One thing that had always bothered me about most cameras you can buy today is the neck strap in the box. I've always found it isn't up to scratch. It isn't wide or padded enough for my needs especially with heavy old film cameras and starts cutting into my shoulder very quickly.
The worst thing about your camera's strap is it's guaranteed to have the camera's make and model in massive letters all over it, which at best is meant to give you camera envy, at worst it is free advertising for muggers to come and lynch you.
Most of the time, when I do use the camera strap that came with the camera it ends up getting wound around my wrist in a large ball as I want to feel my camera is safe from being dropped and I don't want the strap getting in front of the lens.
So what is the solution? Here are just a few of the pros and cons of three of the alternatives out there:
OP/TECH Wrist Strap
I have a couple of the OP/TECH straps for my film cameras and DSLR. There are a couple of reasons why I would recommend them to most photographers:
- The straps have a simple buckle system that means you can change the strap on your camera really easily and back on a whim.
- The padded part and the wrist strap is made of neoprene which gives under the weight of a heavy camera which is unnerving, but so far it has never failed yet. I always keep one hand on my camera anyway just in case.
- The OP/TECH straps are quite cheap and as it is a modular system you can just buy/replace the bits you need.
Opteka Camera Grip Strap
There are a number of companies making these straps that all look the same and just fit through the top right camera strap ring and then screw into the tripod socket which forms a loop around the back of your hand while holding the camera. I bought one of these and was probably persuaded by the word "pro" in the title, but there are a number of reasons I couldn't see a "pro" using one and wouldn't really recommend one to amateurs either except for the fact they are relatively cheap.
- There is not enough room for your hand to move and get to the buttons you need without feeling restricted by the strap. This can be inconvenient and even painful because the strap doesn't allow for natural changes of hand position depending on what you are doing.
- The strap covers up the tripod socket. It has a replacement one on the bottom of a plate which attaches to the base of the camera, but it just isn't sturdy enough and allows for a bit of wobble. Taking the strap off to get to your camera's tripod socket is a pain that makes the product feel badly designed.
- The plate mentioned above is quite thick plastic and may have a lip to stop it from moving about under your camera. However, the straps are generic so the lip won't be contoured to fit your particular camera. In my case, it meant that the plate was angled slightly off and felt like it might end up scratching the camera with prolonged use.
- The grip is only useful while you have your hand in it. You have nothing to hang your camera on or give you piece of mind if you don't want to hold your camera as if you are shooting with it. Just getting money out of your wallet is a pain while you are using one of these.
Black Rapid Sport Strap
I have had my eye on one of these for a while. They are a bit more pricy than other straps but have a good reputation.
- They are well made and have a unique design.
- The camera is attached to the strap by a free floating link which screws into the tripod socket. I'm not a fan of using up the socket as one of the existing camera strap lugs should be strong enough really.
- The camera can move freely on the strap which frees you up more but could mean the camera is less secure and easier to get banged on something.
- If you ever worry about the weather, one of these could be used under a coat easily and hide your camera from the elements.
- If you are worried about if your camera will fall off, there is a clip that goes around the metal ring to keep it secure.
- I wouldn't hang my biggest lenses off this strap as the point of balance would be wrong. I would also worry about having my camera dangling off the strap in case it got hit by something or just rubbed on my clothes.
Have you found any make of strap that works better or looks nicer than the one that came with your camera? If so, please share it in the comments.