Photographers who like backpacks have typically reached for the Peak Design Capture Clip, but if you want a camera strap instead, the Ponte Leather Co. Camera Lift Strap is looking to capture your heart. Made of Canvas, a bit of leather, and some chrome buttons, this camera strap is more stylish than your typical run of the mill strap but still can’t hold a candle to the gorgeous offerings of 4V Design, Tap and Dye, Cub and Co, ONA, Hawkesmill and to some point Holdfast Gear. The camera strap, which we reported on a while back during its Kickstarter phase, is out now and we got some times to really test it out.
The Camera Lift is designed to keep the weight of the camera off of your neck. While it makes the weight distribution a bit easier to handle, it’s not exactly holding true to its promise.
Ponte Leather’s website has all the information you possibly need. But here are some of the tidbits.
We tested the Ponte Leather Co. Camera Lift Strap with the Vinta S series backpack, the Canon EOS 33 SLR and the Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art.
The Ponte Leather Co. Camera Lift Strap is comprised of a few key parts: the strap, the clip, and the attachments. My version came in a pretty nice blue color that I’d rate as looking nice but not exactly the most stylish camera strap out there. Indeed, the photos that we were shown on Kickstarter made the strap look better.
The Ponte Leather Co. Camera Lift Strap comes with a variety of ways to connect to your camera. If you’ve got the Canon style strap connectors, you can do it that way. Otherwise, id you’ve got the more Fujifilm/Nikon/Sony style then you can use attachments to do it that way instead. Either way though, these all make the strap pretty adjustable.
Adjustment is done just like most other camera straps, just by pulling the loops and securing them. For most photographers simply stepping up to a new strap at the cost of $35, this isn’t bad at all.
The overall build quality of the Ponte Leather Co. Camera Lift Strap isn’t so bad. I honestly wish that there were more padding as that would make the fact that the weight is attempted to be taken off of my shoulders a bit more sensical but in turn the weight just goes onto my shoulders in addition to my backpack and with a bit of it going onto my neck.
And here’s where I get really into it.
Ease of Use
The Ponte Leather Co. Camera Lift Strap comes with a visual and legible instruction guide. You’re supposed to ensure that the clips are laying flat and that the clip is around the top handle of your camera bag. As the strap hangs, the camera acts as a counterweight with the clips holding onto the handle. So therefore more of the weight is theoretically transferred to your shoulders and not to your neck. In order to actually make this work, you need a very low hanging backpack–which isn’t good for your back. My Vinta hugs my body pretty well and is perhaps the single most comfortable backpack I’ve ever used. Part of this has to do with the padding on the straps. When the backpack was hanging lower, more of the effect came into play but with more of that weight transferring harder to my shoulders in addition to the weight of the backpack. With that said, it could probably work if you’ve got something like a JanSport bag, but not much else.
Unfortunately what happens in real life is that the Ponte Leather Co. Camera Lift Strap ends up having the leather area of the clip system rub against your back and the back of your neck–therefore making it pretty uncomfortable to use unless you’re wearing a jacket the way I am. For the optimal comfort, you should bring the camera up a bit higher and make the strap overall smaller. But then, you honestly just look like every other tourist walking around a city.
Now, it wasn’t just my that felt it was uncomfortable. Former Phoblographer staffers Michelle Rae Uy and Kevin Lee both hung out with me in Williamsburg this past weekend and neither of them thought that this looked comfortable. Both have moved on and are respected editors at other publications. But if three editors are in agreement, then that can’t be good. I’m personally more of a person that will want to sling a strap cross body or wrap it around my wrist. Because of the leather clip system, I can’t even do that well. And when I sling it around one shoulder, the leather tends to rub into my skin since it’s a bit rough around the edges.
The Ponte Leather Co. Camera Lift Strap looked very good in theory but in practice, quite honestly fails very hard.
The Ponte Leather Co. Camera Lift Strap receives two out of five stars. I’m seriously not a fan, and I feel bad for the Kickstarter backers; however, you didn’t really lose a whole lot of money hopefully.