Home Accessories Rock n’ Roll: Choosing a strap that makes your camera lighter

Rock n’ Roll: Choosing a strap that makes your camera lighter

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Panasonic’s new S1, the counterpart to the Leica SL, is not a light camera. But then neither is the SL. When you need to carry the porkier type of camera, though, it pays dividends to use a strap which has a bit of a spring in its step.

The Rock n’ Roll link strap, here in standard 100cm length, makes light work of heavier cameras

The superbly crafted linked leather straps from Rock n’ Roll do a magnificent job of lightening the load of any camera. The ingenious way in which the individual leather links are joined ensures that the entire strap acts like a well-damped spring. Evris Papanikolas of Rock n’ Roll sent me a selection of his linked straps, including the one shown in the photograph which is originally designed for the Leica M10 – hence the trademark red section against the jet-black mainstream. I’ve been using them over the past three years on a wide variety of cameras and have never found them wanting.

Lumix S1 and Noctilux makes 1.9kg to carry over your shoulder. Believe me, the Rock n’ Roll strap makes a big difference to your comfort and staying power

Give and take

tom Bihn’s Absolute Shoulder Strap spreads the load and adds a spring to your heavy bag

Putting a spring in your strap is no new things. Give and take is a well-rehearsed artifice which serves to (subjectively) lighten a load. Call it an illusion, but it works for me. For instance, I am a great fan of Tom Bihn’s bags which originate in Seattle. Tom is well known in the tech world and his travel gear and messenger bags have something of a cult following. But Tom’s greatest accessory is the Absolute Shoulder Strap which sells for a relatively modest $30. It fits most Tom Bihn bags, including my favourite day messenger, the Ristretto, and my carry-on luggage, the Empire Builder. The elasticated shoulder pad on this strap is wide and giving; it allows any bag to sway gently up and down in order to avoid the jolts that always come with holding a heavy bag. Many is the time I’ve said a silent prayer to Tom as I’ve struggled through airports with the Empire Builder, loaded with computers, cameras and travel gubbins.

Rock n’ Roll straps adopt the same principle, although rather than using an elasticated insert, the entire length of the strap is stretchable thanks to the design of the individual links.

The red highlights add a nice touch if you can manage to get one from Rock n’ Roll

Elegant solution

I have to say that they have a more elegant looking solution than Tom Bihn. The workmanship is superb and this strap complements the S1 perfectly. Of course, its use depends on the traditional strap lugs which are part of Panasonic’s design choice. I much prefer them to the DSLR-style metal slot as used on the SL. For that, you need a special Rock n’ Roll strap which threads through the slot. It isn’t as neat, nor as attractive as the split-ring strap you can use on the Panasonic.

While this strap isn’t suited to smaller cameras such as the CL or D-Lux 7 because it is just too bulky, it works well on the M and even the Q. On the S1 it is absolutely perfect and totally transforms the experience of toting such a heavy camera (XXXg). In the picture the S1 is wearing a Leica 50mm Noctilux, adding up to a total of xxxg. The combo definitely feels less because of the design of the strap.

Good old strap lugs, which I prefer to the slot-type used on the SL and most DSLRs

Choice and cost

The Rock n’ Roll leather linked straps typically cost €120 for the 100cm length or €130 for the 125cm version, which is preferable if you are intending to carry a camera cross-shoulder. Whichever you choose, they are a joy to behold and a delight to handle. And if you fancy a more traditional design, there are simple leather, twisted leather and rope designs available as shoulder or wrist straps.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Agree completely. I’ve been using Rock n Roll (and previously Tie Her Up) straps for three or so years, and I believe I was the first to request the special “Monochrom” version, which lives on my M Monochrom.

    I use the SL style on my Canon EOS R, my ancient EOS 620 film body and my even more ancient Rolleicord III.

  2. I use Rock’N’Roll wrist straps on both my X and my Df, in fact I cannot compliment Evris enough on his choice for my Df. Excellent quality and service in my experience.

  3. I have Rock”nRoll straps for my Leicas and my Panasonic S1. The quality is top shelf. And, maybe we are all living in delusion, but I also find the natural “spring” in the strap makes any camera attached feel lighter. Perhaps the straps are also processed with some helium gas when made, and that might explain it. 🙂

  4. i can’t get past the ugliness of these straps no matter how comfortable they are, they don’t Rock’n’roll for me. I simply use a thick slightly padded wrist strap on my M’s when I’m using them and the rest of the time carry them in my bag.

  5. For cameras the size ( and weight) you are indicating here I’d prefer not to bother with a strap and use a waist bag.Anything over about 550g for the body is heavy for me!

    • Good point. It’s great that we have such a wide and varied choice. I understand that the Rock n’ Roll straps aren’t for everyone. I like them but it is indeed a matter of personal taste.

  6. I have the Rock ‘n Roll strap- I agree it does cushion the SL. However, it wasn’t long before I took it off. I find that the leather links drag my shirts (and buttons!) and always bunch them up (the shirts), which makes me crazy. Also tried it on my M10P- thinking that it was lighter- but had the same results. So, I use straps that slide, like Peak Design’s. The ‘Ol seat belt material. If you could make the Rock ‘n Roll slide, it would be back on the SL.
    The quest never ends…

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