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Every photographer needs a good camera, but a quality camera strap is equally as essential, whether you’re an amateur photographer or a pro. Besides keeping your camera at the ready, the best camera straps will prevent accidental falls and keep your comfortable at a comfortable reach during long days of on-and-off shooting.
Sadly, stock camera straps are often cheap afterthoughts on the part of the brand (even with very expensive cameras). That’s why most photographers – no matter their expertise – turn to aftermarket camera straps. These higher-quality straps are made from comfortable, strong materials (I.e. no surprise drops), and they often include features for faster, more fluid adjustability.
For professional photographers, this means one less thing to worry about on a shoot. For most amateurs, this means you can carry your camera all day (say, while exploring on vacation or birding) with fewer worries and less discomfort.
Camera Strap Buying Guide
With different strap styles, a range of materials and a variety of special features, there’s a lot to choose from while shopping for the best camera straps. Here’s what to look for.
Strap Type: The four basic styles of camera straps are neck straps, cross-body straps, wrist straps and harnesses. Neck straps can be hung around the neck for easy access, over a shoulder, or across your body when you’re not shooting. Cross-body straps (a.k.a. sling straps) can be slung across the body, distributing weight for more comfort when not shooting.
Wrist straps are good for active shooting, giving you better mobility and less material. Harnesses are less common, and they’re typically only used when you’re rocking multiple cameras. Neck, cross-body and wrist straps are by far the most popular, so we’ve stuck to these styles for our picks.
Materials: A point of contention between camera geeks is whether straps should be non-slip or slippery. With non-slip materials (such as leather) the strap won’t slide around on your body. But this can make it harder to swing the camera up (without pulling your shirt along too), leading some photographers to prefer slippery camera strap materials like nylon. If you’re unsure which you prefer, we recommend trying both. It makes a bigger difference than you might expect.
Comfort: It’s hard to focus on the shots when your neck or hand is uncomfortable from a bad camera strap. Look for comfortable materials and plenty of adjustability to ensure a comfortable fit – no matter which strap style you go for.
Weight Capacity: Nothings worse than a strap breaking and a dropped camera. The higher the weight capacity of a strap, the better. Some straps will list maximum weight, and others will list recommended load weight.
What Are the Best Camera Straps?
We’ve rounded up some of the best camera straps you can buy online, from basic models that fit most camera brands, to more stylish picks that let you accessorize your camera carrying kit.
1. Peak Design Leash Camera Strap
Peak Design started as an early Kickstarter success story and still makes some fantastic camera straps. This one, the minimalist Leash, is highly adjustable from 33 to 57 inches, making it usable either as a neck or cross-body strap. Adjustment is done with dual aluminum and Hypalon quick-adjusters, making it easy to switch modes on-the-go.
The Leash strap is made of a smooth webbing similar to a seatbelt. This makes it slippery enough for fast access when slung across the body. The material is also very strong, translating to an impressive maximum weight of 200 pounds. It also features universally compatible anchors which, combined with the weight capacity, means it’ll support just about any type of camera.
2. OP/TECH USA Super Classic Strap
This Super Classic strap from OP/TECH is a good choice for serious photographers that need to make quick adjustments throughout long shoot days. The strap uses a neoprene material with a non-stick surface for the majority of the build. This gives some subtle stretch and serious comfort, and the non-stick surface keeps the camera secure when slung on your back.
OP/TECH recommends a load weight no greater than 15 pounds, which is far more than most cameras (the Canon EOS-1D weighs 3.5 pounds, for reference).
The Super Classic strap’s most notable feature is quick-release buckles on either side. This lets you snap the camera off if the strap gets in the way of a shot, or if you need to mount the camera on a tripod. And don’t worry: these buckles are very well-made and reliable.
3. Peak Design Cuff Camera Wrist Strap
Our favorite wrist camera strap, this stylish Cuff, also comes from Peak Designs. Because it’s so low-profile, the strap stays well out of the way while shooting. An adjustable cinch also makes it easy to tighten and loosen the cuff depending on your wrist size. We’re also big fans of the strap’s quick-release Dyneema-corded anchors, which let you quickly detach or attach the strap.
These high-quality anchors, plus Peak Design’s tough nylon material, lends a carry-anything max weight of 200 pounds. And when the strap isn’t in use, it packs up as a low-profile bracelet and fits in almost any pocket.
4. ONA The Presidio Camera Strap
Let’s face it: most camera straps are ugly. This pick from ONA, dubbed “The Presidio,” aims to provide a camera strap that’s as stylish as it is supportive. It’s made of handsome, top-grain leather, while neoprene padding in the neck offers extra comfort. At 63 inches, it’s best as a cross-body strap, although some adjustability means it works as a neck strap too. To adjust the strap, you’ve got two chrome buckles on either side, upping the style factor even further.