Focus Quick Harnesses
This isn't a sponsored review, the views regarding these products are my own, and I'm in no way affiliated with Focus.
This harness from Focus was about the cheapest harness I could find. I was really dubious about the quality, especially when you compare it to the cost of the Black Rapid range and the fact that thousands of pounds worth of equipment would be hanging upside-down from it.
The Focus brand is a bit of a funny one, they seem to be a nondescript brand selling mainly on Amazon, the reason I say this is because I swear I've seen exactly the same budget products with alternative branding.
When I started out looking for a new harness, I'd convinced myself that I wanted a Black Rapid after trying some of the range at The Photography Show in Birmingham a few years back. This has been my only real experience with Black Rapid, but it had given me a pretty good idea about the quality.
Upon deciding to purchase a single harness, and having a browse around online I narrowed it down to the Focus F-1 Quick Rapid Shoulder Sling (£18.99 + P&P) and the Black Rapid Curve Breathe (£65 + P&P)
I absolutely love well engineered high quality products and usually start out looking at the best product available for the job
and Black Magic harnesses are pretty much top of the class for this sports style harness - but what does the Black Magic give you that the Focus version doesn't? ...and for me, the answer isn't worth the difference in cost.
Black Magic harnesses are nicer, no doubt about that - they use nicer materials meaning it may be a tiny bit comfier, but they're essentially the same. They both look great and have a look of professionalism, they both have the same safety features; locking strap clips and an adjustable armpit stabilising strap with clip to stop the strap moving around on your shoulder.
Cameras are mounted to the strap via the tripod mount on the bottom of your camera with an optional secondary strap that can be used as a back-up safety measure.
Once mounted, the Focus strap allows the camera sits nicely on your hip via the adjustable main strap or can be positioned to your front or back with the locking clips on the main strap - once in position the camera will stay put, until the clips are released - great for moving around when you know you won't use the camera for a longer period.
During use, for example at a festival - I've found that it's best to leave the bottom clip in the locked position and raise the top clip to a point where you can bring the camera to your eye comfortably, then lock the clip in position - this will only allow the camera to slide between the two clips.
Here's a short video of me popping up in the background, using the Focus single harness during an event with Michelle Obama - at this point I didn't have the dual one, looking back - it would have been very handy for this event.
I actually have the single and the dual harness from Focus, that should say something in itself. I find both the single and dual harnesses really comfortable and easy to use during events. When mounted with 2 x full frame bodies, a 70-200mm and 24-70mm it can get quite heavy over longer periods - personally I wouldn't think this is suitable for anything longer than a 70-200mm
More recently, you can see me using the Focus dual harness in action at an event with Stormzy and Merky Books last year. Granted it's quite hard to see, but if you look closely, you can see me nip across the front of the stage as the event comes to a close - I'm shooting with a 24-70mm while the other strap is comfortably holding a body with my 70-200mm on.
For anyone in any doubt, it really is worth trying Focus harnesses and if you don't like them - you can always return them. I'll be fairly confident in saying you'll probably keep your purchase, the quality is decent, it's comfortable when using for long periods, it certainly does what is expected of it, and has never once let me down in high pressure situations - I'll be very happy with them for years to come.