Since 2010, Spider Holster has produce camera carrying systems which are intended to create a more innovative method for carrying your camera with you while working. Their carry systems are designed to offer a convenient and comfortable way to access your camera quickly while still managing to store it securely within easy reach when not in use.
Recently, Spider Holsters has launched a brand new Kickstarter campaign for the latest addition to their line of quick-draw type camera carry systems; the SpiderLight Holster. The SpiderLight is intended specifically for those shooters who carry a mirrorless or smaller SLR camera setup. Being a recent convert to a mirrorless camera system myself, I was excited to try out this newest offering from Spider and see if I would truly “Ditch the strap” in favor of this inventive way of carrying my camera while in the field.
First Impressions of the SpiderLight Holster
My cameras are more like extensions of myself than just pieces of metal and plastic. I love my cameras. So naturally I was, shall we say, somewhat hesitant to place their welfare in the hands of a new type of carry system instead of my heavy-duty leather camera strap. All those fears were genuinely soothed as soon as I handled the SpiderLight Holster for the first time. The product is solid, beefy, and extremely substantial. More so than I expected it to be based on the product photos from Spider Holster’s website.
The construction of the SpiderLight is all stainless steel and aluminum, subdued in a professional-looking matte finish. The holster itself is constructed of aluminum with a stainless steel insert to prevent wear with the belt clip on the back, being made from spring steel. The camera plate is crafted from heavy aluminum as well, while the Spider pin (the part that slides into the holster) is CNC machined stainless steel.
All the screws were tight and the entire mechanism moved smoothly with no burrs or imperfections appearing to be found. Even the markings on the product are etched into the metal instead of being painted onto the surface. The belt clip itself is substantial and provides a heartily robust grip to a wide range of belt widths.
Real World Use
The majority of my work focuses on wilderness and adventure photography with a little bit of everything else thrown into the mix. I spend lots of time in the outdoors chasing light so I was extremely curious to see how well the SpiderLight would perform during hiking and fast movements. I tested the mechanism using my main camera body, the Sony A7r Mk1 fitted with Zeiss Vario-Tessar 24-70mm F4.
Functionally, the SpiderLight is deceptively simple. There is a steel peg that slides into a groove on the holster in such a way that the camera hangs inverted from the holster. However, looking more closely reveals evidence of some fairly impressive engineering at work.
A well placed two-stage locking switch secures the camera in one of two ways depending on your needs. This switch is invaluable. It locks the camera in place until the user disengages it with a subtle flick. More importantly, it can be completely disengaged to facilitate quick retrieval of your camera.
I was extremely surprised at just how versatile the SpiderLight could be in practice. I walked, jogged, bent down, and did all the epic things photographers do without any real encumbrance caused by the device. The only adversity I encountered was to remember the camera was by my hip when passing through doorways. After a little practice, I completely forgot that I carried the camera at my side. It worked, for lack of a better word, beautifully.
Using a tripod with the SpiderLight Holster
The SpiderLight still allows for the attachment of your own tripod’s quick-release plate, so it does not interfere with your normal workflow if you find yourself shooting with a tripod. It’s not guaranteed that the holster will work with your specific tripod, though. Notice I have to mount mine backward. Still, the function was not hindered in any way by the Spider.
The only possible reservation I have with the SpiderLight is that even with a lightweight camera kit (Sony A7r and 24-70mm Zeiss) the one-sided weight distribution sometimes sags the pants. I wouldn’t consider wearing the system without a sturdy belt. This wasn’t something that deterred me from using the holster but it is definitely a point of consideration. If you carry a heavier camera I would highly recommend the Spider Holster Pro.
The SpiderLight Holster works great for use with a lightweight kit such as mirrorless cameras and smaller DSLRs. From the perspective of a first time user, the SpiderLight performed admirably, in spite of my reservations. The overall build is sturdy enough for heavy-duty use and the complete concept works well. If you are considering the idea of trying the SpiderLight or any other of the products in Spider Holster line you won’t be disappointed.
That being said, give yourself enough time to get to know the holster. Some will love it, some not so much. One of the biggest obstacles I faced was learning to actually trust the holster to securely carry my camera. In my case, breaking 10 years of absolute camera strap reliance takes some time. Still, you never know until you try it and it very well could become your favorite method of carrying your camera.