom of page) to determine which is the correct one for you, or you can buy the full family of Sun Sniper products from from Amazon.com

 

Product Information

Price:$62-$250
Manufacturer:Sun Sniper
Retailer:See distributor information at the bottom of this page
Requirements:
  • Camera with standard tripod mounting - 1/4" diameter, 20 threads per inch (1/4-20)
Pros:
  • Innovative shoulder strap for digital cameras with a tripod mounting
  • Steel bearing makes snapping pictures at any angle simple vs. traditional camera straps that "get in the way"
  • Moves the camera from an uncomfortable in front position to a comfortable position on your side - making it easier to access and shoot pictures - thus the name "Sniper"
  • Comfort - I wore the Sniper Pro for over an hour while trekking on a trail and I had no "strap-fatigue" and barely knew my DSLR was there
  • Curved and padded shoulder strap works equally well for right and left handed individuals
  • $500 Insurance Policy included with the Pro version for theft of your camera while you are wearing
Cons:
  • Expensive
  • Confusing names
Posted in: Camera Gear, Reviews

{ 10 comments… add one }

  • Richard Perera November 1, 2011, 4:17 pm

    I like the concept – I too try to bring a DSLR with me when I can and keeping it out like that is great. However, if the Genuine Bearing thingy uses the tripod mount at the base of the camera, do you have to remove it every time you need to connect the tripod plate? Is it an either/or situation (tripod plate or strap), or is there another way of attaching the strap, or attaching the strap to the plate?

  • Brett Cooper November 1, 2011, 9:43 pm

    Richard,

    Thank you for the comment. I believe the Sun-Sniper team designed the Sniper Straps to be portable only. My experience is that one does not usually have their Tripod shoe mounted to their camera when they are taking action shots or out with their camera for the day. With that said I think that you have an excellent idea for a product enhancement – adding a tripod shoe mount for the Genuine Bearing so it is plug and play with your tripod of choice. I hope the product management and design team from Sun Sniper is reading the comments to the Product Review section and has some of their own thoughts.

    Enjoy and thanks again for the comment.

  • Scott November 2, 2011, 12:15 am

    Brett

    If you like Sun Sniper, take a look at BlackRapid as well. I would be curious as to who copied whom. The products appear to be very similar. They both have the same connector at the bottom of the camera, and both have slings for sale, which allow for more then one camera. http://www.blackrapid.com. BlackRapid doesn’t have the cable running through it, but one feature that I like about the BlackRapid sling, is the clamps that allow the camera to self adjust the strap on your shoulder if you happen to move the pad when you are taking photos. It will also allow you to lock the camera behind you so you can walk through a crowd without fear of getting a lens busted.

    I’ve been using the BlackRapid strap for the past year, and find it to be an excellent tool. Anyway thanks for the review.

  • Bgood November 2, 2011, 12:42 am

    Also, Looma Loop

  • Glen Haas November 2, 2011, 2:54 am

    I’ve been using the Black Rapid for about a year. I picked up a second one and their connector for times when I need 2 cameras readily available. I typically use the ring on the base of my tripod plates to connect the locking D ring on the strap. I don’t have to remove them and they are about the same price as the connector.

    Love the BlackRapid, but these look promising too. The shock absorber is a lot like the slings for assault rifles or SMGs, interesting touch.

  • andix November 2, 2011, 7:53 am

    as I commented in the Black Rapid review –
    as long as you’re not shooting for a living it may be the perfect camera strap.
    but wait until you butt your expensive DSLR against a door frame or a zoo railing and you’ll have second thoughts about using these gizmos again.
    after quite a few years of shooting professionally I can tell you one thing: [b]a camera is safe where you can see it.[/b] crowd or no crowd, there’s more than a way to protect it in a crowd or when you’re running for your subject if it’s in front of you. this is what I taught my students, this is what practice and others before me taught me, and this is what I’m doing now.

  • EricsProjects November 2, 2011, 9:25 am

    It’s rather over priced, for what it is. You can make the same thing yourself, with a spare laptop case shoulder strap. Plus with a shoulder strap, you can disconnect one of the clips and use the strap as a taut-rope-style mono-pod.

    There are some photos here:
    http://www.ericsprojects.com/?page_id=405

    You can either make your own base to screw into the camera, or pick one from Amazon: Just search for FastenR-2 or FastenR-3. They are 12 or 13 dollars.

    If you want something a little closer to the professional, you can pickup about 18 inches of 1″ black elastic at the fabric store, take apart the above laptop case shoulder strap and with a little sewing, build your own. The elastic gives it some bounce. I copied a single point rifle sling I have.

    You could also look at single point tactical slings for rifles. They are the same thing and about 1/2 the price.

  • DanD November 4, 2011, 7:47 am

    I like the concept of a more ergonomic strap but I have two problems with it. Years ago I had a rig that let me mount my camera at waist height close to my side – all very secure and safe with my arm providing some buffer protection. I grew too comfortable with it’s save mounting and one careless day going through a turn-style at a subway station the revolving bar came up from behind and gave the camera a pretty good thumping.

    Secondly I use a monopod a lot and a tripod quite frequently too and not being able to easily pop the camera on and off the mount just makes it too inconvenient. I’m sure this could be addressed though.

  • Syd November 11, 2012, 2:24 pm

    Damn I don’t remember the name of the company and product i saw in an Expo interview ! Some young asian guy was talking about his state of the art design for quick draw strap which was bloody cool because it hand kinda cylinder around the mount which gets fixed, saving the camera’s bottom from being scratched by strap and the hook and stuff and also was very strong and safe enough to handle a heavy camera with a big lens !!! The guy also introduced a strap system which spreads the weight around your chest using two straps and 3rd one was kinda dual strap system to handle an SLR and a big telephoto lens ! One strap connects to the lens and the other to the camera itself !!!
    I wanna behead myself for not remembering the name of the product :( If someone has seen any of these products please mention the name here !!! Its attachment to the camera was way more sophisticated and had a patent pending design !!! Way ahead of competition !!! Thanks in advance !

  • Tom Rinard January 25, 2013, 3:02 am

    The Sun Sniper Strap is awesome and works well……. until it fails when the tripod socket screw unscrews from your $2000 camera body and it falls to the ground. What a waste of money. Of course the company claims that this is user error when it occurs. Whatever!!!

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