Let me start off by saying what this review is not. I am not a professional photographer, while I’ve done some pro work in the past I primarily take pictures of my children and family these days. This review is by and for the amateur photographer who uses an SLR to get good pictures but who isn’t doing so to support their living.
The Cinch is the latest project out of Luma Labs, a boutique photography equipment manufacturer. It is the brain child of Duncan Davidson and Greg Koenig. The Cinch is a camera strap added to their line-up after they were forced to pull their awesome Luma Loop after some ridiculous patent trolling. The Luma Loop was a free sliding sling style strap. With the Cinch they needed to find another direction to innovate in and they did just that, with great effect.
The Cinch is based around a deceptively simple idea. They took a traditional camera strap and made two small changes. First, they moved one of the mounting points from the side of the camera body and instead had it screw into the tripod mount of the camera. Second, they added a one-hand operable mechanism for adjusting the strap length by around 8”. These two adjustments combine in a surprisingly powerful way.
By moving the mounting point to the tripod mount the camera’s position when hanging shifts significantly. Rather than the lens pointing outwards away from the body, instead the lens now nestles into your body. This dramatically reduces the ‘bounce’ of the camera while walking (or even running) with the camera. I tried this with my longest (300mm) lens with the same result. The camera just stays put, simple as that.
The mechanism for adjusting the length is very straight-forward, you simply pull the large (glove friendly) pull tab located along the front of the strap. Pulling it towards the camera shortens the strap, pulling it away lengthens. The 8” or so that this adjustment makes is just enough to switch the strap into 3 distinct ‘modes’:
Travel: Tighten the strap all the way down when not taking pictures. You are free to run around after you kids with minimal bounce. The camera is snug to your body and very comfortable.
Regular Shooting: Loosen the strap all the way to provide enough freedom of movement to frame and shoot your pictures. The movement of pulling up the camera to your eye with one hand and lengthening the strap with the other became second nature after a few days of use.
Stabilized Shooting: Once the camera is up to your eye pull down on the pull tab to cinch the camera to your body. This really helps to reduce vibration and generally helps you push your camera especially in lower light situations.
I had my wife snap a picture of me during a recent adventure with my son into the woods. This hopefully gives a good sense of how the camera lies when running around.
Note on Sizing
The Cinch comes in three sizes Small, Regular, and Big. Their website provides a rough guide for how big you should get it. I can’t emphasize strongly enough how important it is to get the right size. The Cinch is designed to have a snug fit during use. Having a strap too large would negate the benefits while moving and too small just wouldn’t be comfortable.
I wear an American Apparel medium t-shirt. I started off with the Regular size but found this to be a bit too big. So I then got the Small and it worked perfectly.
I highly recommend the Cinch. It retails for $70. Considering the cost of the SLR it is strapped to this is a relatively minor upgrade that does a lot to increase the comfort in wearing and security of the camera.
My experience with Luma Labs itself was also excellent. They were prompt and professional in all my interactions with them and were always very helpful.
Like I mentioned above I tried the Regular Cinch first then ultimately decided that the Small was a better fit for my frame. So I now have a Regular sitting around in my camera bag. I figure this could find a much better home with one of my readers. The Giveaway has ended Congratulations to the winner, Richard M.