Hand straps….make your own or buy one?

Strap Types

I have never been overly fond of camera straps, most of the neck straps included with your camera are not particularly comfortable and I hate having a one to two kilo brick hanging around my neck, its just plain uncomfortable. Nor do I like wrist straps for the same reason.

My preference is for a hand strap often called a hand grip, which it is not. A hand grip is part of the camera body or an additional piece put on the body to make it easier to hold.

However marketers seem to inevitably label these hand straps as hand grips, therefore if you are looking for one online you need to search both types. There are many varieties of straps and harness gear for photography so theres plenty to choose from.

Inexpensive straps.

Theres a number to choose from at varying prices, your local camera shop will also have some available as well but I have found these to be generally expensive for what they are and often all you are really paying for is brand name. Shop online for better results.


Click the images above for a larger view. All the current prices are shown at the bottom of the images.

Even the $6.50 version looks reasonably substantial, but at that price it is likely to be made of inferior products compared with the more expensive leather based options. However you have to pay more for the leather versions. Note prices dont include freight if buying online.

For large DSLR’s all of these items would be good to have, however I’m not sure that the bulkiness of some of the hand straps would be something I would enjoy using, and getting it on and off could be problematic, although the surety of keeping the camera in hand with the additional thumb strap could well be worth it.

Make your own straps.

If like me you have a bunch of old camera straps around, now’s the time to make your own. I have half a dozen surplus straps from various cameras, the best of which are the two below. 20180331_113827.jpg

The Fuji strap is 30 mm in width and the Canon is 40 mm in width. Both are a woven strap laminated to a leatherette backing making for a very durable strap. I decided on the Canon strap which I think gives a better fit and feel.

From the following images you will see that I used the existing eyelet straps for the top connection point while cutting the strap to the required length and punching a hole sufficient to tightly press the D-ring screw through the strap and attaching it to the tripod mount point. I used a flat washer slightly larger in diameter the the head of the D-ring screw to add extra lock-down grip to the strap at the bottom mounting point.

If you are wondering about the use of D-ring screws, its simply a matter of ease of use. Rather than have to carry a screwdriver with me, the D-ring screw is easy to remove if I want to use a tripod mount, and saves me from having to completely remove the strap from the camera. On the larger DSLR one could incorporate a small carabina clip on the top connection for fast and complete removal of the strap. Total cost for the two camera straps is $7.50 and that was for the two D-ring screws plus the freight, which works out at $3.75 for the strap. Thats New Zealand dollars of course.

Pictured below is my EOS 1000d and my Pentax MZ-6, both now sporting the hand straps I made this morning. Pentax users may want to look away 🙂

I will endeavour to find a good Pentax strap at a later time.

Click on the thumbnails for a larger view.


Both these cameras are going to be used quite extensively tomorrow on a photo expedition, therefore I will be able to report just how well they do their job.


35 mm Film Photography.

As some of you will know , I have a number of film SLR’s and lenses. For an upcoming trip to the Glen Afton Heritage Railway I have decided to do a photo shoot using my film cameras. My wife will have the Canon DSLR as a back up.

My weapon of choice will be my Pentax MZ-6 . Its an auto focus & auto winding camera, which allows for quick shooting without the need to manually wind on the film. In many ways the MZ-6 is similar to a modern DSLR, with full manual controls to fully automatic. I tend to use this camera in its version of P-mode which is shown as a smiley face of the mode select dial. The other mode I use primarily is aperture priority. Pentax mz6

One of the good things about this camera is the 1/4000 max shutter speed and the 3 fps shot rate. Its fairly simple to track action shots and if the camera is in continuous focus mode I actually am likely to get more actions in focus. This is something that my Canon doesn’t do too well at.

To undertake this we of course need to have some film. Unfortunately in the early part of 2017 Fujifilm for reasons best known to themselves, Fuji stopped making all but about 4 types of 35mm roll film. Most of this film is either black and white film or pro photography film which is considerably more expensive than their Fuji Superior Xtra line of film.

Fortunately others have quickly stepped in to film the gap and I’m happy to report there is a good variety of film types available. I have chosen Kodak Ultra Max Colour film to try out as my replacement day to day film negative. Two rolls will set you back $20.00 NZD which is pretty reasonable as that includes postage.

20180310My local lab charges $20.00 to develop and scan a 36 exposure roll of film and charges and extra nine dollars to print 6 x 4 prints as well. Now you might think thats fairly expensive and at first glance you may think so. You may also be thinking whats the point.

The point is many-fold. The first point is to slow down my click rate. Modern cameras let us take huge amounts of photos and may not be all that good. I have currently on my media hard drive 65,000 images. I have also deleted at least a similar if not greater number of images because they didnt make the “cut” to borrow a phrase from the movie industry. 0004310_kodak-ultra-max-400-film-gc-135-36-exp

For snapshot photography I have my Samsung S6 smartphone which is brilliant for those day to day snaps you might want to post to Facebook or Instagram, or the occasional photo you may want to print later.

Like everyone else I’m guilty of trying to capture the whole event and not concentrating on what might better tell the story. The modern camera era has turned us all in to unwitting photojournalists recording all sorts of things in our daily lives, but when was the last time you actually planned a photo expedition.

Thats the point for me of shooting film. I know what I’m going to do and I know where I need to be to do it. Now I have to spend more time on thinking about the shot I want to get, and how to go about getting it. I will only have one roll of film to use. Thats 36 images and I need to make them all as good as I am able.

Does this mean I will use my DSLR less? Maybe but as it costs to do a film shoot,  the DSLR is still going to get plenty of use as Film Photography will be most likely a once a month event as it will cost on average 30-50 dollars per roll.

One of the good things with film is prints.Develop and print at the time of order. Standard 6 x 4 prints are $10.00 NZD per roll of film. Thats 27 cents per print. Warehouse stationery charges 29 cents per print which is also pretty good. If you decide to forgo the scanning of the negatives and stay with prints you can always scan later to keep costs down. My preference however is to scan & print at the time you get your film developed, as it gives you a permanent record of what the image looks like as a print. This will help you decide which if any you will want to have as a larger sized print. I’m a fan of the 18×24 (45.7 by 61.0 cm) Creative Matte/Gloss Poster (A2) or the slightly more expensive but longer lasting 12×36 (30.5 by 81.2 cm) Creative Matte Print for those images that really need some size to be appreciated.

This is the first in a series of ongoing articles involving 35mm film as a digital alternative. More to come in the coming weeks. Autumn is approaching and I would like to capture Autumn colours with film as well.