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Camera straps are one of those secondary things that most of us photographers don’t really put much thought into. However, consider this: the only thing keeping your camera away from the hard ground when it’s out of your hands, is your strap. It needs to satisfy some basic requirements, in order to serve us well. It needs to be strong, well-secured to our camera, and it needs to be comfortable.
Nitz Custom Handmade Camera Strap is a product that not only meets all of those requirements – it exceeds them with extreme prejudice.
Photographer Chris Nitz created the product initially out of his own need. He wasn’t happy with the mass-produced camera straps available on the market, and set out to create one on his own. After experimenting with different materials, he settled on Type III Commercial Grade 550 parachute cord, and began weaving a few prototypes together. The result was a strap that met all of his own requirements, and inevitably began to attract the attention of his fellow photographers.
My main takeaway from the experience of ordering, and using a Nitz strap, was how custom tailored the entire process is. When you order one of these products, you know a few things immediately from visiting the website. You know that this strap is being made specifically for you, as a photographer. You know that you’re getting a product that is meant to last, and protect the equipment you value so much. Chris is also proud of the fact that all of the materials for his straps are sourced from right here in the United States.
Finally, you understand immediately that Chris is well aware of the financial budgets many photographers have, and his commitment to our pocketbooks, as well as the environment, are clear.
My experience began by visiting the Nitz Strap online store. Several options are available for every aspect of the product, and you begin by choosing the type of strap. At the moment, Chris is concentrating on neck straps for the heavier cameras, and wrist straps for the smaller, lighter models.
After choosing a strap type, you then move on to the length and width of the product. Several different types of weaves are offered, each one differing in width. Want something thin, compact and discreet? Choose the “Thin Line”, a weave about 3/4″ wide. If you need something beefier, there are three more options available. Lengths available range between 12″ and 16″ for wrist straps, and from 36″ to an impressive 50″ for neck straps.
As I wanted something wide that my future cameras could grow into, and a longer option than my Canon strap, I ordered the 50″ Double Cobra weave, which is Nitz’s widest strap at 1.25″. This would allow me a bit more length to let the camera hang from my shoulder (my most common setup), or wear my equipment cross-body to lessen the chance of it slipping off and falling to the ground.
After selecting these basics, it’s time to move on to choosing the hardware you’ll use to connect the strap to your camera and keep it secure. The options here almost invoke a feeling of overkill; these straps are rated to hold up to 150 pounds depending on hardware, and any configuration you choose will be a huge step up from the connections we’re used to getting in standard camera kits.
All straps include two very capable, metal split rings, to connect hardware to the strap points on your camera. But some ingenious additional options stand out here, including a simply perfect tripod screw that allows you to connect the strap directly into your tripod mount point for quick and easy removal. I chose the anchor shackle connector, a small, but immensely sturdy piece of metal rated up to 400 pounds on its own.
At this point in the ordering process, it’s time to have some fun. Nitz Strap comes in a very impressive assortment of color and pattern options, many of which they keep in regular stock. Two colors are standard with your order, although you have the options of incorporating up to four colors into your creation, at the expense of possible additional wait time to get the product.
Want a camouflage strap? Check. American flag? Christmas themed? Tie Dye? They’re all there. You’ll have fun going through the over 200+ color options offered.
I wanted something that would satisfy my natural attraction to simple, dark, and matching palettes, and went with a very classy looking black and moss green weave that I figured would go with my all-black Canon body very well.
Another point that Chris means to make is that you don’t have to break the bank to keep your equipment safe and secure. Pricing differs depending on options of course, but I was able to create the custom camera strap of my dreams in less than 10 minutes, and ended up spending less than $100 USD.
My particular experience was a quick and completely painless one. I contacted Chris via e-mail about my order so he could talk me through some of the options I picked. I was amazed at how quickly he put the strap together and shipped it out (even though he had to order the moss green cord I requested as it was temporarily out of stock).
Only five days went by between the time I clicked the order button, to the point I had the strap in my hand. The entire process really did make me feel I was having a custom strap made for me as an individual photographer, by another photographer.
And let’s be clear about this; these straps are beautiful. As cliché as it sounds, the craftsmanship on the strap I received was nothing short of impeccable. The hand weaving was perfectly done, with no loose ends. Even the way Chris tidies up the ends of the cords, blends in with the rest of the product.
The strap came in very simple packaging, rolled up in a coil, with a couple of tags adorning it. These tags are made from recycled paper, and attached to the strap with the remaining end pieces of the cord that was used to create it. There are no paper receipts here, everything is handled through e-mail. You’re never going to get a bad rap from me when little details like this are included to make a small, but meaningful contribution to our environment.
After struggling a bit to get the strap onto my camera via the heavy-duty split rings (since I didn’t choose one of the simpler attachment options available, I don’t plan to switch this strap out to a different camera), it was immediately obvious that I had found a permanent solution to keeping my 60D safely around my neck.
The strap was sturdy to the point of making me feel like it was almost too much for my camera. I would feel confident swinging it over my head by the strap as hard as I could; that’s how secure this thing feels. The strong anchor shackles are tightly wrapped in gaffer tape, and the whole package just looks professional, sturdy, and very, very slick.
If I had to nitpick about one thing, it would be how stiff and unforgiving the strap is at first touch out of the package. But even this is by design. Chris weaves the parachute cord together as tightly as possible for strength, creating an impossibly tough piece of fabric. This type of cord is known for softening over time, which means after a bit of use out in the field, the strap becomes much more pliable, and it conforms to your neck or shoulder. I have found this is exactly the case, as in less than two weeks my strap is almost perfectly broken in to my liking.
Overall I couldn’t be much happier with the product I received from Nitz Strap. Even as a photographer who gets excited about little accessories for my camera, I was beyond pleased with what I ordered. I already plan to order another one for my film camera body in the near future. This strap definitely has my endorsement, and I recommend you at least visit Chris’ site at www.nitzstrap.com to check out all of the options I’ve discussed; I’m sure you’ll be just impressed with what you see as I was!
Disclaimer: Nitz Strap did provide this product to our writer to test out free of charge. However at dPS we only do completely unbiased reviews. But, as you can see the author plans on purchasing another one for his other cameras so that speaks to the product’s quality.