Camera straps are boring. They don’t do anything cool. They are utilitarian to the core. And yet…
I’ve always used camera straps. I began with just the standard strap included with my camera. By the time I purchased my second camera, I recognized that for me, the included strap just didn’t work: not particularly comfortable, always too big and bulky. And so, the hunt for my perfect camera strap began. I should preface by acknowledging that I don’t actually like straps. I find all of them to be somewhat intrusive. However, a previous (and permanent) wrist injury requires me to use straps because of my weak grip. That said, I am very picky about the straps I use, which at least partially accounts for how many I’ve had over the years.
You wouldn’t think something so simple and utilitarian would be so difficult of a search, but you’d be wrong. Everything from the style, length, fabric, type of connection, durability and ease of use comes into play. Are you in need of a neck strap that is strong enough to hold a DSLR or are you looking for a compact wrist strap for a small mirrorless? Camera straps are not created equal. I have more to say about some than others but let’s dive in.
My first foray into selecting a third party strap was this wide, faux leather strap purchased from a now defunct website. I was carting around a very heavy Canon DSLR at the time and the wider strap was comfortable on my neck but also long enough to sling cross body. Ultimately, I sold that camera and the strap went with it. It functioned well but it was kind of bulky in my camera bag.
Aqua Leather Dreamer Camera Strap (no longer available)
The second strap I tried came when I purchased my first mirrorless camera. It was so much smaller and lighter than a DSLR that I went with a simple leather wrist strap. This strap. I’ve had it for probably five or six years at this point and it’s probably my favorite. It’s so well made and unobtrusive. It never gets in the way, looks sleek and functions perfectly. It’s my preferred choice for commercial shoots when I want to switch back and forth between a tripod and handheld, or when I want to shoot at odd angles. It’s also my first choice if I’ll be taking a camera bag with me. I find a neck strap and a camera bag to be redundant. I will never get rid of this little thing. Sadly, the rolled yak leather version I have is no longer available, but I have linked a similar version.
TARION Yak Leather Wrist Strap (no longer available; similar – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08TM3TCTR?ref=ppx_pop_dt_b_product_details&th=1)
This next strap wasn’t a bad option…I couldn’t really even tell you what it was that made me not like it. I only used it for a short time and I remember thinking that the length wasn’t a good fit for me and it lacked versatility.
VKO Film Camera Strap with Quick Release (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075X13M83/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&th=1)
The VKO Rope Camera Strap is a pretty popular one on Amazon and I do really think it’s a good option. It checked all the boxes for me: comfortable, functional, clean and streamlined and as an added bonus, I liked being able to wrap it around my wrist. Ultimately however, it did stretch out over time and then it was just too long to be practical for me. I didn’t like that the added length meant my LCD screen knocked against my belt buckle.
VKO Rope Camera Strap (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07JJT9ZQH/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&th=1)
In an effort to find a replacement for the VKO strap, I ordered a Hyperion Camera Strap. My bad that I ordered the wrong length and it actually wound up being too short for me. That said, it’s a perfect fit for my daughter so I gave it to her. Now, as great as the strap is, I can’t really recommend it because shipping took FOREVER. Like, months. Maybe it’s just me, but when it comes to a utilitarian item, I usually need it now. It’s a great strap, but not worth the wait. (No link because I wouldn’t recommend it).
Next up is a strap I saw on YouTube (@alexonstreets) and I loved it right away. It’s sleek and streamlined, and because it’s leather, you know it will break in and get better with age. It hasn’t yet, but that’s because I haven’t really used it much. See, I purchased it for a smaller point and shoot camera I had (not enough heft for my X-T3 + lens) and then I sold said camera. But I didn’t sell the strap because I do really like it and have every intention of using it in the future. Believe me, it’s only a matter of time before my gear addiction takes hold again. Gordy’s allows you to truly customize your strap and comes in a variety of lengths, styles and colors. Shipping time was also reasonable and the quality is wonderful as well.
Gordy’s Horizontal Leather Strap (https://gordyscamerastraps.com/products/neck-strap-horizontal)
Last up is my newest purchase and I’ve been trying it out for several weeks. It’s functional, comfortable, and adjustable. I LOVE the quick release option. It’s smooth and doesn’t catch on clothes, which is important to me because I do have some more delicate blouses that have been snagged by other straps. (To be fair, the rolled rope straps also did no damage to my clothing). I feel like I should love this strap, but I just don’t. It’s not sleek and streamlined. It’s the second thickest of the straps I’ve listed here. It is very well made (and it should be for the price – $20 more than any other strap on this list) but it’s well, ugly. It draws attention. ”Look at that lady with that camera.” It screams ”photographer” and that’s not what I want.
Peak Design Leash Camera Strap (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B095Z5K4KG/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1)
I guess my dream strap would be a rope strap with Peak Design quick release connectors. Too bad such a thing doesn’t exist. If you know of one, leave a comment as I’d love to check it out! I find the rolled rope straps to be the most comfortable, especially for long periods of wear. I also never have to worry about them getting twisted. They work equally well on my bigger cameras as well as smaller point and shoots. That said, my top recommendation would be the VKO rope strap. Yes, it may stretch out over time, but at that price point, you could buy several for the same price as one Peak Design strap. And you’ll have the added benefit of blending in rather than standing out like a sore thumb.
So, there you have it: my very boring and uninspiring take on camera straps. Because it’s practical, even if it is boring.