Monday, 1 August 2011

Get a new Strap!

Hands up those who are using the supplied strap that came with your camera?

Yeah, I thought so. That would be most of us - right?

'Hey buddy, there's nothing wrong with the strap that came with my camera' I hear you say. 'It's got a cool Canon/Nikon/Sony etc logo on it - say's 'Digital' on there somewhere, and is in the company's trendy colours. What more could you want!'

How about comfort? How about extra features like cushioning and grip? Think they might make a difference when you're talking about supporting a 2kg+ load of camera gear around your neck for a day? You betcha. And these are the features that you don't get with the camera strap that comes with your digital SLR - even the Pro bodies that cost megabucks.

My new Kaiser (made in Germany) camera strap for the Canon 5D.
Unfortunately the Leica doesn't come with the strap.
If you've never used any other strap on your camera than the one supplied by the manufacturer, then you owe it to yourself to make a change. I guarantee you will wonder why you put up with the crappy supplied one for so long!

There are myriad number of camera straps available as an alternative, and like anything to do with photography, you can spend as little - or as much - as you like.

Straps like the 'Black Rapid' have become very trendy with 'pro' photographers, but even going to a very basic cushioned neoprene style camera strap will totally revolutionise your camera-toting experience. I finally decided to change the supplied camera strap on my 5D (which is a pretty hefty camera, especially with the vertical grip attached), and opted for a 'Kaiser Pro Camera Strap'. It wasn't very expensive - only $25NZ - but makes a huge difference when carrying the 5D around the neck or on the shoulder - and has a few extra features over the Canon bog-standard strap.

No, it doesn't have a big 'CANON' logo on it - and guess what - I think that's a good thing. It's obviously attached to a big Canon camera, but it doesn't scream at you from across the room "hey look at me, I'm a Canon camera". It's just black, with no big expensive looking logos across the neck - just a couple of very discreet 'Kaiser' logos on the side.

What it is, is cushioned (mmmm...) and made of neoprene which is much more slip-resistant than the standard material type. I'm forever hitching my camera back over my shoulder if I use the supplied strap - but not so with a decent strap. And don't dismiss that cushioning. It really does make a great difference - more so the heavier your camera is.

Maybe it's not very sexy? Maybe it's not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of 'upgrading' your camera, and it's probably not top of your list of 'must have' camera gear. But that's a shame - because maybe it should be at the very top of your list! As I said, you don't have to spend too much money to get an infinitely superior product to what you're using at the moment. And once you've used a decent strap, you'll never go back to the supplied straps ever again. Promise.

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