From left to right: Holdfast MoneyMaker Solo, Peak Design Slide, Holdfast Skinny MoneyMaker and BlackRapid Nicole Elliot.

A camera strap may not be the most exciting photography accessory, but finding the right one matters when you depend on your cameras to pay the bills. A good strap makes the difference in keeping your body feeling comfortable during a long shoot and making sure your gear is easily accessible so you don’t miss the shot.

In this review we compare:

  • Holdfast Skinny MoneyMaker - $230
  • Holdfast MoneyMaker Solo - $175
  • Peak Design Slide - $64.95
  • BlackRapid Nicole Elliot - $69.95

Although the standard kit strap might cut it for an amateur, when you are a working pro your camera-carrying needs change. When I’m shooting a wedding or an outdoor music festival sometimes I’ll shoot with two bodies - it can be easier to carry two cameras with different focal lengths, rather than lose time and crucial frames while swapping lenses. If I’m in an intimate setting such as a panel talk or a theatrical performance I may need a more stripped down setup with a single camera.

These days there are a number of straps on the market aimed at professionals, so we decided to put some of these straps to the test – bringing them to actual photo jobs to see how they performed in the field. In this review we will be discussing our time shooting with the Holdfast Skinny MoneyMaker, the Holdfast MoneyMaker Solo, the Peak Design Slide and the Black Rapid Nicole Elliot Strap.


Holdfast Skinny MoneyMaker
HoldfastGear.com | $200+

Specifications

  • Carries two cameras
  • 1” wide straps with removable shoulder pads
  • Available in small, medium and large
  • Made from weather-resistant leather
  • Two HoldFast screws attach to the tripod mount of the camera
  • Two safety catches
  • Two adjustment sliders
  • Stainless steel D-rings

Description

The Holdfast Skinny MoneyMaker allows photographers to comfortably carry two full frame bodies. The MoneyMaker is designed a bit like a vest without sleeves. The two straps go over both of your shoulders and the cameras attach to the strap through the tripod mount and dangle about 4” below the armpit. A properly fitting MoneyMaker anchors the cameras to your body and will help correct posture while shooting by pulling your shoulders up and back. Optional safety catches can attach to the side lugs of your camera for additional peace of mind while shooting.

In use

A strap like this is great on any shoot that might require you to carry two bodies throughout the day like a wedding, a music festival, or a parade. If there won’t be a lot of time or space to swap lenses throughout the day, having two bodies that cover a range (24-70mm and 70-200mm) can be a great option. If you are shooting somewhere late at night or are dealing with unpredictable lighting situations, having a midrange zoom and a fast prime lens on your second body might be an ideal setup.

A properly fitting MoneyMaker anchors the cameras to your body and helps correct posture

Regardless of the situation the Holdfast MoneyMaker makes it easy to access a different look without having to run to your gear bag for a lens swap. The design of the strap also makes it incredibly comfortable to carry around two full frame DSLRs during a full day of shooting.

What we like

  • Ability to comfortably carry two DSLRs for a full day of shooting
  • Classy design that fits in at a variety of events (like a wedding)
  • Molds to your body the more you use it
  • Distributes weight evenly across both shoulders
  • Beautiful metal hardware

What we don't like

  • Pricey
  • Leather is a bit stiff at first
  • Nylon safety catch doesn’t fit the aesthetics of the rest of the strap
  • Difficult to comfortably wear a backpack and the MoneyMaker Skinny at the same time

Holdfast MoneyMaker Solo
HoldFastGear.com | $175

Specifications

  • Sling-style
  • 1.5" wide strap with padded shoulder
  • Available in small, medium and large
  • Made from weather-resistant leather
  • Under arm 'stabilizer' to keep the padded shoulder strap in place
  • HoldFast screw attaches to the tripod mount of the camera
  • Belt anchor to store camera out of the way when not in use
  • Safety catch
  • Adjustment slider
  • Stainless steel D-ring

Description

The Holdfast MoneyMaker Solo is a cross-body strap designed to hold a single camera. The strap attaches to the camera's tripod mount using a HoldFast screw with the option for an additional safety catch using the side lug of your camera body. The MoneyMaker Solo features an additional leather stabilizer strap that clips under your armpit to keep the shoulder strap in place while you are shooting (see image below).

The strap also features an optional belt anchor, which attaches the camera to your belt so it isn’t swinging around when you aren’t shooting. A quick release allows you to access the camera once you are ready to shoot.

A leather stabilizer clips under your armpit to keep the strap in place. Belt anchors can be used to lock your camera in place at your side when not in use.

In use

The MoneyMaker Solo strap is incredibly versatile in a variety of shooting situations. It provides a similar level of comfort on a long shoot as the original MoneyMaker, and even though it's a crossbody strap, it distributes the weight of my camera quite nicely. The leather material and stainless steel hardware make it classy enough to fit in at conferences and weddings, but comfortable enough for use at music gigs and outdoor street festivals. However, the under armpit stabilizer took a bit of getting used to. The leather was a little rough on my skin when I first started shooting - especially while wearing sleeveless shirts - but over time it's softened a bit.

Unfortunately the revolutionary belt anchor doesn’t seem like it was designed with women’s bodies or their clothing styles in mind

Unfortunately the revolutionary belt anchor doesn’t seem like it was designed with women’s bodies or their clothing styles in mind. Although I loved the concept of the belt anchor, it doesn’t work if you are wearing high rise pants. When I attempted to use the anchors the weight of the camera was constantly pulling down on the waistband of my pants, regardless of how much I had shortened the strap. I also found the quick release on the belt anchor to be a bit finicky. Although it was easy to get it to release, it wasn’t so easy to reattach it to my belt.

If you are someone who prefers wearing pants with a low or mid-rise (think right above your hip bones) this might work better for you. I opted to use the MoneyMaker Solo strap without that belt anchor.

What we like

  • Ability to comfortably carry a DSLR during a full day of shooting
  • Classy design that fits in at a variety of events
  • Molds to your body the more you use it
  • Stabilizer strap keeps the padded shoulder strap in place
  • Beautiful metal hardware

What we don't like

  • Pricey
  • Belt anchor doesn’t work with high waisted pants (ie: all of the pants that I wear)
  • Nylon safety catch doesn’t fit the aesthetics of the rest of the strap
  • Leather is a bit stiff during the first few uses

Peak Design Slide
PeakDesign.com | $64.95

Specifications

  • 3-in-1 strap that can be used as a sling, neck or shoulder strap made of seatbelt-style nylon webbing
  • 1.8" wide and extendable up to 57”
  • Internally-padded webbing
  • Quick pull adjusters
  • Utilizes Peak Designs low profile Anchor mounts, making it quick and easy to remove the camera strap

Description

The Peak Design Slide has a minimalistic design, but is incredibly versatile. The strap can be used as a sling, neck or shoulder strap, and the combination of the Peak Design anchors and the quick pull adjusters make it incredibly quick to add to a camera, remove from a camera, and adjust the length of. The strap can attach to the side lugs of the camera like the out-of-box straps, or if you are using it as a sling, to a side lug and the tripod mount at the bottom. The Peak Design slide is designed to work with a variety of camera and lens set ups.

In use

The Peak Design Slide is the simplest strap to get on your camera, adjust to your body, and get out of your way. While shooting with this strap I wasted no time fumbling with tiny o-rings to get the strap securely attached to my camera body or stiff sliders/buckles to get the thing adjusted to the proper length. The internal padding is comfortable when using the strap as a cross body slide or as a shoulder/neck strap.

The strap can be used as a sling, neck or shoulder strap

Although the strap works with any size and style of camera, I found I liked using the Peak Design Slide best with a low profile mirrorless camera. I also found it to be quite comfortable when shooting with my vintage Rolleiflex – about the only time you will catch me using a neck strap. The Peak Design anchors make it easy to move the strap between a variety of camera setups too.

What we like

  • Fast and easy setup, when it comes to attaching it to a camera
  • Easy to adjust
  • Comfortable padding for use as a shoulder strap, sling, or even a neck strap
  • Low-profile design

What we don't like

  • Would love more color options

BlackRapid Nicole Elliot
BlackRapid.com |$69.95

Specifications

  • Sling-style
  • Water resistant fabric
  • Extendable up to 63”
  • Reversible, pattern on one side, black on the other
  • 2 zippered pockets, 2 lens cap pockets
  • Mounts to tripod plate with a Swivel ConnectR and FastenR system
  • Safety tether
  • Spring-loaded cam lock connector

Description

The BlackRapid Nicole Elliot is a strap that is designed particularly with women in mind. The strap is extra wide in the shoulder region, almost looking like a little shirt sleeve, which BlackRapid says takes the pressure away from your neck and distributes camera weight evenly. The strap is reversible (a black and white pattern on one side and plain black on the other) and features a zippered pocket and a lens cap pocket. Like other BlackRapid products the strap attaches to the camera through the tripod plate.

Usage

I was wary of this strap initially. I thought that its extreme width looked insanely uncomfortable and I generally distrust camera products that are aimed specifically at women – particularly when phrases like 'fashion forward' are getting thrown around in the marketing materials. Then I found myself with a tweaked shoulder muscle a few days before I was set to photograph a wedding.

The BlackRapid did an excellent job of allowing me to shoot a long day without much pain

Although I still think the width of the strap looks bad, I’ve got to admit that the BlackRapid Nicole Elliot did an excellent job of allowing me to shoot a long day without much pain. The zippered pockets provide a nice place to slip an extra memory card or a few spare business cards during a shoot. The strap is also relatively easy to adjust.

What we like

  • Wide design helped alleviate shoulder pain during a long shoot
  • Zippered pockets
  • Reversible design that is all black on one side
  • Relatively fast to adjust while it’s on your body

What we don't like

  • Extreme width of the strap looks a little goofy and makes it difficult to wear a bag and the strap at the same time
  • The 'fashion forward' pattern on the reverse of the black

Conclusion - And the winner is... Peak Design Slide

A strap that might work well with one camera setup, gig, or body type, might not work for another shoot. Ultimately a good strap needs to be something that is comfortable to shoot with during a long day and fits the style of the photographer. All of these straps are ultimately good, but not all of them are suited for every situation.

The Peak Design Slide strap is certainly the most versatile of the four. It works well with a variety of cameras in a variety of situations, is super easy to adjust, has a mid-range price and offers the option of connecting to the camera lugs rather than the tripod mount.

The HoldFast Money Maker is a good choice when I have a long day that involves two bodies. Although I don’t love that my cameras dangle upside down throughout the day, the Money Maker does do a nice job of distributing the weight.

The Slide strap is the most versatile of the four - it works well with a variety of cameras in a variety of situations, is super easy to adjust

I love the concept of the belt anchor on the HoldFast Money Maker solo, unfortunately it just doesn’t work seamlessly with my style. The under arm stabilizer and wide leather shoulder strap are certainly comfortable for a long day of shooting, though.

And although I don’t like the design of the BlackRapid Nicole Elliot strap, I’ve got to admit that using a strap with such a wide footprint was probably a life saver while shooting with a shoulder strain. At least with the Nicole Elliot strap I didn’t cause any additional damage to the area.

Just like camera choice or bag choice, what makes a strap 'good' is going to vary greatly from photographer to photographer and gig to gig.


Jeanette D. Moses is a New York based freelance photographer, writer and videographer. Jeanette is known for her high-energy photographs that capture the intimacy of New York City’s creative communities, especially the city's vibrant DIY music scene. She regularly contributes content to DPReview.com and PopPhoto.com.