Thursday, September 17, 2015

Phase One XF & Peak Design Strap

There’s been a lot of discussion lately about the new Phase One XF camera.  Most of these discussions have centered around the overall performance of the camera; faster more accurate autofocus, the LCD screen on the camera, the interface between the camera and digital backs, etc.  There has been a limited discussion on the look and feel of the new XF; however I have not read or heard much about the (at least to me) crucial part.  How does one tame the camera?
Okay you’re asking what the heck do I mean by taming the camera…
One of the design changes is the method of installing a strap.  The new XF has a more streamlined design with smooth, rounded corners and sides.  This shows up in how the designers almost hid the three mounting points for a neck strap; almost as if it were an afterthought. 

The new mounting points on the XF are smaller and smoother than ever before which is both a good and bad thing.  The bad part is that it makes it much more difficult to find a neck strap that will actually fit the mounting points.  The neck strap I had been using with my older DF wouldn’t fit unless I trimmed the strap which I did.  And while I made it fit it nevertheless became a weak point and eventually slipped right out of one of the mounting points.  The good news is that even when I have the camera around my neck I’m still supporting the weight so no catastrophic damage was done other than a change of underwear.
This got me looking for a new solution which lead me to Peak Design and their “Slide”.  It appears that I’m not the only person who has had an issue with finding a strap.  Two people that I have a lot of faith in are Michael Reichmann and Kevin Raber of The Luminous Landscape.  Kevin notes in a video he and Michael recently released that he is using the Peak Design strap which reinforced my decision to have ordered it a couple days prior to me actually seeing the video.  
Close-up of the mounting end of the camera strap.

Long story cut short.  It works. And it’s so simple to use.  There’s a 2-part system that comprises of an anchor and the strap.  The anchor fits on the camera and the strap attaches to the anchor.  What’s even better is the strap can be removed using just one-hand.  The anchors are small and very lightweight however don’t let the size fool you.  There’s no getting around it, the XF is heavy.  Put the digital back and a lens like the Phase One 40-80 LS on it and it weighs even more.  The good news is that the anchors are built to withstand over 200 lbs (90kg) of absolute force. Instead of writing more on the anchors I suggest you click on this link that will address their construction.
Let me make one thing perfectly clear – I have no affiliation with Peak Design.  I don’t know any of the owners and I ordered and paid for my strap.  I also wasn’t asked to write this; instead I decided to share what I had learned in hopes of helping new XF owners who like to use a strap. These are available directly from Peak Design or through B&H Photo.  

Best way to show the size of the anchor point.

There is a little bit of bad news about my experience. I also ordered the Peak Design Clutch hand strap thinking I’d use it as a hand-strap much as I did while I shot with a Canon 1DsII only to find that either the XF is too large or the Clutch was too small.  Either way I couldn’t get it to work to my satisfaction.  This in no way diminishes my thought on the camera strap which I intend to keep using.
Once again, thank you for allowing me to share.  Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.


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