Stopping to pull your camera out of a case or backpack means you might miss the important shot. Having a camera slung around your neck isn’t always the most comfortable option because it’s heavy and awkward, and it gets in the way. The ideal solution is a camera clip.
Fasten one of these camera clips to your belt and mount your camera. Then your hands are free. There’s nothing dangling in your way. One button press and the camera’s back in your hand for the perfect shot, right on time.
Release the camera from the clip, and then mount it on a tripod if you like. Two of these camera belt clips are ARCA-compatible right out of the box. That means you can use them with a wide variety of tripods and tripod heads with no special adapters needed.
Take a look at how a camera clip like these works in this video.
Now let’s look at these three time-savers to see which one will be the best for you.
Table of Contents
- 1 The 3 Best Camera Belt Clips
- 1.1 The best camera clip for compact cameras:
- 1.2 The best camera clip for DSLR cameras:
- 1.3 The best inexpensive camera clip:
- 2 Get inspired
- 3 Free photography tips
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions
- 4.1 Why do I (or you, or cousin Bob) want a camera clip?
- 4.2 Who invented the capture camera clip?
- 4.3 What does ARCA-compatible mean?
- 4.4 I heard about a “spider holster.” What is that?
- 4.5 Why do I want a camera clip vs. a Spider holster?
- 4.6 Why do I want a belt clip instead of a camera case that clips onto my belt?
- 4.7 What about my DSLR lenses? Can I clip those too?
- 4.8 Is it worth it to invest in a camera clip system?
- 5 Other useful accessories for your camera
- 6 Find more top gear for your next trip out in the wilderness
The 3 Best Camera Belt Clips
We choose two top models and one less-expensive option so there is something here for every budget. We wanted to show you the camera clips with the best features. You’ve already made a sizeable investment in your camera. Now let us help you keep your camera ready to take the shots you want.
The best camera clip for compact cameras:
Peak Design Capture PRO Camera Clip with MICRO Plate
This Capture PRO Camera Clip from Peak Design comes with their quick-release MICROplate designed to fit compact cameras under an inch in width.
Some examples of thin cameras that would fit this plate are:
- Nikon 1
- Sony NEX
- Olympus PEN
- Canon EOS M
But even though this clip is small and lightweight, it’s strong. The quick-release lock can endure up to 200 pounds of force without coming open by accident. Even if you bump it, your camera stays put.
The body of the clip is made from durable, lightweight aluminum. The clip weighs just 0.22 pounds, or 3.52 ounces. It measures 2.05-inches tall by 1.1-inches thick by 4.1-inches long. It comes with a soft pouch and a hex wrench. Peak Design offers a lifetime warranty on it.
It’s so versatile it can be attached to a belt, a backpack strap, a hand strap, or used as a tripod head. The Capture PRO clip fits any ARCA-type tripod as well as Manfrotto models. It also fits into a Capture in four directions.
Attach the clip to your belt or backpack strap by screwing the two sides firmly together with the strap pressed between them. Then use the hex wrench to secure the quick-release plate to the bottom of your camera. Mount the camera onto the clip and give it a tug. It will stay put until you press the red button to release it. Some reviewers have suggested practicing the action of releasing the camera and re-mounting it until you’re comfortable doing it.
The best camera clip for DSLR cameras:
Peak Design Capture PRO Camera Clip with ARCA Plate
This is the Capture PRO Camera Clip with the standard-size ARCA plate. This means it fits virtually any camera from compact-size up to DSLR.
It’s made from aluminum, not plastic, for maximum durability. The quick-release lock resists up to 200 pounds of impact so your camera stays safe. The ARCA plate fits any ARCA-compatible or Manfrotto tripod or tripod head. The clip can also become a tripod clamp if needed. If you have a Capture, this clip fits into it in four directions.
Attach the clip to your belt or strap by opening the screws. Slide the sides apart in a V-shape. Screw first one side, then the other, firmly together. Then use the hex wrench to secure the quick-release plate to the bottom of your camera. Mount the camera onto the plate and give it a tug. It will stay put until you press the red button to release it.
The camera clip weighs just 3.52 ounces, or 0.22 pounds. It measures 4.1-inches long by 1.1-inches wide by 2.05-inches tall. It comes with a soft pouch and a hex wrench. Peak Design offers a lifetime warranty.
The best inexpensive camera clip:
LC Prime® Strong Universal Waist Belt Tripod Mount Clip Adapter for SLR DSLR Camera GoPro Blue 1
LC Prime’s camera clip is very similar to the models offered by Peak Design, and it’s less expensive. Some reviewers have complained that the clip doesn’t have the smooth operation or quality control standards that the more expensive brand has. But it does have a couple of extra features that are not on Peak Design’s clips.
Like the other two clips, this one is made from aluminum for durability. It has a quick-release button for easy un-mounting of your camera. But unlike the other camera clips, this one offers a secure screw lock. That way, even if you press the button by accident, your camera won’t come off the clip.
It’s compatible with both sport camcorders like the GoPro Hero as well as DSLR, mirrorless, and compact cameras as long as they have a ¼-inch screw jack. It uses a standard ¼-20 screw to secure the quick release plate to your camera. Slide the camera with the plate into the slot on the clip and you’re ready to go. Press the blue button and the camera releases, ready to take a shot.
LC Prime says that their clip can attach to belts and straps up to 2.1-inches thick. That means it can handle thicker straps than the Peak Design clips can right out of the box.
The clip measures 4.3-inches long by 4.1-inches wide by 1.4-inches thick. The quick-release plate measures 1-1/2-inches square. The clip itself weighs 1.94 ounces. It comes with a tripod adapter and hex wrench. LC Prime offers a 90-day parts and labor warranty.
Note that LC Prime appears to be the importer, not the manufacturer, of this camera clip.
In case shopping for new camera accessories is wearing you out, pause for a moment and remember why you love photography so much.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to take great photos. Focus on getting equipment that makes it easier for you to capture the moments you want to keep.
Free photography tips
If you want to brush up on your skills, there are many free resources online. Some of them are of outstanding quality and don’t require any registration.
Great baby photos aren’t as easy to take as you think. Ask any studio employee.
Low light and night photos
Think about last year’s blurry fireworks, or the too-dim shots around the campfire. View these useful tips if you want to take better photos in low light. For a more in-depth explanation, see this helpful video about night-time photography.
Avoid problems with overexposure
We thought this tip was genius. You won’t have to depend on software to rescue your photos anymore. See what they say about improving middle-of-the-day photos.
This TED talk will open your eyes to the possibility of “impossible” photos. For more Photoshop tips, see this official page from Adobe.
All-around advice from a pro
Number 45 is what we’re all about. Get a camera clip so you’re comfortable doing exactly that.
Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve collected a few of the most common questions and answers about camera accessories for you.
Why do I (or you, or cousin Bob) want a camera clip?
Hanging a camera around your neck is for tourists. How many pros do you see with their camera dangling and banging on their chests? But this is not the only reason.
Imagine that you’re hiking up some slick rock in Zion National Park to get that once-in-a-lifetime shot from Angel’s Landing at sunset. Your trusty DSLR is strapped around your neck because you’ve been taking shots along the way. BAM! Down you go, flat on your face. You’re injured and so is your camera. You tried to protect it from hitting the ground, but one hand for it, and one hand for yourself just wasn’t enough. Next time, use a camera clip. Put your camera out of your way. If you trip, you have both hands to break your fall. That will keep you and your equipment safer.
Who invented the capture camera clip?
A guy from Minnesota went on an around-the-world trip in 2010. He decided there had to be an easier way to carry a DSLR camera.
In 2011, he launched a Kickstarter campaign for the Capture Camera Clip and started the company called Peak Design. They continued to run new Kickstarter campaigns for new products based on the participants’ feedback.
The popularity of Peak Design’s products means that there are many alternative copies (aka “knock-offs”) on the market.
What does ARCA-compatible mean?
Arca-Swiss is a camera equipment maker that started a new trend for tripod heads in the 1990s. They developed a quick-release system based on a plate that screws into the bottom of the camera and slides into place on a tripod.
The screws to attach the plates are a standard ¼-20 size. The quick-release plates are not square. They are 38mm wide at the broadest end, tapering down at a 45-degree angle so they are narrower at the other end that inserts onto the tripod.
This design became very popular among top manufacturers like Giotto and Wimberley, and is used today on a wide variety of camera equipment.
I heard about a “spider holster.” What is that?
The Spider camera company offers a camera utility belt with a “holster.” It uses a different kind of quick-release method to hang your camera in a convenient place on a belt. It reminds me of those cell-phone holsters that used to be so popular.
Why do I want a camera clip vs. a Spider holster?
If you’re a minimalist, less is better. A camera clip is less gear to carry, less bulk to wear, and it costs less. You can use it with your own belt or on a bag strap. A Spider holster comes with its own belt.
Why do I want a belt clip instead of a camera case that clips onto my belt?
If you don’t mind the extra time spent fumbling for your camera, by all means, get a belt clip camera case. It will add a little more weight, but it might add a little more protection if it rains, or you’re scraping through the entrance to a box canyon.
Some people prefer a camera utility belt, Batman-style, with pouches and clips for everything. See our “Other useful accessories” section below for an example.
On the other hand, most of us love having our camera in our hands, ready for the shot, in just one second. These camera belt clip mounts are also way smaller and much sexier than a fanny-pack-sized case.
What about my DSLR lenses? Can I clip those too?
Of course you can. Companies like Peak Design make lens belt clips, too.
Is it worth it to invest in a camera clip system?
Yes. That was the easy answer. But really, yes, it is worth it. If you’re not sure you want to jump in right at the start with the full lineup of camera belt clip, lens clip, maybe even a camera holster, just pick a belt clip and see what you think. You may love having your camera at your side instead of bouncing on your chest.
Other useful accessories for your camera
There are even more goodies here. Take a look to see if you want to upgrade what you already have, or just add on another convenient feature.
Shoot from the hip with this Spider camera holster.
This is the one we mentioned in the FAQs.
Lens clips to keep your DSLR lenses at hand
If you don’t have to dig in your bag for your camera, you shouldn’t have to root around for your lenses, either.
A tiny, flexible tripod you can mount practically anywhere
We love this little guy. He’s come in handy so many times when we just didn’t want to set up the full-size tripod. You can literally hang him from a tree!
Find more top gear for your next trip out in the wilderness
We love multi-purpose gear because we like to pack light. A camera clip like one of these in this article only weighs a few ounces and doesn’t take up a lot of space. It also doubles as a tripod head, which is super convenient. (Yes, we know, it’s not smooth like a gimbal head, but it gets the job done.)
If you love multi-purpose gear, take a look at other top equipment for the great outdoors like these super-comfortable self-inflatable lounge chairs. Take one to watch the sunset on the beach, then sleep on it under the stars.
If you prefer to sleep on a bed just like the one at home, check out these double-high queen-size air mattresses. They are so comfortable you’ll be well-rested for that sunrise photo shoot.