Home Accessories Rock & Roll leather-covered rope straps for Leica

Rock & Roll leather-covered rope straps for Leica

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Every Rock & Roll strap comes individually boxed

Just under five years ago I paid my first visit to the Skiadopoulos Leica store in Athens and made a surprise discovery. They showed me some sample camera straps made by a customer by the name of Evris Papanikolas. He would be in the store later that day but, unfortunately, I had to get back to Glyfada, in southern Athens, where I was living at the time.

Some days later, after returning to London, I had a long chat with Evris and offered to review his new straps on Macfilos. Evris explained that it all started with a visit to an Athens leather craftsman where he went to buy a lead for his dog. The owner of the store specialised in leather belts and accessories and Evris was very impressed with the standard of workmanship.

Would he be interested in making some same camera straps? He would, and he did. And this became the foundation of what is now one of the foremost manufacturers of camera straps and bags, known as Rock & Roll Straps.

The Black Lash strap is finished in a smooth nappy leather and is available in either 100 or 125cm lengths
The Black Lash strap is finished in a smooth nappa leather and is available in either 100 or 125cm lengths

Since then, Evris has carved out a substantial market, particularly among Leica aficionados around the world. Here at Macfilos, we were early fans of Rock & Roll straps and the message was carried far and wide by influential bloggers such as Steve Huff and Thorsten von Overgaard. One of the original designs was a rope wrist strap and I suggested the name — Komboloi — to Evris and it seems to have stuck.

Identical to the black version, the Red Lash adds a touch of contrast to the traditional black Leica body
Identical to the black version, the Red Lash adds a touch of contrast to the traditional black Leica body

This week, Evris sent me a selection of his latest strap designs for Leica cameras. Some are made for the SL and SL2 and I will be looking at them in more detail later. In the meantime, though, I have been trying two novel one-metre rope straps which, unusually, are sheathed in fine leather. This adds a fine touch of luxury to the utility and strength of the more traditional design based on a strong climbing rope.

Special limited edition Black Mamba features a tooled-leather cover
Special limited edition Black Mamba features a tooled-leather cover

Both samples of the leather strap are similar in concept and differ only in the appearance and feel of the leather sheath. Both are in black and measure 100 cm but are also available in a length of 125cm if you prefer to wear your camera across the body. The basic material is the usual sturdy climbing rope but it is covered in soft nappa leather “inspired by 1960s-style driving gloves”.

Strong leather end cups are furnished with heavy-duty split rings. In most cases, the bulk of the cup prevents scratching or scuffing the camera and this was the case with both my Leica Q2 and M10. However, both straps come with two leather rings which fit over the camera lug and offer even more protection if you feel there is any danger of the metal ring coming into contact with the body.

Every Rock & Roll strap comes individually boxed
Every Rock & Roll strap comes individually boxed

The two designs are distinguished by the leather covering. The Black Lash has a very smooth finish which is extremely tactile and attractive. The underlying rope is very pliable and the strap is comfortable in use. I’ve been trying it out on the Q2, as an alternative to my usual wrist strap, and it perfectly complements the camera.

If black isn’t your thing, however, the Red Lash has exactly the same construction but adds a large dollop of colour to provide a delightful contrast with any black camera. Both the black and red versions cost €90 (plus 19% VAT if supplied to European countries) for the 100cm version and €100 for the 125mm strap.

The second version is the Black Mamba edition, limited to just 85 examples. It features an even softer tooled nappa leather which feels more like suede and which offers slightly more grip. I really can’t make up my which of the two I prefer. This special edition comes at a premium, though: €135 for the standard length and €145 for the longer strap. In both cases, add 19% if you live in Europe.

The Black Lash strap as it is unpacked. Note the two leather rings which can be push onto the camera strap lugs to provide added protection for the camera.
The Black Lash strap as it is unpacked. Note the two leather rings which can be pushed onto the camera strap lugs to provide added protection for the camera.

Rock n’ Roll straps have come a long way in the past five years since those early days in Athens. They offer high quality with thoughtful design. Evris himself is a keen Leica enthusiast and makes sure that all his straps work well with all models in the range. As with most of the Rock n’ Roll designs, the straps featured in this article are equipped with split rings intended for the traditional lug. The SL and SL2 with their DSLR-like slot, need a different type of attachment and I will be looking at this sector of the market next week.


Visit the Rock n’ Roll Camera Straps page here

9 COMMENTS

    • I’m using one for a time on the Q2 and I’ll see how I get on. Generally speaking, I prefer a small wrist strap most medium-sized cameras. I even tried a wrist strap for a time on the SL2 and it was fine when using small lenses such as the Sigma 45/2.8. But, with bigger lenses, the SL2 really needs a more substantial strap — and even these two would be inadequate even if they fitted.

  1. Despite the fact that we disagree regarding AGW, I favour the beautiful English leather straps made by Paul Glendell. When my one arrived it was fairly well resolved not to do anything much but try to keep straight, the leather was of such good structure. However, after a couple of weeks of use, it is a really impressive piece of work.

    Speaking of rope though, I rather fancied the Artists and Artisan handmade silk strap, but did not like the price. I sort of had in mind that I might try to source some silk rope and fashion my own strap, with some Boy Scout whipping.

    Imagine my surprise when I looked for supplies on Ebay, the search “silk rope” brings up all sorts of strange behaviours, many of which I hadn’t even heard of. So I went off to Ivor’s and secured the real thing, which has now stretched enough to make it useless. I hope that the R&R jobbies are a lot better, since they are just as pricey. I have note also that Steve above comments about the look, I tend to agree.

    Oh well, some you win…

  2. I do like rope straps but prefer to spend my cash on other photographic ‘priorities’. Mine all come from the tiny UK Cordweaver Company. They are keenly priced and well made. So far I have not been disappointed.

  3. I am not partial to the leather “snake strap” look either but choices for everyone. However, I do love the look and comfort of the larger wider flat leather “link” straps. They have a stretchy feel which makes heavy cameras such as the SL more comfortable and store in camera bag easily compared to the Op-tech neoprene straps that provide ultimate comfort. I even purchased one model that had a couple of red links in it that elegantly picked up the red on the Leica logo or the red on my sold S1R.

    For my smaller cameras such as Leica M or Panasonic G9 (a bit marginal but okay), I love the Artisan and Artist silk straps which are comfortable and gorgeously made. They have a wider flatter model that I use on the G9. I feel it is worth the money especially compared to the price of a Leica anything. They last forever and keep looking new so they migrate from camera to camera.

    • I am reviewing the Rock & Roll link straps, including the one with the red links, for next week. They have been updated with a new fastening arrangement and are more functional than the original one you mention.

  4. My first reaction to the straps was they looked like a hose under a car hood. My second reaction confirmed my first reaction. Just my .02. This is not meant to insult anyone. I had a unique reaction and wanted to share.

    • Now we’ve had two similar comments I can see the resemblance. They do look better when you get your hands on them and they are quite flexible and attractiveness. But, each to his own, I suppose.

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