Review: SpiderHolster Pro with Fujifilm X-T1 cameras

In For Photographers

After years of trying out all kinds of camera-toting options, from hipster-tastic guitar straps to padded OpTech straps and back into hipster territory with some narrow leather straps I’ve finally found my perfect camera-toting kit: the Spider Pro Camera Holster system by SpiderHolster. I love it! And it works great with Fujifilm X-T1 cameras – not quite absolutely perfect just yet, but nothing that should stop you making the most of it.

What does the SpiderHolster do?

With the SpiderHolster system you attach a steel pin with a large spherical head to the underneath of your camera, which slots into a groove on a belt attachment and allows the camera to hang securely upside-down on your waist. It takes all the weight off your shoulders and also stops your cameras swinging wildly around while walking or running, or whenever you lean to get a shot – the number of times I’ve almost taken a wedding guest’s head off while leaning near them for a shot… eek.

It also has the added bonus of making you look like a super cool cowboy/girl with cameras instead of pistols. I love it. Did I mention that already?

There’s two levels of Spider holster: the ‘amateur’ model known as the Black Widow Holster includes just the pin and a plastic clip to attach to a standard leather belt, and is designed for smaller cameras like the Fujifilm X100T and their ilk. The SpiderHolster Pro is designed for DSLR sized cameras and comes with a sturdy belt, a large pad under the clip to stop the camera digging into your leg, a much heavier duty metal clip to take the camera, and a metal plate to attach to the camera itself with a choice of two places to screw in the pin depending on which side of your body the camera will hang.

You can also get the metal clip and pad separately if you want to attach it to an existing belt (the Thinktank Speed Belt is officially supported) or if you want to later add a second clip to the left side of the official belt. Alternatively, you can also buy the official belt with two clips included from the start, the SpiderPro Dual Camera System, which is what I did.

Is it any good?

Yes! It’s literally changed my world, no exaggeration. I specialise in weddings and family celebrations and having my pair of cameras on the the holster is so useful and so much fun. My posture feels better, my shoulders feel fantastic, I look and feel more professional, and I’ve had some great comments from guests and clients who’d never seen camera holsters before!

Going without straps can take a bit of getting used to though. I’ve had a few sweaty-palm moments leaning over balconies grabbing a dramatic top-down shot without a strap wrapped round my wrist for security so it might be worth keeping a strap in your bag just in case, although SpiderHolster do offer their own hand-strap of course!

Also, with the Dual Camera holster when you’re swapping cameras in a hurry you might spend a few extra seconds than you’re used to making sure the camera is secured, or fiddling with the optional lock mechanism, so if you’re brand new to the kit it’s worth spending a little time honing your quick-draw skills in advance. I can slot one camera away and grab the other in one movement without even looking down now!

The Spider Pro Holster for Fuji X-T1 cameras

I’ve long since moved away from Nikon DSLRs and am having a lot more fun at weddings and events with my pair of Fujifilm X-T1 cameras, so I’m pleased to say the Spider Holster system works great with the X-T1!

However, the camera plates are designed for larger DSLRs and cause two issues for me on the X-T1. Firstly, they stick out up to an inch or so at either the front or the back depending on how you position it. And secondly, they obscure the battery door – only just, but enough.

My advice with the plate position is to sit it flush at the back. This way it sticks out about an inch at the front, but if you let it stick out at the back sooner or later someone’s going to walk into your camera while it’s up to your face and that heavy metal plate will knock your front teeth out!

The overhang at the front is a little ugly but I’ve gotten used to it and it doesn’t get in the way of any of the Fuji lenses I use most often: 14mm, 23mm, 56mm, 16-55mm and 50-140mm. Plus, I’ve actually found the fingers on my lens hand wrap naturally around the pin underneath to provide extra support and grip, so that’s not been too bad.

The battery door issue is more annoying. I tried mounting the plate at a bit of an angle and found I could pop the door open a bit but not all the way. Thing is, that battery door is made of flexible (breakable!) plastic and I didn’t want to risk damaging it by forcing it past the plate.

So I seat the plate properly, obscuring the battery door, and when it’s time for a battery change I have to pop out the built-in allen key, loosen the plate, swing it out of the way, swap batteries, re-position the plate, tighten it up and pop the allen key back into the slot. This adds about 20-30 seconds to a battery swap, so you’ll definitely want to schedule them for when you have a safe time and place rather than waiting until it goes dead, to minimise the risk of missing a shot or losing the allen key.

The plates do work okay with the X-T1 but there’s definitely a need for a new range of smaller Pro plates designed to work better with mirrorless cameras (which SpiderHolster have hinted could be coming soon!). I could just stick the pin directly into the camera tripod socket but then the cameras wouldn’t sit anywhere near as comfortably.

One (or two) more thing(s)

As my X-T1s are now strapless, leaving the metal strap attachment nubs ‘naked’, I’ve found that left-hand nub on the camera that hangs on my right hip has been rubbing away at the Holster’s hip protector pad and in just a few weeks of regular use almost wore through the first layer completely. Turns out that nub has quite a sharp edge, so I’ve solved that by wrapping a very narrow bit of black gaffer tape around it.

I haven’t had the same problem on the camera that hangs on my left side, but that brings me to the second ‘one more thing’: I don’t know if this is a problem with left-slung DSLRs as well, but with the X-T1 the position of the ‘Left’ pin doesn’t allow the camera to hang in exactly the same way as the right camera, flush with the side of my leg. It hangs at a little bit of an angle.

On the one hand, this means the strap nub doesn’t rub against the pad. On the other hand, it’s a little annoying to my OCD tendencies that my cameras don’t both hang flush. But on balance it’s not been anything to cause a problem in practice, so I’m just being fussy!

Should X-T1 users get the SpiderHolster Pro?

Despite the large plates designed more for DSLR users, I’ve been using the Pro holster regularly for about eight months now and absolutely love it. At the time of writing (February 2016) SpiderHolster have hinted to me in social media posts that they’ve got something coming soon especially for mirrorless camera users, which I hope is a set of smaller plates I can use with my existing belt and clips. But I’ve got no idea what or when that will be.

On balance, if you want the SpiderHolster Pro kit now but you’re on the fence about current compatibility with the Fujifilm X-T1, I’d say go for it!

Disclosure: I bought the SpiderHolster kit myself for use in my professional wedding photography and event photography business, and have not been reimbursed for this review. My Amazon links are affiliated and if you buy the SpiderHolster kit via these links I’ll get a small commission.

4 Comments on “Review: SpiderHolster Pro with Fujifilm X-T1 cameras”

  1. Excellent article. Very informative and speaks to all my issues with the Spyder Pro. I had the Pro on my Nikon’s way back when and based on what Spyder wrote to me I am using the Black Widow for my XT1. Needless to say it has the same issues. As I use tripods or monopods quite a bit I would like to not be removing the pin for the Black widow so I bought the plate for the Black Widow. Just the fact that the Black Widow is plastic really worries me. The only way to use this plate is to attach it to the extra grip which centers the tripod thread on the bottom of the grip. Now I have to take an ADDITIONAL arca swiss plate which comes from Peak Design and attach that with the Black Widow plate to the extra grip on the camera and finally the battery compartment is open. This is extremely convoluted and makes me wonder why I would not simply use the Peak Design quick disconnect Capture Clip and avoid all of the playing around.

    It not only fits on any belt, but also fits on a camera bag strap, back pack strap, and even their new camera bag and field bag.

    I really do like the Spyder quick release system and belt a lot better, but they seem to be stuck in one place and not moving with the times. There hand strap is another product that will not work with a mirrorless camera and instead of working on the mirrorless part of the market they expand the wrist strap option to a bunch of colors.

    I have learned over many years in the business that work arounds to get a product to work the way one wants it to, generally weaken the original design and purpose.

    As soon as they address the designs which are for Dslr cameras only I will be forced to use to arca swiss mounts so I can get to my battery compartment and my Spyder mount on my belt. That is just wrong.

    1. Thanks for commenting! But just to give a slightly alternative opinion, personally I don’t think it’s that big a problem. Like I say, the DSLR plates work pretty good, they just stick out a bit and it takes a few extra seconds to change a battery. It’s not true that the only way to attach it is to the battery grip, it’s just that you prefer that way so that you can access your batteries much quicker. It’s true indeed that there’s a bit of extra faff getting to the battery if you attach directly to the camera like I do, but I always change batteries and cards well before important moments so that I’m not caught on the hop… ;)

      I don’t need a clip on my trousers belt, or my bag strap, or anything like that, not on a professional job which is how I use the SpiderHolster. I want a dedicated sturdy camera belt and a reliable, safe holster system and the current SpiderHolster Pro does that for me and my two X-T1s. It could just do with a smaller metal plate for mirrorless cameras!

  2. I have been curious about this system for awhile. I shoot pets and sometimes could use two cameras (although it’s rare). I have serious heartburn about a system like this though and that is that it takes away the needed plate to attach my Peak Design handstrap. I am not at all comfortable handling my cameras without at least a hand strap! I supposed the Spider handstrap works with it, so I could give that a try.
    The other possible hangup (and this goes for my straps as well) is that I get nervous when I have a flash or radio control (95% radio control) sitting on the camera. It looks like it would be very easy to hit and potentially damage whatever you have on top of the camera with this system. Regardless, I love your review and think it is time to try it out.

    1. Hiya, I’ve not seen the Peak handstraps but yes, you could use a Spider handstrap instead. In terms of the flash or trigger being knocked, I wouldn’t worry too much! The system is designed for cameras that will have flash attached, and the flash hangs down by your thigh and doesn’t stick out. I used a flash on my camera at a packed event for a few hours the other night and it was never a problem. I’d be careful when kneeling maybe, but after you’ve worked out any limitations to your regular movement you’ll be fine I reckon!

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