What’s the Best Camera Strap for Travel Photography?
A couple weeks ago when I picked up my Canon 6D, one of the first things I mentioned was that I needed a new camera strap. I’m sure I’m not the only one to realize that brand DSLR cameras come with terrible straps. It doesn’t matter if you shoot Canon, Nikon, Sony, or otherwise, the regular camera straps, well, they suck.
It’s something I’ve never understood, how can one pay nearly $2000 for a camera and get a strap that is likely produced for about a dollar? Why can’t these professional camera manufacturers start providing straps that are comfortable, or even just wearable?
Anyways, the good news is that there are a lot of off-brand camera straps from manufacturers that focus on these things specifically that are very good. One of these brands, Indigo Marble, sent me over one of their specialty camera straps for me to test out. This is my review of that product as well as some other thought regarding the question of what the best camera strap for travel photography may be, and what to look for when buying a new camera strap.
What’s Wrong with Regular Camera Straps?
Oh God, where to start? I think anyone who has ever used them long term has had issues. I’m going to go through this point-by-point in case Canon or Nikon is reading this (I can dream, right?).
Too Narrow: When you’re shooting professional cameras, they are heavy. When you have a really narrow strap, the weight from the camera and lens is only distributed on that thin slice on your shoulder which can be painful after a while. It can actually lead to back problems, too.
Wrong Material: It’s not that the material is bad, it’s just not the right material for a strap. Not only does that phony leather on the strap get really hot and sweaty, but it sticks to your clothes so whenever you move your camera to shoot your clothing goes with it. Nothing worse than wandering around with your camera strap causing you to have a giant sweat patch and strangely bunched clothes.
Wrong Attachment Location on the Camera: DSLR straps hook onto each side of the body at the top which really isn’t the right spot. It causes the straps to get in the way. In fact, a couple times I’ve even had the stray bit of strap at the end poke me right in the eye when I went up to shoot. Also, when you’re shooting on a tripod the straps up there can whip around in the wind and cause sharpness issues. Straps really should lock onto the bottom, or just one side of the camera.
What to Look for in a Camera Strap?
If you’re looking for an off-brand camera strap, you have lots of options. Moreover, it’s not like a good strap is that much of an investment. If you’re a travel photographer, you are going to have the camera on your shoulder a lot. So why not invest in a comfortable way to carry? These are a couple things you should look at before buying something.
Wide Strap: The truth is, even if Canon made a wider strap, it would be so much more comfortable. It distributes the weight of the camera across your shoulder and essentially makes the camera feel like it weighs less.
Spongy Material: The material that sits on your shoulder should be squishy and soft. It shouldn’t feel it’s cutting into your shoulder. It also shouldn’t be too sticky or your clothes will move every time your camera does.
Breathable: The material should also be somewhat breathable so it doesn’t get really sweaty. Leather, it’s a terrible choice, in my opinion.
Alternative Attachment Location: I like the straps that find a way to attach to the bottom of the camera body. It means that the straps wont get in the way when you shoot.
Quick Review of the Indigo Marble Camera Strap
If you want to see this camera strap in action, be sure to watch the video above.
I’m a big fan of this strap so far. It really is everything that I would hope in a camera strap. The part that hangs over your shoulder is really wide and nice and soft. It distributes the weight of the camera and lens so much that it actually doesn’t feel like I have that much weight on my shoulder at all.
The way the strap attaches to the camera is also very clever. They use a bottom plate that locks into your tripod mount on the bottom of the body. Then, there’s a hole which you hook the strap into. Doing it this way not only makes sure the straps aren’t in the way, but it also allows the camera to rest at your hip in a way that’s ready for action quickly. I also love how when you pull the camera from your hip to your eye to shoot, the strap on the shoulder doesn’t move at all. Instead, all that happens is the camera slides along the nylon part of the strap smoothly. It means that your clothing wont bunch at all when you’re shooting.
One thing I was a bit worried about when I got it was that I would have to take it off each time I wanted to set up my camera on my tripod. However, I can simply attach my tripod quick release to the strap mount, essentially doubling up the mounts. It’s easy. And, of course, having the straps down here when mounted on a tripod means that if it’s windy outside, the flapping camera straps wont cause sharpness issues with long exposure shots.
Other Camera Strap Options?
The only other two options for camera straps that I’ve found that I like over the years are both by Peak Design.
Peak Design Rapid Strap
This strap, like the Marble strap, uses the rapid feature which slides the strap along your shoulder rather than dragging the camera. It makes a smoother use of the camera and doesn’t twist up your clothes when you move to take a picture.
It also comes with a couple clips so you can take the strap off the camera really quickly if you want.
No Strap / Camera Clip
Personally, I don’t use camera straps anymore at all.
I use a peak design clip that goes on the shoulder strap of my camera bag. Doing this gives me the freedom of having my hands free without having to fight with the camera strap. It pops on and off really quickly. I love the freedom it gives me.
What’s Next on the Travel Photography Blog?
Lots of fun, that’s what’s next! I’m going to be heading to Dinosaur Country here in Alberta to the town of Drumheller to do a couple days shooting. I’m also going to head back to Jasper in a week to hit up ski season. We’ll do some action photography as well as some other fun things. Perhaps even dog sledding(!!!). I will likely have some other gear reviews mixed in there as well. Stay tuned!