Buying a new camera is a very exciting thing. Unboxing Your new baby, holding it in Your hands for the first time and going out for a walk, to introduce it to its new home is a great pleasure. After walking for a few hours though, You notice that Your neck hurts and that the camera is not really comfortable. Unfortunately, camera manufacturers seem to go very cheap on the straps. You spend hundreds if not thousands of $$$ for a new camera and all you get are those tiny nylon straps that scratch Your neck and leave red marks. Especially in the summer, when I am walking a lot, I noticed that those camera straps not only leave scratch marks but start to feel itchy. If You want to do Yourself a favor while walking for hours with Your camera, invest some money in a good camera strap. Believe me, a good camera strap can make a great difference and also influence Your photography directly. You won’t feel so tired out, Your neck will not wear out so quickly and overall, You will find a lot more joy in photography with the right camera strap.
In the following, I want to fully focus on nice leather camera straps, that do not only provide a great function and are comfortable, but also have a nice design and look good. I feel that the common nylon straps are often very irritating to the skin and no matter how well they are fabricated, they aren’t made for longer photo walks. Leather camera straps though can be additionally cushioned if You need the extra level of comfort, or they can be rather thin if You want to save some weight. Either way, leather camera straps are also not that expensive as You might think. Yes, there are some fashionable straps, that can easily surpass the $100 mark, but there are also a lot of alternatives that are more inexpensive, but great nonetheless.
So here is my list of featured leather camera straps.
1HoldFast Gear MoneyMaker Two-Camera Harness, Bridle Leather, Medium, Chestnut
I’start this list of leather camera straps very strong. The HoldFast Gear MoneyMaker is aimed at professional photographers who are in need of carrying more than one camera at a time around. Wedding Photographers are definitely the target audience for this very exclusive camera strap.
Not only great in design, but also in function, this strap is worn over Your back and the X-pattern optimizes the weight distribution. This allows for easier and longer use of the cameras, even when You are shooting a full wedding day.
The harness does allow You to work hands-free and in case You are worried about Your super expensive cameras and professional tools, the strap has also a safety catch. You can easily screw the safety catches in the tripod mount of Your camera and don’t have to worry about wearing down little side pins.
Although this camera strap is not exactly cheap, You should consider it as an investment. Not only Your back will thank You later, but also You will appear more professional and in-line with the wedding crowd.Check The Camera Strap Here
2b.still Leather Camera Strap
After seeing the very fancy Holdfast straps, let’s get a little more casual and have a look at these b.still leather camera straps. The b.still camera straps are very regular leather straps, they don’t have any fancy features, but do everything as they need to do.
They are rather inexpensive, fairly small and easy to handle. The camera strap can be adjusted in length, making it suitable for men & women and getting closer to Your usual comfortable wear. Around the neck area, the strap is a little thicker to add some comfort. Other than that, the strap is rather thin in its design but is able to secure cameras up to a weight of 5lbs.
A nice little detail is the leather inlet, which prevents the strap to rub or scratch the camera body, which is unfortunately often the case with other camera straps.
If You are looking for a regular camera strap that is simple in design, yet does it job well, then You should check out the b.still leather camera strap.Check the B.Still on Amazon
Most leather straps come in their original brownish color, so this black leather strap is an exception on the list. Not only the color is very distinct from other camera straps, the design is also very minimalistic. As You can see, the strap itself is very narrow throughout and doesn’t have any added padding.
Therefore the camera strap is great for light mirrorless cameras or small DSLRs. Sometimes in the summer, I wish my camera strap would be a little smaller and the design from the black strap is ideal for those hotter days, where You try to wear as little as possible. Extra padding can soak up the sweat and be a real mess at times. The minimalistic approach does prevent any soggy necks on a long photo walk.
The strap looks especially great with older film cameras as You can see above to emphasize the vintage aesthetic of the strap.Get The Simple Design
3Handmade Premium Leather Camera Strap by MakeMoves Photography
On first glance, this leather camera strap by MakeMoves Photography does look very similar to the other straps presented here. Yet, in detail, it does differ a lot and therefore I want to present this leather strap as a viable option as well.
The leather strap is pretty simple in design and fairly inexpensive. A key difference is, that the strap is very long, ranging to the hip for an averaged sized man. For an increased comfort, the strap has an additional padding that covers the strap around the neck area. With this unique design choice, the strap stays very lightweight and small but does add a little more comfort.
All the leather straps by MakeMoves Photography are handcrafted and built for mirrorless cameras or smaller DSLRs, although it does also support bulkier cameras.
In the beginning, the strap might feel a little stiff, which is usually the case for leather straps, but regular use will soften the strap and change its form to suit Your body.Check The Price on Amazon
4Heavy Leather NYC Classic Leather Camera Strap, Brown
Are You searching for a little thicker and heavier leather strap to protect Your neck? Then the strap by Heavy Leather does exactly what its name suggests. As You can already see in the picture, the neck strap is considerably thicker and wider than the other straps that are presented in this list.
Therefore the Heavy Leather strap is a great alternative to the aforementioned to the Holdfast Gear Moneymaker straps, in case You want to wield only one camera. The Heavy Leather strap is perfect for wedding photographers, but also very suitable for Travel Photographers who like to carry heavier gear.
The quick-release clasps also allow for a quick switch-up of the preferred gear, so if You are wondering to go for two cameras simultaneously, You can also work with the quick-release tools.
The length of the strap is very flexible thanks to the multiple elements of the strap and can be worn either around Your neck or also around Your shoulder.Check The Price on Amazon
5Henri by Eric Kim
Not only companies are designing camera straps, more and more photographers themselves are becoming entrepreneurs and produce photography accessories. One of the best known Street Photographers out there, Eric Kim has designed his very own leather camera strap and named it after the grand master Henri Cartier-Bresson.
As a Street Photographer himself, he should know best what characteristics a good strap should have and therefore he came up with the padded design around the neck and the flexible end, which allows varying the length of the neck strap.
The neck strap is handcrafted in a small shop in Saigon in an area that is famous for its leatherwork.
The strap is perfectly suited for Street Photography. Designwise, it is simple, not too attention-grabbing, yet does look pretty good around the neck. If You want to switch it up, You can also wrap the strap easily around Your wrist and use it as an hand-strap.
In addition to the “Henri”, there are also a lot more variations available, including leather straps that can be worn around the shoulder.Check The Price on Amazon
6ONA – The Presidio – Camera Strap
In a similar manner as the “Heavy” Leather camera strap, “The Presidio” comes in a wider design. The strap is more on the longer side and design to wear across the shoulder, although the length is also adjustable it might be too long to wear around the neck for most people.
The strap is designed towards bulkier and heavier cameras, such as full-frame DSLRs which can be attached without a problem. Considering the wider design, the strap is still fairly flexible and does fit together in most camera bags.
For added comfort, the neck area is not only wider but noticeably thicker. To achieve the level of thickness, there is neoprene added to the leather mix for a maximum of comfort.Check The Price on Amazon
Why a Leather Camera Strap
There are more camera straps available than only the leather variations. From standard nylon to cotton straps, they can also be ideal for Your situation. But camera straps made out of real leather are something special and unique. They are not only very durable and strong, they are also fashionable and are more than only a functional accessory.
Leather camera straps can make a fashion statement. Although form should always follow function and a strap’s priority should be to hold Your camera safely and let You move around freely, a good looking strap can add to Your overall fashion sense.
For wedding photographers, I feel that the outfit shouldn’t be underestimated. Some wedding photographers attend a wedding like they are some mechanics in a workshop. While I understand, that the outfit should be comfortable and should support the wedding photographer to endure a full day of shooting, there is clothing available that is functional and highly fashionable as well. For example, the HoldFast Gear MoneyMaker is geared towards professional photographers who use more than one camera and at the same time, it looks great.
A leather camera strap is also something very personal. The straps are handmade and no products look the same. Especially after wearing the straps for some time, the marks and pattern of the leather straps are unique to its owner. A strap like this can be Your steady friend for more than 20 years, where regular straps are wearing down rather quickly.
Things to consider before buying a Camera Strap
Depending on the kind of strap You are going to buy, the leather strap can be a little more expensive. Before buying the camera strap, You should make sure that the strap is suitable for Your needs.
Although a strap is not a highly technical difficult accessory, there are still differences in their handling and processing. Here are a few bullet points that You should consider before buying a strap.
A leather camera strap takes some time to really be comfortable. In the beginning, they are very stiff and not really made to wear for a long duration. If You are seeking a strap for Your upcoming travel, or You have an important event the other day, then a leather strap is not really the best choice. For the maximum comfort, they a need some time to soften up and adjust to Your body.
Do You change Your equipment often, or are You shooting with the same camera all the time? In case You are using more than a single camera, You might want to look for a strap that has quick release mechanisms. These allow You to swap Your cameras easily and quickly, instead of using the regular latches.
Which equipment are You going to use? Depending on the camera, more specifically its weight and size, different strap options might be more suitable. If You have a small mirrorless camera that doesn’t weigh much, then a strap without extra padding should be good enough even for long walks. On the contrary, if You are using bulkier DSLRs, extra padding should be a must-have and too thin strap might cause some instability which can be very annoying when moving quickly.
Keep in mind that a genuine leather product seldom looks the same. The product that You are receiving might be a little darker in its color or have a different pattern. During its wear, the look also changes depending on its use.
How to attach a Camera Strap
It might sound silly since the camera strap isn’t very complex and should be fairly easy to use. Yet there are camera straps that are not compatible with every camera. Although most cameras use very similar latches to attach the camera strap if You are going for a very thick camera strap and older camera models, You should keep an eye on the compatibility and make sure that You can attach the camera strap properly.
Furthermore, You should make sure to attach the strap the “right” way.
Below is a tutorial that shows You how You not only connect the camera and strap the right way without leaving any annoying twists.
How to maintain Your Leather Camera Strap
Leather camera straps are not different in their care from other leather products. To keep their nice look and keep them operational, they need some caretaking. With a little time invested in this equipment, leather straps can easily last for a few decades.
For a more in-depth guide and overview of the process to maintain Your leather camera strap, Chris Gampat has a nice guide over at ThePhoblographer.
This guide is more dedicated to heavy users that wear the leather strap for a very long time and want to maintain its high quality. For regular photographers, here are some tips and ways to protect Your leather camera strap from wearing down and taking damage.
To begin with, make sure there aren’t any cuts or other damages in Your strap. Although leather is one of the strongest and materials for a camera strap, there is still some risk left that Your strap might take some damage during its use. To prevent Your expensive gear from falling, You should inspect the strap from time to time. If You discover any cuts, don’t try to patch it up on Your own and rather replace the strap right away or give it to an expert. Keep in mind that on the end of the strap is often gear worth more than a thousand dollars and You shouldn’t be careless with the “safety equipment”.
Using a leather strap during the rain doesn’t pose an extra risk. Leather is very durable even when used in this difficult conditions. It only becomes problematic when You are trying to dry the leather in an unnatural way. Avoid drying the leather by placing it near a heater or using a blow-dryer. This could result in the leather cracking and becoming unstable. Rather, let the leather dry naturally even if it may take some time.
For some additional care, I would recommend You to use some wax or oil which is specifically for leather to maintain its softness and durability. If You already have some wax for Your shoes or other leather products, You can apply these also to Your camera straps. In case You haven’t thought about some wax or oil, here is a natural wax from Otter Wax that helps to maintain Your strap for many years to come.
This custom kit includes everything that is necessary to maintain the high quality of Your leather product. From cleaning & conditioning to shine & protect, it will also help to revive older leather products of Yours.
Finally, make sure to store the leather straps in a dry, cool & shaded place, not facing the sun directly. With a little bit of care, the camera strap will last for decades and will become a part of Your photographer’s identity.