Sun Sniper is a company out of Germany that specializes in innovative camera holders and straps. Their Strap Surfer is designed to integrate with your messenger-style camera bag to give you a quick and secure solution for safely storing your camera while keeping it quickly ready for use. How well does it work ? Read on.
The Strap Surfer is an adjustable strap that is 19cm (7.5″) long at the longest adjustment.
On one end is a standard 1/4″ mounting screw that screws into your camera’s tripod socket. What this does mean is you can’t mount the camera onto a tripod without first removing the Strap Surfer. Removal or installation isn’t difficult however as the mechanism has a nice knurled knob.
The mount has ball bearings in it, and this results in a very smooth mechanism. You can see in the middle of the strap that the Sun Sniper strap has a steel anti-theft wire woven into it, making it hard for a thief to cut and grab. Sun Sniper products using the Steel-wire assembly include a $500 insurance policy. The Strap Surfer is rated for cameras up to 5kg (11 lbs).
The locking mechanism splits apart and you weave your bag’s strap through it. Magnets hold the mechanism together. Once on, it’s very secure and there’s no chance it will come apart by accident.
Bag 1 – BO Gear
Here’s the Strap Surfer on my BO Bear bag. It’s here I hit issue number one: because of the quick release mechanism half way up the strap on this bag, I couldn’t actually get the camera up high enough to get it to eye level.
That’s fine; as a bagaholic, I’ve got other bags I can try out.
Bag 2 – Timbuk2 Medium Messenger
Next up is my custom Timbuk2 Medium Messenger. Again I came up with a few issues. I tend to wear my messengers pretty high up on the back. To allow for for the Strap Surfer, I had to wear my bag much lower than I normally would to be able to access my camera. In addition, when I was trying to put my camera back into the bag, the Tru-fit Cam buckle found on most new Timbuk2 messengers got in the way. Lastly, because of the “rough” strap material used in this model, I had to work on a special technique to make the Strap Surfer smoothly travel up and down the shoulder strap, as it tended to catch rather than glide.
Bag 3 – Timbuk2 Custom Eula
This is my normal everyday camera bag. It’s got a nice smooth strap, there’s no adjustment buckle to get in the way when you’re removing or storing your camera, but because of the length-adjusting mechanism and where I wear my bag, I again couldn’t get the camera to eye level.
I really do like the idea of the Strap Surfer, but there’s a number of caveats around its use.
How well it will work will depend on your camera bag itself, the shoulder strap material and any adjustment systems that you have on it. I’d suggest that you take your camera bag with you if you’re considering buying a Strap Surfer.
I like the idea of the steel wire for hanging your camera – I mean, watch the lead video; it looks so useful. That being said, I’d never leave my camera hanging down as I’m just too clumsy. I’d be too worried that I’d smash my camera lens against something and break it, or sit down and forget the camera was hanging there or get up ,and forget the camera was hanging there or… You get the idea.
If your normal camera motion is bag-to-eye, then the Strap Surfer would work well. For me however, the strap itself is a bit restrictive, as one of the nice features of the Panasonic G series m4/3 is the articulated LCD arm. I’ll often have the camera held up over my head, down on the ground, hanging over the edge of a jetty, out at arms length. It can’t easily done with the Strap Surfer in place.
For someone with the right bag and the right SOP, the Strap Surfer does give you easy access to your camera and a sense of security from dropping it or having it stolen. Much is the pity it just doesn’t suit me or my bags.