Just before the Oregon Toy Photo Safari, the fine folks at Spider Holster offered to send me a few products to review for the podcast and blog. They didn’t arrive in time for the meetup, but the recent Voltron shoot gave me the chance to get out of the studio and finally take them for a spin! I’ve also got an exciting giveaway and promo code for you…
Friendly Neighborhood Spider Holster
I first learned of Spider Holster from our friend Mitchel Wu, who’s long been one of their brand ambassadors. For those unaware, they’re a camera gear company founded and run by professional photographers. They develop the kind of gear that’s designed to make your life easier, and have products for entry-level and seasoned photographers alike. Whether you have a point-and-shoot camera, a heavier DSLR with big telephoto lenses, or just want pouches for your memory cards or lenses, they’ve got the products for you!
I’ve been wanting to get my hands on their trademark camera holsters for quite some time now. As I’ve become more comfortable shooting outdoors, I’ve also become bogged down by my usual camera gear. Carrying my camera in a bag can be cumbersome, and it’s virtually impossible to shoot something quickly. Any time I’d want to set up a shot I’d have to stop, take off my backpack or shoulder bag, unzip it, get my camera out, attach my lens, and then shoot.
I’ve tried keeping my camera out of the backpack, but then I’m wearing it around my neck. If you’ve ever owned a camera you know how tiring it can be wearing a camera around your neck for any extended period of time, or how awkward it can be to shoot with one on. You also better hope that you don’t have to bend over to set up your shot, because your camera will just dangle there in front of you, bash up against things and potentially knock down your toys!
That’s where Spider Holster’s signature SpiderLight Holster Kit comes in handy! Its ingenious design puts the camera on your hip, giving you more freedom and comfort while also giving you quick-draw access to your camera.
There are two components: The “holster” itself that clips onto your pants or belt, and a special baseplate that screws onto the bottom of your camera. The plate has a ball joint sticking out of it that fits into the holster. You can then lock the holster so you camera doesn’t go anywhere, or leave it unlocked for quick access.
The ball joint element is fantastic because it allows your camera to move as you do. It’s designed so that your lens faces behind you, meaning you can squat or bend over and not worry about your lens slamming into anything (something that happened to me all the time with a neck strap).
The Test Run
I’ll admit that I was incredibly nervous the first time I took this thing out for a spin. I was so worried that my camera was just going to fall off and shatter into a bunch of pieces! But the lock is incredibly sturdy, and after a few minutes of awkward paranoia I felt totally comfortable and secure. It felt natural very quickly.
When shooting Voltron, I walked for miles around the parks near my apartment looking for suitable spots to play with the giant robot. I live on the third floor of my building, and the camera never felt unsafe going up and down all of the stairs. While walking around the parks, it comfortably sat at my side, giving me the necessary freedom to carry Voltron around in a tote and my lenses and gear in a camera bag.
Voltron itself required quite a bit of time to set up and re-assemble while on location, which would have been impossible if I’d had my camera on a neck strap. I would have had to take my camera off each time I had to adjust my shot. With the SpiderLight Holster, I could squat down and re-attach an arm or Voltron’s sword without having to worry about it. Shooting Voltron was already stressful and frustrating, so removing my camera troubles from that equation helped tremendously.
I’m always nervous about products that require a baseplate, because it usually means I’m forfeiting some other camera feature. Would I have to unscrew it every time I want to use my tripod or change my battery? The answer, as I happily found out, was no! The baseplate is designed so that the battery compartment is still easily accessible, and there’s an extra mount where you can screw in your tripod baseplate. The Spider Holster baseplate is also adjustable, meaning it will fit a wide variety of cameras easily and you can tweak it based on your needs.
This was incredibly important to me because, while I’ll primarily use the holster for outdoor shoots, I often stay in-studio and didn’t want the hassle of having to remove and attach the holster every time I changed environments. Luckily, I can leave it on at all times and never worry about it.
Both the baseplate and the holster itself are made of high quality metal, and don’t at all feel cheap or flimsy. This thing was obviously made to stand the test of time and the elements.
SpiderLight Hand Strap
The SpiderLight Holster wasn’t the only product I was sent to test out. I was also given a few SpiderLight Hand Straps as well (why do I need more than one you ask? Stay tuned until the end of this post to find out!)
Like camera holsters, hand straps are an accessory that’s made me a bit nervous. I’ve always been a klutz, and was terrified of my hand slipping out of the strap, causing my camera to once again fall and break.
The SpiderLight Hand Strap eliminated my worries. It’s snug and comfortable, and is shaped differently than traditional hand straps. While wearing it, I never felt like my camera was going to slip off, and yet I was still able to use my thumbs and fingers for various adjustments without having to take it off.
The strap does attach via screwing it into the bottom of your camera, either between the camera and a baseplate or with the hardware included. I was worried about this initially, but the material is flexible enough that I can still get to my battery compartment without having to remove anything. As for how it’s screwed in, I just have it between my camera and my now-permanent SpiderHolster baseplate and it’s nice and snug.
Having the hand strap has further made my photography life easier. I’m happy to have yet another excuse to eliminate my neck strap. Even when shooting indoors, my neck strap would dangle and get in the way of my tripod legs or wrap around them entirely. I was constantly having to move it out of my way! The hand strap is much more compact and is so sturdy that it sticks off to the side, out of the way.
Sturdy as it may be, the hand strap is very comfortable. The material is extremely durable, but there’s padding on the inside that feels soft against your hand. It’s also very breathable, so you shouldn’t have to worry about your hand getting to sweaty, which is another plus.
The strap comes in a handful of colors. The outer nylon material is black, but the inner foam has a colored trim. It’s available in black, red, kodiak, dark blue, purple, ivory, pink and teal.
Of course, this SpiderLight gear can’t completely replace your camera bag. Sometimes you do need to have your camera and all of your gear secured and tucked away. These are made to be additions to your setup, not all-around replacements.
Do I like and recommend these products? YES. I honestly can’t believe I’ve waited this long to get them. I will never wear a neck strap again! I do suggest you actually wear a belt with the holster; when I went shooting I just attached it to the side of my pants. I have a lightweight DSLR with small lenses, but still found that the weight of the holster and my camera tugged at my pants and was a bit uncomfortable. I can’t imagine how bad it would have been if I’d had heavier gear! That’s what the upgraded SpiderPro unit or special “Backpacker” kit is for.
As for the hand strap, it’s everything you could want. It’s durable, comfortable, and easy to remove or attach quickly if need be. I also appreciate the range of motion I still have while wearing it. Paired with the SpiderLight Holster, I finally feel comfortable on my photo walks and in my studio!
Giveaway and Promo Code!
I have two extra SpiderLight Hand Straps to give away, and our friends at Spider Holster have graciously created a promo code for everyone to get 20% off on their products at www.spiderholster.com!
Just use the promo code TOYPHOTO at checkout, and save 20%! If you’d like to try to win one of the hand straps, all you have to do is leave us a podcast review! Whether it be on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or wherever you listen to the podcast, leave us a review and you’ll be entered to win. Next Saturday (the 28th) I’ll compile all of the names, hold a raffle to choose the winners, and announce them here on the blog on Sunday’s podcast post!
I want to thank the Spider Holster team for sending these products along to review and for setting us up with a promo code. I have absolutely fallen in love with these items, and cannot recommend them enough! I’ve already chosen my next purchases to add even more of their products to my camera bag.
Have you tried any Spider Holster products before? What did you think of them? Sound off in the comments below!
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It looks like handy kit. I’m with you on neck straps. I’ve been using wrist straps for years now and would never go back to a neck strap.
Yes! Plus holsters just “look” cooler 😉
Looks like an awesome holster and strap.
BTW I put in a review for the podcast on iTunes, but it doesn’t show up on the interface. Can you confirm it is there?
Thanks Dave! I’m seeing a new review from photonut1983, is that you by chance?
Shai from Spider here.. Thank you for the review James!
Wanted to point out that the SpiderLight Plate already has an Arca-Swiss feature embedded, so James, you do not need to use your tripod plate – I believe you can simply lock-in your tripod driectly onto the Spider plate?.. Please try.
Let us know if you would like to test the SpiderLight belt (the belt is extremely comfortable and will allow you to carry more items as/if needed:-)
Hooray! That’s so cool you got the Spider gear! I transitioned over to this setup earlier this year and LOVE it. No more neck strap discomfort, and no more having to make sure the dangling neck strap stays clean when shooting toys low to the messy ground!
I use the Spider Pro Hand Strap to handle my full-size DSLR, and the SpiderLight Holster on my own belt. At the time, you couldn’t purchase just the Pro Holster, it was built into that hefty belt with the pad which I just didn’t want to wear. I actually bought the backpacker kit too but unfortunately it doesn’t work for me, so I feel like I wasted some money there. (Let me know if you want it!) My camera is just so large and I’m kind of tiny, so having it on my backpack strap right below my chin completely obstructed my view of the ground which would be extremely dangerous while hiking. The holster doesn’t slip out of the strap clip as easily as their video shows either, so the idea of quickly switching from strap to belt position was out.
I’m happy just having it on my belt though! Now I wish I had the beefier Pro Holster, but the Light Holster works fine. While we were on the beach in Hawaii, I clipped the holster to my thin board shorts! It was pretty comical wearing a bikini top and having this humongous camera pulling down my shorts! But, a toy photographer has to do what a toy photographer has to do! 😉
ps. I kind of like having the ball joint of the baseplate as another place to hook my fingers around the camera to have a better grip of it while in-hand, however, it prevents getting the camera flush with the ground for those extremely low-angle shots. That’s the biggest downside about the baseplate for me.
Great piece of equipment. When working outside I couldn’t get the jobs done having the camera hanging from a strap around my neck. You need freedom of movement and this product allows for this. You have a quick release which also allows for ease of use.
I think i could really use this….
I simply love my spider holster. It really helps me, if I don’t have it then I really don’t know what to do. It is so awkward trying to hold my cameras without it. Regular neck straps really hurt my back but the belt makes everything very convenient for me to have everything I need all right there. I do not know how I use to manage without it!