There is no shortage of camera equipment to purchase. Look at magazine ads and see the sexy camera bodies, the sleek lenses and a variety of strobes. If you got the money you will not run out of some very good equipment to buy. While many of these make profound differences in the quality of one’s photography, my best photography-motivated purchase has nothing to do with image quality, but comfort.
One wouldn’t think that a camera is that heavy since it is just a few pounds and comes with a handy strap that goes around the shoulder. But after lugging that thing around for more than a short period of time is, quite literally, a pain in the neck. It is shocking how painful walking around for hours becomes and pain has a way of taking the fun out of things.
Over a year a ago as I read a reader’s hints section in a Popular Photography section and somebody came up with a elegant solution – Binocular Harness. Wearing one of these will not win you any fashion awards nor will it earn you any reputation for coolness but it will provide you with hours and hours of comfort.
Not only does the harness distribute the weight of your gear over both shoulders and back but elastic straps dampen inertial forces the camera and lens exert on your shoulder as you walk. Think of the camera as bobbing up and down as you walk and with every “decent” the camera sends a shock of kinetic energy to our neck and shoulder. Individually these shocks are small and seemingly negligible, but each shock adds up over time. The elastic strap puts that horrible energy into a judo throw.
The harness is very easy to connect to your camera; simply slide on two rings onto the eyelets that you normal straps run through and then clip the harness to the rings. It is a very simple task to remove the harness as you simply unclip from those rings.
If you think that I am exaggerating the severity of this problem then either you don’t own a DSLR/SLR or you have never carried it for extended periods of time. Here is a picture of a harness but note that is not the one that I use and thus functionality may be a bit different.. These are found in good stores and for around $20.