I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Camera sling is the way to go to carry your camera. If it works for the army, it’ll work for everyone.
I did my share of research before I made my purchase. By research, I mean about closely watching half a dozen YouTube video review and reading good, bad, stupid, but often, honest comments from some discussion forums and weblog.
The Black Rapid actually came to my attention when I was researching for a Luma Loop alternative; I was trying to observe why would they prefer a non-Luma product, and Black Rapid, by their share of noise have gained some viral attention on YouTube and photo weblogs, even users I have never met, seen, or heard before, but they seem to have gained traction too.
The Luma, on the other hand, came to me rather quietly. Basically I discovered I would need a sling strap as a redundant backup to my then-new Capture Camera Clip, and I remembered an old post I read about the Loop, and thus began my ‘research’.
My conclusion was clear. I need something simply invisible, so against their recommendation, I actually preferred the LoopIt — the non-padded, smaller version of the Loop — than it’s bigger brother, the Loop v.2. I didn’t even bother to consider anything else knowing how parallel my believe and Luma’s approach are. Everything else don’t matter to me. (At one point, a Black Rapid evangelist even offered to give some of their straps for free. I discreetly declined.)
I made the purchase last March, and I’ve been happily using it along with my also then-new, Goruck GR1, Capture Clip, Canon EOS 7D, even my big-shot Canon lens, the old EF 80-200 ƒ/2.8L.
In short, the idea of a sliding camera sling isn’t an amazing new invention. It’s just a really good idea that’s been around for a while and which has been iteratively developed. Neither we nor our lawyers believed that the USPTO would grant a patent for the claims related to this concept. It was a surprise, then, when our competitor was granted a patent covering the concept on November 1st, 2011. To say that we’re disappointed that the USPTO couldn’t find the prior art around the idea is an understatement.
I’m saddened for this to happen to the Luma Labs for they are making such a great product, and for Black Rapid to seize a common product and use it to kill competition. Free market means we as consumers are free to choose, and the reward goes to those who makes better products. And today, more and more excellent products come from smaller, private companies mainly with passion as their mantra. This patent mumbo-jumbo kills the magic and such freedom to choose, and it is simply unfair.
I am excited, however, by Luma’s rigor spirit to fight it with ‘reinvention’ instead of a meaningless, time-wasting, soul-killing battle in the courtroom, and there’s nothing better to progress than the desire to move on with the most positive way from a less positive situation. There’s nothing to better power progress than that very spirit.