Review: Tap and Dye Nero Horween CXL Camera Strap

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tap and Dye Horween CXL Camera Strap product images (1 of 8)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 1.4

In the past couple of years, Tap and Dye has made some incredible straps that age well and provide lots of durability while adding flair to your camera. With the Nero, however, it seems like they’ve outdone themselves. When the company first started, they were developing wrist straps that were arguably uncomfortable though totally secure and well built. Then they started to create new straps with different leather and with different styles. The Nero uses Horween Chromexcel leather and builds on the years that Justin (the company’s founder) has put into their creation and development.

And in many ways, this has to be the best strap that we’ve ever tested.

Pros and Cons

Pros

– Very soft to the touch both on the exterior and interior

– Very strong; can hold a full sized DSLR with a heavy prime lens with no issues

– Simple to attach

– Doesn’t leave that large of a sweat band across your chest when bike riding, hiking, or out and about on a warm day.

Cons

– Very expensive at $168

Gear Used

We tested the Nero Horween Chromexcel with the Canon 6D, Canon 5D MK II and Fujifilm Instax Mini 90

Tech Specs

Taken from the site’s listing of the product

Chromexcel is characterized by a rich pull-up in full aniline, hand rubbed finishes.  Made to this day with old world craftsmanship, modern Chromexcel carries on a long history of superior comfort and durability. Chromexcel is still produced here in the United States using a bark retannage from a proprietary recipe and then genuine hot stuffed with a secret blend of natural oils and greases.

  • Each leather camera strap is made from Full Grain, Horween Chromexcel leather for a softer, comfortable fit and feel.
  • Each strap can be stitched with your choice of Black or Red thread
  • Strap thickness is 7/8 oz and width is 5/8″ Neckpad measures 1.5″ wide x 15″ long
Compatible Cameras: 
Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tap and Dye Horween CXL Camera Strap product images (2 of 8)ISO 4001-30 sec at f - 2.8
  • Each strap is compatible will ALL ROUND – LUG strap mounts: Film SLRs, DSLRs, Rangefinders, Micro 4/3, Mirrorless systems.
  • Canon FILM SLR: Canon AE-1, AV-1, EF, AT-1, Canonet models
  • Canon DSLRs: 50D, 60D, 7D, 6D, 7D Mark II, 5D, 5D Mark II/III, 1D series
  • Contax G1, Contax G2
  • Minolta FILM : MInolta SRT 200/201, Minolta XE7, Minolta XG1, Minolta XG-M, Minolta XD7, Minolta XD11, MInolta XD5,  Minolta Hi-Matic Rangefinder
  • Nikon FE, FE2, FM, FM2, F100, F3, F2, FM2N, F6
  • Nikon Df, D300/s, D700, D200, D3, D3S, D3X, D4, D800/E, D7000, D600, D610
  • Nikon 1 Compact: V1, V2, Coolpix P7800
  • Olympus Micro 4/3: EP1, EP2, EP3, EPL-5, OMD-EM 5, E-PM 1, E-PM 2, OMD-EM1
  • Leica M2, M3, M4, M5, M6, M7, M8, M9, MP
  • Sony A7, Sony A7R, Sony RX1, Sony NEX 6, NEX 5R, NEX 7,
  • Fuji X-T1, X-E1, X-E2, X100, X100S/T, X-Pro 1, X10, X20
  • Panasonic LUMIX: DMC-GH2, GH3
  • Voigtlander Bessa M Rangefinders: RM2, RM3, RM4

Ergonomics

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tap and Dye Horween CXL Camera Strap product images (8 of 8)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 2.8

The Tap and Dye Nero Horween Chromexcel is a camera strap that is really and truly like no other. Yes, it’s expensive, but man do you seriously get what you pay for. We start our ergonomic tour with the top of the strap where you see the Tap and Dye Logo along with the shoulder pad. This isn’t really much of a pad, but with lighter mirrorless cameras or DSLRs it won’t affect your shoulder too much. The important thing is that it provides comfort while also letting your skin breathe. In addition, it isn’t like having a pillow on your shoulder just for your camera.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tap and Dye Horween CXL Camera Strap product images (6 of 8)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 2.8

The pad isn’t adjustable, and instead meets the straps with these sewings. The connection feels durable and if you keep tugging on it you won’t feel any give.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tap and Dye Horween CXL Camera Strap product images (5 of 8)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 2.8

On the underside of the strap, you’ll find a softer and more textured leather. This provides some grip onto your shirt but at time it’s too much grip–indeed, sliding the camera into shooting position can sometimes be tough because of this.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tap and Dye Horween CXL Camera Strap product images (7 of 8)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 2.8

To connect the strap, you’ll deal with some serious split rings, but nowhere as tough to work with as the originals that he used years ago.

Build Quality

NERO_Handstitch1

Justin makes all of these straps by hand in Queens, NY, just so you know that they’re not being manufactured in China. Instead, a single human being tries to keep up with the demand each day.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tap and Dye Horween CXL Camera Strap product images (3 of 8)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 2.8

For what it’s worth, the strap feels incredible and is super durable while maintaining a soft to the touch aesthetic. It’s a work of art, and you realize this from the moment that you take it out of the packaging.

Ease of Use

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tap and Dye Horween CXL Camera Strap product images (4 of 8)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 2.8

The Tap and Dye Horween Chromexcel strap is simple to attach to your camera as long as you’ve got finger nails, thumb power and patience. Once it’s on properly though, you’ll enjoy the security that it offers.

In real life use, the strap didn’t leave any significant sweat marks across button down shirts in NYC’s hot summer (we basically skipped spring) while still providing lots of comfort. But the interior can be quite clingy and you’ll have to use a bit more oomph to slide the camera to your eye. The reason for this is because of the fixed length.

When wrapped around the wrist, you’ll have very little issues with comfort but your wrists are sure to heat up quickly.

Conclusions

The-Phoblographer-Editor's-Choice-Award-Logo

There are certain readers that ask us why we geek out about straps so much. If you only knew how many more comments and emails we receive asking about what strap or bag we’re using in specific product images, you’d be surprised. There surely is a market out there that cares about aesthetics beyond what trolls living under a bridge conceal themselves with, and there are folks who aspire to get on that level.

It feels odd giving a camera strap an Editor’s Choice rating, but such a beautifully made product surely deserves it. The Nero is not only beautiful. It’s comfortable, durable and may be the single camera strap that you’ll want to hold onto no matter what camera you’ve got in your hand.

Sure, it’s expensive; and we will fully admit the Tap and Dye did this as a freebie as are many products on this site. But we’ve been at the point where freebies don’t cloud our judgement. Would I purchase this strap? Absolutely, in a heartbeat.

As I go through my closet and look at shirts for meetings or going out when I’ve got my camera around me, I always think about sweat and how it will be affected by the strap. The last thing that I want is a client staring at this giant sweat band across my chest caused by a strap.

Phoblographer-Star-rating

We rate the Tap and Dye Nero Horween Chromexcel strap with five out of five stars along with our Editor’s Choice award. Only go for this strap if you want to pay this kind of money for fashion, comfort, durability and never needing another strap again.