By October 13, 2009

Nikon 8172 Retractable Rangefinder Tether Review

Sometimes I take photos while motorcycling. Even though I only take pictures on smooth, flat roads, I am not afraid to ditch my Canon PowerShot SD700IS if I need to. As such, I sought out a device to tether the camera in case I had to drop it suddenly.

This turned out to be a little more complicated than I originally thought. You don’t want a typical lanyard made out of paracord or similar; if you drop it, the camera might smash into the bike or fall into a wheel. Folks over at ADVrider.com took to buying retractable lanyards built for cameras. These are basically janitor’s keyring on steroids. On the advice of several members of the Gear forum, I bought the Gear Keeper RT20012. Unfortunately, it sucked, and wasn’t able to keep my SD700IS from dropping dangerously low to the ground. Even though the digital point and shoot camera is lightweight, the RT20012 wasn’t up to the task.

A few months later I started looking at the Nikon 8172, which is made for their heavyweight range finder. There was a big problem with the specs on Amazon.com: it didn’t list how heavy an object the 8172 could retract. The “breaking” strength was the same as the RT20012: sixty pounds. However, the Nikon 8172 had a reputation for being heavy duty. One Amazon reviewer said he kept 53 keys on it and it retracted day in and day out with no problems. I forked over my $18 and gave it a shot.

The Nikon 8172 rangefinder tether is so good it’s almost too good for my use.

http://gallery.drfaulken.com/d/7762-2/CRW_0292.jpg
Notice the similar shape to the Gear Keeper RT20012 I reviewed earlier this year. I don’t know if Gear Keeper makes this model or Nikon has licensed the design.

Here’s the Gear Keeper RT20012. I held the camera and the tether in my hand and let go. I didn’t use any force, like flicking my wrist. The tether was fully retracted; things are much worse when I clip the tether to my Cayenne Pro jacket and release the camera from operating height.

http://gallery.drfaulken.com/d/7757-2/CRW_0288.jpg

Here is the Nikon 8172. Same deal: the tether was retracted, I let go of the camera.

http://gallery.drfaulken.com/d/7760-2/CRW_0289.jpg

Absolutely no movement. When I extend the cable and let go, the camera rockets back towards the lanyard.

The 8172 is probably a little too strong for what I need. It is hard to extend the camera out from the lanyard easily. I feel like the camera might slip out of my hands due to the 8172’s pull. However, if you don’t want to drop your shit on the highway, the 8172 is for you.

The Nikon 8172 retractable rangefinder tether is highly recommended.

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