The BlackRapid Sport X QD strap is a new version of their popular Sport Breath strap that features a quick disconnect (QD) system borrowed from the firearms industry. The strap is available in coyote brown (pictured) as well as a pair of camouflage designs. BlackRapid is targeting this strap at both the camera and the firearms industry, and it looks like the brand is seeking a new audience in that area.
Note: On the BlackRapid website, the strap is found in the firearms section only, for some reason.
I have been a fan of the QD system for some time. All of my cameras are compatible with the system, as is my tripod. Up until now, the only strap choices I had were rifle straps from military retailers or the Magpul MS-4 rifle strap that is sold by RRS and Kirk Photo.
When I saw that BlackRapid has also created a QD strap, I reached out to them and they sent one over for me to review.
QD System Primer
The QD system comes from the firearms industry but is now finding its way into the camera industry. The system is comprised of two parts: a swivel and a socket. The swivel has a button on it, and when it’s pressed, the small bearings around the outside retract and allow you to push it into a compatible QD socket. Inside the socket is a grooved track that receives the balls when the push button is released. With a swivel installed into a socket, the camera can freely spin around to face any angle.
Really Right Stuff, Kirk Photo and Hejnar Photo are now incorporating QD sockets into all their new camera and lens plates, so this is a growing area for the industry, a system that I very much enjoy using. The primary benefit is that the base of the camera can remain flat. If you were to use the standard version of the BlackRapid Sport strap, you have to install the swivel connection system which protrudes from the camera base. This prevents the camera from sitting flat on a table, and also adds to camera height when putting it into a bag.
BlackRapid is the first camera strap company to make a specific QD version of one of their straps. There is also a strap called the Magpul MS-4 that I have reviewed before. This strap is sold by Really Right Stuff and Kirk Photo, but it’s actually a rifle sling strap. It’s also a great strap, you should read the review, but it did start life as a gun strap and not a camera strap.
Of note: Really Right Stuff has pull tested the QD system to 450lbs, so it can easily carry any camera system that a human could carry.
Features and Comfort
This strap is essentially a BlackRapid Sport Breathe with a different colour, slightly different shoulder pad material and a QD attachment instead of the traditional BlackRapid connection system (pictured below). These sling straps have an ergonomic curvature to them that makes them incredibly comfortable. Something which has been often copied by other strap manufacturers since the original BlackRapid sling strap launched many years ago.
I’m glad they chose to add the QD system to this particular strap in the range. As far as I’m concerned they simply added a good thing to an already good thing. Win, win.
The main part of the strap features two plastic buckles, one either side of the QD swivel mounts. When pinched, they slide up and down the strap to limit the camera’s range of movement. If you want the camera to be able to slide right up the strap when you pick it up, slide the front buckle up towards the shoulder pad. When you keep both buckles down the strap towards the QD swivel, it helps to stop the camera swinging about while you’re walking. Simple.
The Sport X strap also features an underarm stabilizing strap. This is easily removable if you don’t think it will help or suit your shooting style.
When the stabilizing strap is connected and tightened, it pulls the strap’s comfortable padding into the top of your shoulder. This works well to stop the strap sliding off your shoulder while you walk around. Adding to the comfort of this system is an elasticated portion of the stabilizing strap, allowing you to move your arms around freely and not feel constricted by the extra strap.
On a hot day, I remove the strap or leave it dangling down because it pushes my clothing into my armpit and makes me feel uncomfortably sweaty and causes the dreaded sweat patch. In cooler temperatures where I’m wearing more than one layer, I do find it to be a useful feature if you are walking around without a camera bag. On the other hand, if you’re constantly getting the camera out of your bag for a minute at a time while you take a shot, there’s no need to use the stabilizer strap and it can be left at home.
I absolutely love using the QD system on my cameras, whether that’s with a natively compatible strap like this Sport X, or a converted strap using off the shelf QD swivels.
There aren’t a lot of options on the market for QD compatible camera straps, but if you’re in the market for one, this is the best yet. BlackRapid has simply taken the tried and tested comfort and function of the popular Sport strap and breathed a little change into it with a QD swivel.
It should be pointed out that if you don’t love the military-inspired colours of the Sport X strap, you could buy a regular BlackRapid Sport Breathe strap and a QD swivel from Amazon. Instead of using the screw-in 1/4″ 20 adapter that comes with the strap, you would simply connect the strap’s carabiner right into the swivel. The only slight downside to this method is marginally heavier strap weight due to the carabiner on the end of the strap, and the added cost of buying the swivel.
If you are looking to compare this strap with other options on the market, I’d recommend you take a look at our massive guide to the best camera straps on the market this year. We have thoroughly tested 22 different straps to compare their performance, and the Sport X strap is on that list.
Where to Buy
As always, we appreciate it when you use our links to make your purchases. At the moment this strap seems to have a smaller distribution than some of their other camera straps, but it is available from B&H Photo for a regular retail price of $74.95.