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Strap in for the ride


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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Strap in for the ride

8 Apr 2021 7:57AM   Views : 242 Unique : 160


Car seat belts are about as standardised as a product can be. Black or grey, you’d be hard-pressed to tell one brand from another… There was a little bit of levity in the Eighties – I owned an MG Maestro which had natty red belts to go with the black paintwork (for the sceptics who think that was the only thing that was rapid about the beastie, I have to point out that it matched a modest 115 bhp with massive torque, and was capable of keeping pace with a Golf GTi).


Camera straps are far more varied, especially these days. There are some types I haven’t tried, but I’ve been through a pretty full set of them over the years. The only types I can think of that haven’t stopped my cameras dragging on the ground have been the ones that carry two bodies, including the side-saddle type that screw into the tripod socket.


Let’s start there: one of the basics for any strap is that the camera hangs balanced, and I can’t see how this can ever happen when there’s only one suspension point… The only thing I’ve met that seems as ill-advised is the snake-chain straps that still seems to be available, and offers the next best thing to cheeswire for those wishing to sever body parts with a camera. The only one I own is attached to an elderly light meter…


There was a time when very few people went beyond the camera manufacturers’ own offerings, unless the straps were an integral part of the ever ready case AND they were eccentric enough to want to use the camera without a strap. See the Rolleicord, which uses the lugs on the sides of the camera body to attach the case. Rollei made it easy, though, because the front of the case is fully detachable – it’s much more unwieldy if the part that covers the lens is perpetually flapping around as you shoot!


I’m rather fond of the straps that Pentax used to use: folder leather, with a rubber pad to distribute the weight. It’s an elegant and less showy approach then the short of strap that is now ubiquitous as original equipment, with the camera maker’s name and colours on prominent display. The short-lived Konica Minolta style is subdued by most standards!


For many years, OpTech have made sophisticated straps, suitable for even the heaviest bodies, with a broad neoprene band, and a separate backing piece of stretchy webbing – soft and resilient enough for the heaviest DSLR (I used mine on a Pentax 67 before realising that a studio-only camera needs no strap.

Beware cheap and showy: although this colourful strap is reasonably strong, it’s clunky, and the big, clumsy plastic fittings and separate detachable links make it awkward, and the metal adjustment buckle means it has to be used long if the very rigid pad is to lie in the centre.


Hama used to make nice, soft and strong almost-narrow straps. I used two on my Contaxes for many years, sewing on chamois non-slip pads, and replacing the end fittings with more needlework once I’d established the length I liked.

My favourite strap is unbranded, and was a present from my daughter several years ago. I use it on my main camera – so far, it’s been transferred twice with upgrades. It’s showing signs of wear, but is well made: unlike two one-inch cloth straps I used before buying the Hama straps, and which both broke within a week of each other, dumping two Contax RTS bodies onto the London pavement, each time smashing the pentaprism. Fortunately, in those days Photax did repairs in their York Road premises under Waterloo Station, and Syd Pain turned the second one round overnight…



dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1832 England
8 Apr 2021 7:59AM
I'll be interested in stories, both good and bad, of straps that you have loved (or hated).
AltImages 1 1
8 Apr 2021 8:41AM
In my case I only use a camera strap to wrap round my hand occasionally while shooting rather than round my neck. Nevertheless, although I was thoughtfully given a pair of personalised leather straps a while back I still only have the confidence to use one on my infra red converted Nikon 1 compact less they don't have the required strength.
kaybee Plus
16 7.6k 26 Scotland
8 Apr 2021 9:01AM
I like Peak Design ones
Designed by people who do rock climbing who rely on easy to use (one handed) equipment that is not going to fail and are really easy to adjust (again - one handed).
Chrism8 14 977 28 England
8 Apr 2021 9:39AM
I use the cordweaver hand straps only, with the grips I feel no need to have anything else and hate anything hanging / swinging around my neck plus I'm not keen on the camera brand being so prominent on the straps.

Never dropped ( touch wood ) a camera in 35 / 40 years of photography

mistere Plus
7 6 4 England
8 Apr 2021 10:54AM
Definitely with kaybee on this. I don't like camera straps and hate having a camera around my neck. I've tried quite a few
but the only one that i will use, if i have to, is Peak Designs. They are a bit expensive but really well designed and very quickly
adjusted, detached and re attached. Their hand/wrist grips are also very good.
saltireblue Plus
10 11.8k 75 Norway
8 Apr 2021 11:44AM
When I had the heavy 5Diii I used Black Rapid strap across the body model, the camera hanging at my right hip. Far more comfortable than any round the neck version.
Since migrating to the lighter Fuji , the Black Rapid was overkill, so I changed to a narrower, more suitable Peak Design sling strap. However, I have found that their hand clutch is the one I use most these days.

dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1832 England
8 Apr 2021 11:50AM
Thank you, Malc - that's the badger: Black Rapid. I simply can't see how that can allow a camera to hang comfortably... Surely it will want to be upside down, with the lens pointing in whichever direction is most in the way?
philtaylorphoto 19 334 2
8 Apr 2021 12:16PM
I wish Canon would follow the pattern used for pro grade gear in the past where it used to come in plain brown boxes.

We don't want to know what camera you are carrying. OK, at first glance In an get confused by my 4 Canon bodies, but just look at the front?.

I suppose it's something for the posers at the Photography Show to boast with?
saltireblue Plus
10 11.8k 75 Norway
8 Apr 2021 1:19PM
John, I found that with the 2 lenses which were on the camera - either 24-105 or the 70-200 f/2.8, then yes, the camera hung 'bottom up' duo to the one-point anchoring in the base plate, but possible because of my body shape, I found that they hung well by my side. It was all about adjusting the length of the strap to ensure the camera body was just above the hip, at waist height. I have (had?) quite a distinct difference between waist and hip so the top of the hip acted almost as a narrow shelf. Perhaps others with different body shapes had more problems?
5 31 1 United States
8 Apr 2021 1:38PM
I have 3 Canon Cameras that I use on a regular basis.
7D MKII I use "Altura Photo Camera Strap Quick Release & Safety Tether" when handheld and only using one camera.
5D MKIV and 6D MKIV I use USA Gear TrueSHOT Camera Strap with Black Neoprene Pattern and I added BIRUGEAR Camera Tether for DSLR Strap with Extra Clip, incase the quick release clips fail.
I shoot with large Zoom or Prime Lenses. I use this when using a single camera.
When shooting action events handheld I use Movo Photo MB1000 Two Camera Carrier Harness Vest with Mounting Hubs, Side Holster and Backup Safety Straps, and no camera strap. I use this with the 7D II and 5D IV.

Not Me.



So far, So Good. Grin
pink Plus
17 6.6k 8 United Kingdom
8 Apr 2021 4:45PM
I have Op-Tech straps but seldom use them, my camera is normally on a tripod or bean bag, the op-tech tails stay on the camera as I can also attach them to the fittings on my Kata backpack which is very handy on a long hike.
mistere Plus
7 6 4 England
8 Apr 2021 4:50PM
Same as Malc, the Peak Design 'hand clutch' is what i use all the time on my D850. For my walkaround D7100 i use the Peak Design 'sling'. across my body or over my shoulder, never around my neck.
If anyone wants a new Nikon strap, let me know and I'll send it. I have several and i'll never use them Smile
saltireblue Plus
10 11.8k 75 Norway
8 Apr 2021 4:55PM

Quote:If anyone wants a new Nikon strap, let me know and I'll send it. I have several and i'll never use them

I never used the Canon straps that came with the camera, either. It just looks so pretentious with 'Canon 5Diii' on both ends of the strap in glorious Canon if to say, look at me and how good a photographer I must be to have this camera.
dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1832 England
8 Apr 2021 9:12PM
George - that shot of a sling in action is precisely why I don't want one! I can feel it banging against my leg every time I move... But diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks, and if it works for you, it's fine.

My tendency is to have my Billingham bag on one shoulder, and a camera on the other: if I'm using two cameras, the one with the little lens (some of mine are VERY light) will be round my neck. But it can get more complicated with more lenses and cameras. (Why more? David Bailey pointed out that you take a different picture with a different camera: so a TLR gives a very different look to a picture from a DSLR.)

Thanks all - a lot of diversity here. And diversity is good, in every way.

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