The strap that comes with your camera sucks. It screams tourist, holds your camera awkwardly, and is just generally terrible. Let’s find you a better one.
A strap is a surprisingly important bit of camera gear; it’s protects your camera when you’re not actively holding it. The branded one that ships with every camera is awful so you should really upgrade it to something better. The biggest problem is that neck straps are the worst way to carry a camera. They work—just about—for a point and shoot or light mirrorless setup, but if you’re carrying anything heavier, you’ll need a physiotherapist to fix your back pain after a few hours. It’s also not a good idea to advertise that you have expensive gear with a branded strap. Here are some better options.
Best All Round Strap: Peak Design Slide ($65)
I’ve used the Peak Design Slide ($65) since it launched on Kickstarter a few years ago. It’s by far my favorite all round strap to replace the stock one that comes with your camera.
What makes the Slide so useful is that it’s incredibly flexible. It uses Peak Design’s patented Anchor Mounts so you can attach it how you want to your camera. There are also two quick-pull adjusters so you can quickly change the length of the strap. Combined, it means that the Slide can be used as a neck strap (don’t), shoulder strap, or cross body sling strap.
Personally, I like to use the Slide as a sling with my camera kept tight to my body so it doesn’t bump into things. When I want to use my camera, I just loosen the strap with one of the quick-pull adapters and start shooting.
As a Peak Design product, it goes without saying that the Slide uses super high quality materials. It’s comfortable to carry and even after a couple of years of regular use, mine still shows no signs of wear. Even if yours does, there’s a lifetime guarantee.
Best Hand Strap: Peak Design Clutch ($45)
The Peak Design Clutch ($45) is a hand strap which sets it apart from the other straps on this list. Instead of keeping your camera safe while you’re carrying it, it keeps it safe while you’re using it.
Like the Slide, I’ve been using the Clutch since it launched. It’s great for when you’re taking a lot of photos in quick succession, like during a portrait session or sports shoot, and don’t want to get tangled in a regular strap. It’s not quite a replacement for a sling or shoulder strap, but it’s a great companion. Since it uses the same Anchor Mounts as the Slide, they work the best together.
Best One Camera Sling: BlackRapid Breathe Sport Camera Strap ($63)
The BlackRapid Breathe Sport camera strap ($63) is incredibly popular with professional photographers who have to carry a heavy camera for hours on end. The padded shoulder strap comfortably bears the weight of your camera while the smaller support strap keeps the shoulder strap perfectly in place.
Unlike most straps, the camera isn’t fixed to the ends. Instead, it’s attached to a D-ring so it hangs down. This makes it faster to just grab your camera and means the strap can’t get tangled or shift to an uncomfortable position.
The BlackRapid Breath comes in right-handed and left-handed versions. Make sure you get the right one for you.
BlackRapid Sport Breathe Original Camera Sling Right-handed Design, Strap for DSLR, SLR and Mirrorless Cameras
Best Two Camera Harness: BlackRapid Breathe Double Camera Harness ($115)
If you’ve ever watched a photojournalist or wedding photographer, you’ll have noticed they normally carry two cameras at the same time: one with a telephoto lens for close ups and another with a wide-angle lens for group shots. The BlackRapid Breathe Double Camera Harness ($114.71) is one of the most popular straps for carrying two cameras at the same time without breaking your back or your camera.
While the Breathe Double Camera Harness is definitely overkill for most people, it’s worth knowing it exists so that if you do make the leap into professional photography, you know what you need to buy.
BlackRapid Double Breathe Camera Harness, Trusted Design For One Or Two SLR, DSLR, Mirrorless Cameras
Best High Quality Leather Strap: b.still Leather Strap ($23)
If you’re a little more concerned with form than function, you need a great looking leather strap; it will keep your camera safe and give you extra hipster cred. I have one for my old film cameras.
There are lots of great leather straps out there from small, boutique makers (just check out Etsy for ideas) but if you want a recommendation for something simple, have a look at b.still’s leather strap ($22.97). It’s designed to work with both old and new cameras from all the major manufacturers like Canon, Nikon, and Leica. It’s adjustable, great looking, and at less than $25, affordable.
The strap that came with your camera belongs in the bin. Do yourself a favor and replace it with one of these great straps. Or, if I’ve missed your favorite strap, let us know in the comments.