Best Camera Strap: We reviewed 17 and picked our favorite

In Gear by Brent Huntley29 Comments

We spent weeks talking with all the major camera strap manufacturers, testing more than 17 camera straps hands on, testing them in the field, and analyzing every angle of each strap.  In the end, there are a lot of great straps on the market filling every niche from the leather strap for hippies or vintage-lovers, to the pink patterned women's straps, to the ultra rugged outdoor straps.

After testing 17 camera straps hands-on, Improve Photography recommends the Peak Design Slide Strap (aff link to Amazon). This strap is innovative, comfortable, and durable. It's imperfect, but Improve Photography gives it our highest recommendation.

At the end of the day, your choice in camera strap needs to start with your shooting style.  From there, it really just comes down to what material and pattern you like best.  You will also see there is a wide variety in pricing on camera straps.  While some may seem more expensive, they are often made with high-quality materials and will last you through multiple cameras, but even the less expensive ones offer great options.  So, whether you want to spend $20 or $120, I do not think price is going to be the most important factor (and it usually is for me) when you realize you may have this strap for 10-20 years.  Now, let's get to the straps.  These are in no particular order.  I tested them randomly through a variety of uses and am presenting them in the order of testing.

IMAG1317

The Slide was great for keeping the camera from dangling around while climbing rocks in Valley of Fire.

Our Top Pick: The Slide Strap from Peak Design

The Slide Strap is the most unique strap I tested.  I was very excited to test this strap as I have long been a fan of Peak Design and the practical equipment they specialize in.  The Slide Strap lives up to that reputation.  This strap is all about ease of use.  It comes with four attachment loops you hook to the strap loops and tripod plate that also comes with the strap.  The attachment loops make it very quick and easy to remove the strap or hook it to either the side of the camera or the tripod plate.  You can even hook it to a side and the tripod plate to get just the right positioning that is most comfortable.  This was by far the best feature of the strap and the reason it will likely be on my camera a lot.  The ability to quickly change this strap from normal position to side-mount, while still being able to use a tripod is amazing.  I was worried the attachment loops would get in the way when using a tripod, but they were fine and no adjustments were required to attach it to the tripod when the strap was hooked into the tripod plate.  The only potential issue is the tripod plate cannot be removed or attached without a hex tool so you will have to make sure you always have one.  The final unique part is the adjustment mechanism.  Rather than the normal finagling, the Slide has a place to press the brackets so they just slide up and down.  This is awesome as I hate trying to thread skinny straps through buckles.

I like the look of the Slide Strap.  It is a no frills, utilitarian look.  While I enjoyed a lot of the cool designs on other straps, the look of the Slide made it look more like a tool.  I have heard complaints about it looking like a seat belt, which I can see, but frankly, it just doesn't bother me.  The one other thing I could see people not liking is the attachment loops.  The loops themselves are fine, but because you attach separate loops to the tripod plate and the strap hooks for easy transition between holding styles, there are going to be two loops dangling where the strap isn't attached.  I thought this would bother me, but they are small and don't get in the way so I ended up not caring.  Plus, if it really bothered you, you could always take the extra loops off where you don't usually attach the strap.

I found the Slide to be quite comfortable.  It has a little extra cushion around the neck and the strap fits snug to your body.  I prefer wearing my straps across my chest with my camera at the hip.  This strap felt very comfortable in this position (perhaps because it does feel a bit like a seat belt) and kept my camera tight on my body so I didn't have to worry about it banging around.  When worn normally around the neck, the camera does bounce around a bit.

The only downside I see here is the Slide is a bit bulky.  There were two instances where this became bothersome.  First, the strap takes up a lot of space in your camera bag so you need to have a bag that allows some extra space around the camera.  This was not a big problem with the bags I was using, but be aware that it could be an issue if your camera is already a tight fit (they also make a lite model if this is an issue).  The other instance is if you let the strap get twisted at all.  Like a seat belt, the strap feels awkward if not lying flat.  It didn't happen often and wasn't a big deal to correct, but it did happen a few times when I would initially put the strap on.

The Slide Strap is currently available in 3 different colors: —- and can be picked up at Amazon for $59.

Best Strap for Small Cameras: The Saigon Strap from Case Logic

I liked the look of the Saigon strap.  It was very simple, but I liked the nice shade of blue that made it just a bit different without making too much of a statement.  It is a smaller strap than I am used to.  I think it was about maxed out on my Fuji X-T1.  It would look better on a smaller camera, and it would probably look out of place on anything larger.

I was surprised by the comfort of the Saigon neck strap. Being smaller and thinner than I am used to, I expected discomfort, but in my hiking, I didn't feel any strain or discomfort on my neck.  It was just long enough for me to strap across my chest and wear on my side.  It sat snug against my side and was okay for hiking in that position.  I would have preferred a little extra length, but I am 6'2″.  I probably would not want to push it for a hike lasting more than a couple hours and I would not want to use it with a larger camera, but as long as you are not too tall and your camera is not too big, this is definitely a viable option.

The Saigon strap is a great option for someone with a smaller camera who is looking to replace a lost strap, but not necessarily seeking an upgrade.  I think it was probably most designed as an inexpensive option for people whose camera did not come with a decent neck strap.

As you would expect at this price point, the strap is made of polyester and comes with the basic attachment materials you see on most straps.

Best Looking Strap for Retro-Styled Cameras: The Lincoln and Morgan Straps from A7 NYC.

I was fortunate to be able to test the two most popular models from A7 NYC.  The Lincoln and Morgan are very similar, but the Morgan has a bit of added length if you like a longer camera strap.  Both are quality leather camera straps.  A7 NYC is a New-York based company specializing in soft leather straps made by a family-owned leather manufacturer also based in New York City.  They were featured in GQ magazine so you know the style is going to be on point.

Both straps were very comfortable.  They are all leather, including the attachments.  I appreciate that for the sleek look this provides rather than transitioning to a cheaper material on the strap.  It also makes connecting the strap to the camera very simple and fast.  It hooks through just like a leather belt with multiple belt holes for different lengths.  Both cameras had plenty of holes that would make it comfortable for any person.  I found these straps very comfortable to wear like a sling across my chest, which I prefer.  They were some of the most comfortable straps in that situation that were not dedicated sling straps.  I was able to have the camera sit snugly right above my hip and access it very quickly and smoothly.

To me, these straps are for someone that likes the high-quality rugged leather look and feel.  You can currently pick them up at A7 NYC for $85-$120.

Nicest Looking Strap for Women: Symphony Strap from Capturing Couture

Capturing Couture is a really fun company who makes camera straps for women.  They have a wide variety of unique and fashionable straps featuring all kinds of designs sure to fit whatever you want.  My first thought when I saw these straps is that they would be perfect to give as a gift due to the fun designs and great price point.  I had this thought again when I received the strap and it had awesome packaging already done like a little gift box that fit right along with their whole fashionable design theme. Do yourself a favor and at least go check out their site as there are some awesome designs on different size straps and even scarf straps.  While they are mostly designed for women, there are some very classy men's straps that I love.

I tested out one of their most popular straps-the Symphony.  The strap was very comfortable to wear with extra padding around the neck.  I enjoyed the length and thought it worked okay as a sling across my chest.

The end of the plush velvet strap connected to a metal bracket that connected to the nylon portion that attaches to the camera.  The attachment mechanism is the same basic one you will see on most straps.  I find the mechanism a little annoying on all straps as it is not fast to attach the camera or take it off, which I find necessary more often than do others I know.  That being said, you are not likely to find a quicker connection unless you want to shell out more money.  You can currently pick this up at Amazon for just over $30.

cecilia

6. Aplaca Wool Leather Strap from Cecilia

Cecilia is a newer company that comes from a long history of leather making.  They specialize in combining high-quality leather with alpaca wool.  All their straps offer a very elegant and timeless look.  I chose to try out the light gray baby alpaca wool with black leather model.  I really liked the look of this strap and I was very impressed with the quality of the leather .

My biggest fear with this strap was having the wool rub my skin.  Of course, the wool is on the non-skin side, but I will admit it felt a little weird when I first put it on.  After that point though, I never noticed it again and the strap was quite comfortable.  The leather was crazy soft and felt good on my neck.  It was a little longer than normal straps and I really liked how comfortable it was wearing it sling-style across my chest.

The great leather on this strap goes all the way down without a separate attachment strap; however, it does not have a belt-loop style attachment; instead, it uses the common attachment where you thread it through the buckle (I tried to find what this was called, but had no luck).  Usually, I do not like having to do this connection, but the soft leather was much easier to get through the buckles than the nylon you find on less-expensive straps.

You can currently pick up this strap at Amazon for about $90.

mod bundle

The Green Maze Bundle I tested

7/8/9. MOD Straps and Accessories

MOD is a fun camera strap and accessory company from Dallas, Texas.  They use all local products in their aim to create fun and expressive straps that combine fashion with functionality. If you like design and patterns, you have to check out their website as they have so many different straps and accessories that are completely unique to anything else you will find (they might even have one for your college).  I was lucky enough to test three of their straps, two of their drop in bags, two cap savers and a strap wrap!  For reference, the designs I tested were the Green Maze, Sahara and Shot through the Heart.

All the straps feature their plush signature fabric that goes on your neck.  This fabric is so soft, it is one of those fabrics that you rub against your face just to see how soft it is.  For this reason, it is very comfortable to wear, but there is one big caveat I have to mention: The plush fabric is not great in the heat and humidity.  I quickly learned that in Vegas as the fabric captures sweat on your neck and you can really feel it.  So you will love the comfort of this strap in most situations, I would just avoid it if you are going to be out in the heat or humidity.

The plush fabric connects to synthetic leather ends, which then connect to the standard nylon adjustment straps.  The straps connect like most of your basic straps with the buckle you thread the strap through.  The buckle was actually really easy to use, but the other little clips that hold the strap tight were a little frustrating to get the strap through.

I thought the Strap Wrap was a really cool accessory.  It is basically a little wallet that attaches to the strap so you can put money, credit cards, filters or even a battery right there on your strap.  Since I always have a wallet, I may not use it much, but I thought it would be great for female photographers, especially at a wedding where they might be wearing something without pockets.

The Drop-In Bags were another really cool accessory.  You could purchase these as part of a bundle that includes the matching strap and cap saver.  The drop-in bag is a really simple concept that consists of just a small bag that has the matching fabric exterior with the plush fabric on the inside.  You drop your camera in the bag and cinch a drawstring on the top so your camera can be in the bag while you carry it on the strap.  I really liked this because it is a way to add a little extra protection to your camera and lens and it allows you to throw in a few small things if you want.

This is another company that would be great to look at if you are trying to find a gift as they have a good price point on a lot of expressive and fun designs over a variety of straps and accessories.  Check back often as they have sales on their website and new designs too.  Also, be sure to look through Amazon for some of their other straps as they have some great deals on individual straps there too.

You can find Mod Straps as low as $15 on Amazon or Mod Straps.  The models I tested are $35 or $79 for the bundle.
heavy classic

10. Heavy Leather NYC's Classic Strap

Heavy Leather makes some top-quality leather straps.  I tried out three of their most popular models and the Classic was by far my favorite.  It is lightweight but made of a thick, super-soft Italian leather that is so comfortable to wear.  Although it is light weight, the thick leather makes this a fairly bulky strap so it may not be ideal for traveling light.  I took it with me to Costa Rica and it worked fine, but I would not have wanted to shove it into a smaller pack.

Costa Rica was super humid and the leather was a little sticky and uncomfortable in the hot, humid weather, but I think that would be expected of almost any strap.  Even when I got caught in a rain storm, the strap was very comfortable to wear and was great for long hikes.  The length was great and it was very comfortable when wearing around the neck or slung across the chest.

The build quality on this was really great and the nice leather went all the way through the attachments.  I fell in love with this strap mainly because of its attachment straps.  Really short belt-loop style straps attach easily to the camera.  Those are connected to the main strap with a metal clasp that is very easy to remove.  This was so much more convenient than I would have ever expected.  I used my Miggo Aqua a lot in Costa Rica because of the rain and there was no way I wanted to shove the whole strap in there so I could unclasp it and leave the attachment straps on to put it in the Aqua and then easily reattach it to the Heavy Leather NYC strap whenever I wanted.  I also used the strap to add extra security when I was hiking or ziplining with the camera attached on a clip.  It saved my camera in the jungle when the attachment plate on my clip actually came out of my camera and it fell off my waist.  I had left the strap connected on one side of my camera and hooked the other clasp on my backpack so my camera stopped in mid-air about a foot from smashing into the rocks!

You can currently pick up the Classic strap from Amazon for $95.

11 & 12.  Slingshot/Wax Cotton Sling from Heavy Leather NYC

heavy leather slingshot

The leather Slingshot strap

Heavy Leather NYC also offers two different sling straps.  The Slingshot is a heavy-duty thick leather strap and the Wax Cotton Sling is a heavy-duty cotton strap.  Both straps are very well made, just like the classic strap.  They are both very comfortable to wear and make access to the camera quick and easy.  The only downfall I had was while I was wearing them with a backpack.  The backpack would push the strap up my neck from time to time and that was not very comfortable and less easy to work with.  I really like the quick release clips that attach to the attachment clip.  They make it easy to take off the strap (and don't leave a lot of excess material), which is becoming more and more important to me as I test more equipment.  The attachment on these is the same used on many sling straps, the twisting screw that goes into the tripod screw thread.  That is my biggest complaint with these.  Because I use a tripod a lot, these could not be an every-day strap for me.  I really liked using these when I was just taking my camera out for family outings or street photography, but I wouldn't use them for hiking with a backpack or doing landscapes where I need a tripod.

Other than the look, the biggest difference in these straps is the area around where the camera attaches.  On the Wax Cotton Sling, there is a little area that lets the camera slide up and down.  This is awesome when it comes to shooting because the strap does not have to slide up and down as you bring the camera up to your eye.  That makes it more comfortable for shooting, but it also means the camera is not as tight on your body and bounces around a little as you walk or run.  The Slingshot does not have that feature so the camera holds tighter, but the strap slides on your body as you pull the camera up.

The Wax Cotton Sling comes in a few different colors.  I tested the olive green and it was very classy looking.  I liked that it added a little pop without being flashy.

You can currently pick up the Wax Cotton Sling for $85 or the Slingshot for $155.

13. Lance Camera Strap

The strap from Lance Straps is different.  It has a unique look with a very simple design.  It almost looks like a rope or bungee cord.  To be honest, my first impression was that it would not be comfortable at all.  I was surprised after wearing the strap that it was actually quite comfortable. It was also really comfortable to wear slung across my chest.  I also liked that the strap was not bulky at all.  This made it really easy to fit in any camera bag.

I had the non-adjustable strap.  It worked fine for me, although I would have preferred to be able to shorten it on a few occasions.  I would not recommend the 48 inch non-adjustable strap if you are under six feet tall as it is a pretty long strap.  As I haven't tried the shorter one, I couldn't tell you what height that would be good for, but it wouldn't take much to figure it out.

This strap is really well made with great attention to detail.  I loved the attachment clips (optional purchase).  They attach right to the camera so you don't have extra strap dangling when you disconnect the strap and they are fast and easy to take on and off.  They also have optional little rubber bumpers to keep the metal from rubbing or scratching your camera body.

You can currently pick up this strap from Amazon for $38.

14. IMO Straps

The IMO straps come in a variety of fun designs for you to match your style.  I tested out two of the straps.  They were basically the same strap with a different design.  The straps are fairly basic.  It is a fabric strap with neoprene on the inside.  The fabric stops the neoprene from stretching, but it is still fairly padded and more comfortable than just DSCF6346a basic strap.  The length was very good for me.  There is a touch of leather that hooks the strap to the nylon attachment straps.  You change the length by weaving the nylon through the buckle.  That is the same as you see on most straps and is a drawback for me.  I do like that the strap has buckles so you can separate the main strap from the attachments and easily take the strap off.  Unfortunately, the portion of the strap that stays attached to the camera is quite long, but it is so much better than having to undo the entire strap to remove it when you want to use your camera without a strap.  This did not matter to me when I was just starting, but there are many occasions, like shooting in underwater cases, where I need to remove the strap.    Of all the straps I tested, I got more compliments wearing these straps than any others so, if you want people to think you are cool…..

You can pick up any of their neoprene straps for $29.

15. Neoprene Strap from Ape Case

For the price, this strap is a steal.  There are no frills with this strap, it is very basic, but it is going to be a pretty good upgrade over the strap that comes with most cameras.  It is a very comfortable strap.  The entire shoulder area is just 31eXSvou2OLneoprene so it is stretchable and soft.  I like the length and it works well.  As you would expect, the strap has vinyl straps to attach the camera.  It has removable o rings at the end of the straps so if you like attaching it like a key ring you can use those, or you could just take them off.  I found it to be a bit of a pain to attach.  It was also not the easiest to adjust the length, but it works like most other straps where you weave the nylon through the buckles.

If you want something basic, but pretty comfortable at a really good price, this would be a great choice.  You can currently pick one up for $12.99 on Amazon.

16. Prairie Breeze Camera Strap from Abie Straps

Abie Straps is a really cool business that is the pet project of professional wedding and portrait photographer Ellen Leroy. What makes Abie Straps so cool is that Ellen donates all of the proceeds to help treat blindness in third-world countries.  It also helps that she makes some pretty sweet camera straps.  Her goal is to produce ultra-high-quality straps that can reflect your personal style and personality.   Abie Straps offers dozens of designs from funky to sleek to retro.  I tested out the Prairie Breeze design.

I really liked the style of this strap.  It had kind of a vintage timeless feel to it.  It combines leather piping with a DSCF6347comfortable suede backing and cotton print.  Classy-looking metal rings connect it to buckles and the nylon attachment straps.  As you know by now, I love the buckles that make detaching the strap quick and easy.  Finally, the strap hides a discreet pocket on the inside that is perfect for storing extra memory cards (The detail you get when a wedding photographer designs the strap!).

This strap is super comfortable.  I think it delivers on the goal of mixing comfort with style.  The only downfall to me is the cheaper nylon attachments that have to be threaded through the buckles.  I have learned it is pretty tough to find a strap that does not have this same attachment style so if it is not a deal-breaker for you, then you are going to be very happy with this strap.  I finished my testing a few weeks back (this was my last strap to test) and this strap is still on my camera so you know it has to be pretty good.

You can get your own Abie strap on Amazon (only a few designs available) or from Abie Straps.  They are currently selling for $119, but Ellen has graciously offered a discount code for Improve Photography readers.

17. Agua from Miggo

I wrote all about the Agua last month.  It is a combo strap and storm-proof holster that warranted its own review.  Check it out here.

 


About the Author

Brent Huntley

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Brent Huntley is a 32 year old partner at a litigation-focused law firm. He is a hobbyist photographer focused primarily on landscape and travel photography. He also writes articles and shares his work at photographyandtravel.com and is active on instragram @brentdhuntley.

Comments

    1. I used to own a Black Rapid strap. It was well made, but for my personal preference it was overly bulky and I didn’t like removing it from the tripod mount every time I wanted to switch over to a tripod.

      1. I have heard that complaint too Jim. That is one of the things I like about the straps from Peak Design. I can use them with my L Bracket and with my tripod without having to remove the straps. It is also easy to switch from regular mount to sling mount so you don’t have to even bother hooking it to the bottom if you don’t want to.

      2. Black Rapid has now solve this problem with an arca swiss compatible plate which has a D ring FastenR to hook the strap to. Now all you have to do is unhook the caribiner and you are ready to mount to the tripod

        1. Yes I use Black Rapid dual camera strap with the plates that have a folding metal loop. Can just keep plates permanently on camera. Brilliant.

  1. Agree, missing Black Rapid systems is an epic miss. Their system is the best: easy to use, no weight on the neck and absolutely mandatory with long lenses.

  2. I agree with Jill Sommers; were there no Black Rapid straps you reviewed? Love mine.

  3. Thanks for all the comments. I understand Black Rapid straps are highly loved by many shooters. Unfortunately, I have never used one and was not able to obtain access to one for this review. I obtained as many straps as possible, but Black Rapid was not one of them unfortunately.

  4. I attempted to use the 10% off promo code “bdh12” today on the Peak Design website and it does not appear to be valid.

    What’s up with that?

    1. Author

      David, sorry for that. There were some edits made to the article and outdated information was mistakenly included. Peak Design changed their system and now offer gifts instead of discounts so hopefully you haven’t ordered yet. The following link should take you to Peak Design and automatically qualify you for the promotion. https://www.peakdesign.com/slide?acc=225

  5. I like the Op/Tech USA Utility Strap-Sling . A nice sling style strap with the functionality of a Black Rapid, but a mounting system that doesn’t use the tripod socket. Quick release from the strap when I want to go to the tripod. I have additional loop connectors on my larger lenses too so I can connect those to the strap if I like. I will never use a simple neck-type strap again unless it’s with a much smaller camera.

    1. Thanks Rick. That is a really intriguing strap, especially at its price point. I wish I could test them all, but it takes a lot of access and time as I like to really test them. I believe we have another whole article dedicated just to that strap though.

  6. I literally just ordered a blackrapid strap this morning, and was really hoping it would be in this review when I read the title haha. Too bad, hope I love it still. BUT, I was also eyeing the prairie breeze by abie before as well – so I might just order another strap for more of a variety. How do we get the discount code for that one?

    1. Samantha, I hope you love your new blackrapid strap. As you can see from these comments, they appear to have a very loyal following. The code we were given for Abie Straps isn’t working right now, but I reached out to them to hopefully provide us a new code.

  7. Brent H. comments… ” Unfortunately, I have never used one and was not able to obtain access to one for this review.” That is like saying the I couldn’t review Nikon in comparing cameras because I couldn’t borrow one. I’m sure you have several friends that own a Black Rapid. It may not be your pick for your favorite strap, but definitely deserves mentioning.

    1. Tim. As I am sure you know, there are hundreds of good quality camera straps available on the market. It is nowhere close to not including Nikon in a comparison of cameras where there are only a handful. It would be more akin to not including the Nikon D600 in a review of 17 cameras. Sure there are going to be people that love the D600, but at some point there is a limit to how much testing can be done and how much access I have to products to test. I actually do not have any friends that use the black rapid strap, but I have met probably a dozen or so photographers through the years that used them. Because of that, I tried to obtain a sample to test, but Black Rapid didn’t choose to participate. I make a point of not reviewing gear I have not been able to actively use and form an opinion on. I am sure there are lots of reviews out there on the black rapid strap and anyone interested can easily find one. In fact, here is one from Jim Harmer. https://improvephotography.com/606/review-of-the-black-rapid-rs-5-camera-strap/. I hope you were able to at least find some value in the article regarding straps you may not be as familiar with.

    2. @Tim – Brent went through the work of reviewing SEVENTEEN CAMERA STRAPS for the good of the community and wrote a free article about it.

      In no way did we promise to review EVERY CAMERA STRAP IN THE WORLD.

      Maybe give him a break?

  8. I haven’t used a traditional camera strap for a long time… I do use a Black Rapid on occasion but primarily I use holster style systems, particularly when I am hiking with a pack. I’ve used the Peak Design Capture Pro and the Cotton Carrier strap shot I like the strap shot a little more than the capture as it’s super easy to secure and remove the camera from the holster. However, I find myself using the capture a lot more often since its a lot more versatile, since it can attach to my belt as well as a bag strap and the connection plate doubles as an arca swiss QR plate for my tripod.
    I’ve never dropped my camera while using the holsters, but I have dropped it once with my Black Rapid when I failed to properly screw the connector into the tripod mount screw (luckily it fell into snow).

    1. I also have given up on camera straps. I just go with no straps and haven’t dropped my camera since. I dropped my camera twice with camera straps when the straps got caught on something and yanked it out of my hand.

  9. I agree with the Peak Design Slide. Since I have a M4/3 camera I use the Slide Lite and I wish they made it in different colours. I also agree that it is a bit bulky but the fact that is quick release makes it easy to replace for the different types of uses. Ever since I got the Olympus 12-100 (24-200) lens I use it more often as well since I tend to just bring that lens and camera. It’s easy to adjust the length quickly and it is comfortable.

    1. Author

      Thanks Vlast. I have actually been using the Peak Design Leash more often lately as it is really thin and light. Love them both for different purposes. Will be talking about the Leash in an upcoming article detailing my favorite hiking gear.

      1. Let me know if you need any more info about hiking itself. I do a fair bit of it myself and might have some tips. Another big reason I started using M4/3 with the smaller and weather proof gear.

        1. Thanks Vlast. I don’t have tent or sleeping bag I am committed to so I am going to be throwing out different recommendations I have received. Care to add to those?

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