If it is true that the prize for the most popular kind of camera strap material goes to leather, then straps made from sailing ropes certainly get the prize for the most unique. So far, Mathieu and I have had the pleasure of trying out handcrafted sailing rope straps from two different makers, Sailor Strap and T&T Garda Strap, both of which left us with a very good impression. Below you can read a brief review of each, and decide whether or not you too want to bring the seas to your strap!
The Sailor Strap is a popular brand of neck strap handmade in Warsaw, Poland. All their straps are made from durable braided polyester silk sailing ropes and accented with vegetable tanned leather at the join. The material used makes them water and sunlight resistant and odourless even after extensive use. On the website, there are two different styles listed, the Lieutenant and the Private, but according to the company’s Instagram account, there is also a new strap called the Hassy which uses an even thicker and more durable cord. Similarly, there are only a few colours shown on the website, but you can email the designers to request different colours and additional modifications.
I used a red Lieutenant strap throughout a 12 hour wedding on my Olympus OM-D E-M10 a couple of weeks ago. Due to the length (1.2 meters), I was happier wearing it as a sling than as a neck strap, as it comfortably sit right at the height of my hip. The sailing cord is very smooth and soft to the touch, and can be worn over the shoulder for long periods of time as long as you don’t attach too much weight. With the E-M10 and Lumix 35-100mm alone, it was comfortable, but once I added the FL-600R flash to the combo, the strap began to dig into my shoulder a little.
Since the length cannot be adjusted, you have to be sure that you are engaging in a genre of photography where having your camera at hip-level is convenient, such as street photography. For weddings, events and other genres where you could potentially be surrounded by lots of people, I would be more tempted to suggest a strap whose length can be adjusted. The risk of your camera getting bumped around is just too high when you keep it at hip-level.
Overall, the Sailor Strap is a useful, comfortable and stylish product for street photographers. You can buy it online by visiting the store section of their website.
T&T Garda Strap
The T&T Garda Straps are made by our friend Tyson of Tyson Robichaud Photography Blog, with whom we hold monthly Flickr challenges. While Sailor Strap focuses on making neck straps, Tyson exclusively produces handmade wrist straps for mirrorless cameras.
As Tyson states on his product page, the wrist straps are made of high-end yachting line made up of Dyneema (Spectra) and Cordura (Nylon), and feature a hand-sewn and whipped join that is covered with self-adhesive rubber tape. They are soft yet “grippy” to the touch, and are very strong with a linear break rating of 800 lbs in the case of the 8mm version I’ve been using. The soft material will not scratch or damage your camera as other materials might.
There are also two other versions to choose from, the more slender 6mm Garda in red and the fatter 10mm Garda in black. There is also a blue version of the 8mm. The 10mm version is ideal for large mirrorless cameras and DSLRs whereas the smaller straps are better for small to mid-sized mirrorless cameras. While Tyson used to produce two different sizes (medium and large), he now makes them all the same size, allowing for size adjustments via a rubber O-ring.
We’ve had a couple of T&T Straps for a while now, and really enjoy using them on the smaller mirrorless cameras we test such as the Fujifilm X30. Just as the soft material does not damage the camera, it is also gentle on the skin. The strap is also very easy to attach to any lug with a fairly wide opening–simply slide the white rope through the lug, weave the strap through the white rope and tighten.
Note: As a bonus for you, the readers, if you mention that you found Tyson through Mirrorlessons, you can receive 10% off of any Garda Strap!
So there you have it: two great straps, one for your neck and the other for your wrist. Have you ever considered a strap made of sailing rope for your camera? 🙂