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Review: Lance Camera Straps

by Mike Pouliot on 11/28/2012

Like camera bags, photographers have a million choices when it comes to camera straps. There are wrist straps, slings, holsters, traditional neck straps, harnesses, belt systems and probably a few more that I haven’t seen yet. Once you have identified the style you want, it can be tough to find “the one” as most strap makes take a “one size fits all” approach. But Lance, over at Lance Camera Straps, has taken a slightly different approach.

 

About Lance Camera Straps…

Instead of producing a one size/color fits all straps, Lance Camera Straps gives the buyer complete control over the buying experience. You pick the style, color, accent rings and length and Lance creates a one-of-a-kind strap just for you. Want a red strap that is 40″ long and has blue accents? Not a problem. Are you larger than the average person and you’d like some extra length on your strap? Go ahead and order up a 70″ strap.  And for those of you that may not be sure exactly what you want, Lance has straps with “standard” lengths to choose from. And the best part is, there is no extra charge for custom orders. Gotta love that!

All straps (neck and wrist) are hand made in the USA of premium polyester cord and come with either OD ring or quick connect loops. The quick connect loops are great for those that may want to switch between a wrist strap and a neck strap. Regardless of the type of connector you choose, all connectors are hand spliced into the cord. Lance then adds the colored O-rings to the end of the traps for additional security. The result is an extremely secure connection point. Check Lance’s site for some torture tests he has done to prove how strong his straps are.

Below are the standard lengths offered by Lance:

  • Wrist straps: 8″ length
  • Fixed length neck straps: 36″, 48″ and 60″
  • Adjustable Neck Strap: 36″-60″

Look and Feel

All products are shipped in a handsome box with a Lance Camera Straps tag attached. When I first took the strap out of the box, I was surprised at the thickness and weight of the cord, this is some pretty heavy duty material. These straps can easily support a heavy DSLR with lens…I think your shoulder will break before this strap fails. The cord is a little stiff but I’m sure it will break in over time.

All products offered by Lance are made from a premium polyester cord that is pretty thick at 8mm. Honestly, it is a bit overkill for a small camera like the Olympus OM-D but I guess it is better to be safe than sorry. Like I said earlier, these straps will hold a heavy DSLR without issue. If you do have a heavy setup, you may want to look into some after market pads as this strap may become uncomfortable after extended use without some padding. The other option is to consider the adjustable strap as this is two straps that are connected together. Distributing the weight of your gear over two straps may be more comfortable.

In Use

I wanted a fixed length strap for my GF-1 and the adjustable strap for the OM-D. I wasn’t sure about the length for the fixed length strap as 48″ sounded too short and 60″ sounded way too long. Lance recommended I just split the difference and go with 54″ which was an excellent suggestion. I prefer to carry my GF-1 bandolier style (across my chest) so the extra length ended up being great but if I were to order the strap again, I think I would go with the full 60″. If you are a tall-ish person (say around 6′ or more) or you like to wear your straps across your chest, I recommend going for the big boy (60″ strap).

My best side.

Up until I sold my Canon 5D (just a few weeks ago), I always used hand straps when I was out shooting. I hated having the weight of the camera around my neck and I just liked to have the camera in my hand, ready to use at all times. Now that I’ve sold all of my DSLR gear and I’m exclusively using a Micro Four Thirds it, I prefer to simply sling the camera across my body as it weighs next to nothing. With these straps, the camera falls right at my hip so all I have to do is grab my camera and quickly bring it up to my eye.

Fixed Length Strap

Let me start with the fixed length strap. This strap looks awesome in all black, I highly recommend a black-on-black color scheme. The fixed black strap has lived on my GF-1 since the day I got it and I think it will stay there permanently. Shooting with this strap was great. I slung it around my body and pushed it around to my back so it would be bouncing off of my hip. This worked well as I just had to reach down to the back of my hip to pull the camera up. Because the straps are made with premium polyester cord, the strap simply glides across your clothing as you pull the camera around. The mounting lugs on the GF-1 are on the thin side so the rings do get hung up on occasion. If your camera doesn’t have a decent sized mounting point, you may want to opt for the quick release option.

Adjustable Strap

The adjustable strap is an interesting option as it allows you to have a custom strap on the fly. Essentially, it is two straps that are connected together with a loop on one end and a mounting ring on the other. The straps are then run through each other’s open loops and held together with rubber bands. It’s not overly complicated, but it works! The adjustable strap is more expensive, but being able to dial in the exact length may be worth the additional money for some users. Overall, I thought that this strap performed well. It held the OM-D with Panasonic 25mm f/1.4 without issue and I was able to dial in the strap to several different lengths. However, I did have a few small gripes with the adjustable strap. I wouldn’t necessarily call them faults because there is a plus to each, but I wanted to mention them within the review:

  1. If you wear the strap across your ches, the rubber bands that are used to hold the two straps together can get caught on your clothing when you attempt to pull the camera up to your eye. When they do get caught, it can be rather difficult to get your camera up to eye level. The up side of this is that the strap does not slide around when you are walking. I found that if you pull the strap away from your body a bit with one hand while you are grabbing your camera with the other, it often prevents the strap from getting caught on your clothing.
  2. The strap is very easy to adjust when you are not wearing the camera, but if you want to make a large adjustment (say more than a few inches) while you are wearing the camera, it is VERY difficult to do without looking like you are being attached by a swarm of bees. I was twisting all around and swinging the camera back and forth…it was quite the scene. I believe this goes back to the rubber bands again but I don’t find this to be a deal breaker. Just make sure you may any large adjustments to the strap before you sling it around your body.

Conclusion

While I would like to see some additional options from Lance in the future (e.g. thinner cord straps for smaller cameras, plastic coated connector rings, etc.), I think these are excellent straps and I would definitely recommend them to anyone looking for a non-traditional camera strap. The straps are made of quality material and the workmanship is topnotch. You will be hard pressed to find another strap maker that will let you choose the color and length of your strap, especially at this price point.

I think the fixed length strap will work for most shooters but the adjustable strap is also an excellent option for those that may want to use the strap in may different ways or with different products. The fixed length cord it smaller and lighter and is more manageable when using a smaller/lighter kit.

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