The first thing I noticed about the SpiderPro Holster was the build quality. It’s great. The belt is made out of thick nylon webbing and the pin and holster mechanism out of durable stainless steel. The buckle on the belt, albeit plastic, has a three point lock which should make your gear that much more secure. It’s apparent that attention has been given to small details – like an allen wrench holder in the tripod mount and elastics to secure any extra belt webbing. Nice touches that make the holster that much nicer. This isn’t a sales pitch however, so lets take a closer, critical look.
Why Use the SpiderPro
If you hadn’t already gathered from the intro, I was an immediate fan of the holster. I shoot lifestyle stock photography and always shoot with two cameras. One camera is set with a wide angle or medium lens (24-70 f/2.8 or 16-35 f/2.8) and the other camera with a telephoto lens (70-200 f/2.8). I shoot with two cameras as it allows for quicker shifting between lenses – allowing a greater variety of selects from a shoot. Shooting with two cameras also gives the bonus of having a back-up camera on hand, always. Because of this I either have two cameras strapped around my neck (very irritating) or place one on the ground beside me (waste of time hunting for the camera I set down 5 minutes ago). Sticking the camera(s) on my hip solves both these issues.
Spider Pro In Use
Putting on the belt is pretty straight forward. You wrap it around your hips and do up the buckle. If you need to adjust the belt size, you undo a massive Velcro strap (think EMT backboard quality), slide the belt through a buckle and do up the Velcro. The camera hangs at your right side by default – if you want the camera to hang on your left side, you’ll need to rotate the holster once you’ve buckled it up. The buckle will then be at your back and holster on the left side.
Once the pin it attached to the camera you can just slide it into the holster. The holster opening is large so it’s easy to hit in a hurry, even with poor aim. The camera will then fall into place. There is a lock which keeps your camera from jumping out again which can be disengaged if you prefer. The camera sits very well in the holster, even if the lock is disengaged. I am comfortable actively moving around a shoot without fear of loosing the gear on my hip when the lock is in the open position.
If you feel the size of the strap and holster is overkill for size of your camera, they also offer a cheaper, lighter version called the Spider Black Widow.
The belt itself is never going to wear out, it’s made of heavy nylon and won’t get much wear. The pin and holster mechanism on the other hand, which see a lot of friction with heavy gear, can wear out over time (a long time mind you). Every part of the Spider system can be purchased separately however, so replacement parts aren’t a problem. Just make sure to keep tabs on the wear of the pin over time. The belt buckle is large and high quality and I don’t expect it to fail, especially with a three point lock. That said, I’ve had a similar buckles on a backpack that became slightly cracked after it got squished or hit somehow. If the buckle is cracked it may look like its locked closed, yet release when pressure is applied (pressure such as bending over or eating one more hot dog). Having $20,000 worth of gear dropping to the concrete wouldn’t be pretty. Just make sure you double check the buckle if you plan on strapping your livelihood to your waist (you do have insurance don’t you??).
The Spider Holster system comes in a variety of models and various prices. The Spiderpro Single Camera System, which we reviewed here, costs $135 on Amazon or direct from the Spider Holster site. Although $135 is a bit of cash for anyone just starting out, it feels like the price is very justified by what you receive. If you shoot in a way where you are constantly setting down your camera, you’ll be doing yourself a big favor by purchasing a holster of some sort, and the Spider system is a great choice. The $135 will have been well spent. If you’re completely happy with your camera(s) around your neck, save your cash for something else.
- Build quality is great
- Frees my hands and shoulders to shoot with another camera or do other tasks
- Ease of use
- Can also be used as a lens holder
- Price / Quality ratio is great
- Plastic buckle is a possible weak spot
- Things get a little squished and out of place with a large tripod quick release plate such as the Manfrotto RC-4 – it does work though, just not ideal. (watch the video for more info)
SpiderPro Review Conclusion
The SpiderPro has been added to my gear bag! I was really impressed by the holster. I liked it’s ease of use and found it more useful than I thought I would. My only regret is that I didn’t pick one up several years ago. Trying to carry two cameras, one on each shoulder, is never comfortable (and I’ve shot many hours this way). I’m really struggling for something negative to say about the holster. It’s obvious they’ve spent a lot of time considering the design of the holster and managed to create a durable, useful product at a very pleasing price point.