Let’s face it: there’s nothing sexy about a camera strap. But in practice this tether is integral to your entire workflow. The humble camera strap has evolved immensely over the years, and now there are straps to suit just about every photographic need. From traditional straps to dual-camera straps to wrist tethers, in this guide we round up the best camera straps you can buy today.
Camera strap or harness: which is best?
A camera strap serves many useful purposes. It keeps your hands free to do other things when you’re not setting up the camera. A camera strap keeps your unit secure. Even when you’ve set your tripod up on uneven ground, keeping the strap around your neck while you shoot gives you that extra bit of security.
A camera strap also allows you to change lenses faster and shoot with multiple bodies.
So why use a camera harness instead of camera strap?
If you’ve ever run with your camera around your neck, you’ll know why you might want to use a harness over a camera strap.
A harness keeps your camera firmly against your chest for those times when you are truly ‘on the go.’ Maybe you’re hiking, cycling, skiing or climbing a bumpy hill. Or maybe you’re a photojournalist or street photographer running after the action.
A harness will keep your camera stationary and prevent it from swinging from side to side in these situations.
The best camera straps you can buy today
Peak Design Slide Lite
- Adjustable from 99cm to 145cm
- Anchor mounts for easy attachment and removal
Width-wise the Slide Lite sits between the Peak Design Slide and Leash. That makes it more comfortable to use with heavier cameras than the Slide, but it lacks some of the warmth of the Slide.
It’s also easy to extend or shorten and its suitable for use around your neck, on your shoulder or across your body as a sling-type strap.
Like the Slide and Leash, the Slide Lite uses Peak Design’s Anchors to attach to the camera. These are very easy to thread onto a camera’s strap lugs, but if you prefer there’s also a low-profile Anchor Mount that fixes on the bottom of the camera via the tripod bush. Using the strap lugs allows the camera to be mounted on a tripod quickly.
The Anchors are useful because they let you remove the strap quickly so it’s not falling about while the camera is on a tripod. As four are provided, you can also swap the strap between cameras.
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Black Rapid Sport Breathe
- 167cm long
- Buckles to lock the camera in location
The BlackRapid Sport Breathe is a sling-style camera strap that attaches to a camera via a screw fastener in the tripod bush. This screw has a loop that allows a lockable carabiner that’s on the strap to be attached.
It’s designed to be worn across your body, and there are left and right versions available so you need to decide which side to carry your camera.
We’ve always been a bit sceptical about using straps that don’t attach via the camera’s strap lugs, but the BlackRapid Sport Breathe is very secure and it keeps your camera within easy reach. It’s also comfortable to wear even when you’re carrying a heavy camera like a Canon 5D Mark III with a telephoto lens mounted.
If you regularly carry your camera on a regular strap or in your hand for long periods of time and you don’t want to mount it on a tripod, the BlackRapid Sport Breathe makes an excellent choice of strap.
It’s particularly well-suited for use by walkers and travel or street photographers although it may attract unwanted attention.
- Comfortable sling design
- Attaches via the camera strap lugs
If you like the idea of the BlackRapid Breathe but you want to be able to mount your camera on a tripod quickly, or you just prefer to attach a strap by the camera’s lugs, the RucPac Sentinel could be for you. However, RucPac only makes a version for right-handed photographers.
It’s not quite as plush as the Breathe, but its price reflects that.
The Sentinel has a ‘Camera Fixing Assembly’ (CFA) that connects the strap to the camera. This has a double clip mechanism to give it a bit of extra security.
While it’s comfortable to wear and it does a good job of distributing the weight of a heavy camera, it’s rather odd that the clip for the Sentinel’s underarm strap is at the back. This means you have to fasten it before you put it on – or have a friend clip it for you. However, it doesn’t take long to get used to slipping your arm through the strap as you lift the Sentinel over your head.
Manfrotto Pro Light FastTrack
- Sling bag / camera strap integration
- 40 x 22.5 x 13cm internal space
The Pro Light FastTrack is a bit of an oddity on our list of best camera straps, but something so unique we felt compelled to include it.
The Manfrotto Pro Light FastTrack sling bag is, first and foremost, a camera sling bag but it’s the first on the market to feature an integrated camera strap. How it works is, photographers remove their camera from the sling’s main compartment, then pull the sling strap and the camera rises to their hands.
The Pro Light FastTrack sling’s strap features lockable buckles that attach to the strap rings on the sides of your camera. These buckles then clip to the integrated strap on the Pro Light FastTrack sling to prevent the camera from slipping, as well as tangling up with the shoulder strap.
Where the Pro Light FastTrack shines is for travel and city breaks, allowing you to always have your camera at the ready without having to compromise on quality or safety.
- Supports kits up to 6lbs
- Genuine leather
ONA’s Presidio is one of the more luxurious entries on our list of the best camera straps, and at £100 it’s a bit of an indulgence. But don’t you deserve nice things?
The Presidio is 100% Italian leather, which is padded with soft neoprene. On each end are chrome buckles for adjusting the strap’s length from 49.53 to 59.69cm. Its total length is 160cm.
The Presidio can support camera kits weighing up to 6lbs, which isn’t as much as some of the other camera straps on this list, but it’s certainly the most stylish.
iMo camera strap
- Stylish, patterned fabric
- 112cm to 137cm adjustable length
What the iMo camera strap lacks in bells and whistles it makes up for in style. Each iMo camera strap is made from thick, padded fabric with varying patterns in a range of colours.
The fabric is also resistant to oil, heat and weathering, meaning it should stand the test of time.
Designed for DSLRs (but also suitable for mirrorless cameras) the iMo’s straps are adjustable from 112cm to 137cm, and the middle section measures 71cm.
BlackRapid Double Breathe
- Double harness
- Adjustable to your height and build
The BlackRapid Double Breathe is a harness-like dual strap that enables you to carry two cameras, one on either side of your body. Like the BlackRapid Sport Breathe, the Double Breathe is attached via a screw thread in the cameras’ tripod mounts.
The Double Breathe has two shoulder pads with 2.5cm wide, long webbing straps that hang down at your sides with the cameras at the lowest point of the loops. Chest and back straps keep the two halves of the Double Breathe together. The lower back strap is elasticated for comfort and the front has a snap fastening to makes the whole thing easy to put on and take off.
Once the screw mounts have been fastened to the cameras’ tripod mounts they can be attached to the Double Breathe via the lockable carabineers. The carabineers have a threaded section that is turned to prevent them from opening, as well as a clip that stops the thread from unwinding.
Music, event and wedding photographers, or anyone who needs to carry and swap between two cameras throughout a shoot, will find the BlackRapid Double Breathe a useful addition to their kit. It makes carrying two heavy cameras comfortable and they feel secure on your shoulders.
Best wrist straps for your camera
Some photographers – typically street and travel photographers – like to use a wrist strap with their camera. A wrist strap is less obvious than a traditional camera strap.
If you’re shooting in a crowded market, for instance, where there might be pickpockets, your camera will be safer and more secure.
In our view, the best wrist strap for your camera are the…
Peak Design Cuff V3 wrist strap
- 4.5cm to 9.7cm
- Can support up to 90kg (200lbs)
Peak Design’s Cuff comes in two colours – Ash and Black and is designed to use as a wrist-carrying camera strap. The wrist loop magnetically locks in the open position or cinches down on your wrist for added security.
The loop also locks down on your wrist if you accidentally drop your camera. As with the Leash, the Cuff uses an Anchor cord that can hold 200lbs (90kg).
The Cuff is 3.8” (9.7cm) when open and cinches down to 1.75” (4.5cm) when closed at its smallest setting. Cuff is made of nylon webbing, aluminium adjuster hardware and leather accents. It also a magnetic clasp set into it so that you can fold it over and wear as a bracelet when it’s not in use.
The Cuff is a really cool camera strap. We know so many photographers who’ve had accidental drops of their cameras and this simple piece of equipment can save you from a very expensive error!
It’s a well thought out piece of kit and comfortable to wear around the wrist. The design of the Anchor cord also means that you don’t feel the weight of your camera dragging on your wrist.
- 20.5cm strap length
- 1.59 oz
When you don’t want a shoulder or neck strap and need something a little more discreet, the BlackRapid Breathe is an excellent choice. Lightweight, but solid, the BlackRapid Breathe is 100% Nylon like a car seat belt and secures to your wrist, yet offering a 20.5cm adjustable length.
A wrist strap has a simple job, and the Breathe does it well. Street photographers will love it, but so will wildlife and sports photographers who want minimal clutter and simply want to quickly bring their camera up to their eye.