Choosing a camera strap: A Complete Guide
Back in time, photographers never really gave much thought to their camera straps.
Most of them, left the factory strap that came with the camera for years.
Nowadays, we see most of the photographers using fancy custom camera straps to carry their cameras. Is that the new photography trend?
There are so many choices! Leather camera straps, wrist straps, rope camera straps, neck straps, shoulder straps and the list goes on forever!
There are people claiming that camera straps aren’t a big deal and that a fancy strap, does not make you a good photographer. It is true that a camera strap does not improve your photography skills, but a different style of strap can make shooting more comfortable, fit your shooting needs better or simply make a fashion statement. The top reason to get a new camera strap is to make long periods of carrying your camera more comfortable and easier on your body.
If you’ve carried your camera around all day long with the original camera strap, you understand why an upgrade is needed!
Factory camera straps aren’t meant to be anything special, which is why it seems that so many people think that one camera strap is just as good as the rest.
But once you experience the joy of a custom strap that’s designed for comfort, safety, and security, your view of camera straps will change – fast. You will see that a camera strap is an important accessory for every photographer.
Luckily we’ve got you covered. We have compiled an extensive guide which will help you choose the best camera strap for yourself.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a professional photographer or just a beginner, there is a huge variety of camera straps to cater to all your needs.
This comprehensive guide includes the various factors which one must consider before investing in a camera strap. So let’s find out which camera strap suits you best!
What materials are camera straps made of?
One decision you’ll need to make when choosing a camera strap is the material. The materials used to make a camera strap are important for a variety of reasons – comfort, aesthetics, and, of course, durability.
There are two particular materials which are quite popular in the market right now: leather and nylon. There are some other fabrics too but we would strictly urge you to stick to one of these two as there is a reason why they haven’t left the market for years now.
Nylon or Silk
Nylon works best for people who travel and photograph a lot. They are extremely comfortable to use and can be used with relative ease due to their little weight. Nylon camera straps lose out on looks though.
Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages. Generally, nylon camera straps are the cheapest and most widely available. Leather camera straps look classy and can be super comfortable, but certain colours and weights might not stand up to the elements as well.
What styles of camera straps are available?
The next decision you need to make when choosing a camera strap is style.
Do you want one that goes around your neck? Enables you to go hands free? Or keeps your camera close at hand?
Neck-straps are your basic camera strap. The strap goes around your neck or over a shoulder for carrying. They are easy to find, can be adjusted to your desired length and are usually easy to attach. This style is more suitable for hobbyists.
One of the major drawbacks of neck-straps, though, is that they put the full weight of your camera on your neck, which can cause physical pain. So if you have to carry your camera for long periods of time, we recommend you to try something else!
Wrist straps connect your camera to your wrist by a cord. Most wrist straps connect at a single point on your camera. These work best on smaller, lighter cameras like point-and-shoot cameras or smaller profile mirrorless cameras with a small lens.
They come in many different materials and colours. Camera wrist straps are a great way to carry your camera whether you travel or you are a street photographer! If you need your extra hand you can let the camera dangle safely from your wrist.
Hand straps are usually made of leather or nylon. These straps connect to your camera at two points, via an eyelet and the tripod mount. They are a great option if you want to avoid neck and shoulder pain.
But they do have a few disadvantages, including not allowing you to use both hands and interfering with your tripod mount. Hand straps can also be awkward when using a battery grip in portrait mode.
Cross-body straps are like a neck strap hybrid. They hang on one shoulder with the strap running across your body and connecting to your camera on the opposite hip.
The camera is hooked to the strap by a snap or screw that attaches to the tripod mount and slides on the strap. Cross-body straps distribute the weight of your camera more evenly across your body. You can adjust the length so the camera swings lower or higher on your body depending on your height.
They are a great option if traditional neck straps cause you pain of feel uncomfortable. Some cross body straps have a second strap that connects the strap from front to back via a second strap that snugs under your armpit for more support and stability. Cross-body camera straps also give you the benefit of working hands free if needed.
There are models that allow you to carry a second camera body. These are the dual camera straps! They are perfect for wedding photographers who have to carry their camera all day long. One disadvantage is that they are more expensive than traditional straps. They can also be too bulky to fit in your camera bag and getting them on and off quickly is a bit of a hassle.
The bottom line
There is no single best camera strap out there, despite what the manufacturer’s claim. You need to take into account use, budget and shooting style when choosing a camera strap. The best system for a wedding photographer might not be the best system for a hobbyist or a street photographer.
But what is true is that you don’t have to settle for the cheap strap that came with your camera. Find a strap that fits your body, your sense of flair or your shooting style.