The Bottom Line: The BlackRapid Cross Shot Sling Camera Strap is designed to let users carry a camera safely and securely in a way that is much more comfortable than the traditional neck strap.
First off, as anyone hauling a camera around for a daylong event or hike knows, the neck strap that typically comes included with the camera will definitely give you a sore neck and back after a few hours of use. This is especially true if you're carrying around a DSLR camera body and the weight of a heavier lens.
I'm not sure why it took me so long to discover using a shoulder strap, but I haven't looked back since.
BlackRapid specializes in different strap and harness systems geared toward all levels and types of photographers and camera setups. Being a hiker who shoots on a DSLR camera, their Cross Shot was the lightweight sling strap that appeared to combine comfort and ease of use with maximum camera maneuverability.
Part of BlackRapid's Breathe line, the Cross Shot is made from polyproylene for a durable and lightweight product, and it is engineered to fit both right-handed and left-handed users in a way that allows the camera to rest upside-down against the opposite hip. This allows for a quick and ergonomic grip of the camera and positions it to be lifted easily to get the desired shot.
The strap is adjustable for both length and camera positioning, and the carabiner attachment for the camera comes with a locking mechanism to prevent accidental detachment of the camera. The strap comes with a rubber pad meant to disperse and lessen the weight on the user's shoulder.
The Cross Shot model is meant to support camera weight from a smaller GoPro or action cam unit to compact mirrorless cameras to full size DSLR and full-frame bodies.
The Cross Shot slips over a shoulder with a rubber pad spreading the weight on that shoulder. A locking carabiner screws into the camera body's tripod screw thread, and the camera hangs safely against the wearer's opposite hip.
Having used this strap on long hikes, the strap does a much better job of bearing the weight across my shoulder. Strapped across the shoulder, the camera feels fine, and eliminating the neck strap means no sore neck after hours of wearing it.
Different adjustments can be made that can lessen or increase the length of the strap, adjusting where the camera sits against your body. You can also adjust the range where the camera is able to slide on the strap. This creates incredible ease of motion when lifting the camera up to take and picture. The placement of the carabiner has no negative effect while holding the camera in either portrait or landscape mode.
There is an additional buckle, which can be used to strap on an additional piece to lengthen the sling. In our use in the freezing landscape of Iceland in the winter, we were able to wear and use the Cross Shot comfortably, even over multiple thick heavy jackets. There is an option to increase the length of the strap, though it seems unlikely that most wearers will ever need it.
While the camera hangs against your hip, you need to steady it from swinging or bouncing against your body, so the Cross Shot supports it in a hands-free manner while standing, but not while moving. Also, since the carabiner screws into the tripod screw thread, the attachment mechanism stays screwed into the camera. While the camera can be unlocked and removed from the strap in a matter of seconds, switching between the harness and a tripod requires the wearer to completely unscrew the attachment from the camera body and then screw in the tripod attachment plate. It's relatively quick, but those who are looking to use a tripod frequently may opt for a different strap.
The Cross Shot comes with a small carry bag for quick and easy carrying or storage. Throughout our use, we've had no issues at all with the Cross Shot. This has become our go-to strap—not just for hiking and outdoor use, but it has pretty much replaced our neck strap in any instance where we'll be wearing and carrying our camera for any long length of time.