QD connectors and the Sony 100-400
Up to now, I've never found a good solution for managing large lenses in the field. You want to be able to sling the camera and lens over your shoulder for easy carrying, but, especially when you're using a tripod, a strap is an encumbrance. If you or a bystander catch your hand in it, having a strap can be dangerous to your gear. So some kind of quick-disconnect system is in order. I've switched my camera straps over to the Peak quick-disconnect system. That works fine with light lenses, but I don't think it's strong enough for me to trust it with a really big lens. In addition, attaching the Peak lugs to big lenses without impeding the mounting and unmounting of the lens to Arca-Swiss-compatible heads is difficult at best.
For some time now, Really Right Stuff has been incorporating into their plates receptacles for a quick-disconnect system created for firearms. It goes by the unimaginative moniker QD. Here's a picture of the strap end:
The round barrel on the right slips into a hole on the RRS plates. The shiny round protuberances from the barrel comprise the locking mechanism. When you press the rounded button on the left side of the strap's D-ring, the locks retract, and you can insert the barrel into the plate, or remove it from there. It takes less than a second to snap it in or pop it out. My first worry was that it would be too easy to inadvertently release the lock, resulting in thousands of dollars worth of gear descending swiftly to a concrete floor. After I'd used the system a while, I realized that the D-ring protects the button from being depressed when the gear is hanging from the strap. I suppose it would be possible to get a tool in there while the camera is on your shoulder, but you're not going to be able to release it with your thumb or a finger unless you rotate the barrel upwards or downwards, assuming the orientation shown above.
RRS sells Magpul straps, but there are many other options to choose from. The straps RRS sells have both male and female connectors. If you want to clip into just one camera plate, you clip the strap to itself like this:
But, with big lenses, I don't like one point of connection to the camera/lens system. Doing it that way lets the camera swing around too much. I like to clip one end of the strap to the camera plate and the other one to the lens plate, as is illustrated with this shot of an a9 and the Sony 100-400 lens:
Note the black and red Peak lug, for use when I'm using the camera with small lenses. After using the QD system for a few days, I'm sold on it. It is secure. It will handle a lot of weight. I've tried unsuccessfully to get it to release by itself. You can pop the strap loose as you swing the camera onto a tripod and lose hardly any time.
It still makes me a little nervous to walk around with the camera over my shoulder held in place only by a connection that is so easy to make and break when that is your intent, but I'm getting used to that.
If you already have RRS plates with the QD receptacle, all you need a QD-compatible strap.
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