Camera Straps: Best choice from BlackRapid and Barton1972

Posted on by Mike Evans

I have a thing about camera straps. I almost never use the straps that come with cameras; they are often an afterthought, the adjustment is poor and bits of strap are left dangling from the plastic adjusters. As always, there is a better way.

One of the main reasons I hate standard straps is that they are intended for hanging a camera round the neck so that it bounces around on the chest or stomach. It looks silly and it isn’t near ideal for effective camera use.

I much prefer to have a longer strap that can go over my left shoulder so that the camera sits on my right hip. Few standard straps are long enough for this, but my favourite for a hefty DSLR is Black Rapid’s RS–4 Classic. This strap fixes to the tripod mount under a camera and allows the device to dangle upside down on the hip. It may seem a little odd, but it is by far the best way of carrying a large camera and lens while having it instantly ready for action.

There are two adjustable stops on the strap so you can control how far the camera hangs and how far it can be pulled up for camera use. The camera is attached to a slider so it can be manouevred without actually moving the strap or disturbing the comfortable shoulder pad.

For lighter cameras, such as the current mirrorless interchangeable-lens models, I try to manage without using a neck or shoulder strap. Instead, I favour a wrist strap and prefer to leave the camera in a bag until needed. Apart from other considerations, it is more discreet and doesn’t shout TOURIST. Every camera store can provide a range of simple wrist straps but none can approach the sheer quality and luxury of Annie Barton’s Barton1972 range.

My wrist strap of choice is Barton’s Braidy in fine black leather that will complement even the smartest of cameras, including Leica’s M9. The strap attaches to one of the lugs, usually on the right-hand side of the camera if you are right handed, and allows just enough space to slip your wrist through. It clings to the wrist and means you cannot inadvertantly drop the camera; yet it is just fine when you put the camera to your eye and compose a shot.

Barton1972 also makes a braided leather strap in traditional length for attaching to both camera lugs. Unfortunately it isn’t quite long enough for over-the-shoulder wear; I really wish they would produce a slightly longer version so it could allow the camera to be slung at the hip, in a similar way to the effective Black Rapid.

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