Review: TieHerUp Riviera neck strap
Wrist strap or neck strap? I vacillate between the two but, in general, I prefer the ever-ready convenience of a good wrist strap—my favourites being the inexpensive but high-quality Gordy, the Barton Braidy and Tie-her-up's chunky Rock 'n Roll. In neck straps I like Barton's Braided Style because if its rounded, smooth design. I usually steer clear of traditional flat leather straps because I find them prone to tangling and less smooth over clothing. That said, I do admire my sole Harry Benz strap, the Urushi which I bought specifically to match Niel the M7.
This summer, though, I discovered the range of leather straps made in Athens by Evris Papanikolas under his oddly named Tie-Her-Up brand. Evris points out that cameras in the Greek language are female so linguistically it’s a natural.
There is no doubting the quality of Evris's creations whatever the gender. I have already reviewed the Komboloi wrist strap and I've been working with Evris through the summer as new designs have been added to the range.
His straps have proved popular at London's Red Dot cameras. Ivor Cooper has sold a stack of the competitively priced Komboloi wrist straps. fashioned from climbers' rope, and he is now selling the latest Riviera neck strap, the subject of this review.
As I said, I am always undecided about my preference: Neck strap or wrist strap, that is the question. The Riviera, though, has a number of advantages that make it a more versatile neck strap for me. It could well tempt me away from wrist wear.
It is made from extremely supple leather and expertly crafted with very substantial stitching at either end for security. The outer surface is smooth but, in an interesting touch, the inner surface has a suede finish. This offers just enough residence to keep the strap in place but is slippery enough not to snag on clothing.
The extremely supple leather has a further advantage: If you fancy using it as a wrist strap the leather can we wound around the right wrist to make a very comfortable arrangement that is almost as good as using a custom wrist strap.
Evris sent me two straps--a glorious deep Leica red, and a traditional dark brown. They are both 100cm long, a little too short for my normal liking. I prefer to wear a camera strap across the shoulder, diagonally, for greater security. I also like to have the camera dangle at the side rather having it bobbing around on my chest.
The 100cm the sample straps are perfect for neck danglers and acceptable for over-the-shoulder buffs in the summer. The length is just about right when the strap is worn diagonally—and I am a fairly average shape. But, while I would probably choose a slightly longer model—an extra ten centimetres would do it—I have been surprised to find that the shorter strap is very practical in the summer.
While the camera hangs well above the hip, the smooth leather means that it can be brought up to the eye quickly and without snagging. With a warm winter jacket I will definitely need a longer version. Evris makes a 125cm Riviera and, frankly, I would be inclined to have one of each length for summer and winter.
Overall I am very impressed with the Riviera neck strap. I used one on the Leica Q during my recent visit to Hong Kong and I found it very easy to live with, whether the camera was slung around my neck or held in one hand with the strap wound around my right wrist.
You can buy the Riviera neck strap now from Red Dot Cameras in Old Street, either in person or by mail order. They are stocking two lengths, 100cm and 125cm in three colours—black, brown and camel. I suggest that the shorter one is fine for neck danglers and for cross-shoulder wear in summer. The longer strap is preferable if you have a larger frame or if you will be wearing it over heavy winter coats. The short Riviera is £49 and the longer version £56.
I have also has the opportunity to try the wrist version of the Riviera and, again, I am very taken with it. It consists of a single 40cm-length, made to the same quality as the neck strap. You pass the split-ring end through a slot at the other end and then adjust the loop to fit the wrist. Unlike fixed loop straps such as the Barton Braidy, you can tighten the a Riviera in the same way as you can the Komboloi by sliding the leather along the strap. Again, the leather is extremely supple and cleaves satisfyingly and very comfortably to the wrist. I think this could become my favourite wrist strap and, heaven knows, I have enough of them, in all shapes and sizes, on the shelf.
The wrist Riviera is not yet available in the UK (although you can order from the Greek website here). I will look at this version in more detail when it is available in this country.
Photographs by Evris Papanikolas