One area where there has been some innovation of late is in camera straps. For a long time there weren’t a lot of aftermarket camera straps available. But in the past few years we’ve been blessed with some interesting choices.
Qualities of the best camera strap
There are a few things a camera strap needs to do to be considered the best. It needs to be comfortable to wear for many hours at a time. It needs to be easy to adjust. I needs to be easy to remove and attach to different camera bodies or telephoto lenses. It needs to hold the camera in a way that makes it stable while walking around. It needs to be made well enough to last a long time.
The stock camera strap
The camera strap included with my camera did not meet many of my criteria for best camera strap. It holds the camera at an odd angle against my body that makes it ungainly to walk with, especially with a heavy lens. I pretty much end up holding the camera in my hand when using the stock strap while walking around. It’s not very comfortable, and it’s a pain to attach to the camera body. There just isn’t much redeeming about the strap but it does seem pretty solid so I’ll give it high marks for apparent toughness.
However, toughness only thing the stock strap has going for it. There just isn’t much else going on with the stock strap setup that is right. And I think the burgeoning 3rd party camera strap market is proof of that fact.
Let’s remember that hanging the camera around the neck from two attachments on top of the camera body is an old tradition from a time when cameras were generally used with much smaller lenses. As time has worn on photography has changed a lot. Even new 50mm standard lenses are being made relatively large due to their fast apertures and highly corrected optics. It just doesn’t make sense to hang a camera body and large fast lens around your neck. Not only is it not comfortable but it’s ungainly.
Enter the Peak Design Slide camera strap
The solution to all this for me has been the Peak Design Slide paired with the Peak Design Standard Plate. With the standard plate attached to the tripod mount of the camera you can quickly and easily attach one side of the Peak Design Slide to the left of the camera and the second side to the Standard Plate. This transforms the camera strap into something vastly more comfortable and convenient to use compared to just attaching the strap the old fashioned way.
What attaching the strap like this does is allow the camera to hang in a much more natural position on your hip rather than sticking out and bouncing around on your stomach. This makes carrying the camera with a heavy lens like a 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom an absolute breeze.
In addition, the Peak Design Slide is super easy to adjust, which makes it even better to carry a lens with. Simply pull the lower handle up to tighten the fit and the camera is now snugly secured against your waist, making it super stable for long walks or hikes.
And the wonders don’t cease here, I haven’t discussed one of the coolest things about the Slide, the Peak Design Anchors. The Anchors are the actual attachment point for the strap and are super easy to attach to a camera or lens. Whats really nice though is that the Anchors can be snapped in and out of the Slide at the press of a button. With this super power now simply add Peak Design Anchors to anything you want to carry at some point be it a tripod, lens, or camera, and when you head out with you gear attach your strap in the blink of an eye to whatever you’re taking with you on the trip.
I also use this great feature when shooting on a tripod. Instead of having your strap blowing in the wind or dragging all over the ground or water as the case may be, once you have your camera secured on the tripod, just snap the Slide off the anchors and stick it in your bag. Now you don’t have to contend with the danger or annoyance of having your camera strap dangling around waiting to get caught on someone or something while you’re working with the tripod.
I have had the Peak Design Slide for about a year and in that time it has performed its job admirably. If you’re in the market for a new camera strap definitely look at the Slide, I think it will help you perform at a higher level onsite or on set.