A former student of mine dropped by to show me his new Nikon D80 camera. He stopped in because he knew my wife had the same model and he wanted some help with a couple of menu choices.
I noticed a handstrap on the right side of his camera, into which he slipped his right hand, which left his other hand free to support its long lens. This is a feature he uses frequently shooting sports and wildlife. Having just come back into the world of pro-weight cameras, and being older than I once was, I realized this might now be for me too.
I inquired, and it was a Nikon product: (listed on the Nikon Mall as: Nikon SLR Hand Strap; Special Purchase – Available While Quantities Last. MPN # HANDSTRAP; Price: $29.95)
"The Nikon SLR Hand Strap wraps comfortably around your hand for added security and reduced fatigue. It attaches quickly and securely to the camera body using the camera’s 1⁄4-20 female tripod socket and the camera’s right-side neck-strap eyelet. The Hand Strap adjusts easily for a perfect fit."
"It fits Nikon SLR camera models D300, D200, D100, D80, D70s, D70, D50, D40x, D40, D3, F100, N90s, N90, N80, N75, N70, N65, N60, N55, FM-Series"
I ordered one.
Note it does not say it fits a Nikon D2x and they’re right; it doesn’t fit a D2x properly. I liked the idea, but I didn’t like the fit. There’s a threesome of things wrong with the Nikon HANDSTRAP for my use on my D2x. The straps aren’t the right length, they are too short; the pad is skimpy; and the baseplate is flimsy. In short, it doesn’t fit the size of the camera body or my hand, and additionally it won’t mount on the clamp on my Kirk Arca-Swiss type BH-3 ballhead on my Gitzo tripod. The Nikon baseplate is some sort of plastic, not metal. Here’s what it looks like.
Enter the problem solving solution. On one of the forums that I read daily someone mentioned another handstrap product. Check out Jim Garavuso’s Camdapter at http://www.camdapter.com and notice that one of the baseplates can be had with Arca-Swiss mounting grooves milled into it. Eureka! It’s a bit more expensive than the Nikon at $40.00 + $6.00 shipping just for the plate. It has more quality (more on that in a moment). Take a look. It has a metal body with steel pins screwed into the baseplate and the Allen-headed attaching bolt and the offset tripod hole for when not using an Arca-Swiss mount.
Camdapter.com has choices of straps and baseplates (each sold separately) to fit most cameras, and the principle is simple. One end of the strap fits into the strap lug on the top right of the camera, and the other end of the same strap attaches to the right end of the baseplate attached to the tripod-mounting hole in the bottom of the camera. (A quality bolt with Allen head–Allen wrench included–attaches the baseplate to the camera, and a new tripod screw hole is slightly offset to the side of the mounting bolt. Between the two attaching points and threaded onto the straps is a comfortable, slightly tapered leather pad that goes across the back of the hand and cushions the weight of the camera. This allows the camera and lens to rest their weight inside the palm of the hand and provides a secure grip.
On the other end of the baseplate is an attaching point for one end of the original camera strap, with the other end of that strap then attached to the left side lug on the camera body. In this manner the camera can hang around the neck with the handstrap end facing downward. This makes the strap ready to hand (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun).
Frankly, Jim Garavuso’s Camdapter beats out Nikon’s HANDSTRAP significantly in my opinion. First, the straps are the right length. In fact, there is extra strap length that has to be cut off after you have custom-fitted the strap and pad. Second, the pad is quality and large enough to comfortably bear the weight of the D2x or any Pro-sized camera with a large lens attached. Third, the baseplate is machined or possibly cast out of heavyweight stock and the mounting pens are screwed in place rather than being pins pressure-fitted in place. It’s nicely beveled with no sharp edges and the fit and finish suggest real care in production.
Also to round off the care factor, you receive your Camdapter and strap by Priority mail with your product usually shipped on the same day you order. At least both of my orders placed before noon shipped the same day. An email confirms when your product is shipped.
I ended up ordering my Camdapter and strap separately because my first attempt to utilize parts of my original Nikon HANDSTRAP involved ordering the Camdapter alone because I wanted the Arca-Swiss fitting so that I could use the camera on my Kirk BH-3 ballhead with the Arca-Swiss fitting. I thought I could reuse the Nikon strap and pad. That didn’t work.
Once I had that original idea assembled, the inadequacy of the Nikon HANDSTRAP pad was really evident as the pad did not come high enough across the back of the hand; so I then ordered Camdapter’s heavier strap ($25.00 + $6.00 shipping). Lighter weight handstraps in kidskin are available as well, but I choose the heavier pad and was much happier with it than I was with the skimpier, Nikon-produced version I started with.
Here’s how it all goes together.
Right side view of the Camdapter and strap attached to a Nikon D2x. Note how the hand can slip between the pad and the camera body to support the weight of the camera.
Left side view of the original camera strap attached to the camera lug and the Camdapter.
View of a hand supporting the camera with the strap over the back of the hand.
I hope I’ve made it plain that I have no affiliation with Jim Garavuso’s Camdapter.com other than I liked the product, and that I thought I’d tell you about my experience with it. He has made something that makes my photographic life easier, and I thought it was worth the comment. I intend to mention and demonstrate my own Camdapter and strap in the next workshop that I give. Check out http://www.Camdapter.com and see what you think of the product.