The Spider Holster (Review)

I’m not sure why it’s called the Spider Holster, I mean, there’s not 8 of anything, and there’s no dangly legs or fur of any kind. But what it does do, it does well, as I can safely say after using it daily for the last couple of weeks.

What is it? The Spider Holster is what I consider to be a revolutionary way to carry your heavy SLR camera paired with a big lens and even a flash, in comfort and style. Any pro photographer who carries around a couple cameras all day will tell you their shoulders are in a world of hurt at the end of the day. The Spider Holster transfers the weight to your hips, and does away with the strappy-strap, making vertical shooting much, much easier (the strap always gets in the way). When you are done shooting, you simply holster the camera on the sturdy belt with the satisfying scrape-click of solid metal parts sliding into place.

There are three main components to the system – the SpiderPro plate and knobby protrusion (Spider Pin) that screws into the tripod mount on the bottom of your camera (don’t worry, it’s perfectly designed for vertical shooting, and you can still screw in a tripod mount), the Spider Holster Belt which is a heavy-duty nylon rig that fits snugly around your hips, and lastly, the ingeniously designed SpiderPro Camera Holster, a solid hunk of metal that secures to the holster belt and is the “female” part of the system, receiving the Spider Pin and locking your gear into place.

This is how it hangs (hahaha, sorry)

This is how it hangs (hahaha, sorry)

I won’t go into any more detail about the system or how it works, there’s plenty of documentation and explanatory videos on the Spider Holster website. I will simply provide the Pros and Cons of the system as a result of putting it through the paces of an every-day working photographer.

Pros:

  1. It’s very comfortable to wear, even for extended periods of time.
  2. My camera gear feels very secure, and doesn’t move around like it does on a strap.
  3. Passion went into the design and production of the whole kit, you can tell it is a solution for photographers, by a photographer.
  4. The third buttton on the belt is ingenious to prevent accidental unlocking, and watching all your gear crash to the ground.

Cons:

  1. It’s kinda pricey, but well worth it to me.
  2. The looong velcro strap is very secure, but difficult to make minor adjustments. Take care to get it right the first time (and don’t you dare lose or gain any weight!).
  3. The locking mechanism is straight-forward, but in actual use I found that it had been often accidentally put into the “open” position, where the camera is not locked in by anything. I found myself checking to see if the locking pin was engaged every once in a while just to be sure.
  4. Some of the fabric threading on the holster belt is unraveling after only two weeks “in the field,” which makes me wonder what it will look like in a year.
Photographers viewpoint of the Spider Holster

Photographer's viewpoint of the Spider Holster

Conclusion:

I highly recommend the Spider Holster system to pros and enthusiasts alike – anyone whose shoulders feel the strain of carrying around their cameras. I’m also a huge fan of BlackRapid’s R-Strap System, and I have been using both together (one camera on the hip, one on the opposite shoulder). This is much more comfortable than two on the shoulders, and you can use your heavier camera/lens combo on the hip to take the weight better. It takes some getting used to that when holding your camera, you can’t simply let it drop, letting the strap catch it. Once you get used to this, it’s like rediscovering the freedom of holding your first camera in your hands, out of the box and unrestrained by straps. It’s a beautiful thing, and something all photographers should re-experience.

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