I’ve been shooting with SLR cameras for 14 years now, putting up with the weight of them and the horrible, scratchy straps biting into my neck. It’s one of the suckiest things about getting a camera – they ship with horrible straps but I for one haven’t been game to swap mine for anything else in case it snaps and my camera ends up in pieces.
A while ago I started searching for something made of neoprene – you know, that smooshy thick material they use in stubby holders and in some surf clothing. No luck there… which may have been a blessing really as neoprene stinks. After a while I gave up looking for something more comfortable, concluding it was just one of the sacrifices that came with owning a heavy camera.
Those that are familiar with Etsy will know that it’s a complete goldmine for handmade things, be they good, bad or the ugly…oh yes there’s a lot of ugly – check out Regretsy.com – and that if you’ve ever wished there was something made to solve your problem, chances are you’ll find it here. Unless it’s a Back to the Future hoverboard. Still waiting for that one!
Anyway, Etsy have a huge selection of padded camera straps in all sorts of fabrics. There are some very nice ones and several that have been meticulously tested for strength etc. For those like me that aren’t so keen on taking the risk, you can get a padded sleeve that will slide over your existing strap (obviously you have to unhook it first) providing a washable, comfortable and stylish alternative to the sadistic piece of nylon you’re used to! You can get them personalised or even with an added pocket to slip a lens cap into.
There are some lovely options, but having a box full of scrap fabric and access to my Mother-in-Law’s sewing machine, I decided to give it a bash myself.
I picked up a very small amount of batting from Spotlight (the minimum they’ll sell you is 10cm. I got15cm and it was only $3.50) and set about making a padded tube with a bit of zigzag stitched around the ends to keep the fraying to a minimum. I’m not a great sewer, but it wasn’t too hard, I just had to make sure that I sewed the dragonfly seeksucker fabric to a piece of thicker fabric first so that the movement of the camera strap through the sleeve wouldn’t wear it out to quickly. The nylon strap threads through the sleeve, sitting on top of the batting, then there’s a piece of velour style fabric at the neck. It’s very comfy and warm and the width of it (approx 2x the width of the nylon strap) distributes the weight better.
Here’s my strap – It’s very me!
You can make your own by following one of the many tutorials online or you can buy one already made here http://www.etsy.com/search/handmade?q=padded+camera+strap+cover