The RucPac Sentinel is a sling-style strap that fits across your body. This means that it’s not prone to slipping off your shoulder and your camera hangs by your hip, ready for action.
To get the comparison covered at the outset, the RucPac Sentinel is quite like the BlackRapid Breathe. It lacks a little of the Breathe finesse, but the price reflects that. Where it differs, however, is that the Sentinel attaches to the camera strap lug, so your camera hangs the right way up and (more importantly) you can attach a tripod quick release plate.
The Sentinel has a ‘Camera Fixing Assembly’ (CFA) that is the link between the strap and the camera (see the image below). This has a triangular split-ring type connector to attach to the camera lug. At the other end, there’s a plastic clip. Unusually, this clip has a button that needs to be pressed while the clip is squeezed to open it. That makes it a bit fiddly to open, but it’s also probably a bit more secure. That said, I’ve never experienced one of these clips coming undone accidentally.
Unlike BlackRapid, RucPac only makes the Sentinel a right-handed version.
The clip for the main strap is at the back. This means that you have to adjust the length of the strap before you put it on – or ask a friend to do it for you. Fortunately, once it’s the right length, you shouldn’t need to adjust the strap again. Having the clip at the back means that any excess strap is out of the way when you raise the camera to your eye. It’s this aspect that makes the Sentinel less than ideal for left-handers.
Oddly, the underarm strap, which helps keep the should pad in-place, also has the clip at the back. This means that it also has to be adjusted and fastened before you put the Sentinel on. That’s a little annoying as the clip seems rather pointless. However, it doesn’t take long to get used to slipping your arm through the strap as you lift the Sentinel over your head.
Ignoring the issue with the underarm strap, the RucPack Sentinel does its job well. The shoulder pad distributes the weight of the camera nicely. I used it with the Canon EOS 90D and the Fujifilm GFX 100 for long periods of time and both cameras felt comfortable on my shoulder.
As the Sentinel attaches via the camera strap lug, the camera also hangs with the grip uppermost, making it easy to reach. I also prefer this type of attachment because it means I can use the strap when I’m planning to put the camera on a tripod. And thanks to the CFA, you can unclip the majority of the strap so it doesn’t flap in the breeze while the camera is on the tripod.
Crucially, the Camera Fixing Assembly (CFA) slips up the strap easily when you raise the camera to your eye, and everything hangs out of the way while you take the shot.
I’m not entirely clear why the stopper clips are present. They stop the CFA from slipping right to the top of the strap and I can’t see why that’s necessary. The clip just seems like a lump in the strap that can press into your body.
Read our BlackRapid Double Breathe review