The hands of a photographer are a critical element of their work. Besides the obvious task of operating the camera and the lens, there are plenty of other situations where using your hands is the best, and often the only way to solve a given problem.
Whether it is by manipulating an object in the scene, changing your lighting scheme, giving directions to your model, or even tasks as mundane as tying up your shoelaces, you’ll find that in pretty much every type of shoot you use your hands way more often than you probably think. The problem is, they’re usually busy holding your camera, and finding a good way to set them free, even if it’s just momentarily, is not always as easy or as convenient as it should be.
The most obvious way to solve this problem is, of course, by using a camera strap. This is the most commonly used method and in fact, nearly all modern cameras come with an included strap right in the box. However, using a neck strap presents its own set of problems, and it’s not always a good solution.
For example, when you’re carrying a bigger camera with a massive lens, using a strap can result in neck strain and possibly even injury. And since the camera can swing around freely when it’s hanging by a strap, this can also result in unfortunate and potentially costly bumps between your camera and any number of surrounding objects.
Simply put, while it’s generally convenient and readily available for most people, there are certain situations where using a strap just won’t cut it.
Enter the Capture camera clip.
This aluminum mounting clip provides a better way to quickly and securely dock your camera on those occasions when you need to use both hands elsewhere. Furthermore, it’s not only better than a strap on any particular situation, it’s actually a better solution in the vast majority of cases, and can even be used together with a strap for the ultimate flexibility and security.
No matter how you look at it, there are clearly a few ways most people would benefit from having a secure mounting place for their camera, beyond their existing neck strap. That being said, is the Capture clip good enough at its job to actually be worth the investment? Let’s find out.
About Peak Design
The Capture clip — and Peak Design with it — started off in the form of a very successful Kickstarter campaign. Peak Design was founded by Peter Dering back in 2011, when he managed to raise over $300,000 dollars to create the original Capture clip. From that moment on, the company never looked back.
Today, Peak Design makes all sorts of straps, clips, and covers to ensure no matter where you go, your camera is always with you. As of 2015, they’ve made their first foray into the camera bag world with the Everyday Messenger, their most successful Kickstarter project to date, which managed to raise over $4 million and is on track to ship before the end of the year.
Peak Design’s commitment to quality products and exceptional design definitely resonates with many people, and the Capture clip is a perfect example of the company’s values.
The Capture Clip sports an incredibly solid metal body, made of machined aluminum and with an outer layer of glass-reinforced nylon. The mounting plate is also made of metal for a super tight and secure fit, and it comes with rubber dampeners to improve the grip and protect the surface of your camera or lens. The included bolt can be tightened with both a coin or the supplied Allen-type wrench.
The standard mounting plate is compatible with ARCA tripods, so you can just leave it on your camera and forget it’s even there. If you use a different tripod, Peak Design also sells additional mounting plates separately.
Build-quality-wise, the Capture is extremely robust. The only area that shows slight room for improvement is the secure release button, which is on one end of the body. It’s a bright red button that unlocks the security pin holding the mounting plate in place, and it can be turned sideways, which locks it into place in order to avoid accidental presses.
This button, while perfectly functional, is made of plastic, and is not terribly solid-looking. That said, it’s not a part that’s subjected to stress when operating the Capture, so there’s probably not any serious need to have it be metal instead.
All in all, the Capture boasts a build quality that will make it safe to use in any conditions imaginable. And should you want even more durability, Peak Design also offers the Capture PRO clip, an all-aluminum version that also comes with an improved mounting plate that offers compatibility with both ARCA and Manfrotto RC-2 tripods.
Instructions: slide, click, go
Using the Capture could hardly be any easier. Just attach the mounting plate to your camera by screwing it onto the tripod mount, secure your Capture to your desired location, and you’re good to go. If you’re using a big telephoto lens with a built-in tripod collar, it may be better to attach the mounting plate to the lens instead of the camera.
The Capture clip was designed to fit around pretty much any strap you can think of, but it needs to be a strap of some sort. That means you can securely mount it on your messenger bag’s shoulder strap, on either one of your backpack’s shoulder straps, or even on your belt, to name but a few usual locations where the Capture works very well. Any other strap you can think of will probably work just as well, though.
To secure the clip to your strap of choice, you’ll need to unscrew at least one of the black tightening bolts that are located on the top part of the body. These will release pressure from the closure and the hinge, allowing you to fine-tune the Capture’s grip to your particular strap. One of these bolts — the one next to the red release button — will allow you to open the clip in order to slide it around the strap. Depending on how wide the strap is and how high you want the Capture to ride on it, you may need to tighten one bolt more than the other.
Once the Capture is mounted, locking the camera in place is as easy as sliding the plate into the clip in your preferred orientation. In a clever design touch, the mounting plate is completely symmetrical, meaning you can lock your camera in any of four orientations and it’ll work just as well.
Once the mounting plate clicks into place, your camera is securely attached to the Capture clip. At this point there may still be some slight wiggle room, but don’t worry, your camera is not going anywhere. For additional stability and peace of mind, you can tighten the black knob at the opposite end of the release button — not the one that controls the hinge — and that will make the connection even more secure. And if you want to prevent any accidental releases, twist the secure release button to lock its position.
Unlocking the camera from the clip is just as easy: pressing the release button allows you to effortlessly slide the camera out of the Capture in one swift gesture. If you’re having difficulty with this step, you’ve most likely tightened the black bolt too much. Give it a couple twists to loosen it up a bit, and you should have no problem removing the camera from the clip. Another possibility is that you may be trying to press the release button while it’s in the locked position. Simply turn it 90 degrees, and you should be good to go.
Performance: no need to worry
The Capture clip can hold pretty much any piece of photographic equipment you’re likely to throw at it. Be it a compact point-and-shoot, a mirrorless interchangeable or fixed-lens camera, or a full-fledged DSLR, the Capture is strong enough to provide the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your gear is safe. Rated to withstand over 200 lbs, there’s simply no camera and lens combination out there that the Capture won’t be able to handle.
That said, those in need of an even more secure option can always go for the Capture PRO version. But really, the standard Capture is all the vast majority of people will ever need.
As for speed, the entire process is so easy to do that you can literally lock and unlock your camera in under a second. Since the whole point of the Capture is to create a secure and convenient docking station for your camera, quick operation is critical to its success and on that front, the Capture delivers big time.
Durability-wise, the reviewed unit started to show some moderate signs of wear after mere days of regular use. Those signs are purely cosmetic, of course, like the black finish of the aluminum parts being scratched off, revealing the real silver color beneath it. Black-painted aluminum looks great but unfortunately, as every slate/space gray iPhone owner knows well, it scratches incredibly easily.
So far there hasn’t been any reason to think that the Capture’s functionality will degrade significantly over time, but if you’re the kind of person that wants their gear to remain pristine, the delicate nature of the Capture’s black finish is worth keeping in mind.
Real world usage
Using the Capture during mosts shoots is a breeze. As great as camera bags have gotten in the past few years, the reality is that getting your camera in and out of the bag every time you need to use your hands is a really frustrating experience.
With the Capture, however, there’s no need to do that anymore. If you just need to free your hands for a quick moment — say, for example, you need to tie your shoelaces — the Capture provides an ideal docking place to get your camera quickly off your hands, while remaining accessible at all times. That impressive speed of retrieval means you’ll never need to worry about missing a shot because you didn’t have time to get your camera out of the bag.
The symmetrical design of the mounting plate means you can connect your camera in whichever orientation works best for you on any given moment, without needing to manually adjust the plate. This versatility makes it easy to use the Capture in many different ways, depending on the situation at hand.
Another great possibility is that the Capture allows you to permanently carry your camera on the outside of your bag, freeing up additional space inside for more lenses, lighting equipment, or whatever else you may need to carry. This is a very useful feature that allows you to occasionally get away with using a smaller bag than you would otherwise need.
Of course, that would be impossible to do if the Capture wasn’t secure and reliable enough for you to trust it with your precious camera, but as you’ve seen above, there’s really no reason to worry about it at all. You could easily jog or even flat out sprint with your camera attached to the shoulder strap of your backpack, and the Capture would keep it firmly in place without breaking a sweat. As far as peace of mind goes, this clip provides it in spades.
If you’d prefer to carry your camera on your belt instead of your bag, you can do that with the Capture, as well. This is a great way to quickly set aside your camera, and if you’re using one of the smaller camera and lens combinations — like, for example, a Micro Four Thirds camera, or a Fuji X100T — this setup works like a charm and is very comfortable to use.
Now, there were some cases where the Capture was a little bit uncomfortable to use. Since the clip is largely symmetric in shape — but not in function — it’s possible to mount it backwards, only to realize the release button is left facing the opposite side of where you were expecting it to be. For example, if you place the release button in such a way that it is blocked by the lens, you may need to use a very awkward gesture or even both hands to release the camera, which kind of defeats the purpose.
Now, that’s hardly the Capture’s fault, but it’s still something to be mindful of. If you don’t pay much attention when installing the clip, you’ll probably find it happens every now and then, and it can be a real problem when it does. Luckily, it’s all a matter of getting used to the Capture’s design, and finding the best way to work with it in order to avoid these — admittedly rare — issues.
The vast majority of times, though, the Capture works like a charm. It’s a fantastic way to get your camera off your hands quickly and securely, and it fulfills its purpose with remarkably little fuss. All in all, using the Capture is a great experience.
Both the standard Capture and the Capture PRO clips are expandable systems, meaning you can buy additional mounting plates to provide extra features. Here are a few of the available accessories that expand the capabilities of the Capture clip:
The PRO mounting plate: If you switch tripods down the road and your new one has a Manfrotto RC-2 head, this plate will allow you to use your standard Capture clip with your new tripod. Not 100% of Manfrotto RC-2 heads are supported, though, so be sure to check compatibility with your particular model before buying.
The PRO Pad: This is a padded sleeve designed to increase comfort when using the Capture clip, and is supposed to provide drastically improved cushioning when using the Capture to carry bigger and/or heavier equipment. This can be particularly useful on a belt-wearing scenario like the one described above.
The P.O.V. Kit: This add-on kit enables full compatibility with many action cameras, including GoPros.
The BINO Kit: As its name indicates, this die-cast aluminum kit will allow you to securely mount your binoculars to the Capture clip.
The LENS Kit: Currently available for preorder, this add-on kit will allow you to securely mount up to two lenses, allowing you, for example, to easily switch between them without ever letting go of your camera. The LENS kit will be available in Canon, Nikon and Sony E mounts, and is an even better solution than the standalone Capture for keeping several lenses within reach during a shoot.
All these accessory kits are available with an included Capture clip, as well, so if you only require support for your GoPro, there’s a Capture clip made specifically for you.
As it happens, even the greatest products have some room for improvement, and the Capture is certainly no exception. Here are a few areas where the folks at Peak Design could improve upon it:
Make it age more gracefully: The Capture’s black aluminum finish looks great, but it’s so delicate that it shows signs of wear all too easily, making it look older and more worn out that it actually is. Had they chosen to go with a decidedly more practical silver color instead of black, scratches would have been hardly noticeable at all.
Make the PRO plate standard: The Capture PRO’s all-aluminum body is enough of an upgrade to warrant a higher price tag on its own, but the PRO plate should really come standard with all Capture devices. Having two different plates is too confusing for customers, some of whom may end up buying the wrong version only to discover the plate they got doesn’t work with their tripod. And since the PRO plate works with both ARCA and RC-2 heads, there’s no good reason to keep the standard plate around, really.
Make the release button metal For an otherwise rock-solid product, the plasticky release button is clearly the weakest link in the chain. Considering this button gets pressed very often, it would make a lot of sense to give it a metal build.
Find a more convenient location for the release button Its current location at one end of the clip means you need to be careful to choose the right orientation when mounting the clip. It also limits the Capture’s usability, since it renders some camera positions slightly awkward and uncomfortable to use. Finding a more convenient — ideally, symmetrical — location for that critical button would be a great improvement.
There are too many parts The Capture clip is made by a total of 8 separate parts, including both sides of the clip, the two locking screws, the tightening bolt, the secure release button, and the mounting plate with its included bolt. Those are way too many parts, any of which could get lost at any moment, rendering the entire clip essentially useless until you can get a replacement.
When it comes to buying a camera clip, the Capture is a very solid choice. However, there are so many configurations that sometimes it can be hard to pick the one that’s best suited to your particular needs.
If all you need is a way to secure your camera and you’re using a standard ARCA tripod, then the standard version of the Capture clip is all you really need to get the job done. The all-aluminum construction of the PRO version is nice, but there’s really nothing it can do that the standard one can’t, except for the RC-2 tripod compatibility. If you don’t need that, you could save the price difference between the standard and the PRO version, or put the money towards buying a LENS kit. That will give you a lot more functionality than the Capture PRO on its own, and it’ll only cost you $30 more.
However, if your tripod has a Manfrotto RC-2 head, the Capture PRO clip is your only choice. Even then, be sure to check whether your particular RC-2 head is supported by the PRO plate, because some of them aren’t. You don’t want to buy the more expensive clip only to find out later it doesn’t really work with your tripod, after all.
If you own an action camera, like a GoPro, and you’d like to use your clip with it, you have a couple choices: you can either get the Capture P.O.V. Action Mount, which includes both the Capture clip and the P.O.V. Action Mount, or you can buy the P.O.V. Kit as an addition to either the standard Capture or the Capture PRO clips. Do keep in mind that the Capture P.O.V. bundle comes with the standard Capture clip body, not the all-aluminum PRO version.
Similarly, if you want to carry your binoculars, you can get either the Capture BINO clip bundle, or the BINO Kit as an add-on. The same caveats as with the Capture P.O.V. bundle also apply here.
If you’re a dedicated camera-strap user but would still like to have a convenient system for switching lenses on the go, you may be interested in the standalone Capture LENS clip, which includes both the standard Capture clip and the LENS mount. Of course, there’s also the LENS Kit add-on in case you already own a Capture clip. That way you can still reap some of the benefits of the Capture system without giving up your beloved camera strap. Keep in mind that both the Capture LENS clip and the LENS Kit are currently available for preorder only, and on track to ship in December 2015.
And finally, if you’d like to get several of these items, or even all of them, Peak Design also offers a few bundles that can save you a bit of money.
The Capture clip is an extremely clever solution to a very frequent problem. It does just what you need it to, while providing enough flexibility to adapt to a wide array of carrying scenarios and all sorts of equipment. And since the Capture was designed as an expandable system, it can grow with you as you acquire new gear.
With this system you’ll never need to worry about finding the right place to set down your camera when you’re shooting. Knowing there’s a safe place that’s always within reach goes a long way towards letting you focus on your pictures, and stop worrying about your gear.
The Capture Clip is a rock-solid device you can count on to protect your camera. It’s well made, robust, and secure, and it comes in at a very reasonable price considering what it offers. Peace of mind is extremely valuable when it comes to expensive photography equipment, and if you want to protect your investment, the Capture is as close to a no-brainer as it gets.