SpiderLight Camera Holster Review
Spider Holster is well loved among professional photographers for their excellent and innovative SpiderPro camera holster system and now they have expanded their offerings to cover amateur and pro photographers with smaller cameras. The Spider Holster system is great because it takes the weight of a camera off your shoulders and neck and places it on your hip where it is easily accessible and better distributed. This leads to a nice quick draw camera holding position reminiscent of western gunslingers that also eliminates camera straps that can often get in the way as they swing around. While the SpiderPro Holster is great for full size DSLR bodies, it is overkill for the much smaller and lighter weight mirrorless camera systems that have been gaining in popularity. Enter the new SpiderLight, currently available for backing on Kickstarter. Specifically designed for mirrorless cameras like the Fuji X-T2 and Sony a6300, the SpiderLight provides the exceptional build quality of its big brother in a scaled down size. I had the chance to review a preproduction version of the product so let’s dive into our SpiderLight Camera Holster review.
SpiderLight Camera Holster: How does it work?
The SpiderLight system consists of a metal plate that attaches to the bottom of the camera using the tripod mount screw and a holster that accepts a pin attached to the camera plate. The pin allows the camera to securely hang from the holster when not in use by sliding into a channel with a wide opening at the top. For added security, there is a two position lock that allows a fully unlocked mode for stable shooting scenarios or a semi-locked mode that keeps the camera in the holster until you release the latch. I generally find that the weight of the camera keeps it in the holster but when I’m in a high-movement situation, I like to lock it down.
Getting back to the SpiderLight plate, Spider Holster knew it had to address the challenge of building something that would both offer an ergonomic hanging advantage and still allow access to the battery door. To accomplish this, they created a very smart sliding attachment that can be flipped around to accommodate cameras with tripod mounts that are close to the battery door. It’s best understood in the accompanying pictures. I found this to work great with the Fuji X-T2 but unfortunately, it was just too hard to make something that would work on the Fuji X-T10 with its extremely small tolerance between the battery and the tripod mount. However, I found that a Spider ProPin fits with the SpiderLight holster and I used this to carry my X-T10.
I really liked that the plate could be attached with a simple thumb twisting screw instead of needing a special tool. To keep the plate secure on small cameras, two screws act as bumpers for aligning the camera’s edge to prevent twisting. Fortunately, these screws are removable to work with small DSLR cameras and mirrorless cameras with a vertical grip attached.
Unlike the SpiderPro holster, the SpiderLight is designed to easily slip over a belt without needing to take it off. It uses a strong but lightweight metal clip that has a notch in the bottom to keep it from accidentally pulling up. The holster is really an impressively compact piece of gear that is way less obtrusive than its big brother. That said, I’m still fully confident in its ability to safely hold my expensive cameras.
SpiderLight Camera Holster Build Quality: Exceptionally well made
I’m going to borrow from my SpiderPro Camera Holster system review to talk about the SpiderLight because it is of similar build: Few things stave off buyer’s remorse like a product with incredible build quality and the SpiderLight is one such product. The holster and SpiderLight plate are made of hardened cast aluminum and stainless steel of a very high quality. Everything just feels reassuring and solid. The components are so well made that you really want to hold it in your hand and appreciate the weight and precision machining.
SpiderLight Camera Holster as hiking companion
One of the most intriguing uses for me for the SpiderLight holster is as a means to keep a camera within easy reach on hikes so that I don’t have to waste any time when I want to photograph something. I’m sure many of us have missed shots of wildlife because our cameras were packed away in our bags or have simply avoided taking as many photos as we’d like because of the inconvenience factor of getting the camera out. There are a number of ways to keep a camera in an easier to access position but they all have downsides. Traditional straps put pressure on your neck or shoulders and let the camera swing around as you move, which is both annoying and potentially hazardous to the camera if it hits something. There are some great bags that offer quick access to cameras (Mindshift Gear has excellent options) and I recommend them for situations where you want to carry more gear with you but they still take a minute or two to access. With the SpiderLight Camera Holster, you can quickly clip your nice mirrorless camera to your belt and have instant access while not worrying about it swinging around. I tested the holster with my Fuji X-T2 on a couple of short hikes and found it to be a really nice option for this use. These small cameras are light enough that they sit nicely on your hip and don’t dig into your skin to a significant degree. As I hiked, the camera stayed more or less in place with the lens pointing backwards and I was never worried about it coming out, even when I chose not to use the fully locked mode. I find myself taking more photos when I used this approach because the camera was so quick to access and didn’t have a cumbersome strap to get in the way. I also wanted to see how the SpiderLight Camera Holster worked with a backpack on because the pack’s hip belt often sits over your pant’s belt. What I found was that it wasn’t ideal in this setup but wasn’t terrible either and still was better than the alternatives for me. Furthermore, depending on your hip belt, you may be able to attach the SpiderLight directly to it for a better solution. Spider Holster also offers a really cool adaptor called the SpiderLight Backpacker that lets you put your SpiderHolster on your backpack’s shoulder straps for a better carrying option.
Wrapping Up: SpiderLight Holster Review Conclusion
Overall, I really love Spider Holster’s approach to camera carrying alternatives and the SpiderLight Camera Holster is a wonderful option for those with the mirrorless camera systems that are continuously improving in popularity. It takes everything that the company learned from its very popular among pros and highly regarded SpiderPro Camera Holster and scales it down to size. It’s exceptionally well built, thoughtful, and functional and is a versatile camera carrying system for those seeking an alternative to cumbersome traditional neck straps. The SpiderLight is currently available on Kickstarter (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/spiderholster/spiderlight-holster) and will be available at retailers following the campaign’s conclusion.