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Charlie Spencer

Juggling camera and binos in the field

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I'm looking for a solution to juggling binos and a camera when birding.

Currently I have the binos on a harness, and the bridge P&S on a monopod that doubles as a walking stick.  The monopod gets in the way sometimes, and holding it often forces me to hold the binos with one hand.  I've tried strapping the camera case to my belt but the weight gets really noticeable after a couple of hours and pull the waist down on that side.

Anyone tried two harnesses, one adjusted relatively short for binos and one set to carry the camera lower below the glasses?  Anyone have other solutions or suggestions?

Thanks.

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I use 2 neckstraps, one higher and one lower just like you suggested.  OPTECH makes a great harnesses for both and I bought one.  I think it's somewhere in my garage... 

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Chest harness with case for bins, and rapid strap for camera.  The camera hangs on my hip.  I want to say I tried a monopod with that setup, but it was clunky.  You can get it to balance right away from your body when grabbing bins.  When it doesn’t work you have a stick that ends up swinging around.  

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12 hours ago, chipperatl said:

Chest harness with case for bins, and rapid strap for camera.  The camera hangs on my hip.  I want to say I tried a monopod with that setup, but it was clunky.  You can get it to balance right away from your body when grabbing bins.  When it doesn’t work you have a stick that ends up swinging around.  

 @chipperatl, I wondered about a harness with a case.  Can you get the glasses out of it in a hurry?  What's a 'rapid strap'?

If I go with a pair of harnesses, either with or without a case, I'm probably going to ditch the monopod.  It's not really bringing that much stability.  I may toss it in the back of my vest to have it available for less active birds.

Edited by Charlie Spencer

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I can't speak from personal experience, but I've wanted to get one of these because I've heard them spoken of highly, and recommended by other members. This model might not be the best option but there's other products you can access from the link. Black Rapids is just a brand name and I'm sure there are other manufacturers that have similar setups if you look around. It sounds like a good solution for juggling multiple cameras and/or binoculars, but like I said, I have no personal experience of how they perform in the field.

http://www.blackrapid.com/Double-Breathe

 

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I'm not sure how the binos would attach.  I don't recall seeing a threaded socket on the Viper (or any other pair of glasses, for that matter).  I think I'd also be worried about having the mount come unscrewed in the field.

Edited by Charlie Spencer

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I have my camera on a regular strap hanging by my hip with the binoculars on a chest strap in front. I've seen birders with large cameras with big lenses carrying them around just like that, but with a mount like the one on the rapid strap. My mom has that and she has no trouble with it coming unscrewed. Also, I don't have a case for my bins but it's great to have a protective cover. I've seen some that are basically just a cloth that covers the lenses just in case there's bad weather or something.

Edited by Melierax

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1 hour ago, Melierax said:

Also, I don't have a case for my bins but it's great to have a protective cover. I've seen some that are basically just a cloth that covers the lenses just in case there's bad weather or something.

I bought a new lined rain slicker last fall, with the criteria of it being roomy enough to zip up over my binos and camera :classic_wink:

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Another option is to carry your camera with a shoulder strap instead of a neck strap so that it hangs at your side, like Melierax does. I used a deluxe padded neck strap as a shoulder strap for my camera. I just adjusted the strap a little off centre and a little longer so that it hung comfortably and could be brought to my eye without having to pull my arm out of the strap first. Just tossing ideas out there, not claiming any of them are good ideas though. 

Edited by lonestranger

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1 hour ago, lonestranger said:

Just for clarification, you'd carry the camera like this.

Not like this.

21 years in the National Guard.  :classic_wink:  For those of you who may not know, the problem with the second photo is that the strap is going to slide off your shoulder under field conditions.  You'll look hip and cool right up until you bend over to pick up the pieces of your gear.

My concern with two sets of straps, especially one that crosses the body, is the availability of whichever tool is on the 'under' strap, the strap that's under the other one.  Take the first photo above, for example.  If the bino harness is under the cross-body camera strap, will I be able to raise the glasses to my eyes?  If the camera strap is under the harness, won't the camera get hung on the harness when I try to rotate it around?

Why must everything be a trade off?  Why can't everything be just the way I want it?  And I want an Oompa-Loompa too, Daddy!  And I want it now, Daddy; NOW!

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Hi Charlie,

FWIW. For binos I use Vortex 8x30 (which are nice and light) around my neck - even in the early morning or early evening I have not had a problem with inadequate light gathering.

I use different cameras and lenses but mostly a crop frame DSLR with the Nikon 300mm PF (half the weight and length of the previous version) and 1.4 converter which gives me a really nice light weight rig and reasonable reach ( I am now in my 70s and can carry this for a couple of hours or more). The first thing I do with my SLRs is to modify the grips so they are custom moulded to my hand with individual finger indents. I use an Opflex (sp?) strap (with lots of bits and pieces for changing between bodies). I just have the SLR over my right shoulder but hold the grip all the time with my hand which means it is ready for action and also helps to prevent it sliding off my shoulder. If I get into situations where I am climbing over things etc. I put the strap across my shoulders temporarily.

I am now at the point where if necessary I can use my binos with my left hand or my SLR with my right hand (it is that light and all the required controls are readily accessible to my thumb and first finger). Haven't figured out yet how to use them both at the same time!!

As you know from the various responses every thing is usually a compromise (as in life) but I am very happy with my current setup. A photo from this afternoon (I don't like to miss an opportunity).

Regards.

 

Least Bittern m HVT-7220881.jpg

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On 8/27/2019 at 9:06 AM, Charlie Spencer said:

 @chipperatl, I wondered about a harness with a case.  Can you get the glasses out of it in a hurry?  What's a 'rapid strap'?

If I go with a pair of harnesses, either with or without a case, I'm probably going to ditch the monopod.  It's not really bringing that much stability.  I may toss it in the back of my vest to have it available for less active birds.

Yes you can get them out in a hurry, the tension also will pull the lens caps open about 98% of the time.  The harness/case combo also have an extension strap so I can carry them loose outside the case and bring them up quick to my eyes.  They hang about waist level.  The only issue I have with the side camera strap is if I have it below the chest harness extension connection.  Bins aren’t as loose to pull up.  One time adjustment.  The rapid strap crosses your chest above the chest harness case for the bins.  

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Cant you just have one neck strap longer then the other?

I don't usually carry anything except   the camera and Binos though.

And mabey have some kind of hip case for extra lenses?

 

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, Johnd said:

Cant you just have one neck strap longer then the other?

I don't usually carry anything except   the camera and Binos though.

And mabey have some kind of hip case for extra lenses?

I strongly dislike neck straps.  I have the binos on a harness.  I'm thinking about a second harness, with one longer than the other as you suggest.  Lenses aren't a problem, it's a 'bridge' point-and-shoot.

I'm out of 'Likes', but thanks!

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Or, I could just put the camera in the big ol' honkin' pocket I just discovered in this underutilized vest I rarely wear!  I want to find something like a Crown Royal bag to line the pocket with, but I may have had the solution all along.

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13 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

I strongly dislike neck straps.  I have the binos on a harness.  I'm thinking about a second harness, with one longer than the other as you suggest.  Lenses aren't a problem, it's a 'bridge' point-and-shoot.

I'm out of 'Likes', but thanks!

Oh! Mine is a little point and shoot as well. I have serious neck aching issues and used to get it really bad, until I got the binocular harness and started wearing the camera over one shoulder, hanging to the side. I don't get neck strain that way. As far as not being able to use the binoculars with the camera strap over top, I wear the harness underneath and I don't have any issues with it, but then again I don't have wide shoulders so that probably helps. I also wear my binoculars a little lower than other people so that prevents any conflict. 

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