Camera straps shouldn’t be very complicated, by their nature. They’re just a strap to go over a neck, shoulder or your body in order to make carrying a camera easier or to keep gravity from ruining your day if you drop it. They can be made of a variety of material, with a latch or connector at each end. Not rocket science, right? And yet, I am constantly surprised at how many ways they are screwed up.
They’ll have absurd connectors that are hard to use and prone to failure. They’ll be too short and require you to only be able to wear them around your neck or over your shoulder but not over your body, or they’ll be thin and long and hard to shorten for anything other than around the torso use. Older ones come permanently affixed to a camera case that only fits one camera. The failure of design goes on and on.
I looked in to getting a new strap of a now and then, usually after cursing at a camera strap that was too short to be used over my body, or prone to slipping off my shoulder. I’d look down and tell myself I wasn’t really that fat, or be scrambling to catch my camera before it hit the granite of the Rocky Mountains or pavement of a city. I’d buy something and it would end up being disappointing.
Somehow, even a very simple thing can get lost in the details and miss the mark.
Peak Design’s Leash intrigued me. It was long enough to go around my body and let the camera hang at waist level where it is most comfortable. It also can be shortened up and used over the shoulder or around the neck. All good things, but what really interested me was the attachments. The loop and dongle approach they call an Anchor Link is strong, and effective. Nothing to tie, so there would be no failure caused by less than nautical level knot tying skills, and a simple, positive lock on the gear. They claim that the load limit for one of these connectors is 100 pounds, and I see no reason to doubt them.
This strap is perfect for the cameras I use. Even though it’s not very wide, it still distributes weight so well that I occasionally forget I am carrying a camera. When you’ve removed a level of aggravation and replaced it with comfort, you’re doing it right.
The only thought I had for improvement was the width of the strap. While the Leash is perfect for manual SLRs and rangefinders, it’s a little thin for heavy cameras like medium format SLRs or 35mm SLRs with winders. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one to think about this, as Peak Design is introducing a new version with a wider strap called the Slide which looks like just the ticket for those heavier cameras. I may get one and take my Kiev 88CM hiking for the first time. The thought of being able to comfortably lug that beast in to the back country to make big chrome negatives sounds very appealing.
The Leash is going to be my go-to strap for the foreseeable future. Strong, light, comfortable, and it’s even good-looking. Peak Design knocked it out of the park.