A gift guide for something everyone already gets (for free) in the box with their new camera? Yes! Almost every camera on the market today comes with its own camera strap. For the most part, those camera straps are pretty solid. But, hear me out, aftermarket camera straps are a fantastic upgrade to your or a loved one’s camera.
Need more convincing?
Best Reasons to Ditch the OEM Strap
As serviceable and perfectly fine as the strap that came with your camera is, there are four reasons to upgrade.
1) As loyal as you are to your camera brand, you don’t feel like advertising the make and model of your camera, 2) you want to stand out from the crowd (maybe) and customize your gear (likely), 3) a standard shoulder strap might not be the best tool for the job depending on what kind of photography you do, and 4) simply, there are better straps out there.
Let’s look at some top choices.
Best Aftermarket Camera Strap for Mirrorless and DSLR Cameras
Peak Design has knocked it out of the park with its amazing Peak Design Slide Lite Camera Strap and almost everyone who uses one swears by it. The most unique feature is Peak Design’s proprietary removable anchor connectors that allow you to remove the strap easily when it is not needed; I take mine off when shooting astrophotography to avoid camera blur from a swinging strap. The buckles are the other awesome feature, allowing you to adjust the length of the strap on the fly and convert it from a comfortable shoulder strap length to an around-the-neck-friendly length with ease. Another selling point: it comes in different colors and widths (the thinner “Lite” version is for compact DSLRs or mirrorless cameras). This strap is so awesome I am perplexed about why I don’t see it more often.
Best 3-Point Sling Strap for Mirrorless and DSLR Cameras
For more active shooters—those in rugged urban or outdoor settings—the 3-point sling strap is a fantastic option for carrying your camera, and no one does it better than BlackRapid, with its BlackRapid Sport Breath Camera Strap. What is a “sling strap,” you ask? Well, it’s a cross-body strap that goes over one shoulder and is stabilized with an under-arm connection. The camera attaches (usually) to the strap using the threaded 1/4 "-20 tripod hole at the bottom of the camera. The camera hangs upside down at the hip—ready for the quick draw—while being stabilized against the shooter’s body, allowing for hiking, bike riding, and other kinds of activities that make cameras on traditional straps bounce around frustratingly.
Best Handgrip Strap for Mirrorless and DSLR Cameras
Just like the 3-point sling strap is mission-specific for a specific type of photographer, so is the handgrip strap. Designed for those who want to forgo the camera strap yet retain extra control of their camera when, for instance, on the street or in the studio, the handgrip strap is a great option and accessory specialist Vello has its thoughtfully designed Vello Hand Grip Strap with Arca-Style Quick Release Plate on the market. Combining soft leather and an extra security strap for your wrist, the Vello Hand Grip Strap lets you keep your camera secure yet always ready. The Arca-type compatible plate at the bottom allows you to connect a sling or shoulder strap, or mount the camera on a tripod, when you need to let go of the camera for a bit.
If you are already rocking Peak Design anchors and want a handgrip strap, skip the Vello and attach the Peak Design CL-3 Clutch Camera Hand Strap instead.
Best Harness for Carrying Two Cameras
Two cameras? At the same time? Yes. You know who you are and what you need to do to make great photographs. While you can put shoulder straps across your body in both directions in a pinch, HoldFast Gear ups your double-bandolier game with its HoldFast Gear MoneyMaker 2-Camera Harness. Made from beautiful English bridle leather and silver hardware, the rigs also feature a speed clutch for fast camera access.
If leather isn't your preferred material, check out the CCS G3 Harness-2 from Cotton Carrier instead. Designed for active photographers like our previous pick, this harness will distribute the weight of two cameras with attached lenses evenly. You might prefer this option if you are working outdoors, because it features pockets for memory cards or batteries, as well as a large exterior pocket for accessories.
Best Camera Strap to Show Brand Loyalty to a Filter Company — B+W Camera Strap
Best Camera Strap to Show Brand Loyalty to a Tripod Company — Gitzo Century Leather Sling Strap
Best Camera Strap to Show Brand Loyalty to a Lens Company — Zeiss Comfort Camera Strap
Best Flea Market Film Camera Strap Part 1 — Perri’s Leathers Ltd.
Best Flea Market Film Camera Strap Part 2 — Capturing Couture
Best Seatbelt Material Camera Strap — Souldier Custom 2" Camera Strap
Best Paracord Hand Strap — Artisan & Artist Parachute Hand Cord Strap
Best Neoprene Camera Strap to Make Your Camera Feel Lighter — OP/TECH USA Super Classic Strap-Uni Loop
Best Camera Strap to Match Your ONA Bag — ONA The Sevilla Leather Camera Strap
Best Camouflage Strap — OP/TECH USA Utility Strap-Sling
Best Strap for Your Rugged Camera — Ruggard Floating Wrist Strap
Best Rainbow Strap — Polaroid Flat Camera Strap
And, as we reach the end, for those who need support for keeping the OEM strap that came with your camera:
Best Reasons to Keep the OEM Strap
There are two reasons to keep your OEM strap: 1) it works just fine, and 2) it is/was free! A third reason would be brand loyalty, if you are into free advertising.
For decades, I sported the OEM factory Nikon strap that came with my N6006 SLR. It made the move to digital with me—moving it from the SLR through several Nikon DSLRs. I left the “digital” straps in the box—no need to tell the world what model camera I was carrying—and, besides, the N6006 strap had less yellow (not my favorite color) and more gray (favorite color) than the new Nikon products.
The strap never let me down and worked perfectly for decades and, even better, it was free. That is the most valid argument for keeping your factory strap.
Now it is time for you to join the discussion. Tell us about your favorite strap—OEM or aftermarket—or pick our brains about different straps that might have caught your eye by dropping a message in the Comments section, below.