After buying a nice camera, it doesn’t take long to amass a mountain of “necessary” accessories to help you get the perfect shot. The Conda Strap is a clever alternative to a heavy backpack full of photography gear, instantly turning a flexible neck strap into a rigid camera support.
A good photographer doesn’t need a bag full of lenses, filters, flashes, or strobes to take good photos, but when you’re spending thousands of dollars on a camera, a neck strap is a highly recommended accessory. It not only makes it easier to carry a camera around all day, it’s also cheap insurance against your shooter taking a catastrophic tumble. Frii Designs, a company known for a clever rotating belt clip that keeps three alternate lenses in easy reach, has revealed its next innovative camera accessory that promises to support your camera whether it’s worn around your neck or not.
As neck straps go, the Conda’s design is definitely a chunkier alternative to the official branded-alternatives offered by companies like Nikon and Canon. Imagine attaching your camera to a garden hose with a thinner padded band that sits on the neck and you’re close to the Conda’s design. In neck strap mode, the Conda appears to be just as flexible and limp as a regular all-fabric strap, allowing you to wear it around your neck without inhibiting your ability to quickly raise and position the camera to take photos.
Instead of attaching to the strap supports on either side of your camera, however, the Conda attaches to its tripod mount on the bottom. That’s because, by flipping an oversized switch on the mounting plate, part of the Conda becomes rigid and strong enough to support even a heavy DSLR on its own. Frii Designs hasn’t revealed exactly how the Conda strap, which has been in development for over three years, works, but we’re assuming it uses a thin air bladder inside a series of rigid segments that locks everything in place when the air pressure inside is increased, not unlike how inflatable robotic arms have been engineered.
The Conda isn’t designed to replace a tripod or a monopod because its height is limited to just a few inches off the ground. It’s more of a replacement for camera accessories like Joby’s Gorillapods that allow a camera to stand on its own at a specific angle or be secured to other random objects, like tree branches or the back of a chair. But it can also be used as a selfie stick, allowing you to hold a self-facing camera at a distance to squeeze yourself and the background into a shot.
According to the company’s website, Frii Designs will introduce its Conda strap to the world (as well as the Conda Strap Plus designed to accommodate heavier cameras) through a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign launching on November 12. It needs 1,000 backers for the Conda to officially go into production, and while the full retail price is expected to be around $150, the earliest backers can pre-order one for less than $100. Just keep in mind that while Frii Designs does appear to have fully working prototypes of the Conda strap, even if 1,000 people back the product it’s no guarantee that the company will get them out the door in time for an estimated March 2021 delivery. The company does have experience creating other camera accessories, which is a definite plus, but with the pandemic still complicating international manufacturing and shipping, being extra cautious with crowdfunded products, which put all the risk on the backer, is still a good idea.