I spend much of my life hiking through mountains with a camera slung over my shoulder. I've tried more camera straps than I can remember, I'm sure. I rely on several tools for different jobs and have a few favorites. Whether you're a pro or a hobbyist, these are the most functional, comfortable camera straps available this year.
Best for heavy kits
If your daily driver is a DSLR or you rely on a heavy lens to get the job done, you won't find a handier or more comfortable strap than the Peak Design Slide. I've used this strap for several years, and it's rock solid. The Slide holds up to 200 pounds and uses a padded seatbelt style webbing, allowing you to carry your gear all day without a neckache or backache. Best of all, this is a sling-style strap, so you can ferry your camera on your backside while hiking and slide it around to the front to get your shot. The Slide works with any style of camera, and worth every penny.
Carry two cameras at once
If you arm yourself with two cameras at once, the BlackRapid Breathe is the best tool around to take the weight off your shoulders and neck while keeping your camera close. You'll get attachments for two bodies on a soft, breathable chest harness. The nylon webbing is long enough to position the cameras wherever you like, and there are four-inch wide shoulder pads that prevent this camera strap from digging into your skin, even on long shoots. If you're a wedding or sports photographer or you carry a lot of gear, put this on your wish list now.
Best budget strap
Sometimes you just need a basic camera strap, and the Tarion Vintage Shoulder Strap fits the bill. With a classic look and low price tag, this lightweight strap is a good pick for those with mirrorless cameras or DSLRs. The body of the strap is cotton and PU leather, and it's backed with anti-slip coating. Thanks to the included metal triangles in this design, it fits all brands of cameras and can also be used for other equipment like binoculars, rangefinders, and monoculars. This model from Tarion bears up to 22 pounds and is a low key strap that will last a lifetime.
Best wrist strap
Big camera straps call unnecessary attention to photographers. If you have a tiny point and shoot or you fancy yourself a street photographer, you want something light in weight and design. The Altura Photo Rapid Fire Wrist Strap comes with two connectors, including a heavy-duty connector for DSLRs and a thin but secure connection for video and mirrorless cams. And though it's lightweight, this unpretentious strap supports up to 10 pounds.
For mirrorless cameras
If you carry a mirrorless camera, you'll find most straps available today are overkill for your lightweight kit. The Peak Design Slide Lite was designed with mirrorless in mind. Aluminum adjuster handles adorn each side of the strap, making quick adjustments easy. A minimalistic anchor mount screws into the bottom of your camera, and it works with third party tripod plates and L-brackets. This strap is useable as a sling, neck, or shoulder strap, and it supports up to 200 pounds.
From one photographer to another
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I've used the Peak Design Slide (opens in new tab) as my everyday strap for several years and can't imagine anything ever replacing it. The anchor that screws into the tripod mount on the bottom of your camera is small but strong enough to support 200 pounds. It also doubles as a tripod mount, so you never have to fiddle with unscrewing the Slide bracket and then screwing in another plate. Genius! The Slide is length adjustable with aluminum handles that fold down and out of the way. And the whole setup is ridiculously comfortable. If you're a pro photographer or you work with heavy lenses, this is the strap you want.
If you take two cameras with you on shoots, the BlackRapid Double Breathe (opens in new tab) delivers on value. Thick shoulder pads prevent straps from pinching and digging into your skin while a chest harness supports and distributes weight equally on both sides of your body. The Double Breathe is breathable, adjustable, and one of the best investments that sports and wedding photographers can make.
Not everyone needs the bulk of a full-on camera strap. For those, I recommend the Altura Photo Rapid Fire Wrist Strap (opens in new tab). I've used this strap with mirrorless and video equipment, and it's a perfect size and weight for those days when you know you'll have your camera up to your eye the majority of the time. If you're a street or travel photographer, this is the camera strap of your dreams.
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Jodi Owan works behind a keyboard and a camera. She's a freelance writer for iMore, Android Central, and Windows Central.
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