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Old May 10, 2010, 8:44 PM   #1
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Default My review of the Cotton Carrier

This past weekend I took the new Cotton Carrier camera support, out for the first time. Seeing how I wasn't planning on taking any distant shots and it was a bright sunny day, I armed myself with just the K20 and 12-24mm, an extra battery and HDSD card. I got lucky and found a parking place only a block from the annual "Mayfair by the Lake" where artist set up there wares all the way around one the lakes near downtown Lakeland. I strapped on the vest like apparatus and attached the camera. At first I felt like a cop wearing a bulletproof vest and I felt a little self-conscious with this big ol' black camera sticking out of my chest but, by the time I had walked the block to the lake and started looking at the art displayed, I almost forgot I was even wearing it!. I was surprised how comfortable it was. The temperature high was 89 degrees and breezy. I don't think the carrier adds any more heat to my body then carrying a shoulder bag and less than a backpack does. Strolling around fair with a light weight lens compared to a long tele weighing in at from 1-1/2lb to 4-5 lbs can't be a totally fair review but, after carrying the camera around for four hours with 12-24, and then walking back to the car it get the 55-300, and wearing that for the last 2 hours,I have to say I was still quite comfortable and not suffering from the neck and back ache I would have if I had just hung it around my neck or used a sling bag.
I found the pivot slider connecting button sturdy and easy to use. It mounts to the cameras tripod threaded screw with a special key to tighten it with. once it on the camera, all you do is hold the camera bottom pointing at your chest with the lens pointing down, slide the button into the slotted mount on the carrier part way. then rotate the camera to the horizontal (90 degrees) position and it will slide farther in place. As you let the camera hang down like it should it is locked from coming out of the carrier until until you grip the camera, twist it 90 degree turn and lift. May sound cumbersome but, ones you do it its only a few times and its second nature. One of the nice things I likes about it, was while sitting in the bleachers for the last two hours, I didn't slide it all the way in and twist. all I did was lit it sit at the top of the slide, that way I didn't have to fuss with a twist and upward pull to take a shot. It was just resting there and all I had to do was pick it up and shoot like I would have if it was just hanging around my neck on a strap but, minus the neck pain.
Whats my feelings on the Cotton Carrier after carrying it around for over 6 hours strait? Well, you won't see me without it now that I got. I still think its a little pricey but, its a quality built product that does what it claims it will. I'll reserve giving a rating until I get to take it out for a day of birding with a big gun and two cameras to see how it does in that respect.
If someone asked me today could I recommend getting one, I'd say sure, based on what I've experienced thus far, you cant go wrong.
Now, if we can just get the price to come down a little...


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Old May 10, 2010, 9:16 PM   #2
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It looks interesting. So odes it come with the hand strap or did you buy that extra? I wish that someone had one around here - I'd want to see one in person and actually try one on before buying something like that. I looked at one harness system that didn't come small enough to fit me!
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Old May 10, 2010, 9:35 PM   #3
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thanks for the initial impressions GW. these have always had a definite appeal. especially for nature-shooting with long lenses and walking around alot.

look forward to your continued impressions.
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Old May 11, 2010, 2:30 PM   #4
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Thanks for the review GW.

I took a look at this when you first mentioned it ...... it is still on my list of 'possibilities' !
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Old May 11, 2010, 2:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtngal View Post
It looks interesting. So odes it come with the hand strap or did you buy that extra? I wish that someone had one around here - I'd want to see one in person and actually try one on before buying something like that. I looked at one harness system that didn't come small enough to fit me!

Hey Harriet, no, I wasn't even aware of the hand strap until you mentioned it and I went back and looked. the hand strap is $35 more. It comes with everything you see in the photo if you want it. That's called the pro kit. They have different pricing for different kits. Here is the link to there web site.
http://www.cottoncarrier.com/
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Old May 11, 2010, 2:51 PM   #6
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You're right Dustin, for anyone who's walking around and needs there camera at the ready, this is ideal.

Kevin, its one of those things that's only worth it if you really need it.
In my case, I felt I needed it because of my bad back, and that makes it worth every penny.
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Old May 11, 2010, 3:00 PM   #7
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Nice work GW. I found this unit works great for weddings too. I mentioned mine in our EOS 7D review.
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Old May 11, 2010, 3:39 PM   #8
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Hi GW,

I've been using the CC since last August, and I'm definitely a believer. I usually carry two bodies with long teles, and this is by a long shot the most comfortable way to accomplish this. Last fall, and later this season, I'd carry either the K-7 or K20 and a 300/2.8 (@ 8lbs total) in the chest carrier, and the other body with the 300/4.5 (@ 4lbs) in the "holster" on the side. There is no other good way to do this with lenses this heavy and conventional straps, the cameras would knock around too much against my body when walking, and I was forced to keep a hand on at least one of them to prevent permanent disfigurement (and probably long term wear of the cameras and lenses) -- and I still had the tripod to deal with. Of course I could stick one of the cameras in a backpack, but it wouldn't have been available to easily shoot there, so it's not comparable.

This spring, with the new Sigma 180 Macro, I've been carrying the K-7 with the 300/4.5 in the chest carrier and the K20 with the Sigma in the holster. I even carry K20/Sigma with the Metz 15 Macro Slave mounted on the lens, and because the camera doesn't bounce around, it's very secure. I use Camdapter Grip straps on both bodies, so I don't use the safety strap as illustrated, and have the camera mounted adapters set at about 30 degrees so I don't have to rotate them much to unlock them, but they're still locked in while I'm wandering around. I started off the year carrying both cams in a shoulder bag, but soon tired of this and broke out the CC.

About the look -- I actually have been wearing a photo or fly fishing vest over the CC so I can carry a couple of other lenses and maybe another flash in the pockets while still leaving my hands free. It's much more convenient for me than carrying a bag, and with all the pockets, there's lots of room for wallets and all the little photo things like batteries and memory cards, flash modifiers and such. It takes longer to set up at the beginning of the day, as opposed to just grabbing a bag, but the convenience and comfort take over, and there's no comparison. An unintended benefit is that most people out on the trails think I must be a pro, so they give me a wide berth and are careful to try to not disturb my shooting . . . heh!

Pricey indeed, but worth every penny, IMO. . .It's really nice when you get something like this -- and it actually works out better than expected.

Scott
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Old May 11, 2010, 3:42 PM   #9
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It's something that has been at the top of my shopping list for a while, and will be getting one when back in the UK as after a wedding I'm dead and I know this is the solution.

Glad it is helping you out!!
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Old May 11, 2010, 4:45 PM   #10
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Thank you for chiming in Scott.
I knew one of us here had previously posted there review of the CC a while back but, I couldn't remember who it was. It was your review that gave me the confidence to order one. I have been disappointed too many time to make this kind of investment without an endorsement from "real life" photographers that I know and trust,
like those here on the forum.
So, I thank you sir for sharing your opinion with us and I'll add mine along with it to help alleviate the anxiety that others may have before taking the plunge.

Mark, I think think this would be an excellent tool for wedding photog's and it would be easy enough to wear under a dress jacket as some wear to help blend in with the guest.

One question for Scott, do you use the flat hub or the 15 degree angled one? I found that the angled one works better for me, its easier to take the camera off and on.

A note to Harriet,

I think this would work for you but, I'd recommend talking directly to Andy Cotton before ordering one. It might require a custom fit, my rough measurement
shows the absolute minimum waste is about 26 inches and I'm not sure how it would fit drawn up that tight. I guess what I should have done was let you order one and offer to
buy it from you if it didn't work out.
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