The BlackRapid Sport Breathe is a sling style camera strap that attaches to a camera via a screw fastener in the tripod bush. This screw has a loop that allows a lockable carabiner that’s on the strap to be attached. It’s designed to be worn across your body and there are left and right versions available and you need to decide which side to carry your camera.
Using the BlackRapid Sport Breathe
Once the strap is attached to the camera you simply lift the large ergonomically shaped pad over your head so it sits on one shoulder with the 2.5cm wide webbing passing across your body. At 167cm long there’s plenty of strap available for tall photographers like the 6ft 2 example in these photos, but shorties like me can reduce its length and tuck away any excess with a keeper clip. A short underarm strap is available to keep the strap in position for extra security if you want it.
Ideally, your camera should sit near your hip so you can grab the grip easily. Two ‘bumper’ buckles allow you to lock the camera in one location on the strap if you want. When you’re shooting the front bumper needs to be moved to the top end of the strap near the shoulder pad so you can lift the camera easily with the strap slipping through the metal connector.
Naturally, with the strap attached via the camera’s tripod mount it’s not possible to mount the camera quickly on a tripod so it’s designed for situations when you’re going to handhold the camera.
BlackRapid Sport Performance
I used the Sport Breathe extensively for a few weeks and I found it a very comfortable way to carry a camera. It’s particularly useful when you’re yomping across rough ground as the as it stays put on your shoulder – in fact it takes a while to get used to the fact that it doesn’t slip off your shoulder!
I found my camera was always within convenient reach and once I had the grip in my hand I could glide it smoothly up the strap to my eye. The strap never got in the way or got tangled.
While many will appreciate the security of the carabineer the combination or a screw-lock and clip-lock mechanism may seem overkill to some and it slows down attaching and detaching a camera. To be fair though, it’s still faster and easier than attaching or detaching a traditional strap.
I’ve always been a bit sceptical about using straps that don’t attach via the camera’s strap lugs, but the BlackRapid Sport Breathe is very secure and it keeps your camera within easy reach. It’s also comfortable to wear even when you’re carrying a heavy camera like a Canon 5D Mark III with a telephoto lens mounted.
If you regularly carry your camera on a regular strap or in your hand for long periods of time and you don’t want to mount it on a tripod, the BlackRapid Sport Breathe makes an excellent choice of strap. It’s particularly well-suited for use by walkers and travel or street photographers although it may attract unwanted attention.