As a dedicated portrait and landscape photographer, I am always looking for a means to carry my gear and have everything accessible in a quick and easy fashion. From hiking up a trail and seeing a great mountain shot to working overseas shooting portraits of locals, I rely on my gear to perform and work with me, for me, and to follow my workflow.
What I noticed immediately upon receiving the Spider Camera Holster and accessories was how robust and well made everything is. The Spider Holster team has gone to great lengths to make a product that photographers will love and one that will stand up to their abuse. From the heavy-duty belt with a safety lock on the holster to the mounting plate and pin, this product is made from quality materials. I was thoroughly impressed and after using the product in several real-world shooting situations, I can say it is not simply another product in the market vying for a position. It is something that can benefit many different shooting styles — portrait, wedding, landscape and more.
The setup to the system is simple and straightforward with all tools and hardware provided. To begin, mount the plate to the base of your camera with the small extenders facing forward, toward the lens. Tighten the plate down with the provided Allen key (hex wrench) that is conveniently stored in the base plate itself (slick). Next simply insert the provided pin into one of the holes on the plate. I shoot right-handed and want the camera to hang with the lens facing backward and away from the direction I walk, so I went with the furthest away from the plate. This setup will help protect the lens from getting bumped. It also helps distribute the weight of what is mounted on the belt evenly.
Another awesome feature of the Spider system that landscape and portrait photographers will find beneficial is its ability to accommodate your tripod’s quick-release plate or L-bracket. The SpiderPro’s plate mounting holes all accommodate the standard 1/4-20 thread, so mounting your accessories should be a snap. Simply attach the SpiderPro plate first and then your system to it. This is very easy and does not get in the way while shooting. The only work-around in mounting your L-bracket to the plate is now your accessory ports on the left side of the camera may be a bit obstructed due to the downward shifting of the bracket. Typically, you do not need these while shooting, so if this sounds like a setup that would work for your style, it is great to have the ability to go from a quick hand-held portrait setup to throwing your camera on a tripod.
I also got a chance to try the SpiderPro Large Lens Pouch that can easily carry a 70-200mm lens with lens hood attached. This bag is pretty sweet — being made out of a soft neoprene material, it packs down flat for travel and attaches to any Spider belt system or any other belt you are wearing. It also has an attached rear-lens-hood-tethering solution that eliminates the fear of losing or misplacing your rear cap.
I also utilized the Spider Monkey utility attachment system. This little gem was pretty amazing. One end works as a clip and attaches to the Spider belt and the other attaches to whatever you wish; flash, light meter, etc. I attached mine to my off-camera flash, allowing me to use it when needed, and then I can take it off my camera and hear the click when reattaching it to the belt system.
Now, let’s jump into a real-world shooting situation that truly tested the system’s capabilities and shows how I utilized the Spider Holster system.
My first field experience with this product was photographing a wedding in my gorgeous home state of Colorado. For this wedding, I was using two camera bodies: one on the Spider system and the second around my neck. I was also using a Lowepro utility bag attached to the Spider belt to carry extra lenses and batteries along with the Large Lens Pouch with my 70-300mm lens inside. I used this pouch to rotate between my 17-35mm and 70-300mm lenses and loved it. What I initially noticed when putting the belt on was how well the weight from the camera and accessories was dispersed on my hips.
Weddings are hectic in nature, and this day was no exception. The wedding party was staying in a lodge in the mountains; the girls were having their hair and makeup done down in town; and the wedding and reception was up on the ski hill later that day. The other wedding photographer and I were running all over the place and needed our gear with us at all times as we didn’t have a dedicated area to stash everything. The Spider system allowed me the opportunity to grab what I needed out of my main bag at each location and then leave it in the corner, making mobility and freedom a reality. I was able to grab my camera, take a portrait shot, reinsert it into the holster, switch lenses, and be back in action in a matter of seconds.
What I also loved about this setup was how easy it was to go between cameras when needing different focal lengths and how free this kept my hands and upper body as well. At one point in the day things were getting a bit crazy and I ended up carrying all of my gear along with the other photographer’s gear and had to keep shooting. The Spider system allowed me to have both main camera bags and continue shooting from the hip without impediment. I loved it and have since found the system to be indispensable to my portrait photography.
After having used the Spider Pro System in several situations from weddings to editorial portrait shoots, I have come to love how it genuinely assists photographers in doing what they are supposed to do: make beautiful images. It has earned a position in my arsenal of photographic tools and when I am out on assignment or shooting an event, I love how it makes everything come together easily.
Based in beautiful Denver, Colorado, photographer Joseph Roybal is one to keep an eye on. His extensive portfolio of landscape images and travel portraits give viewers a rare glimpse into the wondrous and colorful cultures that he visits. Joseph’s images not only tell a gorgeous story of each place that he travels to, they also showcase the true heart of each location. Check out more of his work at his website: https://www.josephroybal.com/