There are camera straps of all types. In the past decade and a half, we’ve seen the most innovation that we’ve ever seen. Camera straps are important for all types of photographers. And yes, everyone needs them. So we’re diving into the various types of camera straps available, hoping that you find the right one for you. Plus, we’ll let you know why you need one.
Table of Contents
Why You Need a Camera Strap to Begin With
Yes, you need a camera strap. Don’t tell me that your camera anchors are enough. They’re not, especially if you’re a passionate photographer doing this as a hobby.
We’re going to quote from this article we wrote a while back:
“If you’ve ever seen photographers doing on-stage demos, lots don’t use camera straps. I can tell you from experience that this is a terrible move. We’ve been testing cameras and lenses for 12 years, and there have been accidents. I have been on the receiving end of them. There’s nothing more gut-wrenching than watching a camera slip out of your hand, hit the concrete floor, and keep rolling. Camera straps are like seat belts. And it’s mandatory for our reviews team to use them.
Even if you’re the type to use an anchor of some sort or a tripod, you can never be too sure. Lots of folks complain that good camera straps are too expensive. But they cost a lot less money than a repair, a rental, and the time you’ll spend waiting for the camera to come back from the shop. If you have insurance, the plan may not necessarily want to pay for the repair. This is especially the case if you happen to be off-site.
In summary, it’s just cheaper to buy a good camera strap.”
Types of Camera Straps
There are primarily four types of camera straps. We’re going to talk about them and the types of photographers that should get each.
Sling camera straps are relatively new and really started to make their way out into the scene just before 2010. They’re defined more or less by a company called Black Rapid and all the fantastic work they’ve been doing for years. Sling camera straps aren’t stylish, but they’re very functional. Photojournalists, wedding photographers, sports photographers, and wildlife shooters will like sling camera straps the most. These straps are defined by having a long strap that can hang down by your waist. Then there is a large ring connected to your camera or lens that can quickly flow from your waist to your eye.
Imagine, if you will, the romanticized idea of the Wild West and the quickdraw. That’s where this idea sort of comes from.
Admittedly, we haven’t reviewed one of these in years. But essentially, you can’t go wrong with anything from Black Rapid. They technically defined the segment. However, Holdfast Gear also has the Money Maker Solo that we liked. Practically speaking, the vegan leather variants might be the best ones.
The harness strap is more or less the standard for wedding photographers. Wedding photographers need to have two camera on them at all times. However, they’re also not always bringing their bags with them. So, the harness system works best because it fits around you like a backpack and lets you just go ahead and shoot. They’re incredibly comfortable and save your back during a long day of shooting.
The best one I’ve tested is the Holdfast Gear Vegan Leather Money Maker strap. Reviewer Brittany Smith agrees with me about that. If you want a harness system camera strap, you’re not going to beat Holdfast Gear. Other brands have tried, but they’re not nearly as good. Reviews Editor Hillary Grigonis likes the Camera Swagg variants.
A neck strap is a very specific type of strap. This is the one for vintage enthusiasts. Typically, they’re short and made of either leather, canvas, nylon, or some other sort of material. But the key here is that they’re short because the neck strap lets you keep the camera in the center of your chest, ready to shoot. They’re a very old design. Personally, I’m not a fan of these, but I like using a neck strap like the Field work Co slim leather strap, which I keep attached to my QL17. These straps are really meant for lightweight cameras, otherwise they’ll hurt after a while and wear on your posture.
Meet my favorite type of camera strap! The cross-body strap is designed to be a combination of a bunch of different ones. You typically wear them from one shoulder down to the waist on the opposite side. I’m a journalist and prefer to use them this way, but anyone can appreciate this style. It’s very secure. Consider this like a neck strap but super long. There’s usually some sort of extra support around the shoulder area to provide extra comfort.
You know how a neck strap is a shorter crossbody strap? Well, a wrist strap is even shorter. It’s designed to go around your wrist. The good ones have extra padding and find a way to keep your body cool because you can control your heat through the thin skin of your wrist. They’re best with lightweight camera setups. If your camera or lens are too heavy, it can hurt your joints. Take that advice from a guy that’s done it with big, heavy Sigma lenses.