HandsOn Black Widow Camera Holster for CostConscious Photographers

first_imgIf you carry around a DSLR for extended periods, you may find a camera holster works better than a neck strap. The new, lightweight Spider Black Widow camera holster securely holds all but the heaviest cameras and lenses at a price ($55 direct) that is half that of the pro-focused, pro-priced SpiderPro holster. With both, you attach a metal pin and optionally a baseplate to the tripod socket on the base of your camera, which slides and locks into the holster on your belt or a Spider belt.With the affordable Black Widow Holster, the clip is a high-tech reinforced plastic rather than metal. It’s designed to slide onto any most any belt or you can buy a smaller Black Widow nylon belt from Spider ($16). Slide the camera-pin combo in, it locks in place; press the red lever on the side, it unlocks and slides out. The optional Black Widow baseplate (also $16) is a thin piece of metal that lets you offset your camera a bit from your body (see photo). The pin remains is robust but you need your own wrench to secure it rather than the included hex-key wrench that stores inside the big Spider Pro’s baseplate. That’s the biggest inconvenience. I used the Black Widow with a medium-size digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera and wide-angle to telephoto zoom weighing four pounds, total. The clip (holster) didn’t feel overburdened then or with a flash that pushed the weight closer to six pounds. Never when I walked or ran was there an issue of the camera coming loose from the holster, although you’d be crazy not to have a hand on the camera, since it’s going to bounce around. For camera-lens combinations well over five or six pounds (and many thousands of dollars in gear costs) I’d want the reassurance of the heavier original. Photographers carrying lenses and flashes on a photo belt is nothing new; adding the camera makes as much or more sense. I’ve been using the original Spider Holster (see review) for almost a year. It works well when you’re carrying around a heavy camera and big lens. For extended shoots, I prefer it much more than even the comfiest neck strap. But the belt is bulky; I left it by mistake in a fancy New York City lounge where I was doing a photo shoot and the manager who found it thought she was looking at a weightlifter’s belt. Given that a pro camera, motor drive battery pack, and long telephoto lens can exceed 10 pounds, she was not far off. With the Black Widow, which ships in early December, Spider now has a line that makes sense to a wide variety of photographers: The Black Widow, $55 for the package, for mainstream DSLRs. Use the companion Black Widow belt if you’re dressed casually or loop it through a regular belt if you need to dress up. Spider suggests its own belt provides a chic look that’s right for any occasion; I thought the SpiderPro and Black Widow nylon-and-Velcro belts exude some of the DNA of those back braces worn by associates at Home Depot. Regardless, for only $16 extra, get the belt, then also go buy a wide leather belt at H&M or Forever 21, and decide which is more to your liking. The Black Widow holster is light enough that you’ll want to use it, on your own belt, with any camera too big to fit in a pocket. There is no ride too violent at Six Flags or DisneyWorld to shake a camera loose from the Black Widow holster. The  SpiderPro Camera Holster System for serious photographers with heavy cameras. Don’t think of the $110 cost; think of the value of what you’re carrying around. The SpiderPro Camera Holster Box, $100, basically the Pro system with the holster (clip), baseplate, and pin, but without the heavier nylon belt. Then you can attach the holster to any wide belt you own, or the black, nylon (and slightly better finished) equipment belts from Lowepro or Thinktank. But here, too, omitting the belt ($30 by itself) only saves you $10 over the complete system, so there’s little point in not getting the complete package. Pricing quirks and belt fashion aside, the Black Widow system is the perfect way to carry any small or midsize DSLR or, for that matter, a video camera. It’s always ready and except when you’re shooting, there’s nothing in your hands or slapping you in the chest as you walk along. Dozens of photo gadgets come along each year that get labeled as ingenious yet never catch on; the SpiderPro and Black Widow holsters are the real deal.last_img read more