When I got started in photography, the last thing I ever thought I would have a serious discussion about would be camera straps. What was the point? You just used the one that came in the box or the one that you had from a previous camera and that was the end of the story.
Now, the simple camera strap has evolved, especially in the minds of some inventive engineers. It’s amusing sometimes to hear people be as opinionated about the strap as they are the make and model of camera. But hey, photographers are never at a shortage of things to debate about.
I’ve had a chance to use a variety of straps over the years and I face the same conundrum I contend with when it comes to a camera bag. I have yet to find the one strap to rule them all. However, I have found a few straps that I tend to favor for a variety of reasons and cameras.
For over 10 years, the UPstrap was and continues to be my strap of choice. Is design is incredibly simple and no-frills for the most part, but that’s part of what I love about it. Once I discovered it, I never used an out-of-the-box strap again.
The heart of each model of UPstrap is non-slip pad, which makes it virtually impossible for the strap and the camera to slip off your shoulder. With a traditional strap, there has been way too many times, when the camera nearly made a near-suicidal nose dive to the ground, because of the strap slipping from my shoulder. This was especially the case when using a jacket along the lines of a rain slicker. There was definitely no fun in that.
The UPstrap eliminates that as a problem as its beaded rubberish pad provides a secure hold to your jacket and shirt. It’s wide enough to be comfortable even when toting around a hefty camera for hours worth of shooting.
There are a variety of designs, but the one that I favor most is the model which includes the Quick Release and Kevlar Ends. It makes removing the strap completely from the camera occur in a matter of seconds, without sacrificing security. Jay Maisel himself favored these straps for years and it’s easy to see why.
The thinness of some of the straps always makes it quite easy to wrap it around my wrist for those times, when I don't want it on my neck or shoulder.
The Lance Strap
My increased use of mirrorless cameras led me to be introduced to the LanceStrap, a strong braided strap, which provides both strength and style.
The last time straps were stylish was back in the day when they were made to look like guitar straps. Yes, I know I’m dating myself. For the most part, they have been designed to be functional and tolerably comfortable. The Lance Strap succeeds on both counts and has been my preferred strap when using smaller camera such as the Olympus EM-5 and Samsung NX300.
I had received more compliments on these hand-crafted straps that I ever would have imagined, but more importantly they have proven comfortable whether worn over the shoulder or around the neck. I think that they are perfectly suited for smaller, light-weight cameras. My only caveat with them is to be sure that you order the strap with a pair of O-ring strap bumpers to avoid brassing the corners of your camera.
Custom SLR Camera Glide Strap
There have been a hoard of sling-straps designs over the last few years, but to be quite honest many of them seem to have been over-engineered. It’s a camera strap for goodness sakes. I have not particularly favored some that I’ve had the chance to use, because I sometimes felt I was having to think more about maneuvering the strap then handling the camera.
My recent acquisition of the Custom SLR Camera Glide Strap has helped change much of that. It’s modular design might be off-putting for some, but it’s the very reason why I really enjoy using it.
First off, the C-Loop HD Strap make it easy to attach it to the base of the camera without the need of a special tool.. It’s swivel release buckle provides a great alternative for removing the strap from the camera in seconds when needed. But what I really love is its Quick Release buttons, which allow me to remove the strap without having to swing the strap over my shoulder and head. That might seem like a big deal to you, but as I am usually wearing a wide-brimmed hat to prevent sunburn, it’s way to easy to knock it off my head when using a conventional sling strap.
The Split-Strap shoulder pad made from neoprene provides even distribution weight over the shoulder, even with heavier camera including my Canon 5D Mark III. Though, I’ve only been using it for a short time, I can say that it’s my preferred strap when it comes to heavier equipment.
There are dozens of strap designs out there, which I’m sure the people are passionate about and I would love to hear what you find works best for you. As I have the opportunity to use others, I’ll gladly share my thoughts on them on this blog.