CAMERA AND BAG STRAPS
Part I The type of camera strap
Camera Strap Differences - What is Best for YOU
Let's get one thing out of the way first. When you use the strap from your camera manufacturer you have a short strap with a big and bright logo on your neck or shoulder. This announces to any thief within 50 yards that you have thousands of dollars hanging from your shoulder and that you are a target and a walking billboard. To some degree this also goes for "fashion straps" that draw attention to you. For those of us who want to take photos and not make a fashion statement you should know that. . .
There are many different cameras and lens combinations that impact the best choice of a camera strap. The weight of a camera/lens combination vary from less than a pound to over 15 pounds! Therefore camera straps are designed for different cameras of different weights and for different types of photographers, each with different style of interacting with his or her camera.
Also it is the weight of the camera/lens combination that determines your choice of a camera strap. On DSLR cameras it is many times the weight of the lens that determines the final choice as the camera lens is the heavier of the two.
So why a camera neck strap rather than a camera shoulder strap or sling strap?
Camera Neck Straps If you have a camera that is less than a pound perhaps a comfortable (soft) camera neck strap is your best bet. Then again, who ever really enjoyed a tight collar or neck tie. A hunk of metal constantly hanging from your neck to your chest can become old real fast. They will easily ship off your shoulder and are too short to use as a camera sling.When you are using a heavy camera around your neck common sense tells us that it hurts and is not good for our neck. That said when you are working a subject and the camera is in your hand, having the camera strap around your neck only puts weight on your neck when you let go of the camera.
Camera Shoulder Straps From the early photographers to today, the majority of photographers have carried their cameras, camera bags, laptop bags and travel bags on their shoulder. Almost but not all shoulder straps required to some degree a constant adjustment to keep it from slipping off. Over the years manufactures have tried various methods to stop the constant slipping with varying degrees of success. Rough leather, different shapes, wedges, web with sewn in rubber binding, silicone dots or a felt like fabric sewn to one side of the shoulder section.
Camera Sling Straps Originally called bandoliers and recently used as messenger bag straps, are worn to sit in the crook of your neck and upper shoulder then go across the front and back of your body to the opposite hip. Any camera strap can be used in the bandolier or sling method if it is long enough. However the camera strap that came with your camera is usually to short unless you want the camera in your armpit. Camera sling straps can be as simple as a piece of web attached to the camera at the normal fastening points to a camera sling that is attached to the tripod socket. When a camera of any weight is carried a neck/shoulder pad is required. This pad can be as simple as a small piece of soft material to a large pad that functions like the Batman accessory belt that will carry your cellphone, spare data cards, business cards, model releases, a lens cloth and perhaps a few pieces of beef jerky . When a camera strap is attached to the tripod socket your camera hangs upside down. Some photographers know that the top prism is far more delicate the the base of a camera. In addition while many pro digital cameras these days can shoot at super hi ISO and still make great pictures and that lens vibration assistance allows for slower shutter speeds, there are times when a tripod is your best bet.
Photographer Al Stegmeyer was photographing dirt bikes and realized that having a little knobby tire as a shoulder pad would provide great shoulder traction. Al also knew from hard experience that neck and shoulder straps flip over so the non-slip on one side should be at least similar in behavior to the other side. If one side is not slippery and the other side is you can count on a problem at some point.
Over the years Al had a closet full of camera neck straps, camera sling straps and camera shoulder straps. Al by far liked the shoulder method the best but he could not find a non-slip camera strap that was dependable enough to keep his camera safe, free his hand and allow him to think about taking pictures and not about the constant annoyance of a slipping shoulder strap. After trial and error and the input from professional photographers, the UPstrap non-slip pad design was finalized and the tooling to build the pad went into production.