Important Update

Greg Koenig, the Design Lead and Founder of LumaLabs saw this review, and reached out to me via Twitter. In short, he felt the amount of fraying on my strap was unacceptable. Greg said there’s been further refinement to the Loop3, and offered to send a replacement. Well, the replacement arrived, and refinement is an understatement. The actual “Loop” is made of an entirely different material with a nicer, more premium finish. It looks awesome, and is smoother to the touch. Repeated friction ought to have less of an impact. The thumb screw has also been adjusted. The knurls are a much more shallow, and less likely to dig into bodyparts accidentally, but no less easy to fasten.

Some poor iPhone shots are below, that will be updated with proper product shots as soon as I have a moment. I wanted to get this update online asap as it was super cool of Greg to get in touch. He’s a guy who clearly stands behind his work, and has a huge amount of passion for industrial design.

I’ve made what I’m calling the Loop 3.5 my fulltime strap for the next while, and will report back with how the new Loops stands up to repeated friction. Stay tuned!

LumaLabs Loop 3.5

LumaLabs Loop 3.5

LUMALABS LOOP 3.5

LUMALABS LOOP 3.5

Introduction

I always loved the idea of camera slings like those made by BlackRapid or Carry Speed, and I’ve owned a few versions of what BlackRapid used to call the R-Strap. The problem I always had with them is they never, ever, stayed on my shoulder, and I ended up having to push them back on. So I gave up and turned to Gordy’s wrist straps, which are fantastic, but results one of your hands being encumbered. When I’m out to shoot this isn’t a problem, but on occasion when I just want to have my camera on me and at the ready, it can be a pain.

Last summer I saw a tweet about LumaLabs newly updated Loop 3 going on sale. I had never actually heard of LumaLabs before, but I figured I’d give them a shot so I ordered my Loop 3 with the promise it would ship in a few weeks. As luck would have it, my Loop 3 arrived the week before my Photokina trip, so I packed it and used the heck out of it while I was away. These are my impressions.

Installation

If you want to call it that. It’s really easy, with the only tricky bit being which way you point the Loop as you tighten it to the camera. I ended up just trying both ways, but LumaLabs have a video guide on their site. Point the Loop away from the camera grip as you tighten. Easy. The thumbscrew on the Loops is huge with giant knurls for ridiculously easy turning. It almost feels like playing with kids toys, but it’s super solid, and never came the least bit loose.

The comically large thumb screw

The comically large thumb screw

The trouble with having such a large thumbscrew is you’ll be removing your strap every time you need to change a battery and/or access your memory card. As we know, accessing the battery often is an unfortunate reality with Fuji cameras. I think it would behoove LumaLabs to produce a Loop 3 with a smaller thumbscrew, suitable for compact mirrorless cameras. The only model that’s available is suitable for beefy DSLRs. We don’t have that kind of weight hanging from our shoulders so a smaller option would be good.

Battery door blocked by the Loop 3. The same thing happens with the x-T1, or X-E bodies.

Battery door blocked by the Loop 3. The same thing happens with the x-T1, or X-E bodies.

In Use

I don’t know how or why, but LumaLab’s shoulder pad stays put for me and I love it. I’ve stopped checking to see if it was on my shoulder, and that on it’s own makes this strap worth keeping. It’s comfortable, light, and stays where it’s supposed to.

The camera itself does tend to flop around less than with other straps, which is nice. You can also quickly secure it at your side with the sliders.

The Loop (or “offset camera mount”) itself doesn’t glide quite as easily as other slings I’ve tried, but it’s not at all an issue when in use. Where it does seem to have become a problem is with friction on the strap. I’m not sure what grade of nylon LumaLabs use for their straps, but after extensive use over about a 3 week period, combined with the rubberized Loop, the strap is already showing quite a bit of fraying. I’m not concerned about the strap breaking at all, but it doesn’t look too hot. Fortunately the bulk of the fraying is at the point of the strap that hangs by your side.

Fraying on the strap

Fraying on the strap

More fraying

More fraying

Conclusion

As my photography pal Matthew wrote:1

A camera in hand is 60% more likely to be used than one that's slung by its strap, 85% more likely than one in a shoulder bag, and 98% more likely than one in a backpack.

Whether or not his figures are confirmed in a double-blind trial, there’s a pile of truth to the sentiment. If you can’t, or plain don’t want to have your camera in your hand at every moment, a sling is a great way to go, and the Loop 3 is definitely worth a look. It is the best sling I’ve used despite its foibles, and will be my carry solution when traveling.

Fuji vs. Fuji recommended.

  1. In a blog post titled “Unsolicited Advice,” which is full of advice you should solicit, IMO. Although I’m not sure what he has against birds. ;-)