GEAR REVIEW - GOOD PARTNER CAMERA BELT
Last year, I was exploring some treacherous snow and ice covered trails in southern Ontario, Canada. The carabiner on my camera strap broke, sending the D800 and 300mm F/4 crashing to the woodland floor. I was using a "Q-Strap", which is basically a Chinese rip-off of the Blackrapid straps readily available on eBay. Yeah, yeah, I know! I should have just bought a genuine BR strap but, I was looking to save a fair amount of cash.
I still like the Q-strap (although I have since found better) as I have used it without issue for a couple of years in conjunction with a genuine Blackrapid BRAD. The strap itself is fine. I never had much confidence in the carabiner it came with though and it turns out I was justified. Normally I always walk round with my hand through the fitted hand strap that is also on the camera but, on this occasion I was adjusting my gloves when the accident happened. Bloody typical timing!
Thankfully though, there was no damage to either camera or lens. However the paranoia about it happening again set in and I sought to minimize the chances of this. I've since replaced the carabiner with a more robust one which I have customized too) and adapted the hand strap's webbing, fitting it to a D-ring that is attached to the strap also. However, this wasn't enough for me and whilst searching for a solution, I discovered the Good Partner Camera Belt.
Yes, I know. It's made in China - AGAIN, but bear with me. For those that are familiar with all the camera accessories out there, you will note that the Good Partner has a very strong resemblance to the Spider Pro Holster, although comparing pictures of the two, the Spider's belt looks to be finished to a slightly higher standard. Still, for £37 delivered (about 1/3rd the price of the Spider Pro) I wasn't complaining.
Taken on its own merits the Good Partner is very well made, with nylon and velcro used throughout. It is very quick and simple to adjust and will fit even the more rotund photographer. The buckle is made from heavy duty plastic which requires you to depress a button in the middle, before depressing the sides to undo - a security feature present on the Spider Pro.
The solid metal holster itself, I am very impressed with. It's extremely robust, as is the mounting plate that fits to the base of the camera. Both appear to be black nickel coated. An allen key comes with the plate too, for simple removal. The locking pin can be located in one of the five 1/4" threads found on the plate, allowing different hanging positions to suit. It also means that I can mount a screw connector and use the "Q-Strap" in conjunction with the holster system or a tripod plate if I so wished.
This was ideal for me and exactly what I was looking for. The holster keeps the camera securely on my hip whilst having the added advantage of taking the weight off my neck. When shooting I can still have the strap attached to the camera so that if I lost my footing, I wouldn't drop the camera. None of it gets in the way when taking photographs either. The holster also features a locking mechanism itself, so that the camera cannot travel back up the slot accidentally (you'd have to be crouched or sat down for this to happen and is pretty unlikely anyway).
I've already shown the Good Partner to two other photographers who really liked it and were highly surprised at the price, suspecting it to be in the £80+ region. I feel much more confident walking about with the camera now, using the 3 levels of safety the straps and holster provide. If like me you suffer with neck and back problems, getting the weight off your shoulders and onto your hip is a welcome relief. I also like the fact that I can use theTamrac M.A.S. lens pouches with the belt as well, bringing another handy dimension to the whole ensemble. Too often safety is something we think about after the fact. I was lucky not to damage £2500 worth of equipment. Now the Good Partner belt is in my bag, along with the Q-strap wherever I go. If you're looking for something similar and cannot stretch to a Spider Pro Holster, then check out the Good Partner. You won't be disappointed! Use the link below to get yours today!!