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Most people don't realize that a leather camera strap is the best option for a photographer. The truth is, most photographers have no idea what to look for in a strap and end up buying the wrong one.
Leather has several benefits over other materials like nylon or cotton webbing. It looks great and feels comfortable on your shoulder/neck while also soft enough not to scratch your camera body while resisting dirt (instead of attracting it as other materials do).
In this article, we will discuss everything about leather camera straps. This includes the benefits of leather over other materials, what to look for in quality leather, how to choose the right size, and how to care for leather camera straps. We finish with the Top 5 leather camera straps in 2022.
By the end of this article, you'll know not only what to purchase but also why you need it and how it will benefit you!
The Benefits Of Leather Camera Straps Over Other Materials
Normally I would start an article by explaining in detail what I'm talking about. But I will assume you know what a camera strap is and its importance in protecting your camera. Pretty good assumption, right? Good.
Now, let's talk about leather and how it's better than other materials - but more importantly, how this benefits you.
Leather Camera Straps Are Made Of Natural Materials
Unlike nylon or cotton webbing, leather camera straps are made from natural materials. This is important because it makes your strap more durable and adds a nice aesthetic to your camera (instead of ugly nylon).
Higher Durability Means It Will Last Longer
Nylon straps wear pretty quickly in comparison to leather. And after not too long, they're either filthy or have lost their color. That's because nylon is a synthetic material, and it attracts dirt like crazy.
Leather, on the other hand, is significantly more durable. Ever wondered why high-quality boots (either work or dress) are made of leather? It's because they can withstand heavy abuse and keep going. The same idea can be applied to leather camera straps.
The Leather Is Soft To The Touch And Comfortable Against Your Skin
Have you ever had the rough part of a nylon camera strap rub against your neck? If you haven't, that's great, and you're lucky. But, if you have, you know my pain and how important it is to avoid it.
Well, a leather strap fixes that. They're soft and comfortable again=st your skin. Plus, they don't wear out like nylon does, which means you can use them for a really long time.
Unlike Nylon Straps, Leather Doesn't Get Dirty As Easily - Dirt Just Brushes Off The Surface
Nylon is a synthetic material that naturally attracts dirt. It's a manufactured material designed with cost-to-manufacture in mind. Simply put, it's easier and cheaper to make (which is why they're inexpensive in comparison).
While leather is a natural material, the leather has oil on the surface, which is how it can resist dirt so well. The oil also gives leather that nice (and expensive) appearance while still resisting wear and extending its lifespan.
And Finally, They Come In Different Colors!
But wait, don't nylon straps come in different colors too? Well yeah, but as you've read, it's an inferior material.
So, you're getting everything we've mentioned as well as being able to choose different colors/finishes. Not bad, right?
Let's move on to the next topic!
What To Look For In A Quality Leather Camera Strap
Now that we've talked about the benefits of leather over other materials, we can start talking about what to look for when looking for quality leather straps.
Is The Strap Made Of Genuine Leather Or Synthetic Materials
We talked about synthetic material earlier when talking about nylon. But, there is synthetic "leather" as well. It's very inexpensive to have that leather "look" while not actually being leather.
You want genuine leather. That's where all the benefits that we spoke of earlier are. Generally speaking, genuine leather is usually stamped with "genuine leather" close to a buckle or clasp. You need the real deal to get the real deal benefits.
Are There Any Metal Parts On The Straps That Could Scratch Your Camera
This is almost a 'be aware of' statement seeing as metal clasps or clips are nearly unavoidable. They also offer the most in terms of strength.
So, you want heavy metal clips, but be mindful of where they are and how you're using your camera. You wouldn't want the clasp to hit your camera or screen and scratch or break it. That wouldn't be good at all.
Now, other materials offer clips/clasps that don't use metal at all, which is great! But I prefer metal. It's stronger and more reliable. That's why I recommend them.
Does It Have A Breakaway Feature To Prevent Your Camera From Falling If You Drop It
A breakaway feature is a must. It's the only way to prevent your camera from falling if you drop it on accident.
The last thing you would want is for your main strap to fail (for any reason), and your camera falls to the ground. It defeats the purpose of having a strap, to begin with, right?
A break-away strap eliminates this issue. You can see the example in the image above.
How Long Is The Strap - Does It Fit Across Your Chest For Easy Carrying
The latter part of that statement is for 'across the chest' straps... but you get the idea.
You need to ensure the length of the strap is long enough (and not too long) to function correctly.
What Is Its Width - Can You Wear It Comfortably Around Your Neck Or Other Areas
The width of the strap is also important. It needs to be wide enough to feel uncomfortable while being worn (around your neck or other areas).
A neck strap's width should be around two inches wide. It should be comfortable enough to wear without feeling tight or constricting.
Of course, this is all very subjective and down-to-personal preference, too, but these are just some things you might want to keep in mind when getting a camera strap for yourself!
Does The Company Offer A Warranty
Some may laugh at this subtopic... But, I mean, a warranty on a camera strap? Come on!
Well, there are harness-style camera straps that hold two cameras. These are 100% genuine leather with strong clasps... these can run you upwards of $300. I'm sure you'd want a warranty on a strap that expensive.
Now, what you won't find is a warranty for damaged equipment. Meaning, if the strap fails for any reason and your camera breaks - there isn't any company that would pay for your camera being damaged... although I'm sure they wouldn't have a problem replacing the camera strap itself.
I'm sure you can understand how wide you would be opening your doors for fraud if you were a camera strap business owner offering a warranty like that.
How To Choose The Right Size Of Your New Leather Camera Strap
I'm going to give you the process that I take to measure for a camera strap. This may or may not work for you. If it does, great! If it doesn't, I'm hoping you can alter it in a way that it can.
First, the proper length of a camera strap and my style is from your shoulder/neck to your waist.
Some go from shoulder to end of your middle finger. This only works for a few with equal distances from their shoulder to finger and shoulder to waist.
Think about it - you want the camera itself to rest right above your waist. This allows your lens to hang down a little while keeping your camera close so you can use it when you need to.
If you're wearing it over your chest - measure from the opposite shoulder (closest to your neck) and diagonally to your waist).
Once you get that length and put the camera strap on - you'll be able to make small adjustments to get it where it needs to be.
Take note: You'll always want a camera strap a little too short than a little too long. As you can imagine, if it's too long you'll have too much play and it will swing around a lot more than it should. While short may be short, you won't have to worry about the swinging issue nearly as much.
How To Care For Leather Camera Straps
Now for the last part before we get to the straps themselves.
Taking care of your camera straps is very important when paying this kind of money for it. I mean, in comparison, a leather strap is between 20 and 40% (or more!) percent higher than a nylon version.
Clean Your Leather Camera Strap With A Damp Cloth
The best way to clean your leather camera strap is to use a damp cloth.
This will remove any dirt or grime that is on the camera strap.
If there are spills, grease, oil - you'll need to use a wet rag and some saddle soap or any soap that has a leather conditioning quality.
Then use another dry cloth to buff off any excess water or dirt.
Use leather oil every few months to keep it in top shape. Store in an environment away from the sun when not in use.
The Holdfast Gear dual camera harnesses have a special place in my heart. I mean, I don't have actual feelings for it, of course... but with the way it supports your camera(s) and how damn good it looks
It's the best way to carry your gear. It's made of bridle leather and holds two cameras comfortably, one at each hip. The straps of the harness lie in an X pattern across your back for added support. The Speed Clutch mechanism allows the camera to slide along the harness to eye level easily. To secure your gear to the harness, it includes two Camera Holdfast Accessory Clips that screw into each camera's 1/4-20 tripod threads and two sliders for easier vertical shooting.!
This is perfect for wedding photographers (I have used it for a couple of years now, and it works amazingly well). Not only does it support both cameras well throughout an entire wedding day (between 8-10 hours), your shoulders/traps won't hurt throughout the day. It also looks great and 'belongs' there.
It's recommended to wear it over a nice dress shirt along with a vest. Wearing it over top of a dress jacket is not recommended.
Now, this dual camera harness comes in multiple colors and a couple of different sizes. I have included the tan-colored in a medium size. Medium is great for me, believe it or not. I am about 6' 2". You can check out their entire line-up here.
Be warned - this is the highest ticket item on this list. But, you're getting the best quality. This harness will last you years of repeated use. It's 100% genuine leather and doesn't wear easily. This is regarded as one of the best leather camera straps - you're getting one of the classiest and highest quality dual camera harnesses on the market today.
As you can tell - I love harnesses. You should too. They're much better alternatives to the traditional neck strap.
I've included this Coiro harness because of the quality, reliability, and the fact that it's a solo harness versus the dual harness mentioned above. You'll get much of the same benefits from this single-camera strap as the Holdfast Gear version as well.
Suitable for both males and females, this quick-release harness has robust metal hardware that secures your gear with D-ring accessories that screw into the tripod threads in the camera. Adjustable size means you can order without the worry of buying the wrong size.
The breakaway feature ensures safety while shooting weddings, events, portraits, or whatever else you decide to shoot! This ensures you don't have to worry about the camera falling if, for whatever reason, the strap fails - the breakaway strap will save your camera.
Much like Holdfast Gear - it looks fantastic and comes in multiple colors.
You should consider this camera strap if you want the classy/stylish look of a dual harness - but don't particularly need 2 cameras. This is great for single-camera users who want all the benefits of a great-looking, durable, and long-lasting camera strap/harness.
TETHER is a company that designs and manufactures high-quality camera straps.
It can be worn like your traditional neck strap - but it also has enough adjustable length to be worn much like a harness (across the chest).
Made from genuine leather and suede backing, these straps are soft and comfortable to wear. Of course, the more you use your TETHER, the softer it will become! Plus, they're adjustable so that you can get that perfect fit for your body type. And with two different connection types, there's a TETHER for every make and model of camera out there!
The leather itself has more of a worn/rugged look to it - much different than what we've talked about thus far. I wanted to include a camera strap with this look while maintaining the same level of quality and reliability that we've seen thus far.
It also comes in two different colors, brown and black.
This strap is highly recommended for those who prefer a neck strap of a harness while also wanting that rugged/worn look. Much like the other straps on this list, this will last you for years if taken care of properly.
The Canpis Leather Neck Strap is the perfect accessory for everyday shooting. It’s made of high-quality materials and has an ergonomic design that makes it comfortable to wear. It's great for both women and men. You can also adjust the length to suit your needs!
The pad on this leather camera strap is designed to reduce pressure and make hanging more comfortable. Supplied with a pair of metal rings and loops, this neck strap can be connected to most cameras without any trouble at all.
This strap comes in at the least expensive on this list so far. While you don't get the same features and not as high of quality as others mentioned on this list thus far... it's still a great leather camera strap. The rings and way it attaches to your camera makes it very secure (one of the most secure on this list).
This strap is made for someone who takes photos daily (because of the durability of full-grain leather) but doesn't need the features and extended use of a harness or ultra-wide strap!
Last but certainly not least is another strap by C Coiro. They were featured earlier with their single harness strap and now with a more traditional neck/shoulder strap.
This comes in at the least expensive on this list - but don't let the price fool you. It's stronger and will last you longer than most nylon camera straps on the market (aside from Peak Design, but that's for a different article entirely). Also, did I mention it looks amazing? That's always a plus, right?
The COIRO leather camera strap is perfect for photographers of all levels. It’s made with premium quality genuine leather, and it will withstand the test of time and added weight. This neck strap was designed to ensure full compatibility with most DSLR or SLR cameras. You can use this as your perfect travel companion! You can wear it as a neck strap or cross-shoulder, which ultimately gives you options.
It comes in brown or black.
I would recommend this if you prefer neck-straps and want the added versatility, and enjoy the look of the stitching. It will last the average photographer years and is very inexpensive for the quality. Busier photographers who do weddings/events regularly would probably want to go with something a little bit higher in quality and versatility, though. The speed clutch feature seen on most harnesses is a must in those situations.
That About Does It!
In conclusion, leather camera straps are a great option for your professional photography needs. They may be more expensive than other materials, but they also last much longer and provide the best protection against dirt and grime. Plus, there's something about them that feels so special and luxurious!
We hope this article has helped guide you to find the perfect strap for yourself or as a gift to someone who is an avid photographer. If you have any questions, concerns, or requests, please leave them below, and we will get back to you as soon as possible!
Be on the lookout for our camera wrist strap article and how camera wrist straps compare to neck/shoulder straps!
Until next time, stay safe and keep creating!
Do professional photographers use camera straps?
Absolutely! Professional photographers use camera straps for two reasons. One is for camera safety in case you drop it - the strap and/or safety strap will save the camera and them from a very unfortunate day. The second reason is support. A camera strap helps in supporting the camera through a long wedding day for instance - allowing you to take your hands off of the camera and letting the strap do the work of supporting it.
Which camera strap is the best?
Holdfast is considered by most as the best leather camera strap on the market currently. As with anything, this is completely subjective to you and your needs.
The best over all (and nylon) camera strap system currently is Peak Design - due to their "fail-proof" strap system.
Are leather camera straps comfortable?
If the leather is genuine and high quality, yes. The higher the quality the more flexible/giving the leather becomes. This allows it to flex and contort to your body and movements. Cheaper leather is stiff and rigid which leads to it being uncomfortable.
What are camera straps called?
Well, camera straps. There is a wide variety including, nylon camera straps, leather camera straps, leather and nylon camera harnesses, camera wrist straps... etc. Camera straps are made to add safety and support to a photographer's camera system.