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Warning -- Optech USA Straps
Old 12-17-2016   #1
dtcls100
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Warning -- Optech USA Straps

Watch out for these straps with the plastic hardware loops and quick releases. Today, I had a strap suddenly snap, resulting in one of my cameras hitting the floor. I have a couple more of these straps and most of them had their plastic hardware loops snap like a potato chip with a gentle twist. The straps are about 10 years old but have not been abused or subjected to sunlight long term. It appears that the plastic simply becomes brittle with age.
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Old 12-17-2016   #2
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Thanks for the heads up.
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Old 12-17-2016   #3
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This is my biggest concern in using straps with quick disconnects..I too have an Op/Tech USA strap on one of my bodies...I bought it maybe two months ago...I'll keep a close watch on it...maybe adding a wire tie for insurance...
I bought it because it has padding on the strap and Iwanted to give it a try...and all they had were the ones with the QR...
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Old 12-17-2016   #4
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Thanks also, I have a couple of these straps, no problems so far.

A wire tie is a good idea and unobtrusive.
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Old 12-17-2016   #5
Dan Daniel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtcls100 View Post
Watch out for these straps with the plastic hardware loops and quick releases. Today, I had a strap suddenly snap, resulting in one of my cameras hitting the floor. I have a couple more of these straps and most of them had their plastic hardware loops snap like a potato chip with a gentle twist. The straps are about 10 years old but have not been abused or subjected to sunlight long term. It appears that the plastic simply becomes brittle with age.
Could you clarify which part broke? Was it the actual snap buckles? A thin loop? A part that rivets the buckle to a strap? I'm not certain from your description.

I've been using the 'pro loop' connectors for a long time. These use a thin heavy fabric loop, maybe 3mm wide and 6 cm long, to attach to the camera. You put the loop through a slot or an o-ring and thread the buckle through the loop. I check these every now and then and throw them out at the first sign of wear on the fabric. They seem to last two to three years on ones I use regularly.

I notice that the material used has changed over the years, from a flexible clothe-like fabric to a stiffer more plastic-like fabric. Maybe they noticed problems, or maybe just a supplier change.
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Old 12-17-2016   #6
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Plastic gets brittle with age and exposure. I had the ones that have parachute cord to attach to the camera and one gave way after just a couple years. I replaced them all with a different system that uses the swivel snaps on the Domke straps.
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Old 12-17-2016   #7
dtcls100
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Daniel View Post
Could you clarify which part broke? Was it the actual snap buckles? A thin loop? A part that rivets the buckle to a strap? I'm not certain from your description.
The plastic part that snapped is the plastic loop at the bottom of the plasic rivet that connects the neoprene to the fabric strap. It is a very thin plastic loop that has a knee type swivel that goes through it.
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Old 12-18-2016   #8
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Keep the descriptions coming, and dont post a photo. Photos are expensive these days and take a long while with developing and picking them up and scanning and all, right.
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Old 12-18-2016   #9
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I've used Optech neoprene straps for years and not had a problem. But, everything, eventually, breaks. Even Leicas! Always a good idea to keep an eye on anything supporting an expensive camera.
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Old 12-18-2016   #10
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Wow. A $30 strap lasted you 10 years?? That's amazing. My $70 Black rapid R strap snapped at the metal fastner (yes the metal part) after 6 months
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Old 12-18-2016   #11
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I used these a lot back a few years ago with heavier stuff like Nikon F5's and the like. Good of you to let people know of your experiences if these are now of an age where they can become brittle and fail. I know a lot of people have used them to get around the awkward Rolleiflex strap mount issue, can't believe what a day ruining event that would be if somebody's 2.8F Planar hit the deck due to an Optech failure! I will say this though, they were damn comfy to wear.
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Old 12-18-2016   #12
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I also used them in the past but I eventually went back to the billboard Canon straps for the DSLRs and then I started using lighter mirrorless cameras. The OpTech straps never caused me any problems when I used them but I can see how the QRs might eventually become brittle. I do recall them being a bit bouncy while walking around with heavier equipment strapped over my shoulder.
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Old 12-18-2016   #13
Steve M.
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The Optech strap connectors are a little on the light duty side, so this doesn't surprise me. I have some older non Optech straps that have much bigger plastic quick connect clips and I trust them, but as mentioned, over time plastic will definitely become brittle. I had a fanny pack (remember them?) connector break once, and those things have very little pressure on them.
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Old 12-18-2016   #14
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I use OpTech or OpTech compatible straps a lot, and I'm a big fan of the connector system.

if you're wanting to secure the clip, rather than a wire tie, there's a very good product made by OpTech themselves to bind the clips together.

https://optechusa.com/system-connectors/secure-its.html
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Old 12-18-2016   #15
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Never had that type of connector fail on me, and I have some about 14 years old. My wife buys thick plastic clothes hangers that routinely brake at the straight part of the hook after a couple or three years.

The Optech fix shown by BlackXList looks very good. One does wonder why they thought such a solution was needed.
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Old 12-18-2016   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackXList View Post
I use OpTech or OpTech compatible straps a lot, and I'm a big fan of the connector system.

if you're wanting to secure the clip, rather than a wire tie, there's a very good product made by OpTech themselves to bind the clips together.

https://optechusa.com/system-connectors/secure-its.html
Dear BlackXlist,

I'm sorry for the OP's misfortune but I've been using OPTECH straps nearly as long as you have and I've been using other outdoor products that use the same connectors for far longer.

I use them to secure 100 pound plus coolers in boats that get beaten up in waves. Holding a camera is a cakewalk unless the connector was unknowingly damaged.

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Old 12-19-2016   #17
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For me the securits aren't primarily about making sure that it holds the weight of the camera at all.

I occasionally photograph in some interesting areas, or from the front row of music venues, for me they're more about making sure somebody doesn't think it's entertaining or an opportunity to squeeze the quick release.

The added structural strength is just a bonus for me, but if it is something anyone is concerned about, it'll do that too.
I don't think they're "neccesary" but if they add some peace of mind, then they're well worth it.

The first camera strap I put them on holds my GR.
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Old 12-19-2016   #18
ColSebastianMoran
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To the OP -- Which part broke? I see five plastic pieces in an OpTech strap, A-E. Which one broke?

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Old 12-19-2016   #19
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after almost a decade using these straps i never even considered this happening now this has me contemplating different strap options
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Old 12-19-2016   #20
Robert Lai
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I've had an Op-tech strap since 2001 on my Nikon F3. Even with the MD-4 motor and a telephoto lens on it for much of the time, I've never had a problem. The strap is now 15 years old, and still working. I've disconnected the strap on a frequent basis, when the strap got in the way, such as when shooting macro images.
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Old 12-19-2016   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColSebastianMoran View Post
To the OP -- Which part broke? I see five plastic pieces in an OpTech strap, A-E. Which one broke?

Thanks for that Col. I didn't even realize mine had Quick Release. I have had it for ten years on my Pentax 6x7. I'm going to use a small nylon tie like the wire suggestion to bypass the QR as I never use the QR. That would loop between A and C on your photo.

EDIT I just did it, It took two small ties each side.
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Old 12-20-2016   #22
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Shouldn't this "WARNING" be about straps in general. It shouldn't be hard to find instances of other straps breaking. If we tar and feather OPTECH, it only seems fair to tar and feather everyone else whose strap has failed while we are at it....
Frequent inspection--really just a quick look--should be enough for most fabric or leather straps to detect excessive wear and tear and indicate time for replacement. Personally, I've never had a strap break and my experience carrying cameras exceeds forty years. However, I recall vividly how the round split rings that attached straps would sometimes stretch with use and back out of the camera eyelets or the strap itself. Happened more than once to me and my fellow photographers where I worked years ago although I don't recall anyone actually losing a camera because of this. These unsettling incidents ceased when triangular split rings came along.
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Old 12-20-2016   #23
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OpTech also makes straps without quick release buckles. I have these straps on my binoculars. Very comfortable and secure.
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Old 12-20-2016   #24
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Plastic suffers from age hardening and becomes brittle. Some problem with all the plastic stuff in cars, it spontaneously breaks. Lots of it is hidden and thus the repair becomes expensive. Then consider how old the part is that replaces the old one. There is not a stream of these flowing off an assembly line somewhere.
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Old 12-20-2016   #25
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Camera Strap Security by John Carter, on Flickr
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Old 12-20-2016   #26
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I will be giving all of my op-tech straps sidelong glances now, but I"ve never had one break.
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Old 12-20-2016   #27
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Always good to inspect this stuff every once in awhile... I've had some other brand straps close to breaking but have discovered them before a disaster. If you think it might break... either abuse it a little to see if it does or just replace it. So many use cheap straps on expensive cameras... but they are often a very important part of your camera. 10 years for one strap? I'd say that is excellent. Instead of a warning, this is probably a good thing... though I get you are warning against having a camera fall to the ground.
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Old 12-21-2016   #28
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Using cable ties seems to defeat the purpose of quick release buckles. May as well use non-QR straps to begin with.
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Old 12-21-2016   #29
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My only Optech is connected to my heavy digital rig (Nikon D700, battery pack and 24-70 lens), which weighs about 13 pounds. For some reason, I really never let the camera just hang around my neck and instead hold it by the grip all the time. Now... let me add one thing: the plastic clip is really hard to move, and I seldom remove the strap for that reason.

Thanks for the heads up though.
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Old 12-21-2016   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unixrevolution View Post
I will be giving all of my op-tech straps sidelong glances now, but I"ve never had one break.
It is spontaneous. Inspection is of little value. At least put some stress on the connection.
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Old 12-21-2016   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogman View Post
Using cable ties seems to defeat the purpose of quick release buckles. May as well use non-QR straps to begin with.
I haven't use it in ten years, and I didn't even know I had it. So in my case I guess I don't need QR.
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Old 12-21-2016   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogman View Post
May as well use non-QR straps to begin with.
A no-brainer.

Some things are better if simple and stupid. Like camera straps. Clever = not good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
So many use cheap straps on expensive cameras...
Some of the best are some of the cheapest, like the Domke without quick release...
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surprised
Old 12-21-2016   #33
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surprised

Mine broke in area" A" on the older design shown in the illustration for the safety strap from Optech http://redirect.viglink.com/?format=...e-its.html.The swivel on the male side snapped away from the main strap attachment as I was reaching for my camera under my coat to bring it up to shoot in the rain. Lucky me,the camera was firm in hand.
I sent the strap back to Optech Research and Development,but never got an acknowledgement.
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Old 12-22-2016   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackXList View Post
I use OpTech or OpTech compatible straps a lot, and I'm a big fan of the connector system.

if you're wanting to secure the clip, rather than a wire tie, there's a very good product made by OpTech themselves to bind the clips together.

https://optechusa.com/system-connectors/secure-its.html
Quote:
Originally Posted by ColSebastianMoran View Post
To the OP -- Which part broke? I see five plastic pieces in an OpTech strap, A-E. Which one broke?

Quote:
Originally Posted by randolph45 View Post
Mine broke in area" A" on the older design shown in the illustration for the safety strap from Optech http://redirect.viglink.com/?format=...e-its.html.The swivel on the male side snapped away from the main strap attachment as I was reaching for my camera under my coat to bring it up to shoot in the rain. Lucky me,the camera was firm in hand.
I sent the strap back to Optech Research and Development,but never got an acknowledgement.
It seems that Optech's solution would not have helped for where it broke,as it does not secure that area. Maybe these would have been better quality if they made them in China.
j/k!

I use these straps on my F6 and Xpan and they really make a huge difference carrying a heavy camera. So much better than the stock straps, that is if they do not break of course.
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Old 12-22-2016   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColSebastianMoran View Post
To the OP -- Which part broke? I see five plastic pieces in an OpTech strap, A-E. Which one broke?

It was part A, which is VERY thin in cross section. In mine, it consists of two swiveling pieces, with the outer tube being the problem. If it had been thicker, breakage would have been much less likely. In comparison, the QR is very beefy.

I should add that your photo shows a different, probably updated version of part A. Your part A is wrapped/reinforced around with the fabric, where mine is exposed. Conceivably, yours eliminated the weak plastic tube entirely and just swivels inside the reinforced fabric loop itself. Good to see the design was improved.
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Old 12-22-2016   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogman View Post
Using cable ties seems to defeat the purpose of quick release buckles. May as well use non-QR straps to begin with.
I bought the strap with the QR only because that's the only style the store had in stock...I have the Domke straps without the QR on most of my gear...unfortunately, most are worn out and need replacing...If I can find a Domke strap without the QR and padded like the OP/Tech...I'll have them on every camera I use...
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Old 12-22-2016   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by faberryman View Post
Shouldn't this "WARNING" be about straps in general. It shouldn't be hard to find instances of other straps breaking. If we tar and feather OPTECH, it only seems fair to tar and feather everyone else whose strap has failed while we are at it.

I have a couple of OPTECH straps which have worked nicely and show no signs of wear. However, none of mine connect with those string things. Talk about asking for trouble. I use the ones with the webbing and o-rings.
Exactly.

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hmmm..
Old 12-23-2016   #38
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hmmm..

Quote:
Originally Posted by charjohncarter View Post
i guess it's no longer a quick disconnect!
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