EMULSIVE | Aug 8, 2018 | 5
Gear review: the Peak Design Slide Lite (v2)
At the end of 2017 the folks over at Peak Design were kind enough to send me the latest version (v2) of their Slide Lite camera strap to try out. Well, after a few of months of almost daily use on my Contax 139Q 35mm SLR, I’m pleased to be able to give you all my little review. Before I get into the review, allow me a quick aside about my thoughts camera straps and history with Peak Design’s products to date.
I’m very particular about camera straps. You may not feel the same but to me they are a little bit more than just a strip of material between two strap lugs. When it comes to analogue cameras specifically, there’s so much variation between the size, weight and shape of cameras and camera types, that picking the right strap can make the difference between loving or hating taking a particular camera out and about for the day.
I settled on OP/Tech Pro Straps for my medium format camera gear a number of years ago. They are modular, super comfortable and have fat neoprene shoulder/neck pads which suit carrying heavy gear for long stints on my shoulder. In addition, because those pads and straps connectors are interchangeable, I can have many “anchors” and share a smaller number of “pads” among them.
Getting to something even close to a universal system universal for my 35mm gear is a little less clear. I veer across many wrist/cuff/shoulder straps depending on my mood and what I’m carrying.
I’m not a stranger to Peak’s gear. Over over the years I have supported a few of their crowdfunding campaigns and purchased more bits and pieces via retail. In fact, the original Clutch from their 2014 Kickstarter is still the default strap for my Nikon F100 over three years down the road and still uses the same anchor points I attached the day I received my reward. That says something to me.
Enough rambling. Here’s what I cover in this review:
Table of contents
The Slide Lite – what is it?
Here’s the short version: it’s a camera strap that according to Peak Design is designed “specifically for mirrorless and smaller cameras”. It’s adjustable, can be mounted on your camera in a few different ways, and is based around Peak’s modular anchor link system. There you go. Review over, job done. Scroll to the bottom and leave a comment.
The longer version is this: it’s a an adjustable camera strap made from a single strip of seatbelt-type nylon webbing. The strap is modular and attaches to your camera using Peak’s anchor link system – small discs of plastic embedded with a loop of super strong nylon-like material. All peak straps share this modular approach and to top it all off, it’s likely that you can modify an existing non-Peak strap to use the anchor link system.
The Slide Lite is a thinner version of its big brother, the Slide. It comes in at 32 mm (1.3″) wide and can be extended from 99 to 145cm (around 39-57 inches for you Imperial system folks). It’s also light, weighing in at a little under 150 grams (about 3 ounces).
It can be used as a neck strap, shoulder strap or cross-body sling.
Forgive the stock photo above, I neglected to take a full-length picture of it along with the others you see in this article, so I cunningly stole one from Peak Design’s product page for the Slide Lite.
In the box
In the box you get your strap, a total of four anchor links, an extra (tiny) anchor plate which screws into your tripod mount, an allen key to help mount it and a pouch to store it all in.
(TIP: Click or tap on any of the thumbnails below or later on in this article to have them open in a full screen lightbox.)
I’ve always loved Peak’s packaging. It may seem overkill for “just a camera strap” but believe me, not a single square inch of space is wasted and it’s all very well thought out.
Speaking of which, the front of the box flips open so that you can give the strap a feel. This might not be a big deal for online shoppers but makes for a great experience in-store.
On the camera, on-body and in use
As you’ll have probably guessed by now, I’m reviewing the jet black version of the Slide Lite, which comes with red accents. It looks good.
Being made from a seatbelt-style material, the strap sits somewhere between supple and rigid. It’s soft enough to be comfortable against the skin or light clothing for extended periods of time. I for one didn’t find it digging uncomfortably into my body on extended outings.
The material is understandably smooth and doesn’t provide much in the way of friction to keep it in one place against clothing. This is incredibly useful when using the strap as a cross-body sling. When used in this way I typically keep the camera on my back and the low friction material makes it easy to slide the camera into position when needed.
If you prefer to keep the strap on your shoulder, all is not lost. The reverse side has a 26cm (~10 inch) track of rubber grip. Just flip it over and get the grip you need.
There’s not what you’d call a locking mechanism on the strap’s length adjustment. The buckles and metal loops you see in the pictures below just need a tug to adjust. That said, in usual or even unusual use, it’s really not easy to accidentally change length of the strap by pulling on it without making a conscious effort. Perhaps this will change with more time and extended use but if my other (+3 year old) Peak straps are anything to go by, I don’t see that happening.
I should note that the metal loops are simply handles that make adjustment easier. Flip one up and give it a tug to change the strap’s length. This system is especially useful when you have the strap across your body.
For the most part I used the Slide Lite on my Contax 139Q and 45mm Tessar pancake lens. At 625 grams (1.3lbs), it’s not a heavy combination by any means and I as I mostly carry my cameras on the shoulder, I quickly got used to throwing the strap on with the grip side against my clothes.
I also tested the strap out for a few days with my Nikon FT3 and Nikkor 28mm f/2 lens. With its half case mounted the combination weighs in at 1275 grams (~3lbs) and the weight of the set-up certainly helped to reduce slippage even without flipping over to use the grip. Even after a couple of hours with the strap on the same shoulder, I didn’t feel any discomfort or pinching.
Peak’s anchor links are where it’s at. They attach to your camera’s strap lugs, the supplied tripod anchor mount, or a suitable tripod plate; and lock in to special connectors on the straps themselves.
Every Peak Design strap is compatible with every anchor link (new and old), which means that if you want to change your strap, or change the way you mount your strap to the camera. You do this by effecting a simple push-down-pull-out action and remount the strap to another anchor point.
It may not seem like a big deal but to an aforementioned strap nerd like me, this clever little system brings some welcome modularity with it; you could have a handful of straps shared across a multitude of cameras – very similar to the OP/Tech Pro Strap system I mentioned above – or modify your own straps to use the anchor link system, as you’ll see in an upcoming review of the Peak Cuff wrist strap.
The newer anchor links have a slightly different design to the original version. The nylon cord is thinner and less prone to fraying; and the “inside” of the disk has a slight bevelling to make it easier to switch straps.
Cost and value
The strap sells for under US$50 direct on Peak Design’s website, Amazon, BH Photo and a bunch of other places. It’s a reasonable price when you consider the quality and longevity of their other products.
Its a good strap! It took me a while to get used to the material and the lack of a locking mechanism (more confusion about this than concern). What I initially expected to be potential negative points didn’t really materialise – lack of grip on the shoulder, having the strap pinch or dig in to my skin.
I love the modularity and the new anchor links. They’re much easier to use than the original versions (not that they were problematic before). The apparent thinness doesn’t translate into reduced performance though – each link can support up to 90kg /200lbs.
- Long adjustment range (99 to 145cm / 39-57 inches)
- Lightweight at less than 150g.
- Anchor links can hold up to 90kg / 200lbs each.
- Can be used as a shoulder, neck or sling strap.
- Modular: share straps across multiple cameras which have anchor links installed.
- Spare anchor links included.
- Inexpensive when you consider the flexibility it offers.
- Doesn’t always feel 100% secure on the shoulder when paired with lighter gear but as a sling or neck strap, feels fine.
- Nope, can’t think of anything else…
Heads-up: If you decide to buy one of these for yourself, make sure you check the product code before you do. You’ll want SLL-BK-3 (black) or SLL-AS-3 (ash). If you see a product description or code containing the number “2”, this denotes the original version.
Thanks for reading!
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