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As camera technology has advanced so have the accessories that make using your camera easier, safer and more comfortable. Although it may seem to many that there is nothing to a camera strap except a basic chord that holds it around your neck nothing could be further from the truth and there are a wide range of camera straps available on the market for you to choose from. There are many different designs of camera strap and a group of expert manufacturers who produce the very best quality straps for all types of camera.
The Different Types of Camera Straps.
In my view camera straps are useful for one key reason which is the safety of the camera. You are less likely to drop a camera if it is attached to a strap (the strap can slip if it is not worn over the shoulder (sling strap)). But it should be noted that every strap will place some sort of limitation on the way you shoot. I wear glasses and I tend to use the display a lot more than the viewfinder. The camera strap has a tendency to interfere with the display which I find very frustrating. The wrist strap is my favorite but it is difficult to carry the camera like that for long periods of time.
- ‘Kit’ Neck Strap. This is the standard strap that comes with any DSLR that you might purchase. It usually has the company brand or logo on it and is designed to be worn around the neck with the camera hanging down over your chest. The advantage of this strap is that it comes free with the camera and is a pretty versatile accessory that can also be worn over the shoulder and is generally durable and will last a long time. However, some people do report suffering from migraines and neck ache when wearing the camera around their neck because the strap is un-padded and not designed with ergonomic principles in mind.
- The Hand Strap. This is a shorter strap that is designed to be worn around the wrist while wrapped about the hand. It is a great safe guard for when you are taking photos although it’s not comfortable to wear for too long and if you’re moving around you’ll want a camera bag to keep your kit in. There are disadvantages of not being able to have your hands free when you are moving from place to place or between shots although many photographers working out of studios love this design of strap.
- The Sling Strap. This is a padded strap that is worn over the shoulder and can be worn on the front or the back of the body. It can be worn on either shoulder and if you are doing a long photoshoot, such as a wedding for example, it’s worth switching shoulders throughout the day. The straps are very comfortable and versatile as to how they can be used. It will take the weight of the camera easily and you’ll hardly notice it on your shoulder.
- The Double Camera Strap. This is an epic strap that goes over both shoulders and looks like a gun holster! You can wear two cameras on it simultaneously which is a great accessory for professional photographers doing weddings, large photo shoots or outdoor work.
- The Wrist Strap. This is a strap that has a bracelet that goes around your wrist and allows you to hold the camera while keeping it safely attached to your arm in case you drop it by accident. It’s better to use with smaller cameras although technically the straps are designed to be able to hold up to 100 lbs.!
- A Holster Camera Strap. This is worn around the waste and holds the camera on the side of the hip just like a gun in a cowboy movie! This strap will take some getting used to and the camera can be a little exposed, especially if you are standing up or sitting down because it can easily get accidentally knocked by a table or chair.
Top Camera Strap Brands.
There are so many camera straps out there it can be hard to know where to start looking for a high quality, comfortable and reliable strap. Some of the top brands that are available for photographers to purchase high quality, well made and reliable camera straps from are:
- Peak Design
Top Camera Straps on the Market.
- Sevenoaks Dual Camera Strap. This great camera strap can hold one or two cameras, one of the front and one on a secure side holster. It can be used with all major models of camera including Canon, Nikon, Panasonic and Sony. This is an ideal strap for professional photographers working at weddings or events when two cameras are always better than one! The vest is safe, secure and extremely comfortable for long photo shoots and both camera holders are easy to access for those fast draw shots to catch the perfect moment!
- Peak Design SL-BK-3 Slide Camera Strap. This fantastically made and highly versatile camera strap can be worn around the neck, over the shoulder and as a sling. It comes with a secure buckle and is compatible with all models of cameras including DSLR, mirrorless and hybrids. One of the best all round straps on the market you can’t go wrong with this classic design that works with any camera in all conditions.
- BlackRapid Sport Breathe Camera Strap. This strap is for Left handed photographers. It can be difficult to find accessories if you are a left handed photographer, particularly a comfortable sling that is compatible with all cameras including mirrorless, DSLR and SLR models. This cross body strap has a brilliant spring loaded bumper lock for the camera and has a breathable shoulder pad that wicks water and keeps you feeling fresh even in the hot weather.
The Benefits of a Good Camera Strap.
There are many advantages to having a well fitting, comfortable and high quality camera strap that include:
- Security. Keeping your camera on a secure strap is a great security measure that will help to reduce your chances of having your camera stolen while you are out with it. A would-be thief is more likely to avoid you if they see your camera securely attached to your body with a sturdy strap.
- If you are working with more than one camera then a good dual camera strap means that you can quickly change between cameras and carry both with you with ease.
- Keeps your Camera safe from Drops. Dropping your camera onto the concrete sidewalk could be an absolute disaster and end up costing you thousands in repair costs. Keeping your camera on a strap at all times will ensure that you never suffer this fate! Your camera strap can also be a great fail safe even if you are using a tripod, particularly on uneven or precarious ground so that just in case the tripod gets knocked over your camera will be rescued from the fall!
- Keeps your hands free. Having your camera on a strap leaves your hands free to change lenses, pick up and do things and function more effectively, particularly if you are working at an event or in a professional context.
Which Camera Strap do I Use?
I live in Philadelphia and I rarely go anywhere without my camera. These days I use the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III paired with Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4 IS PRO Lens 95% of the time. This camera/lens combination is lighter when compared to a similar DSLR or Full Frame setup. But it is still heavy.
If I know where I am going and if I am out of my condo for only an our or so, I normally use a finger or wrist strap. But if I am doing a photo walk and am not sure where I will end up (neighborhood wise), I normally wear the neck strap (sling strap). My hands will be free and it is safer. But one issue with this setup is that I will have to remove the anchor mount if I want to shoot with a tripod (which I rarely do these days). One of the key reasons I use an Olympus camera and lens is the IBIS.
Choosing the Right Camera Strap will Serve You well.
Selecting the best camera strap for your photography will keep your camera safe from drops and theft, keep your hands free and allow you to do longer photo shoots without feeling the weight of your camera.
There are a wide range of designs available on the market at the moment so you have an amazing choice of designs, strap types and brand names to choose from. Some of the top brands include Woolnut, SevenOaks, BlackRapid, and arguably, the best of all, Peak Design camera straps.
Which type of camera strap do you use?