Ryu: 2011 End of the year religious gift guide for sports photographers

So Matt and I being nice Jewish Japanese boys, we decided that our producer David deserves something nice for all his hard work and no pay. We got him something so cool that if he hates it, we will sack his sorry a…. well, we’ll keep him, thank you very much. As the 2nd most important person on the show, he deserves to hate our gifts. But secretly, I hope he loves it.

But for our most important person on the show (that will be you and yes, I kiss ass proudly), you should deserve something not from us, but from someone who cares more about you with more spending power.

Any sports photographer will be overcome with joy to receive these gifts I have listed below. Isn’t it grand that we have such great religious traditions in which the participants are forced to exchange copious amount of junk with each other?

Sling: For that special someone who always have problems whipping it out very fast
Straps? It’s sooooo last year. All the hipsters and cool guys and fat sports photographers got slings yo’. It’s so tiring trying to be cool. I know. It’s not cool to say that you’re trying to be cool ironically. Anyhow, it’s all about slings that allow you to look like a gunslinger with an image problem. The fad is here to stay and these slings are very comfortable to use. These are 3 things you should look out for when choosing this as a gift:

– Comfort
– Link between the strap and the camera
– Price

The most important here is the link. Don’t skimp on it as if it fails, hello concrete and welcome hefty repair fees. You can definitely skimp on the sling itself as they are not as critical as the link. But look for the ones that you think will be the most comfortable. As long as you can attach the link to the sling, you can choose the sling from one company and the link from another. One last thing. Before you go on a shoot, always make sure that the link is securely attached to the camera. Don’t make me say “I told you so”.

Black Rapid / RS-Sport 2

Boss Strap / Boss Strap Camera Sling System

Custom SLR / Glide Strap for Cameras (I use this and I like it a lot)

OP/TECH USA / Utility Strap – Sling (you’ll need a link to go with this)

Gloves: For that special someone who always has cold feet in bed

Sports+Outside+Cold=DEATH. That’s right, it’s DEATH. DEATH might be better than having a frozen fingers during a match. Unless you live right next to Matt Cohen, you better ask Santa for some hardcore gloves if you are planning to spend anytime shooting sports outdoors from now till March. Yes, you can goto Tesco and buy one and cut the tips of the thumb and the index finger. You’re an idiot if you do that because that’s exactly where you get cold first: your fingertips.

There are two Ryu Voelkel patented solutions: Get a glove with a tight fit or layer it. The first one works for me and I’m happy with my Hatch Operator Shorty Tactical Gloves. The latter is a combination of thin tight glove as the first layer and a bulkier one as the second layer with a snipped index and thumb. That didn’t really work for me, but this glove thing I believe is like shoes and it is a matter of personal taste. Therefore if you are contemplating about getting this for someone special, you better gift a cheque, cash, or credit card with the 3 digit code from the back. These are 3 things you should look out for when choosing this as a gift:

-Correct size
-Non slip grippiness

Self explanatory, yes they are. I’m completely going against what I’m preaching, but I’ve listed gloves with the missing index and thumb, since these are the ones people think are better for sports photography. Although I strongly beg to differ, like I said, it’s a matter of preference.

Aquatech / Sensory Gloves


Helly Hansen / Sailing Glove – Long

Seal Skinz / Sporting Gloves

Stealth Gear / Stealth Gear Photographers Gloves

Sportees / Michie Dog Musher Gloves

Rain Covers: For me
If Matt is reading this, he should get me a rain cover. But I’m going to be a man and buy one myself because I deserve it. This is not limited to just winter, but it’s limited to crappy weather. Rain is okay, lots of rain is not okay with your expensive gear. I have tried many at this juncture and they all sucked. Namely Kata, Nikon’s official rain cover, Newswear, and garbage bags. I’m not joking with the garbage bags. I’m going to get Think Tank’s new one and we shall see if that one isn’t going to suck just like the others. The main gripe with rain covers is that it’s a pain to put it on and when the rain stops it’s in your goddamn way. I hate them like I hate certain press officers who work with certain football clubs.

I believe this is the holy grail for photography accessory manufacturers. None has perfected it. I will most definitely let you know how I feel about the Think Tank one and will definitely review it in my future blog post. There is only 1 thing to you should look out for when choosing this as a gift:

-That it doesn’t suck

Aquatech / Sport Shields

Kata / Element Cover

Newswear / Rain Poncho

Think Tank Photo / Hydrophobia

Hope this helped and if you are strapped for cash and your special sports photographer friend is not that important to you, you can always go for a stool.


*Please Read Below*
Big Lens Fast Shutter is funded solely from the pockets of Ryu Voelkel and Matt Cohen. If you think the information we give you about sports photography is making you a better sports photographer and as a result a well balanced human being, please show us your appreciation by supporting us on Patreon and send some of your hard earned dollars/euros/Brixton pounds our way. People who donate will be mentioned on our next show unless you want to remain anonymous. Thank you for supporting us and may the force of sports photography be with you, always.

2 thoughts on “Ryu: 2011 End of the year religious gift guide for sports photographers

  1. Note on Straps. If your lens is big enough to need a tripod/monopod collar, please remember to fasten the strap to the collar, NOT the tripod mount on the bottom of camera.

  2. Tom,

    Cannot agree with you more, but this also is a matter of preference. You will usually have an option to put it on the tripod collar, on the sides (I have no idea how you call that), or the tripod mount. Test it all out and see what balances out the best for your specific use.


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