The Holdfast MoneyMaker is a household name among wedding photographers. The leather dual-camera system is well-loved for the comfortable camera carrying system that keeps two cameras ready to shoot. But, there are two cons to the popular leather strap: the price, and the leather’s inability to fold up small enough to easily tuck inside a bag. That’s where the HoldFast MoneyMaker Swagg dual-camera strap comes in. This cotton version of the popular strap system is almost half the price of the leather version. And the soft cotton means you can fold it to your heart’s content to toss into your camera bag.
When I switched to Fujifilm last year, I compensated for the smaller sensor by trading zooms for brighter prime lenses. This means I need to wear two cameras to be able to quickly switch focal lengths. I decided to try out HoldFast’s cotton version of the popular two-strap system. And here’s what I found.
Too Long; Didn’t Read
The HoldFast MoneyMaker Swagg dual-camera strap won’t have the lifespan of leather. But, the cotton strap is super soft and comfortable to wear, and it packs easily into a camera bag. It’s a great option for photographers who want to easily pack a strap, as well as creatives on a more limited budget.
Pros and Cons
- A comfortable way to carry two cameras
- Softer and lighter than leather
- Great color options
- Mostly metal hardware (excluding safety leash and length adjusting buckle)
- Folds easier than leather
- Won’t last as long as leather
- Still a little pricey
I used the Holdfast Camera Swagg dual camera strap with:
The Camera Swagg is the well-known MoneyMaker in canvas form. That’s the most significant innovation here: cotton. While cotton has long been a clothing favorite, most dual camera straps typically come in nylon or leather, not cotton. This material doesn’t dig into the shoulders like stiffer leather, yet it’s still comfortable. It also helps solve one of the cons of the leather Money Maker — it folds easy to tuck into a camera bag.
Holdfast lists the following features for the Camera Swagg:
- 100% cotton canvas
- Same hardware as the original MoneyMaker
- Metal D rings
- Safety straps
- One-year warranty
The Holdfast MoneyMaker Camera Swagg follows the same concept as the leather MoneyMaker, but with cotton straps instead of leather. The strap forms an X on your back, and then run over your shoulders and under the armpits. The cameras hang at waist level on each hip. A lot of harness systems will have a chest clip at the front. This strap doesn’t (and neither does the leather version), which makes the strap less confusing and easier to set up. But, it was still comfortable, and the straps didn’t slide around; I wasn’t worried about the straps slipping off my shoulders.
Holdfast says the straps on the MoneyMaker should sit about four inches under the armpits, with the camera anchor at waist level. I found this to be the most comfortable position for the cotton version as well. The straps stayed in place here, and I still had plenty of room to slide the camera up to comfortably reach my eye.
Unlike the original leather, the Holdfast Camera Swagg is one-size-fits-all. Two plastic clips at the back adjust the size. To tighten, unfold the buckle, pull the end of the strap, and close the clasp again two clicks. Then, repeat on the other side. A black wrap allows you to fold and tuck any extra strap length.
At the front, the strap has two D rings. Holdfast doesn’t have a matching third camera system to fit here like they do for the leather version. But, the company says photographers can add a third system by adding two extra camera leashes to each side (a whopping $2 each). The D rings are also fixed in place and don’t slide around like on some of the leather MoneyMakers.
On each side, a metal hook attaches a short length of straight strap to a metal clasp system. A pin pulls out of the clasp to release the camera. The pin pulls out pretty hard — I wasn’t worried about it coming out accidentally. It took a few tries at first, then it became pretty simple to remove the cameras from the clasp. The hook loops through a metal clip that twists into the tripod mount. This mount is about the size of a nickel, with a triangular metal hoop to attach the strap to.
Like the leather MoneyMaker, each camera clasp also has a safety leash. These leashes, which are $2 to replace, are nylon and plastic — not the same quality as the rest of the strap. The leashes loop through the metal ring on the strap and then clip to the strap holder on the left side of the camera. While it’s great to have a backup, I wish it were the same materials as the rest of the strap. I could even picture a leash that doubles as a wrist strap to use on quick shoots when you only want to carry one camera.
Overall, I found the MoneyMaker Swagg comfortable to wear. The straps put more weight on your shoulders than the back of your neck, which is more comfortable. It felt like I was carrying a camera, but it was much more comfortable than a neck strap. The softer cotton material stayed in place better than nylon options that I’ve tried, and the edges didn’t dig into my skin. The softer cotton also hugged my body a bit better than stiffer materials.
While cotton isn’t as luxurious as leather, I really liked the material of this strap. The cotton is softer than leather, and the strap hugged my curves rather than popping up where the strap tucks under the arm. The nylon straps that I’ve tried tend to slip around on the shoulders a bit, but this strap stayed in place well. There’s no shoulder pad here, but the material is so soft it’s not needed.
HoldFast says in the product description that the leather MoneyMaker is more robust and that leather lasts forever. The cotton feels pretty sturdy though; I haven’t noticed any wear in my short time with the strap so far. But, after some time, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some fraying where the metal slides up and down the strap. I’d expect it to last a few years at least — HoldFast has a one-year warranty for this strap. But, it doesn’t share leather’s potential to be an heirloom passed down to the next generation.
Cotton will soak up water. I don’t think wearing this strap in the rain will ruin it. But, if you wear this over a raincoat in the rain, then come inside, you’re not going to want to then put the wet strap on your t-shirt. I will have to find another option or go strapless to shoot in the rain if I want to stay dry for the wedding reception.
Ease of Use
Attaching your camera to this dual strap is simple. The Holdfast clips screw into the bottom of the camera. Then, you pull the pin out and clip the strap onto the screw-on clip. I had to refer to the pictures to add the safety strap. It attaches to the strap ring on the camera — put it on the left so it’s not getting in the way of your grip.
I’ve used a few dual camera straps before that were quite complicated to wear. Often, they remind me of putting a coat on my toddler. When I hold out a sleeve, he holds out the wrong arm. When I switch to the other sleeve, he switches to the other arm. Repeat for all of eternity.
Because there’s no chest strap or shoulder pads, the MoneyMaker Swagg is actually pretty simple to put on. It’s easy to tell front and back and right side out by looking for the buckles at the back and the little logo patch on the front. Just hold it up and put an arm through each loop. The most complicated part is just making sure the straps don’t twist.
The cameras will sit at about waist level. This, for me, is the hardest part to get used to — but is also the same experience for nearly every dual camera strap system. I got a lens full of snow because I forgot where my cameras were sitting when I knelt down to change out a lens. (This actually resulted in an idea of using snow instead of holding a prism up to my lens. So, win!) I will need to be conscious of this when weaving through chairs at a crowded wedding reception.
One of the biggest cons to the leather Holdfast is that it’s difficult to tuck into a camera bag. With the cotton straps, you can fold to your heart’s content. It’s still a long length of strap with metal buckles. But, I was able to wrap it up and fit it into a spot about the size of a short, telephoto prime lens inside my camera backpack. This packable design — along with the lower price — is one of the biggest advantages to choosing the cotton option over the leather. You’ll still need to remove the strap for the best fit and it will take up a lens slot in your bag, but it’s easier to tuck into a bag than a leather strap.
- The strap is very comfortable.
- The cotton material is softer, lighter, and more flexible than leather.
- I love the different color options.
- The hardware is metal.
- The strap folds easily to tuck in a camera bag.
- Cotton absorbs water and won’t last as long as leather.
- HoldFast’s more affordable MoneyMaker is still a bit pricey.
The Holdfast MoneyMaker Camera Swagg is a much more affordable option than leather dual camera straps. But, that’s not the only thing Swagg has going for it. The cotton material is softer and more flexible, so it hugs the body. It’s also easy to fold and tuck into a camera bag, which was one of our complaints about the leather version. The vegan leather MoneyMaker is softer than the original but is a bit difficult to tuck into a camera bag. The Skinny MoneyMaker also has some difficulty tucking into a camera bag.
The downside is that cotton doesn’t have the longevity of leather. The strap feels well built and I expect it to last several years. But, leather can last for decades. I will also have to use a different strap if I go out in the rain so that the Swagg will still be dry and ready for the wedding reception. It’s nearly half the price of the original MoneyMaker, but it’s more expensive than nylon straps.
The Holdfast MoneyMaker Camera Swagg is a great dual camera strap for photographers who want a soft, comfortable strap that easily tucks into a bag. I’m giving the Camera Swagg five out of five stars.