Ever since recently buying a new backpacking camera, a Lumix GF2, I’ve been trying different ways to carry it with me on my backpacking trips.
The first, and simplest, way I tried was to attach the neck strap to the camera and hang it around my neck, but I quickly discovered how bad that was and how much it moved from side to side – annoying! Then I tried the modified neck carry with one arm through the strap as well, it reduced the swinging but put the camera at my side next to my pack and I found it still moved around enough to frequently knock off the lens cap.
I also tried a whole bunch of small, padded camera cases designed for my size of camera. I tried them around my neck, using the modified carry with my arm through the strap, and with the cases attached to my belt – I hated those options. Putting the camera inside my pack was a safe and secure way to carry the camera, but useless for quickly trying to take a photo in the spur of the moment. It takes too long to put my pack down and get my camera out and ready – long enough that I find I tend to use my camera a lot less than I would like to and end up with very few photos.
While searching online for a better solution I stumbled upon the Capture camera clip system by Peak Design and was very intrigued by their completely new approach to the problem. So much so in fact that I reached out to Peak Design to ask some questions that I couldn’t find answers to on their website. After a short email correspondence with Adam Saraceno, I was given the opportunity to try one of their Capture Clip Systems for myself. That was several months ago…
I’ve been thoroughly testing the Capture Camera Clip System with my GF2 on a couple of my backpacks and wanted to share my views on it with you. I figured if I was struggling to find a good solution to the camera carry problem, then it’s highly likely that some of you might also be interested in a good solution.
The Capture Camera Clip System
The Capture camera clip system is unique yet simple solution to the problem of carrying a camera securely but in such a way that you have instant access to it when you need it. It achieves this by attaching to the shoulder straps of a backpack and using a clever little quick release camera bracket system. This results in the camera being positioned at your shoulder where you can easily keep an eye on it and remove in a split second to be ready to take a photo. It’s always right there when you need it – another one of those “why didn’t I think of this” sort of ideas!
- Holds any camera. DSLR, Micro 4/3 or point and shoot
- Weighs 5.4 oz
- Attaches to a backpack shoulder strap or belt
- Strong enough to withstand any physical activity
- Does not obstruct camera lenses for changing
- Redundant twist-lock for extra security
- Quick release plate has built-in hand straps
- Durable, weatherproof aluminum construction
- Lifetime guarantee from Peak Design
How it Attaches
As I said earlier, one of the most unique aspects of the Capture clip system is that it attaches to the shoulder straps of your backpack rather than to the hip like more traditional camera carry solutions. If you really want to, the Capture clip system can be attached to a belt just as easily, but I don’t like heavy things on my belt.
Capture attaches by means of a dual-screw clamping backplate that constitutes the majority of the main body of the product. One of the screws is a pivot for the upper plate, the other locks the plate in place. This allows the upper plate to open up completely so that you can insert the shoulder strap without having to feed it through a narrow slot. Hand tightening the two screws is more than sufficient to keep the entire bracket securely in place.
I’ve found that the shoulder straps on most of my lightweight backpacks, such as my Gossamer Gear Gorilla packs, are thin enough to easily accommodate the Capture clamp system and let it tighten up properly. However, my GORUCK GR1 has much thicker shoulder pads that are too padded for the length of the thread on the clamp screws (0.5 inches or 1.3 cm).
Luckily there is an easy work around. I use the vertical MOLLE loops on my GR1’s straps to thread the Capture mount through and then tighten up the clamp. I mention this because lately I tend to use my GORUCK pack more than any other and if you have thicker shoulder straps you might want to consider this method. For the most part I was easily able to use the Capture mount on my UL backpacks.
Attaching the Camera
Once the body of the Capture clip has been properly attached to your shoulder strap, the next step is to attach the custom camera (tripod) plate to the bottom of the camera. Unlike a traditional tripod plate, the Capture plate is square. This allows you to not have to fuss with getting it the right way round when you are attaching it. It also allows you to insert the camera into the shoulder mount in the orientation that you prefer – up, down, or sideways. Just slide it in and hear it snap securely and firmly into place.
Once the camera has been snapped into the shoulder mount and locked into place, it can only be removed by depressing the red quick-release button. It absolutely can’t fall out accidentally trust me, I’ve even tried running with my camera attached this way, and despite it being very uncomfortable and slightly weird, it never once came undone.
As an added security feature there is a locking screw that guarantees that the camera bracket cannot slide out even when the red quick-release button is depressed. This is a great feature, but I’ll admit that I feel as though it is completely overkill. The camera is not coming out unless you really want it to.
I’ve completely removed the neck strap from my camera now that I am using the Capture camera clip system. It just gets in the way and serves no practical use to justify leaving it on. In fact it gets in the way when my camera is carried on my shoulder strap. I’ve also noticed that I have begun to wrap my fingers around the bottom camera plate as part of my shooting grip because it protrudes a little on my diminutive GF2.
I believe that Peak Design will be releasing a smaller “micro” camera plate specifically for the four/thirds format as well as several other common mounting formats (ARCA, Manfrotto) that have been requested.
Areas for Improvement?
It’s pretty cheeky of me to suggest that I could improve on this clever solution, but you all know me too well by now not to expect me to have some opinions about what I would change or do differently.
The Capture system is built to easily handle small cameras like mine and compact point and shoot cameras, but it was also designed to accommodate full-size DSLRs with long zoom lens without any problem. As a result the Capture system is built extremely strong using a lot of metal. Despite being made of aluminum, it’s relatively heavy, weighing in at 5.4 oz. I would like to see a lighter weight version of the body designed specifically for POS or 4/3 cameras like my GF2. By all means keep a larger version too, but offer a smaller version for those that don’t need to hang 30lbs of camera on their shoulders.
I found that over long hikes the two outer points of the clamping screws began to dig into my shoulder because they protrude wider than the shoulder straps. I also found it a little tricky to put my backpack on after taking it off because the capture mount kept getting snagged on my arm or clothing even though I had remove my camera. It’s not a major problem but did cause me to adjust how I put my pack on.
That’s it! I wouldn’t change very much about this clever gadget to be honest. Maybe smaller or lighter and the twist-lock is totally redundant in my opinion so that could go. Other than that this is a fantastic way to carry a camera so that it is always available at a moments notice. I found that I took a lot more photos carrying my GF2 this way simply because it was easily accessible.
I field tested the Capture camera clip system during my recent hike of Mt. Whitney and got a lot of questions about it from curious hikers – they seemed to really like it and I’m betting quite a few will be buying one based on the quick demos that I gave.
Special Offer for My Readers
Adam at Peak Design has very graciously offered to give a 10% discount to any of my readers that want to purchase a Capture Camera Clip System online. To redeem the offer, simply click on the link below and enter the discount code “bgreen” at checkout – EASY!.
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Disclosure: Peak Design provided Brian’s Backpacking Blog with a complementary Capture Clip System for the purpose of this test.