Camera Straps for People Who Aren’t Into Leather

Camera Straps for People Who Aren’t Into Leather

1200 963 Charlotte Davis

It’s almost a cliché – your well-brassed camera must wear an equally weathered artisanal strap, usually leather. Venture onto any fashionable camera site these days and we’ll no doubt find such a leather strap attached to a red-dot rarity, wrapped round a cup of espresso and an overly-complicated paperback novel. But not everyone likes leather.

During my search for an upgrade from the manky old Pentax strap currently adorning my Cosina SLR, I realised there wasn’t much in the way of stylish but hard-wearing straps for those of us who choose to avoid animal products (after all, if you don’t eat meat, wearing leather seems a bit odd).

Non-leather straps seems to fall into two categories; form or function. The former is a category dominated by the likes of Peak Design and Optech. Straps by these companies provide all the functionality needed by professional photographers, without the leather.

Peak Design offers their Capture camera clips – metal hardware that screws into a tripod thread, and allows you to mount a camera on your belt for easy shotgun-fast shooting. These land a little too close to “mobile phone in a holster” category for me – a trend that should have stayed in the 2000s. With a heavy 400mm lens attached, I’d also worry over the structural integrity of my belt – nobody wants to be pantsed by their camera gear.

Another offering from Peak is the Slide – a simple webbing strap with internal padding. However, I struggle to see technology in this strap that warrants the price of $70 – the vast majority of my film cameras didn’t cost me $70, after all.

Optech have some very well-reviewed straps, with the ability to swap out the padded middle section between cameras. Their Pro-Strap comes recommended as an affordable but comfortable option for those of us with heavier gear, and is available in a variety of different colours, including camouflage, the most cursed of all fabric patterns. Constructed from sturdy neoprene, Optech’s straps look like they’ll stand the test of time. Best of all, they’re very affordable – ideal if you have multiple cameras to furnish with straps.

We now come to the most utilitarian and least aesthetically pleasing end of the camera strap scale – The Harness. Like the Photographer Vest much-loved by press shooters of old, its functionality way outshines its awful form. If you need to carry two camera bodies however, it’s undoubtedly handy, and to this end Blackrapid can offer a variety of options – full holster, or single-side, if you’re not ready to commit to dual-wielding just yet.

For a slightly more fashionable option, try Holdfast – their MoneyMaker Swagg is available in a variety of colours, none of which are camo. Holdfast tend to stray into “needlessly masculine” accessory territory – their leather options include python skin and American Buffalo, if you want to pretend you’re taking photos in a jungle (not the concrete kind).

Swinging wildly away from Manly and Extreme territory, why not try a scarf strap – with plenty of colour options available, there’s sure to be one to suit your outfit, and provided your camera of choice isn’t too heavy, the wide band looks like a comfy alternative to the traditional camera strap. There are hundreds of options available on Etsy – take your pick!

But my favourite option for leather-free camera straps are the gorgeous straps made by Hyperion. These are available in a huge variety of colour combinations – choose your cord color and bindings for a personalized touch. Importantly, Hyperion eschews leather in both their cord strap and the bindings – most other cord strap options still use leather bindings to attach the cord to the rings. These straps are handmade in Greece, just like most of ancient Rome’s mythology! For me, the Hyperion strap ticks all the boxes – stylish enough to suit any camera, customizable, handmade by an actual person, and best of all, affordable.

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Charlotte Davis

Charlotte Davis

Based in Bristol, transplanted from London, I have been taking photos since I could hold a camera (sometimes I still drop them, but the sturdy ones survive).

All stories by:Charlotte Davis
10 comments
  • I have the Peak Design Slide Lite, as well as the older and newer versions of the Leash. I used to have the Slide but felt that it was too bulky for my tastes. I like the quick interchangeability of the system and the ability to buy just the strap anchor ends to use pretty much any strap with this system. I have tripod plates that have Anchor Links on them so that gives me a better, for me, way to carry my cameras. I find that it’s extremely versatile and works wonderfully for the way I use my cameras. I no longer need to buy a strap for each camera or use the camera manufacturer’s strap with it’s loud “NIKON!!!” embroidered on it unless I want to. I can remove the straps altogether when the camera is on a tripod and the straps are blowing in the wind. I can attach one end of the strap to an anchor on my big 70-200mm f/2.8 to take some weight off of the lens mount. I have Anchor Links mounted to almost all of my digital and analog cameras. Ever find yourself tangled up with the strap underneath your camera bag strap or backpack? You’d have to take the bag off to get the camera cleared. With the PD strap system I just unhook one side and slide it out from wherever it’s caught and I’m good to go. I really love this system.

    • I use that exact same set up for everything from my Nikon Z7 to Veriwide 100 to Zorki 4. The design means that when I put my camera on a copy stand to scan film, or on a tripod, I can instantly remove the strap so it does not get in the way.

      The Lite is also a lot cheaper than the regular ones.

  • I used to buy these inexpensive woven cotton straps from The Friendly Swede on Amazon. I have six or eight of them on various cameras in my collection. They’re not sold anymore and I can’t remember what they cost exactly but it wasn’t much, maybe eight or ten bucks a pop. They’re comfortable enough even for my heaviest cameras, like my Nikon F2 or my Yashica-D. They’re also long enough that when I sling a camera over my shoulder it rests on my hip, right where I like it. The Friendly Swede doesn’t carry these straps anymore – a pity.

  • Don’t talk too much about Hyperion straps…he might have to raise his prices to cope with the demand for these wonderful, utilitarian, and attractive straps! 🙂
    Another non-leather option I like and have are the straps from a South Korean company called Arnuvo. They make a variety of woven (nylon? not sure of the actual material) flat straps in several widths and lengths. And quite a few different patterns. Decently priced. The one downside, for me, is that they don’t have an English web site so I’m “stuck” buying from third party retialers on ebay. I’d much prefer dealing directly with the company.

  • Good old Nikon an4b never failed me

    I miss the old suede tamrac straps, though

  • I have one strap from Hyperion and it really is a good choice. For me was the light weight the main point, to buy one. I use it with a Pentax MG and it’s really comfortable to wear. Highly recommended!

  • I’m really looking forward to getting my strap from hyperion, only thing is that i ordered it a little over a month ago and still haven’t heard ANYTHING.

    • I ordered my Hyperion stap the same day this article came out and now, 30 days later, I also have Yet to HERE ANYTHING form this company. Not too thrilled about this, contemplating canceling my order if I don’t hear anything within the next week.

  • Thank you! As a vegan, I’ve been looking for a good camera strap for a while now. Just placed an order for a Hyperion strap, so gorgeous!

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Charlotte Davis

Charlotte Davis

Based in Bristol, transplanted from London, I have been taking photos since I could hold a camera (sometimes I still drop them, but the sturdy ones survive).

All stories by:Charlotte Davis