Ricoh GXR: Straps

Empathy and Opinions about Wrist Straps, Neck Straps, and Bags... | Alternative: The Ricoh ST-3 Neck Strap | Proposals for Improvement | How to Attach the Neck Strap Correctly... | Building a Cheap Wrist Strap (Tom Caldwell) | Further "Fall" Experiences, Thoughts, Suggestions... | Side Topic: The Battery Holder | Some Faint Remembrances... | Conclusions

On this page, I collect replies that I received and my own experiences regarding straps and bags, when my GXR fell to the ground two times within a year. I report the incidents themselves elsewhere and focus on comments and solutions here. I rearranged the postings and e-mails independently of their chronological order.

You can find details about the falls and the resulting discussions at:

Moreover, I received a number of personal e-mails with suggestions.

Note: If anyone who has been included in this page does not agree with being included (or the photos included), please let me know and I will delete the respective passages/photos.

Update: At the end of 2013, I bought a Peak Design shoulder/wrist strap bundle. I expected this combo to minimize the risk of the camera falling down and so it did. See page Peak Design Straps for more information.

 

Empathy and Opinions about Wrist Straps, Neck Straps, and Bags...

I received quite a number of sympathetic posts and mail, in which the senders also expressed their opinions about straps and bags:

All in all, opinions and preferences seem to vary. Some users prefer wrist straps, a few use neck straps, and many have a bag for stowing the camera away. While I used a wrist strap at times, I prefer a neck strap, because I want to have my hands free when walking around (until last year, I also needed my hands for walking sticks, because of my bad hips...). I always dream of a bag that can be opened instantly, but did not yet find a suitable one (no zippers, please...). At the current state, having the camera in a bag means not using it...

 

Alternative: The Ricoh ST-3 Neck Strap

I also had an exchange with godfrey regarding a better neck strap: He proposed and bought the Ricoh ST-3 neck trap made of leather.

Godfrey: I've not had problems with securing the neckstrap on mine: it hasn't slipped at all since I first assembled it on April 29th. But I don't like the neckstrap much: the edges of the strap where it contacts my neck are very rough and uncomfortable. I've been looking into alternatives. I'd like a soft cloth or leather strap, it needs to be strong enough but the camera isn't terribly heavy to warrant something big and bulky.

The end parts where the strap loops through the camera lugs are an unusual 5/16" (.313" or 7.5mm) size, the common 3/8" (.375" or 9.5mm) webbing used on most replacement straps is too wide to fit properly. I found a six-foot leash intended for a small dog which uses this size webbing as a source and will modify a suitable neckstrap to use it. I don't think I'll need it to be adjustable at all, so the ends will be pinned in place once fitted and sized properly.

addendum: I just noticed that there is a Ricoh ST-3 leather strap available from both B&H and Popflash. Looks nice: all leather aside from the attachment ends, lined all the way through the length. That's what I was hoping to make.. Not cheap ... $39 ... but it's probably cheaper than anything of equal quality I can construct. And better quality. I ordered one.

My reply: Thank you for your posts. I guess the size issue is due to the small size of the GXR body - you can't have all... I also realized that Ricoh offers another, better neck strap, but I was somehow unwilling to pay another 40 or more Euros for a better strap. At the time I bought the body, it was pretty expensive - so why did they include a poor strap so that you have to buy another, better one eventually? I guess that is marketing... (and I hate that!)

addendum: A negative comment on the ST-3 (sorry): While it is made of leather in the middle, the ends are the same as for the included strap - so no improvements regarding falls (but you can thread it the Nikon/Panasonic way for more safety...).

Godfrey's reply: I kind of agree that for the cost of a GXR body plus A12 camera unit, a good leather strap should be included, but then again no one else does it either. With the P10 camera unit, the price is closer to a high-end point and shoot (about $600) ... and most of those only come with a cheezy wrist strap and no neckstrap lugs. At least a leather neckstrap is available!

No need to be sorry. Yes, the ends have to be of pretty much the same construction as the in-box strap ... the size of the slots in the body dictate that. It's pretty much what I was going to make. As I said, mine (threaded the way they show in the instruction manual) hasn't budged at all since I put it together in April. And the camera's gotten plenty of use hanging around my neck. Once the new strap is here, I'll likely thread it the Nikon way or just pin it so it can't possibly slip, it's not a big deal. It's just unfortunate that yours did slip and caused the camera to hit the ground.

Godfrey after arrival of the strap: The Ricoh ST-3 leather neck strap I ordered last week arrived today and, I have to say, it exceeds my expectations. Soft leather lined with micro-fiber cloth, very supple even brand new. Well worth the $40 price tag, it's like a premium watch band in a neck strap context.

I threaded it with the Nikon routing shown here - so it is very secure and very very comfortable.

 

Proposals for Improvement

Here, I list proposals for improvement that I received as well as my own proposal.

Combined Wrist and Neck Strap

eidiacc: Problem with this camera is that the hole for attaching the strap is really small as compared with normal cameras, i.e. DSLR straps won't fit. And the straps for small cameras just don't seem to be able to hold the weight of the GXR, especially with A12 50mm. After browsing in the market for quite some times, I am now using something like this.

Photos by eidiacc (click photo for larger version)

The attachment parts can go on both sides of the camera (like the original strap), or go on the right side (like how I have been using it). I have been using it this way because I can transform it for carrying around the neck or holding by hand.

At first the thin string worried me a bit, but I have been using it for quite some time and I am pretty certain that it will not come off easy.

Burning the Cut Ends

Relacks: Personally I also use the double back method, but after the strap has been slightly shortened. I then burn the "cut ends" with a match or something, and that melts the strap and leaves a rough end which does not slide through the 'keeper ' so readily. Tony.

Sewing the Strap End Down

Rob13: ... Ok if that doesn't help (his proposals regarding snubbers etc.) then perhaps its just the intensity of your hiking and the camera is swinging out quite a bit with a considerably amount of movement. If so you'll need to consider sewing the strap end down so it never comes undone.

My own Ideas - Proposal for a Fix

Here is a "prototypical" proposal from me for a fix - a stopper that is attached to both ends of the neck strap:

Comment

Proposals like those from Relacks and Rob13 are definitely effective but are also "one way" solutions - they cannot be undone or are hard to remove. I always favored a solution in the spirit of eidiacc's, but I was too lazy to explore it any further. The same is regrettably true for my own proposal...

 

How to Attach the Neck Strap Correctly...

The Nikon Way...

ktel99: I am attaching a pic of the way I secure my straps (following the instructions from one single Nikon "instruction sheet" that came with the strap of a refurbished FM3a, go figure...). The trick is to loop the end inside and exactly in the opposite direction most manuals suggest. I think the weight of the camera cannot get the thing undone. Attaching the strap (or adjusting its length) is a pain, but it is secure.

Photo by ktel99

The Panasonic Way...

Richard Parkin: Hi Gerd, Sorry to read in dpreview and on your blog about your problem with the strap on your GXR. I think the instructions for fitting the strap given in the GXR manual are wrong and the strap is bound to fail, as you have found. That kind of strap is usually threaded through the buckle in a different way so that the end is trapped when the strap is tightened. I attach the illustration for fixing a similar strap which is taken from the Panasonic Lumix G1 user guide.

Download the instructions page in PDF format (scalable) (similar to the Nikon way)

The Ricoh Way...

Personally, I am not fully convinced that one or the other way of threading the strap through the buckle is superior - at least according to my brief tests. Nevertheless, I will go for the Panasonic/Nikon solution for a while. However, to make things clearer for the visitors of this site, I also include the Ricoh instructions:

Download the instructions page ii in PDF format (scalable)

One more Comment

John Driggers: I have a GXR A12/28 on order so I have been trolling the forum. I was alarmed by your post and clicked through to your web site. I looked at the instructions on the Ricoh PDF you posted there and the photo of your strap on your site.

After looking at those, I was not surprised that your strap loosened. The Ricoh instructions are clearly incorrect. The tail of the strap must go UNDER the main strap - not OVER as shown in the Ricoh illustration. It is the weight of the camera pulling the main strap snug in the buckle that holds the tail in place.

As shown in the Ricoh instructions and your photos - there is really nothing keeping the tail from sliding through the buckle and your camera falling if the tail goes OVER the main strap.

Snubbers - Do they Really Help?

With regards to the snubbers, I received two reactions, one from mainiac and another one from Rob13.

Mainiac: Hi Gerd, Thanks for the strap warning. I pulled on my strap but it would not budge. This may be because it has two added snubbers, one for each end. It came with these on the strap (see photo attached).

Photo by mainiac (modified; click photo for larger version)

Rob13: Hi there, I noted 2 small differences which might help? From page ii of the owner's manual there appear to be 2 differences between their picture and yours.

My replies in short: Originally, I had those "snubbers", too - and indeed, the two plastic parts are missing now. But I lost them, one during each crash: The first time, I could not find it anymore between the rocks, the second time, I simply forgot to look for it. So while Rob13 rightfully mentioned that the snubbers help reduce the pressure, in my case, the strap went loose at an end with snubber attached. Obviously, the snubbers did not help much in my case...With regard to Ron13's second argument, I am unsure whether that really makes a difference. It could indeed if the body and the buckle touch because they are too close together.

Conclusions

So while I agree that the snubbers should help, I cannot confirm this from my experiences. At the first crash, I had both snubbers attached, and at the second one, the end with attached snubber got loose... All in all, I lost one snubber during each crash and have to find out now where to get new ones....

 

Building a Cheap Wrist Strap (Tom Caldwell)

For people who prefer a wrist strap, Tom Caldwell's post in the Ricoh forum at dpreview for building a cheap wrist strap should be of great interest. Therefore, I include it here (with his approval):

TC: Quite a few years ago I decided neck straps were for the birds and sore necks. So my cameras only have wrist straps. Not so messy when you put them away either.

For a while I bought commercial wrist straps but then I figured that they were easy to make. My current MkIII version is suitable smooth braided cord from a ladies sewing shop bought for not much by the metre. Cut a suitable length fold it in two and knot it. Feed it through the camera carry loops (you have to get the right cord to fit through here - a bent paper clip "hook" can help) and slip it back through itself to fix it. I make the right wrist strap a little longer and put a small piece of plastic tube over the doubled cord which if it slides with a little resistance can be used to lock the strap to your wrist.

When I am not using the camera it comes off my wrist and into a carry bag or belt bag. But make sure you zip up your Lowepro backpack! The fine type of cord I use is not difficult when storing, folds easily into bags and is scratch proof having no metal or plastic parts.

If they ever fray they are easy to replace and the whole setting up takes little time and it is very cheap. There are no adjusting clips to come off and you make the strap to the exact size that suits you.

In a second post, Tom added:

Gerd my ideas are simple, usable and unpatentable. If they can help anyone feel free (to publish them).

Methods of attaching cameras to prevent dropping and provide ease of use are very personal and what works for me will not necessarily work for others.

Having a wrist strap can be a bother and on my dslr gear I have very stout straps that are strong enough to let the camera "dangle" for a short period whilst I use both hands.

Energetic movements with a dslr equipped with battery pack and large lens are not recommended with the gear hanging from your wrist but I have done this when I have needed to use both hands for a short while quite a few times without disaster so far.

Will post up some images to show how I personally have tackled the problem.

So, I am waiting for Tom's photos...

 

Further "Fall" Experiences, Thoughts, Suggestions...

Here I collect some more feedback that I received, including from "fellow sufferers":

 

Side Topic: The Battery Holder

Comment

I once dropped my wife's Caplio R5. In this case, I was lucky in that Ricoh repaired the damage at not cost. In the case of the GXR body, I was lucky in two respects: Firstly, a repair was not really necessary, because the battery was secured when the compartment door was closed. Secondly, the battery holder was repaired "automatically", when my GXR body got new body parts. Finally, the holder seems to break even without a fall...

 

Some Faint Remembrances...

Coming to an end of this page, I can recall that I dropped my cameras already in the old analog days. In 1997, I dropped my Canon A1 with 28-200 zoom at Zabriskie point in Death Valley. Luckily, I had my 50mm lens with me (and did not use the zoom any longer, because that would have resulted in lots of fuzzy images, although that was not evident in the viewfinder...), and I could also buy a replacement zoom in Las Vegas soon after the fall (although with a smaller range at the tele end).

Another drop happened in a castle or museum - a cannot remember the place any more. At that time, I used a sturdy wrist strap that a friend of ours had built and given me as a present. Regrettably, however, the snap hook was not as sturdy as the strap - it simply broke in two...

 

Conclusions

First of all, I am not the only person who dropped his camera - many others reported that they faced the same fate. Some of them were lucky, and the camera was more or less unharmed after the fall or they could catch it before the fall, some had to send the camera for repair. I have already experienced both and also seem to be a consistent dropper...

The most positive aspect of this, however, is that I received a lot of empathy and suggestions for improvement from the photo community... Thumbs up for the Ricoh - and not only the Ricoh - camera community!

Update: At the end of 2013, I bought a Peak Design shoulder/wrist strap bundle. I expected this combo to minimize the risk of the camera falling down and so it did. See page Peak Design Straps for more information.

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29.11.2016