If RoboCop were a photographer, what kind of camera carrying system would he use? A simple shoulder strap? No way. Some kind of belt holster? Hmm, getting warmer. The Cotton Carrier Systems G3 Camera Harness? Ding ding ding!
Cotton Carrier Systems released the latest iteration of their camera harness, the G3, in June of last year. Improving on their earlier designs, the new harness features more padding, built-in pockets for small item storage, a quieter lens stabilizer strap, a new rain cover, and a new RealTree Xtra Camouflage color option.
The CCS G3 is a vest-like carrying system that one dons over their head and rests on their shoulders, then buckles in to secure it in place. There are a variety of straps that can be loosened and tightened to get the right balance and sizing for this one-size-fits-all design. The idea is to have the weight of the camera centered on the body allowing for less strain and a hands-free form of carrying. Below is my review of what works and what doesn’t with the CCS G3.
Unlike using a regular camera strap or even a strap mount for a backpack, the CCS G3 completely centers the weigh of the camera between both shoulders. If I’m carrying a heavier camera for an extended period of time with a strap, the shoulder its pressure is on gives up on comfort sooner or later.
Personally, what I found is that although the camera is now centered between shoulders on my chest, it hangs a few inches too low even with the shoulder straps at their maximum tightness. This placed the bulk of the weight at the top of my belly and because of that I actually felt uncomfortable much, much sooner than using a typical camera strap.
A key component to making the system work is the camera mount plate. The plate is circular and in use it only allow the camera to slide in and out of the holster when the lens is parallel with the ground. After sliding in the camera to the harness, gravity drops the lens downwards and becomes secured. The G3 plate is screwed into the camera’s tripod mount with a hex key and unfortunately does not have a D-ring so a tool will be required. The included plate is also not tripod compatible and instead one has to buy a separate $39 Universal Adapter Plate to get the camera on sticks with this system.
The G3 harness has multiple pockets for carrying small items. On the chest side, there’s one on the inside and one on the outside. The inside one I found could double as a quick point-of-view camera holster when I drop my iPhone 8 Plus in there while recording. On the back side, there’s a larger mesh one that can fit a standard-sized water bottle if forgoing any backpack.
Included with the harness are a couple optional tethering straps that connect from the CCS G3 to the camera for added protection against accidental drops. There’s also a rain cover that folds into itself and has a tether on it as well so that it can hang off the harness to take with.
What I Liked
- Keeps the camera weight balanced between both shoulders.
- Standard telephoto zoom lenses fit.
- Has an easy-to-use strap to secure longer lenses for extra stability.
- Multiple pockets for carrying small items.
- Comes with a camera rain cover and tethering straps.
- Three-year warranty.
What I Didn’t Like
- Can be unfashionable while worn by itself, but looks fine to me while wearing a backpack.
- Gets warm while wearing it, and it’s the dead of winter right now.
- The shoulder straps aren’t physically able tighten up enough for me and the slack makes holstering a camera feel droopy.
- Camera holster is positioned too low. Would be way more comfortable mid-chest rather than just above the belly. I could start feeling discomfort with a telephoto much quicker than I thought I would.
- The plate mounted to the camera is not directly tripod compatible, and the screw requires a hex tool to take on and off rather than a D-ring. If you’re a frequent tripod user, the CCS will be a pain to use unless you pony up an extra $39 for the Universal Adapter Plate.
In the end, I did not find the CCS G3 to have a clear advantage in carrying my camera and if anything I found it less comfortable to wear than a strap. I’ve never been called anything but skinny in my life, so perhaps this system will work much better for someone with a different body type — although I guess it’s not so one-size-fits-all, is it? Having the camera ready to go in front of me while still allowing myself to be hands-free was nice, however.
The Cotton Carrier Systems G3 Camera Harness is available now in two colors, gray or RealTree camouflage, and in either a one-camera setup like the one reviewed here or a two-camera setup that adds the second camera to one side of the harness. The one-camera setup costs $119 and the two-camera setup costs $159.