Review: Custom SLR C-Loop and Split Strap Glidestrap

When I saw the web page of the C-Loop and Split Strap Glidestrap, I thought this was yet another glidestrap. I thought the developers of the C-Loop and Split Strap took an existing idea, changed it a bit and then tried to position this into the market as the best thing since sliced bread. When I saw the presentation and YouTube movies of the C-Loop and associated straps, I realised it had to be more. I tested it, and it is more. Update: in September, I could also try out the regular strap.

Actually, at Custom SLR they make straps and a loop system that is designed to be attached to your dSLR’s tripod socket. They claim their equipment is superior to other straps because of the materials used, so I was very curious to see it for myself. I received a Split Strap Glidestrap and a C-Loop. The Split Strap Glidestrap came packed as an assembly kit in a blister packaging. The C-Loop was a separate item sitting in its own cardboard box, inside a small velvet pouch.

The regular strap is meant to go around your neck, but if your clothing isn’t too slippery (or wet), you can also use this strap as a shoulder strap without the added security of wearing it across your chest (thiefs exist and accidents happen!). I would therefore recommend the Glidestrap whenever you don’t want to wear the strap around your neck.

The Split Strap is made in China. The C-Loop is a 100% US-American product. What makes the Split Strap Glidestrap special is that it’s been made for maximum comfort. The strap itself is made from ballistic nylon. It’s softer and smoother than the ballistic nylon types I’ve seen so far. The shoulder pad is a split design (hence the name) that according to the advertisement should relieve shoulder pressure. All attachments of the Split Strap are made of a type of tough plastic that I knew before from my Op/Tech straps. My impression is that Custom SLR’s plastics are even a bit tougher.

The Split Strap Glidestrap with my own solution to get rid of extra webbing

Tough means hard to break, but a strap is as strong as its weakest part. In this case, the split shoulder pad is the softest, most elastic and most prone to tearing part. However, it’s approx. 3 millimeters thick and it would take quite considerable force to tear. In short, my impression of the Split Strap was that it is a pretty strong strap that I would trust a Hasselblad with without having to think twice.

Assembling the strap was easy; there’s a video on the Custom SLR site that explains in detail how to do it. One part of that video is not to my liking: when you have adjusted the strap to your length, it is advised to cut the extra webbing and then heat shrink it so it won’t unravel. As it is much harder to add material than it is to remove it, I opted to wind the extra webbing into a nice little roll, and to secure that with a black cable tier. I’m not sure it will hold, though; time will tell. But under no circumstance will I cut the webbing.

When I got the regular strap, I had already decided against the cable tier. I just fold the excess webbing and put the elastic tier that comes with the strap, around it. I also found the Glidestrap should hang lower when I’m using it with a winter coat or jacket, to accommodate for the coat’s padding. With the regular strap, I let it hang from my neck inside the jacket — the material is soft enough not to cause any discomfort, even after hours of walking with my 3.6 kilos kit.

What I noticed after a day’s worth of running about with the Glidestrap was that it indeed is a very comfortable strap. I’m skinny (beyond thin) and the Sniper Pro I reviewed earlier had one major disadvantage in warmer weather conditions: you’re dressed lighter and the rather stiff shoulder pad of the Sniper Pro tends to generate a bit of friction. Friction, even a tiny bit on a shoulder that has no fat cushion whatsoever…

Nothing of the kind with the Split Strap shoulder padding. It feels like a soft cloth even in bright sun shine, with temperatures well over 25 degrees centigrade. This strap is one of the finest I’ve used. The glide system may not look as “free” moving as the Sniper Pro’s but it performs equally well. As with the Sniper Pro though, running with 3.5 kilos bouncing against your hip makes the camera rotate around its axis and you lose the whereabouts of its grip. Clearly, glide straps are not made for running but for walking…

Custom SLR’s biggest invention is the C-Loop. The C-Loop is made of aluminium. It’s an attachment system for dSLRs that takes the tripod socket as its point of attachment, just like the Sniper Pro. The benefit is that the camera is in a position that is more natural to grab, and the strap won’t get in your way (the latter certainly is true).

The handle of the C-Loop half opened

The C-Loop differs from the Sniper Pro’s system in that it is actually usable with any strap that has a nylon sling or ‘bandage’ to connect to the camera. My Op/Tech glide strap has such slings, and they fit the C-Loop’s two ‘handles’ perfectly. Of course, the Split Strap comes with the necessary accessories to use the C-Loop too, but the C-Loop’s own unique selling point is that you don’t need a Split Strap to enjoy the benefits of attaching the camera to its tripod socket.

The C-Loop’s build is above suspicion: it’s sturdy and robust. Its design is clever: the top with which you fix the C-Loop to the socket has a lifting handle that tucks away once the C-Loop has been fixed. The bottom side that screws into the tripod socket has a rubber gasket which — contrary to the Sniper Pro — has a diamond pattern etched into it. This makes for a more secure, tighter lockdown of the C-Loop than what you can achieve with the Sniper Pro’s smooth rubber surface. Neither fixing accessory will losen easily, but there is a slightly bigger risk that it will happen with a Sniper Pro if you forget to tighten the screw real hard. The C-Loop is also a fraction smoother in rotation; although this could be due to a bit of oil present between the discs of the contraption.

The C-Loop's etched rubber pattern

Wrapping up this review, I would opt for a Custom SLR Split Strap any time, but especially so when it’s warmer and I am dressed with only a shirt. The C-Loop so far is my absolute favorite for attaching to the camera’s tripod socket because it can be used with a large number of straps and it’s very secure and well built. The C-Loop costs approx. 30.00 Euros, while the Split Strap Glidestrap will cost approx. 28.00 Euros without C-Loop.

The regular strap is extremely comfortable and I would advise it when you want to have your equipment in front of you. The regular strap costs a little less than the Glidestrap.

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