How I Shoot – A Great Camera Strap You Should Never Be Without..

By Posted in - Budget Travel & How I Shoot & Photography Posts & Travel Gear on July 18th, 2011


Editors note: How I Shoot: A monthly photo series where I highlight something I find useful in terms of travel photography – be it gear, tips, technical data, etc. If you’re looking for help taking better photos be sure to take a look at our photo ebook: Getting Out Of Auto – it’s full of tips and tricks to help you understand the basics in a fun way! Hope you enjoy it!

The last How I Shoot post was all about saving your back with an out-of-this-world camera bag strap that cost only $20. If you missed it be sure to check out The Best $20 You’ll Ever Spend on Camera Gear. This post features another affordable strap but this one is for your camera.

You know that strap that came with your camera? If you’re a Nikon user you can’t miss it since it probably has the word Nikon plastered all over it in bright yellow letters, along with the name of the model camera you are using. That strap sucks. No offense to anyone out there that is using it, I just can’t stand it. I guarantee if you try out the strap I’m writing about, you’ll never go back to your kit strap either, be it Nikon, Canon, etc.

The kit straps aren’t comfortable plus I think they are too short. To top it off, I hate broadcasting to the world exactly what camera I’m using. To me, it’s basically asking a thief to pay attention to my gear–which I really don’t want. The ad team at Nikon definitely did not have travelers in mind when they came up with that strap.

I know a lot of people use those straps because they come with the camera, and they come at a great price – free – with the purchase of your camera body. It’s hard to beat free, but carry your camera around enough and soon you’ll be wondering if there’s a better strap to save your aching neck. There is – today I’m going to tell you all about an awesome strap that I use and love. It’s the Op/Tech USA Classic Strap.

Mine is just like this but black. There is a quick release on each side of the strap.


Why do I love it? Here’s five reasons:

1. It Makes My Camera Lighter!

This is a big reason why I love it so much. It has a built in weight distribution system. Don’t ask me how they do it but it works. Like. A. Charm. Put this bad boy on your camera and your neck will thank you instantaneously. The bouncy, neoprene material makes your camera feel SO much lighter. If your camera feels too heavy to carry all day–try this strap and thank me later.

2. It’s Longer Than A Typical Camera Strap.

I think it’s probably only the difference of a couple of inches but it’s just enough. I hate carrying the camera on my shoulder or my neck alone. The extra length lets me put the strap across my chest – which is what I do. That way my camera is always to the front of my body, it feels safer, helps with weight distribution and I don’t have to worry about it slipping off my shoulder. Typically, what I do is wear it on the same side as my camera bag, and I will actually let the camera rest on the bag while I’m walking around–then it doesn’t really weigh anything. I can only do this because of the extra length. Granted at 5′,  I am not that tall, but I imagine if you are taller, you will appreciate this feature even more.

3. It’s Black & Nondescript.

Why invite someone to rip off your gear? I like to keep all my photo gear as nondescript as possible and this strap fits the bill. Mine is black, blends in with my camera bag strap and has no writing on it. If you don’t want to amplify the camera brand you are shooting with to the world, this strap is perfect.

4. It Has A Quick Disconnect System.










A close up of the quick release.









On each side of the strap there are two quick releases that let you quickly remove the camera from the strap. Set it and forget it–there’s no need to fiddle with the camera strap rings anymore. Some people might see the quick release as a con rather than a pro citing that the camera could disconnect from the strap accidentally, fall and break. In the 10 years I have used this strap that has never happened. This strap has been with me since my commercial days in Boston, on every news assignment, at every wedding and on all my travels. It has never disconnected. Ever.

Why do I love the quick disconnect? It gives me extra security and it let’s me quickly hang and tie my camera to something. If I feel a little sketched out and worried about my camera, I will undo one of the releases and wrap the camera strap around my camera bag strap and then click it back in place. I have used it to lock the camera to various items throughout my travels- on cafe tables, on trains, in hostels, etc. It’s just a little extra piece of mind that the camera is connected to another item which makes it harder for a thief to grab and go. As an example, in Paris we wanted a photo of ourselves in front of the Eiffel Tower. It was dark out and I don’t give my camera to strangers, not even for a quick photo. Fortunately, there was an iron gate and a short concrete wall across from the tower. I wasn’t about to leave my camera on the concrete wall and run away for a photo. Instead, I used the quick release and ran the strap through several parts of the gate and locked it back to itself. I set the self timer and we got a picture. It would’ve been tough for someone to undo it quickly enough to grab the camera and run off.

The other great design function is that you can entirely remove the neoprene part of the strap and snap together both sides of the remaining strap to give yourself a small, handy short strap. Great if you need to handhold your camera and the entire strap is too bulky for the situation. I love the quick release feature, and I’m sure if you get a strap like this you’ll find plenty of uses for it too.

5. The Price Tag

Unlike a lot of other camera equipment, this one has a pretty sweet price tag of about $20. In fact, I just did a quick search and found a grey strap on B&H for $17. Under $20 for extra comfort and security? You can’t beat it.

If you want to feel safer, shoot longer and more comfortably–get this strap. Seriously, get it today.


As a disclaimer, while I wish that B&H and Op/Tech USA wanted me to test out their gear, they did not contact me to write about this strap. This is the strap I own and use. I highly recommend it.

*Please remember all photos on this website, unless otherwise noted, are copyrighted and property of Beers and Beans Travel Website, Nariko’ s Nest Weddings & Bethany Salvon. Please do not use them without my permission. If you want to use one of them please contact me first because I do love to share and I would be flattered. Thanks!

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(17) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • Gary Arndt -

    July 18, 2011 at 3:04 am

    I have become a big fan of the BlackRapid strap. It doesn’t go around your neck, instead it goes over your shoulder. It is way more comfortable and it gets the camera out of your way.

    I’m never going back to a neck strap after using this.

    • Bethany -

      July 18, 2011 at 6:59 am

      Those straps look nice! I’ve always wanted to try one out. Maybe one day when I have some extra cash. I love the over the shoulder

      straps. @Gary Arndt,

  • William -

    July 18, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    I have a Canon and a Sony and have problems with both straps. I trust the advice of photo/travel bloggers, and so just ordered a couple. Can’t wait to try them out.

    • Bethany -

      July 18, 2011 at 6:41 pm

      Great! Glad I could help William. 🙂 I’m sure you’ll love them.

  • ayngelina -

    July 18, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    I use an old embroidered guitar strap. I like it because it blends in and is meant to go over your shoulder, I never wear my strap around my neck.

    • Bethany -

      July 18, 2011 at 6:42 pm

      The guitar straps are nice too and they look cool. 🙂 @ayngelina,

  • Nomadic Samuel -

    July 19, 2011 at 6:33 am

    I really enjoyed this post. I’ve been reading for quite some time that buying a special camera strap is worth considering. I remember there was a recommended one in as well. Anyhow, you’ve sold me on it being lighter and without a logo. I’m going to look into purchasing one soon 🙂

    • Bethany -

      July 20, 2011 at 1:55 pm

      It’s a great strap & budget friendly too. You’ll love it if you get it. 🙂
      @Nomadic Samuel,

  • Erica -

    July 19, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    If I was still in the States I would probably order this in a heartbeat. I hate walking around with a giant advertisement of what I’m carrying – not to mention I hate how it digs into the back of my neck. I tend to make my damn strap fit over my shoulder too lol!

    • Bethany -

      July 20, 2011 at 1:56 pm

      Too bad I wasn’t coming down! I could bring you one:) @Erica,

  • Alouise -

    July 19, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    The camera strap that came with my camera has frayed and is now useless. Not having a camera strap for my camera sucks. I’ll definitely have to look into this once.

    • Bethany -

      July 20, 2011 at 1:57 pm

      Hi Alouise – this would make a fantastic replacement. 🙂 @Alouise,

  • Lorna – the roamantics -

    July 20, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    damn! even in a review post your photos are gorgeous! this is such an awesome series i bet for amateurs & pros alike. your reasons just make so much sense and this is not a million dollar fix- it’s do-able for backpackers. now if i just had a camera other than my iphone 🙂

    • Bethany -

      July 20, 2011 at 2:07 pm

      hahah… Thanks Lorna! I appreciate your compliment because i thought the photos were crummy but I wanted to get the post up and didn’t want to retake them in the morning. The Iphone can take some great pictures though & you don’t even need a strap. 🙂
      @Lorna – the roamantics,

  • Fresh From Twitter -

    July 20, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    […] and keep a dictionary nearby. RT @beersandbeans A Must Have Camera Strap for Travel | How I Shoot Food of Greece: Cooking, Folkways, and Travel in the Mainland and Islands of Greece (Fireside […]

  • Sophie -

    July 22, 2011 at 4:27 am

    Probably a good idea to get one of these. I do love my worn and torn Nikon strap, though.

  • Don Faust -

    January 13, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    I vote for the BlackRapid also. I’ve been using mine for over a year now, and I haven’t seen a better strap yet. I have the model that has a little flip-open pouch in the strap, where you can put your cell phone, an extra battery, memory cards. I normally skip the battery and just keep that in my camera case, because I don’t want the bulk.

    What I like most about it is that I feel secure with it over my left shoulder and hanging down on my right side, so that a quick grab and run is not possible. With the neck straps, I rarely put it on my neck – I used to just toss it over my same-side shoulder, and then when I wanted to shoot, I would take it off and have the strap kind of coiled around my hand – not very secure, not to mention an accidental bump from someone could send it to the ground. WIth the BlackRapid, I’m ready to react quickly, as the camera glides on the strap – the strap doesn’t move. Then it just hangs on my side easily when I am walking.