I love the Domke Gripper camera strap. So much so that I have two of them, bought with my own hard earned cash. In fact, I went ahead and bought two so I would have these straps for a very long time. If you don’t know the Domke brand, you should - they are an old school photography company started by a photojournalist called Jim Domke in the 70’s with a great retro looking lineup of bombproof bags and other gear.
For me the Domke 1-Inch Web Strap with Swivel is the best camera strap to use for mirrorless and smaller bodied cameras, and especially for street photography. I’ll tell you why I think so, but first let me give you a quick rundown of the key features of these straps that I really like.
The Domke Gripper Camera Strap is made of soft cotton that just keeps getting softer with age. With leather accents, these straps are comfortable enough to use all day, and so far after over a couple of years of daily use, my strap is showing no sign of wear.
Non-slip rubber woven into one side.
Sometimes you want your strap to slide around your neck or body, and other times, when the camera is just dangling over your shoulder, you want it to stay put. The rubber runners that are woven into the fabric on one side grip onto your clothing, and effectively keep the strap in place, even when you are walking or moving quite briskly. You can flip the strap back to the smooth side when you want it to slide again. This is ingenious design and i notice some of the bigger strap manufacturers are starting to implement this idea also (It has appeared in the latest version of the Peak Designs Slide strap, for example - a strap I love for my DSLR).
Unlike the standard strap that you pull out of your camera box and banish to the bottom of your camera cupboard, this strap just never twists on itself. This is thanks to the swivel hooks that are attached to the strap and effectively allow the bottom part of the strap to move independently of the top part. No more annoying twisty strap - thank you!
Finally, my favourite feature and why I think these straps rock for street photographer - the spring loaded quick release that is a part of each swivel hook. By design, they let you quickly detach the main part of the strap from the section that connects with the camera. I guess the idea is that if you are using the camera on a tripod you can remove the main bulk of the strap to stop it flapping in the wind.
Wrist Strap Hack
So what makes this feature so great? It allows you to easily converts the Gripper into a wrist or hand strap for your camera. You won’t find this tip in the manual, although I cannot be sure because I didn't read the instructions, because…it’s a strap. However if you remove the main top part of the strap, and them reconnect it as a loop, effectively making a figure-eight with the top and bottom halves, you can then make a loop and pass the thick part of the strap around your wrist. This leaves just enough play for you to comfortably hold the camera with no straps getting in the way of the viewfinder or lcd, and it just stays wrapped onto your wrist, comfortable for all day wear. It is easier to understand how to set this up by looking at my photograph below:
I have walked kilometres and kilometres with a my small Fuji camera and a light wide angle prime lens using this configuration. The design lets you easily convert the strap into a street photography shooter wrist strap that feels snug and secure, yet converts back to a neck strap when you need your hands back for more mundane things like shopping or eating etc. It is a great little hidden feature of these straps that I just wanted to share with you all.
So, in conclusion, as you can tell, I really like these straps. They are also great value for money at just about $20 USD plus shipping, and are often reduced on Amazon. Speaking of which, if you liked this review and you do decide to check out or buy this strap, you can use this link. Amazon send me pennies, and you get a nice warm feeling inside knowing you are supporting zonefocus.net - and you get an awesome camera strap for street photography.
Let me know if you grab one of these or if you have one already. If you use a different type of strap, I’d also like to know - leave me a comment below!