The Peak Design Cuff is something different in the world of camera wrist straps. It isn’t just any old loop with a split ring, the Cuff is part of a unified system of wrist straps and neck straps that can be installed or removed in seconds. What’s more, you need only one cuff or one strap, such as the Peak Design Leash, to serve all your cameras.
With all due modesty, I regard myself as something of a camera strap and case connoisseur. I look for the best and for many years have been fixated on finely crafted leather straps and wrist straps, most of them attached to the camera employing a split ring, the cause of many split nails. I have a cupboard full of straps and, I jest not, I could “wear” a different one every day of the year. In some ways, it’s too much — a bit like collecting fine Swiss watches and not knowing which one to wear as you are getting dressed in the morning.
Peak Design to the rescue
San Francisco-based Peak Design (hence the name) has been a respected presence in the camera-strap world for many years. I’ve tried products in the past but, at least in the past 15 years of digital Leica use, I’ve not paid much attention to the company. Then I read about the Cuff and the system, which is based on “Anchors” which attach to the camera with a short but very sturdy loops. The Peak Design Cuff and other straps in the range can be clicked onto the anchor in seconds.
The system also solves the conundrum of whether to sally forth with a wrist strap (which I prefer for pottering around town) or a neck strap. With the Peak Design system, you can swap between wrist and neck straps in seconds.
After unpacking the Peak Design Cuff, I was in business almost immediately when I threaded an Anchor loop through the strap slit on the Panasonic S5II, the poor person’s SL2-S. Perfect, and the cuff strap was clicked onto the connector in no time. So far, so good.
But this doesn’t work…
No such luck with the small eyelet lugs on your typical Leica camera. This is the Q3. Desperate measures are needed.
Dental floss treatment
Above: Steps on the way to success (clockwise) — No way I’ll of get it through that hole; Eureka, a length of dental floss to the rescue; Success; Inserting the Anchor into the mount; Adding a strap. Home and dry
But disaster struck when I tried to attach an Anchor Link to a lug on my Leica Q3. No go, the loop was too flexible to be pushed through, although it looked as thought it would just about fit. What I required, I concluded, was some very thin but tough material that could be used to pull the Anchor loop through the lug. Google soon found the answer:The Dental Floss Treatment. This involves visiting the local pharmacy and purchasing a small dispenser of waxed dental floss.
Sure enough, I was able to use a foot or so of floss to pull the Peak Design Anchor loop through the lug. From then on, it was easy, and I soon had an Anchor threaded through the right-hand lug of my M11. These Anchor Links look rather cute, dangling off the lug. They’re just like mini Apple AirTags and feature a red outer ring to satisfy Leicaphiles.
The Peak Design Cuff in use
I am extremely impressed by the quality, comfort, and versatility of the Peak Design Cuff. Not only does it click on and off the camera in a couple of seconds (just press on the Anchor tag and slide it backwards, and it is detached), it embodies several useful aids to comfort. The metal retaining sleeve, which is used to adjust the size of the Cuff, is initially locked into place near to the Anchor connector, thus keeping the wrist opening at maximum size. Firm pressure allows the retaining sleeve to detach from the connector, and it is then used to adjust the size of the cuff to your wrist. It will stay in place in any intermediate setting.
If you prefer a looser fit, the mechanism is at the ready to help prevent damage to the camera. If you drop the camera, the metal sleeve instantly moves to tighten the strap around your wrist.
Peak Design Cuff: Comfortable
In use, this is one of the most comfortable wrist traps I have ever used. The 19mm strap is made from a smooth seat-belt style webbing and is backed by a faux leather strip at the furthest extent. This strip of leather serves a purpose other than cosmetic. It ensures that the loop is always kept open so you can slip your hand through instantly. Significantly, the relatively wide webbing material avoids the annoying twisting that is endemic with cheaper camera straps, as supplied with many mainstream brands.
Peak Design’s ingenuity doesn’t end here. The Cuff can be wrapped around the wrist in the form of a bracelet. It isn’t unattractive, in an industrial-design kind of way, but I wouldn’t agree with Peak Design’s strap guru when he describes it as a “super cool fashion accessory”. But it works, and is comfortable. It enables you to wear the cuff, leaving your camera in the bag without a strap, thus making it easier to add and remove. Most straps, especially thicker leather versions, are rather bulky snakes when you have to push them down into the Billingham.
If you are carrying two camera bodies, the Peak Design Cuff makes even more sense. Equip the bodies with Anchor Links and keep the Cuff on your wrist, ready to be used with either camera.
Negative points? Currently, I can’t see any, apart from these the straps not being as elegant as many dedicated leather options for Leicas. Peak Design appears to have all the bases covered with this remarkable Cuff wrist strap. If I wish to be picky, I could complain that the plastic Anchor connector is a bit obtrusive when holding the camera, but after a few days I am fully at ease with that. It is really no bulkier than the typical leather wrist strap, but it is more comfortable overall. It is just that the hard plastic is not as forgiving.
How durable is it?
Peak Design tells me that the little Anchors, with their flexible loop, are good for 90kg. So that should cover the SL2 and 24-90 at least. For the Q, M and (dare I mention), the CL, it’s a doddle. I note a warning that comes with the Anchors — to replace them if the yellow middle layer of the three-layer layer material begins to show through. This is a sensible way of giving advance warning that a replacement is necessary. It’s also a safeguard against a disastrous parting of the ways.
The Anchor Mount system
The Anchor Mount fixing system also applies to several neck straps in the range.
I asked to try the Peak Design Leash, which is a lightweight strap with one-finger length adjustment. It still supports equipment weighing up to 90kg, as does the Cuff. It has a maximum length of 1450mm and a minimum of 830mm. Made from seatbelt-style nylon webbing, with “Hypalon” or leather accents (depending on colour), the strap is 19mm wide. It features two quick-release adjusters which automatically take up the slack and avoid unsightly cable ends flapping around.
While the Leash is perfect for the Leica Q and M, a wider strap, such as the Slide and Slide Lite are worth a look if you intend to use heavier bodies and lenses.
With the one Leash and Cuff, I am pretty well-equipped for any camera (except the little Ricoh GRIII where a much lighter wrist loop is preferable) I might own or borrow. All I need is a stock of those cute little Anchor connectors.
After a long period of agonising over smart leather straps and splitting my nails on those pesky rings, I intend to give the Peak Design system a whirl. The augurs are good so far, but I will give you an update later, especially if I find any annoying little problems. Meanwhile, it’s one strap, one cuff and as many cameras as I can lay my hands on.
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