Review: Heavy Leather Classic Camera Strap

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Heavy Leather is an interesting brand that don’t manufacture your typical camera straps. For starters, they’ve jumped on the hand-crafted, American-made bandwagon that other companies like Holdfast Gear, TAP and DYE, A7, and Cub and Co have done–with much of them being manufactured here in NYC. Created by Rachel Becker in Brooklyn, NY, Heavy Leather straps originally was a company that designed beautiful leather straps for guitarists and bassists. And as a bassist of 14 years, I’d gladly wear one.

But then Ms. Becker got the idea to create camera straps–which are very different from guitar and bass straps. For instance, take their Classic strap. It’s an incredibly standard strap for the most part–but has a couple of interesting and subtle designs that make it flashier than most photographers would probably want it to be.

Pros and Cons

Pros

– Very comfortable

– Extremely durable

– Carabiner design makes it almost impossible for these straps to get tangled easily.

– Very soft interior

Cons

– Way too many shiny parts

– Wish that it had a bit of extra soft padding

Gear Used

We tested this strap out with the Canon 5D Mk II and Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art lens.

Tech Specs

Specs taken from the company’s listing.

Bottom leather: 2/3 oz cowhide

Top leather: 2/3 oz cowhide 2″ wide shoulder pad x 47″-52″ adjustable length

Side binding for maximum comfort Buckle adjustment –

Ergonomics

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Make no mistake, the Heavy Leather Classic strap is built incredibly tough. To begin, the exterior side of the strap is comprised of tough but smooth leather–almost like what you’d find from some boots in a store. Along the edges is stitching done to hold it all together. As you wrinkle the strap up, it gets a worn in look that you may digg providing you beat the hell out of it.

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The Classic strap’s interior side features very soft, pebbled leather along with the company’s logo branded on the inside. It’s not only very nice to the touch, but surprisingly comfortable for something that otherwise looks so ruggedized.

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The strap’s connections are many: but to begin, we’re going to talk about these little carabiners (or at least that’s what we’re going to call them.) They’re a very smart addition that we questioned at first but the point of them is to make sure that the strap never gets tangled up as they twist in full 360 degrees. Personally, we think that they would look better in bronze instead of silver.

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The strap also has other little button securities that continue to add to its swagger. Again, we think that bronzing or even making the strap buckles bronze with black paint over them (so that they show the wear over time) would have been a better aesthetic choice. Furthermore, it would keep the attention away from your camera a bit more.

Build Quality

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As we stated before, these straps are built very well. They take influence from guitar straps–and guitars are much heavier. The 360 degree twisting hook/carabiners are a great addition that help a lot with the strap when the camera is stored in a bag.

When we first received the strap, it required us to bend it a bit to become more comfortable and pliable to work with–more so than with other straps. Granted, we have to expect that from a company named Heavy Leather.

Ease of Use

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Attaching the strap to the camera is perhaps the toughest part depending on what type of camera you have and what type of O rings that you’re using. If you’ve got one with triangle rings, then you can simply just use the hooks on the strap. If you’re using a more typical DSLR, then it’ll require you to enlist the help of a friend with longish and strong nails to work with the split ring. But otherwise, we again love the twisting hooks/carabiners.

Comfort

Despite how tough looking the straps are, they’re surprisingly comfortable. Part of this is because of the pebbled leather interior. But the straps could have indeed been made more comfortable. Also pictured in some of these photos is the company’s Slingshot strap. This strap has significantly more padding because it is designed to work in a similar way to a Black Rapid strap. That padding should be added to the classic, but done in a way that will allow clothing to breathe when walking around during hot summer days.

Conclusions

Likes

– Lots of comfort and durability

– Pretty stylish, but geared towards the heavy metal rocker type (concert photographers may appreciate this)

Dislikes

– Expensive at $95, but worth the craftsmanship and Rachel’s time

– We could use that extra padding ASAP.

Heavy Leather hasn’t been making camera straps for a long time, but their offerings are quite a great first attempt. They look nice, and surely feel nice, but they’re very specialized even for the discerning photographer. We strongly recommend them for concert shooters. What we’d really love to see is a much thinner version for mirrorless cameras.

four-star-Phoblographer-Star-rating

The Heavy Leather Classic Camera Strap gets a four out of five star rating. Want one? Check their website for availability.

Recommended Cameras

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Canon 5D Mk III: The Mk III is a great concert camera with its revamped autofocus abilities. But the camera’s weight is also a reason to get a more rugged strap like this one.

Nikon Df: The Df’s retro looks will suit the design of this strap very well.