If you’ve spent any time working on this craft called photography, you’ve no doubt logged hundreds of miles walking, shooting, and just practicing the art. That giant object of plastic, metal, and glass can get a bit cumbersome. Wrist straps, neck straps, different styles of bags, and clamps can all help with this, giving you different mounting and carrying options to make it less of a chore. Today, we’re going to take a look at one of the clamp options compliments of the Utebit camera clip with quick release clamp and ARCA plate.
As far as hardware goes, it’s overall pretty straight forward and basic. It is a simple clamp after all. The logistics of it aren’t overly complicated as it has but a few moving pieces. There are two thumbscrews that tight or loosen the clamp around your bag strap. There is a latch to unlock your camera from it’s grip. Also, a 3rd thumbscrew off to the side that acts as a lock of sorts, and prevents the latch from, well, unlatching, for some extra piece of mind. Finally, the ARCA type plate can be screwed onto the bottom of your camera as that is what allows it to slide into place in the clamp.
Note: you will need to make sure you have a tripod with an ARCA type mount or purchase an adapter that will allow you to bop your camera onto your tripod without having to either 1) remove the clamp plate and replace it with the one that fits your tripod all the time (annoying) or 2) connect your tripod compatible plate to the backside of the Utebit, requiring removing it from your bag strap whenever you want to mount everything to your tripod (also not ideal).
There are a couple other options on the market for this type of clamp and while I haven’t used those other options, from what I’ve seen and read, the Utebit is one of the biggest if not the biggest. To some, that may be a turn off as it is very visible on your shoulder whilst walking around. Alternatively, depending on your frame, it may just be uncomfortable. Thankfully for me, I don’t have an issue with either of these scenarios.
I will say, for ~$30, you really can’t go wrong with this clamp. It’s super affordable so…. why not get this? That said, If i’m actively shooting and even walking many blocks between locations, I may just keep the camera in-hand with the camera strap twisted and wrapped around my forearm to mimic a wrist strap — that’s just a comfortable and convenient setup for me. I find myself having to actively think to use the clamp, for better or worse. Given that I also use a neck strap as a wrist strap, there’s a lot of material potentially flapping around when it’s mounted to the clamp on my shoulder.
All that said, when I do clamp my camera into it, it’s secure and works well. I have not had any situations where the clamp was fiddly / not wanting to clamp or one in which I felt like the camera was going to fall out or off either the clamp or the clamp, my bag.
If you’re looking for a potentially, slightly more premium version of this, Peak Design has something at roughly 3x the cost. That said, they also have a number of tripods and accessories that are compatible with the ARCA type mount as well meaning you may have less concerns with adapters and what not. If you don’t have a bunch of other Peak Design gear and/or aren’t keen on the cost difference, there’s really no reason to not try this out given it’s only ~$30. It’s a simple, useful tool that any photographer, regardless of what they shoot, can make use of.
Note: If you’d like to know more about the bag I currently use (Lowepro Fastpack 250 BP II) that the Utebit is clamped to, check out my review here.