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Gear Review: The Capture Camera Clip for Hands-Free Travel Photography

Where: Chile
September 27, 2012 at 4:02 PM | by | ()

If you haven't yet gathered from our plethora of photo galleries here at Jaunted, we are always in the company of at least one camera. While it's worth it to let a DSLR bulk up our luggage for the the slick pictures it produces, we're always looking for something easier than a backpack and more comfortable than a camera strap for toting it along for hikes and more active outdoor activities.

Now I switch to first-person to say that, with an upcoming trip to the nature paradise of Easter Island and lots of volcano climbing ahead, I looked to the Capture Clip from Peak Design, a device that actually found its footing among projects on Kickstarter.

All it is is what you see above (minus our belt running through it). It's a $79.99 aluminum accessory of two pieces: one dock that secures onto things like belts or backpack straps and one plate that screws into the bottom of your camera. Together they click and hold that camera fast until the red quick-release button is pushed, releasing the camera from the Capture. The feel is very much like a holster, especially since I took to wearing mine on my hip.

I first took it out for a full-day adventure in the Chilean ski resort of Valle Nevado, where the sun was hot enough to leave jackets and backpacks in the car but the snow still called for boots and gloves. I screwed the Capture into place on an airline-style black belt I bought at the Boeing gift shop and secured the plate into my Nikon D7000. You can see me wearing it on my hip at Valle Nevado in this Instagram. Having my camera on my belt meant I could essentially let my hips do the work while I walked the mountaintop area, hands free for après-ski.

Off to Easter Island! The same setup with almost the exact same outfit saw me through my first day hiking around the Rano Raraku volcano and its field of Moai statues. It's not hard-going at all thanks to the well-trod paths, so the Capture worked out perfectly.

This all changed the next day when I ran into my first and only big problem with the Capture. iPhone & ID in pants pocket, belt with Capture on, a collapsible water bottle clipped to the back, I was ready for more fun. While hiking up the Rano Kau volcano—a climb on paths as well, but at a far steeper incline for over an hour—I took my belt off to set up some time-delay photos of myself at the crater edge and noticed that the screw of the plate into my camera was coming loose.

The motion of my hiking had gradually wiggled it to be so and, though it worried me at first, I found that if I stopped every 15-20 minutes to give it a quick tighten, it would hold. Annoying? Yes, but the problem would have been completely fixed had I anything metal and thin enough to use for the tightening, but I had only my thumbnail (ow).

Continuing the hike around Rano Kau's rim to the archaeologic site of the village of Orongo, I hit crazy winds coming up the volcano and was so thankful I wasn't relying on just a camera strap. Getting sweaty on the initial climb had already made me happy to hike backpack-free. I wouldn't want to run with it unless I had to, but otherwise it's definitely an accessory I'll use on similar outdoor activities.

Pro tip 1: Have a tiny, thin metal something with you in case of emergency screw tightening. Even a quarter coin would work, but a Swiss Army knife's many options are always best.

Pro tip 2: When the camera plate is detached, clip it back onto the Capture instead of just leaving it sitting by itself because, if you have a cat, that cat will find it and bat at it until it gets lodged underneath the fridge and you'll spend an hour fetching it out.

Disclosure: Peak Design sent us the Capture Clip for review, but we made no promises and all photos and opinions are completely our own.

[Photos: Cynthia Drescher/Jaunted]

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