Camera Straps Are More Than Just a Fashion Accessory

by | Jan 12, 2022

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

If there’s any photo accessory that’s a necessity, not a luxury, it’s the camera strap. I still remember watching my friend Marcel supporting a Hasselblad 500CM on a thin railing over the Triberg Falls—the highest waterfall in Germany—with the camera strap flopped over the railing, not around his neck.

Disclaimer: I use different kinds and manufacturers of straps on my digital and film cameras and am not married to any one brand, mainly because nobody is paying me to use their straps and write about them telling everyone how wonderful they are. From time to time, a manufacturer sends me a strap to review and while I have never received a strap that wasn’t pretty good, none of them ever stayed attached to my cameras after the review.

Interestingly, some promotional camera straps that were gifts, like the PPA “Storyteller” and SmugMug “Pro” straps that (I think) were made by OP/TECH USA are still in service on my cameras today. And that company is a wonderful source of a diverse collection of practical and affordable camera straps. Their Super Classic Strap has the same design as the company’s Classic Strap but adds an internal control-stretch system and has strength and comfort features that are required for handling a heavy camera. One is on my Wish List at B&H.

But what’s the big deal, you sa? It seems to me that the straps manufacturers pack with their cameras, including expensive models, seem more like an afterthought and are thin, bent up, and made to a price point that usually doesn’t match the camera they want us to attach it to. Then they have the camera manufacturer’s name written in big letters screaming “steal me.” Once upon a time my friend, Ralph Nelson and I came up with a scheme to make personalized straps with our own names on them. Ralph managed to pull it off, I wasn’t all that happy with my results. (That’s a story for another time.)

For a while I was experimenting with straps from Artisan & Artist who make all kind of high quality, beautifully crafted products for photographers, including camera straps.  Some of my Micro Four-thirds cameras have these wonderfully made and diversely designed straps but some, like the Braided Silk-Cord Camera Strap that uses construction techniques that connected Samurai armor, can be expensive ($185.) I have one of those exquisite straps of my IR-converted LUMIX cameras. But there are other creative and affordable alternatives…

Like a lot of photo gear that I own Mary bought a Topo camera strap for my Canon AL-1. These straps are inspired by Colorado climbing rope and feature custom diamond patterns—mine is black and white—and are made from heavy-duty 10mm nylon rope with quick-attach SR buckles. They have Hypalon (chlorosulfonated polyethylene synthetic rubber) tips, Microcord attachment loops and Custom Topo rivets. And they look good too. When I wrote this they were on sale for $14 but regularly sell for 29 bucks.

Ultimately the choice of the kind of strap you use is highly personal, so you should use the kind that you like and are comfortable hanging around your neck but please use some kind of strap. Marcel’s Hasselblad didn’t fall into the waterfall but this example points how important a camera strap can be.

If your company manufacturers camera straps and would like me to review one of them for this blog, please click CONTACT and tell me all about it/them.


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