A photographer that I respect placed the Peak Design Capture Pro at the top of his 2014 gear list so I had to check the stuff out to see what I was missing. Peak Design made their name by funding some of their projects through Kickstarter and by playing it very straight in their marketing and knowledge transfer tools. It all sounds good so let's see what I learned. I decided to take a look at four products from Peak Design for this review. The Capture Pro is a locking plate that the camera clips into. The Pro Pad is a pad that the Capture Pro can attach to. The Slide is a camera strap and the Clutch is a hand strap. Overall, the quality and materials are excellent. The products are well made and well finished. There is nothing at all half-done here. Clearly thought and clever design have gone into these products.
The Capture Pro is like the Capture with one KEY difference. The key difference being that the plate that screws to the camera tripod socket is dovetail cut to an Arca Swiss mount. Since everything I use for mounting is from Really Right Stuff, if something else doesn't do this style of dovetail it misses one of my primary use cases and I stop looking. Construction is two pieces of aluminum that attach together. The back plate is an aluminum grid that is very sturdy without being heavy with two screw mounts in studs, and a ¼-20 tripod socket on the bottom side. The top plate is a solid piece of aluminum that rotates on one of the posts and clamps to the other one using the aforementioned screw heads. Assembly is very simple, and addition or removal is VERY fast. It can attach to any belt or strap and Peak Design rates it at 200 lbs test. The locking mechanism for the camera plate is secure and easy to use one-handed. There is a quick release as well as a tension control for how easy it is to move the plate in the mount.
Peak Design is certainly not the only vendor with this concept. My friend Blake swears by the stuff from Spyder while my friend and TV co-host Bryan is a champion for the products from Cotton Carrier. They are all good. The Peak Design offering is possibly the most portable but each offering brings certain strengths. I like the Capture Pro, but as I do not see attaching it to a backpack strap or other strap, I personally won't buy one. Years of carrying a different kind of weight strapped to my waist has taught me the long term lower back peril of anything hanging off your waist for a long time that has weight. Your mileage may vary, and if you want something like this, the Capture Pro is very well designed.
The Pro Pad makes it easier to attach a Capture Pro to something else. It is like the over belt sliders or sling slips from Spyder or Cotton Carrier. Not a lot to it, but I give Peak Design credit for the very decent padding on the inside that will add comfort to long wear. It's also nice to note that you can attach a Capture Pro in either horizontal or vertical configuration. Good thinking on their part.
When you first look at the slide, you go, "oh a camera strap made of seat belt webbing. Big deal" Then you use the Sliders and discover the fastest and easiest way I have ever seen to change the length of a camera strap. I have yet to find a strap that is perfect in every way. I don't use the straps that come with cameras because a) they are usually uncomfortable and b) they are a giant "come rob me" sign. I found the Upstrap from Florida has the best "put the camera strap over one shoulder" NO SLIP solution, but around your neck that grippy rubber pad does get fatiguing in the heat. The Black Rapids are great, except for that bad thing that they do to mammaries and daddaries, and if you forget the blue Loctite on the mounting screw, your camera has either come undone, or has not come undone yet. The Slide isn't perfect either. It is very comfortable around your neck but it is slippery and even when you flip it over to put the rubberized strips in place for an over the shoulder hold, they are not sufficient to prevent the strap from sliding off your shoulder. It does do one thing I love in a neck strap and that's make it scary easy to disconnect the strap from the camera when you are working on a tripod or any other time you want the strap out of the way. Peak Design has a brilliant disk / micro-paracord attachment system that I love called Anchor Link. This ability to attach and remove rapidly coupled with the ease of changing the length of the strap has put a Slide on my 1Dx. You also get a standard camera plate in the package. As I have RRS L Plates on all my gear, I don't need and did not use the plate.
Many of us who use large or heavy bodies, or bodies with battery grips like the idea of a hand strap. I have tried many and up until recently have only kept the Cotton Carrier given to me by Bryan on my Hasselblad. It's relatively easy to adjust, doesn't chafe my hand and doesn't promote a lot of hand sweat. The Clutch uses the same disk / micro-paracord locking system so it is a snap to remove when you need to do so and is very easy to adjust because it has a slider similar to the ones on the Slider although it does not lock. It is easily the most comfortable handstrap I have tried and one now resides on the 1Dx. It was a bit of work but I have the webbing from the clutch going through the same strap lug as one of the paracord clips from the slide and I must admit I like the flexibility it brings. It too includes a standard camera plate, that I did not need.
The goods I checked out from Peak Design are all well made. They are also very well priced and you don't get that "saw a photographer coming so we jacked the prices up" feeling you get with so much other gear. While some elements don't fit my particular use case, they might fit yours and I would really encourage readers to take a look at this kit. I also like very much that you can buy individual sets of Anchor Links to enable moving pieces of kit from one camera to another. I would like to thank Lindsey Johnson and Chris Atkinson from Henry's Newmarket for their assistance in sourcing review gear.