Review: The Best Leather Camera Straps

Chances are you probably landed here after searching Google for leather camera straps, great camera straps or leather wrist straps.

Well you gorgeous person with excellent tastes, you're in the right place!

(Note: This review was last updated 17th June 2017)

Shoulder straps come in such a multitude of prices, styles, materials and colours. Leather camera straps, fabric camera straps, retro camera straps, etc… It can all be a little overwhelming.

Well I'm here first to save you money and help you make the right decision.

I make no revenue from these reviews so I recommend what I truly love.

If you follow my advice you'll buy the longer lasting strap instead of one that'll let you down at the first hurdle.

An issue with reviews you can find online is that people test the strap for a day or two but do not tell you how the strap stands the test of time. I have all the time in the world to review them and that results in honest reviews.

Until quite recently my favourite leather camera strap was the chocolate coloured leather A7 NYC "Lincoln" camera strap. I had the strap for 3 years and it aged beautifully. Unfortunately holes in the leather where the metal bits secure the whole strap have gradually enlarged and now don't support the camera anymore, it's become unsafe to use it which means I cannot recommend it anymore. It kinda sucks when a strap like that costs over 100 quid, plus I thought the leather was particularly amazing.

The Sony A7RII costs quite a bit so I'm after straps that I can trust. Simple enough isn't it?

Since I've been given the chance to try out all these beauties it made me realise that competition is fierce in the camera strap industry! Everyone with good taste wants his/her camera to look sexy. 

When buying a camera, all come out of the box with a standard camera strap with a big inscription such as Canon, Nikon, etc… Not cool.

I mean... you and your Leica, Fuji, Sony, etc... deserve better when out and about shooting urban photography like I do or whatever it is you shoot!

So let’s get down to business, burn this horror of a "out-of-the-box" strap and look for something a little more stylish.

After-all, camera manufacturers don't give you a discount for advertising their brand do they?!



There are a few things to look for when choosing a strap. For example:

  • not very well thought out metal buckles close to the camera body which will in time slightly wear out / damage your camera. Especially when shoved in and out of a bag 20 times a day. Look out for sharp edges and AVOID.
  • excessive rigidity of the leather will mean (until it softens anyway) impractical use and the strap getting in your way when holding your camera in awkward positions.
  • the ease of use. I favour straps that are easy to attach and remove as you won't always want to use one.
  • the ergonomics and comfort around the neck. Is there any padding, is it so thin it will cut through your skin after prolonged use? 

OK so here are the leather camera straps I put to the test for those of you who like to shoot in style and comfort. Please note they are all so good that it was very hard to choose which is best. My overall favourites tend to be from Tap & Dye, Hawkesmill, Roberu and Angelo Pelle for the prime leather they use.

 


1 – Roberu

In my top favourite and an ideal camera strap for the Sony A7RII or other mirroless cameras.

From Japan, the Roberu leather factory produces a very attractive range of leather camera straps which scream “quality”. The leather is really beautiful and I mean in a way that makes you think "these guys know a lot about leather".  I would say being a little thinner that they are better suited for mirrorless and compact cameras than the heavier DSLRs.

I love pretty much all of their straps. They never get in the way of a good shot and are as comfortable as it get without being too big.

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2 - Hawkesmill Camera Straps:

Hawkesmill is a British leather camera strap and camera bag maker. And you know what? That's a rare thing. We just don't have enough of these here in the UK and I prefer to support our local industry if I feel their product is superior, which it is in this case. If you want quality you can trust, look no further. Yes quality does have a cost but I reckon it's an investment since a Hawkesmill strap will last you forever.

Read my full Hawkesmill strap review HERE


3 – Heavy Leather NYC:

The Vintage Brown Slingshot strap is rock & roll dude!

An instant classic and the perfect camera strap for mirrorless cameras or DSLRs.

One thing I look for is when I lift my camera to take a shot, how does the strap behave? Does it get in the way? Many are so rigid that you're left with two bits of leather hanging in the air when you raise your camera to your eye.

Heavy Leather NYC haven't gone for the conventional attachment. Nope, instead the strap screws under the body where you'd normally attach the camera to your tripod (And if you're thinking "Well what if I want to use my tripod?" the answer is... you really shouldn't use a strap on a tripod!). This means the strap never gets in your way. It does however prompt the question: "What if it unscrews itself?". A back-up safety catch could be the answer and something Heavy Leather NYC may wish to consider.

It's the easiest strap to detach through the use of a simple carabiner (you know...these locking thingies climbers use), and trust me, there'll be many occasions when you'll want to not have a strap attached. 

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Another very original idea is to include a business card holder in the strap, because we all know that it's usually when we need them that we forget them! (Although I've got doubts the business card would not get bent)

And finally, it's incredibly comfortable, feels just right, it's very well made, rugid and will make you look like the rock star you know you are... deep inside (Heavy Leather NYC made guitar straps for the likes of rock legend Lemmy from Motorhead R.I.P.)


4 – The Money Maker Camera Strap by Hold Fast Leather Goods

The odd one out but in a positive way and one not to miss. More of a dual camera harness as you can attach more than one camera (useful for professionals). With names including The Water Buffalo, American Bison and Southern Charm, these will make you look like an uber hip cowboy except you're shooting people with your camera, not guns! Designed as a dual strap it means you can attach not just one but two cameras, one on each hip! Pow Pow! 

First impressions matter and Hold Fast understand that. The packaging and branding are excellent and as soon as the strap is out it feels fantastic and luxurious. It's damn heavy but in a cool way and it feels like it could last a lifetime. Figuring out how to put it on is a bit of a mission at first but there are straight forward instructions included!

Oh..and again, they've gone for attachment under the camera where the tripod mount is but this time with the added feature of a backup safety catch which Heavy Leather NYC lack. 

Remember to choose the right size as it's based on your built/height.

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5 - Angelo Pelle

Now these are really amazing! Why not head to my dedicated review of Angelo Pelle camera straps? Also considered in my top 5 all time straps.


6 – Tanner Goods

What I really like about this adjustable camera strap is the fact it’s obviously of great craftsmanship and extremely easy to attach/detach (I just hate sitting there trying to remove some annoying camera strap).

Using a combination of 2 leathers, it’s not just a strap of leather, it's a... beautiful strap of leather! Really fit for all sorts of cameras from the smaller mirrorless to the slightly heavier ones such as the A7RII and all the way up to DSLRs. It’s very comfortable and soft, very well designed and again, minimal use of metal which reduces the risk to the camera body when in contact.

My only less positive observation, after a day shooting a wedding, is the fact it lack grip slightly when on the shoulder and it gets a little annoying after a whole day. Maybe Tanner Goods could consider adding reversed leather or a slightly more gripping material beneath?

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7 – ONA

ONA is getting a lot of attention these days mostly with their overly expensive leather camera bags that aren't actually that well made / finished. I say overly pricey as I have one and the stitching is far from perfect and one of the rivets is also seriously off-centre. They are however worth mentioning.

ONA also sells The Presidio camera strap which comes in a very exclusive packaging and looks pretty damn good. Available in 5 colours, I tested the rich and eye catching "Antique Cognac" (pictured below) but eventually gave it away as it wasn't for me.

The neckline is padded with neoprene which provides a very comfortable shooting experience but at the same time it's not very flexible and just a bit awkward compared to others.

After months of testing I have decided this is not quite a strap for me. I find the difference of thickness between the thin bit and the thick bit around the neck just a bit odd. Nice strap but I wouldn't buy it.

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8 – Tap & Dye

I love Tap & Dye, easily in my top 5.

With them you can buy with your mind at rest. Another passionately handcrafted leather camera strap which immediately tells you the best materials have been used and boy it does look the part. The Legacy I got to try (picture below) is maybe a little thin for my taste as I like wider straps but the leather is soooo extremely soft that I can say it makes shooting with it a very enjoyable experience. A variety of lengths are available too. It's also good to know each strap is handmade by Justin the owner. A lot of pride goes into each strap.

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9 – Figosa leather camera straps

Figosa is a European leather strap company, Italian to be more precise! These simple handmade camera straps are the perfect example that less is more. These are really only suited for small mirrorless and compact cameras though. One thing I particularly like is that it’s one of the rare leather straps that comes without metal buckles since it's fixed length, which means no potential damage or scratches to the camera body.

Although the one I tested was a fixed length (reasonably priced at £40 (ex shipping), choice of 4 colours) there is an adjustable model too. The downside is I don't find the thin strap so comfy, but pretty sure it will soften up with time though and it's cheap as chips.

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10 – A7 NYC

UPDATE: This was for 3 years my favourite. But after extensive use, the holes (in the leather used to secure the camera) enlarged and don't do a good job at fastening the strap anymore. For that reason it cannot be a recommended strap anymore. 

I also have some issues with a newer (more expensive) model I received, The Morgan. The leather is a lot more rigid, wayyyy too rigid, and sadly the metal buckles have sharp edges which have immediately worn out / damaged my camera which is something I recommend A7 should look at in the near future (I don’t mind changing a strap but my camera is here to stay).

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That's it, now you have a shortlist but do have a quick look at what I achieve with a more comfy and efficient strap!

The Great Londoners

Minimal Urban Photography

...then of course head off to their individual websites to find out more and take the plunge... you won't regret it, I sure didn't.

Prefer wrist straps? Head to my review of the Best Leather Camera Wrist Straps!