I do a lot of shooting outside, in situations where having the ability to use both my hands is important. Being able to grab the camera at a moments notice while hiking is ideal but neck straps cause the camera to bounce back and forth as I walk and the Blackrapid style straps hang too low and can leave my camera exposed to rock and trees. Getting into a new position while shooting bouldering and having the camera ping pong off rocks is also a less than ideal situation that I have been faced with a few times. These were the biggest reasons why I wanted a camera clip like the capture pro. The Blackrapid straps, although awesome, still didn't hold the camera still or close enough for me to move as freely as I needed in some situations. After scouring the internet I discover Peak Designs. Their gear looked durable but most importantly it looked compact and light enough to use in situations where the weight of gear was crucial. I looked at others but they appeared heavy, large and overall just cumbersome. I thought I would test out the Peak Design Capture Pro, so we ordered it up. We dealt directly with Peak Designs and things moved smoothly in regards to the online transaction and shipping, as a Canadian ordering from the States that is a big deal.
First I would like to compare the pro version of the clip to peak designs standard version. I chose to go with the pro version because I want the best that a company produces and that I can afford, it's pretty much that simple.
Capture vs Capture Pro
The two clips have the same capabilities, they clip to a backpack or waist belt and can carry the same load. Peak Designs website states that the clips can handle a DSLR and I would agree with that claim. I have had my Canon 6D attached to the clip with a wide angle 17-40 mounted to the camera body with no trouble at all. I think I would even feel comfortable with a 70-200 tele mounted to the body. The only added benefit in regards to capability is that with the pro you can attach additional pieces onto the plate making it compatible with Manfrotto RC2 style ball-head plate. In my case I have a Manfrotto ball-head so that's awesome, I'll take it! Where we do start to see some differences is in the build quality of the clip and plates themselves. The Capture is made of a cast aluminum where as the Capture Pro is constructed from a machined anodized aluminum. Because the plate on the Pro is larger the overall weight of the unit is 144 grams as opposed to the 122 grams of the Standard Capture, not a significant amount of weight to cause concern. If you look closely at the Pro you will also see that the back of the clip has some holes cutout, this would cutdown on weight slightly I would assume. Overall the two clips are very similar and unless you have a Manfrotto RC2 ball-head as opposed to an Arca style ball-head I would say that either clip would do. That's asuming you are going to use the plate with a tripod at all.
Overall the clip performs well, it has a few key features that I really enjoy so I will get into those first. There are a few minor issues that I have with the clip but nothing that I would consider a deal breaker.
- The first positive feature of the clip is its size. I can tuck this thing anywhere. It is an easy addition to a pack and even fits comfortably in the pocket of my jeans. It comes in a little carrying case that holds it all, so keeping everything together is easy.
- The next good thing about the clip is the locking and tensioning features that is has. The red button on the clip has to be pushed in order for you to get the camera out of the clip and it can even be turned to a lock position, to prevent accidental release of the camera. It's nice to know that your camera won't go for a ride when you least expect it. The black dial on the other side of the clip allows you to adjust the tension of the plate when it's in the clip, much like the tension feature on a tripod ball-head. I keep this dialled relatively loose because it makes getting the camera in and out of the clip a lot easier. This feature can also be used as an additional means to secure the camera in the clip, if it was cranked tight, so that's also a bonus. Its action is fluid and has a quality feel.
- I would have to say that the third and best feature of this clip is the fact that it does what it supposed to do and it does it well. I am able to access my camera at a moments notice and carry it with me, without it being a pain in the neck, literally. The other features are a bonus to the fact that the Capture Pro does exactly what Peak Design advertises.
The Not So Goods
I really don't like saying bad things about good products but I find it rare for a product to be perfect. In saying that there were a few issues that I had with the clip that the manufacturers may not have considered.
- The small red button is a pain to turn and lock with gloves on. Now I am not being picky here, I did not try to turn the knob with big arctic gloves or mitts. When I shoot out in the cold I use thin, HEAD brand, cross country ski gloves. Even with the light glove I found it slightly difficult to lock to clip so I ended up leaving it unlocked. Not a huge deal as the camera felt very secure in the clip, but it would have been nice to have the added security while skiing. This may be a design flaw due to the fact that the company resides in San Fransisco and using gloves is not really something they do often in California, or maybe at 32 I am developing some serious arthritis, who knows could be both eh?
- Mounting the plate to the camera requires an allen key and I am not keen on carrying around anything more than I need to. A quick release system like on the Blackrapid straps would be ideal for this application and I look forward to a revised addition of the clip that includes this feature. I myself will be looking to implement a solution that will allow me to apply as well as remove the plate from my camera that is sans allen key.
- My last tiny issue with the clip is the process of placing the camera into the clip. For the most part I find it quite efficient but I found that you have to be precise and actually look at what you are doing when you are placing the camera back in the clip, who knew. This is why placing the clip lower on the packs strap is important, it makes it easier to see what you are doing. A couple of times I only managed to get one side of the plate back into the clip and If I would not have double check before letting the camera go it would have taken a nasty tumble.
All in all I am super impressed with this clip I skied with it on and went on trek through the woods looking for a sunset. I transferred the camera from the clip to my tripod and back again a number of times with relative ease. During all of these activities the clip made my life easier by allowing the camera to be there with me securely and not stowed away in my pack and to me that's a huge win. After researching many brands of clips I believe that Peak Design have a one of a kind product with the Capture Pro. It is perfect for my needs and I would recommend it to anyone who has those same needs. Peak Design also offers a lifetime guarantee on all there products and that is another reason why I will continue to keep up on their innovations. For more info on the Capture Pro as well as a number of other cool and innovative products that Peak Design offer check out there website at www.peakdesign.com