An overlooked accessory, straps are a very personal thing, making your camera comfortable on your body, improves your photography experience. A strap that is comfortable for one person, may not be for another. The manufacturer straps that come supplied with a camera, are often short, and loudly branded. A short strap only allows the camera to be worn one way, round your neck and in front of you, often bouncing uncomfortably, as you walk and usually not at a comfortable height for resting one hand on. Branded straps, shout look at me, I’ve got an expensive camera, and instantly mark you out as a tourist!!
I prefer longer straps, and often wear them in a cross over style, so the camera is to the side of me, but with enough strap length so the camera can be easily brought up to my eye. There are times when I might wear the camera in front of me, for instance for candid street photography, but again I find a longer strap length more comfortable to rest by hand on. Straps are available with detachable connectors or as permanently fixed to the camera body, the former allows one strap to be used with different camera bodies.
Wrist straps are becoming increasing popular, especially for lightweight mirrorless cameras. I often have a wrist strap and detachable connectors fitted to a camera body, so that it can be carried either way, I also like the wrist straps that tighten around your wrist on a lasso type arrangement, this enables you to ‘drop’ the camera safely to have free access to your hand.
The quality of a strap is very important, you do not want it to break, sending your expensive camera equipment to the ground. Personally I would only buy reputable brands, and I would always check out the online reviews.
Straps are available in a wide variety of styles, but these are my choices:-
For my stealth black X100F, a custom length (130cm long) 1901 Fotografi Steichen Leather Strap in Stereo Black (www.1901fotografi.co.uk – direct sales), not only does this look the part, it is beautifully made (and smells lovely!) and suits the rangefinder style of the X100 series. I went for a fixed length strap as I felt the buckle of the variable length straps made an awkward join, and the extra bling of the buckle would make the camera stand out more.
All of my other camera bodies are fitted with Cordweaver Wrist Straps (www.cordweaver.co.uk – direct and ebay sales), these are very cost effective, well made and very strong. I have different coloured ones for different camera bodies, making it easy to pick up the right camera first time! They are also fitted with Optech detachable connectors and I have a padded Optech strap (www.optechusa.com – many UK bricks and mortar camera stores), this strap has a wide padded neck part and is very comfortable to wear all day with a large neoprene shoulder pad, and can be adjusted to be worn in crossover style and in front style.
A number of my photography friends and acquaintances, use either the Peak Design System (www.peakdesign.com) – a clever disc type detachable system (incidentally Cordweaver offer compatible wrist straps) or the Black Rapid system (www.blackrapid.com), though to be on the safe side I would always recommend that a safety strap is used in addition to any strap that only attaches to the tripod mount. The safety strap provides an additional loop to one of the normal strap pickup points. I use my tripod a lot, so don’t like straps that attach to the tripod mount, since they would slow down the operation of mounting the camera on the tripod, I also prefer the back of the camera against my body rather than the camera hanging down, but for regular users of long lenses it is a good solution.
Product Images credited to 1901 Fotografi, Cordweaver and OptechUSA respectively