Miggo straps and grips
From $39.99 (pre-order) | www.mymiggo.com
Traditional camera straps have one use: to keep the camera attached to you while you walk around and shoot. The creators of Miggo, an alternative strap/camera wrap, launched a Kickstarter campaign to present a new idea of what a camera strap can be. Called Miggo, the company's product takes the concept of the traditional strap and adds several useful features that enhance comfort and functionality. They also offer a camera grip with similar properties. They recently sent me a sample batch of Miggo straps and grips, and I spent a day shooting with them. Are the days of traditional camera toting coming to an end? Find out below.
What Is It?
The Miggo comes in two different flavors. There's the Strap, which is set to take the place of a traditional camera strap. Then there's the Grip, which is designed to cinch around the wrist for easy access with smaller cameras. Both the Strap and Grip come in two sizes, are made from high-quality neoprene and feature rugged stitching patterns. Designs and patterns will be offered to further distance you from the crowd. You'll need to decide whether the Strap or the Grip are more tailored to the type of shooting you do. We'll start with the Strap.
|A look at the mounting positions on the Miggo Strap.||The Miggo Strap folded up into a camera wrap.|
Visually, the Miggo Strap is a departure from tradition. It's made of thick, dual-layer neoprene and features a zipper that runs from the neck line all the way down to the base mount. Why the zipper, you ask? That's because the Miggo Strap also acts as a protective wrap to guard the camera during transport. Once zipped up, with the camera still attached to the base of the Strap, the camera can be folded up in the neoprene with the neck hole fitting over the lens. A series of tacky rubberized dots along the back of the neck portion help keep it fastened over the lens. This way, your camera can be carried in any non-photo bag like a purse or backpack and still be protected.
The camera attaches to the Strap via a metal fastener with standard tripod threads. There are a number of holes on the mounting portion of the Strap, allowing a very specific positioning of the camera. Ideally, the longer the lens on your camera, the further forward the camera should be positioned. The Strap comes in two lengths. The long Strap is just shy of 2 feet 8 inches (80cm) and the short Strap is 2 feet (60cm). Unless you're 6'9" Zdeno Chara from the Boston Bruins, the long Strap is way too long.
For sling toting, the long Strap is okay, but when hanging in front, the bottom of the Strap travels past crotch level and looks odd. (This model might be better named the Sling.) Even the short Strap is just a bit longer than my standard 5D Mark III Canon strap, but is a much more manageable size. One nice thing about both straps is that they have a hidden lens cap pocket.
|The lens cap pocket.||Another look at the Strap in wrap form.|
The Miggo is really geared toward mirrorless cameras and entry-level DSLRs devoid of a grip. Needless to say, my 5D Mark III with battery grip was akin to an unwieldy boat anchor mounted to the Miggo Strap. The company sent me a mockup Olympus E-PM1 (in pink, of course) to test with the Miggo Straps, and I found that size camera to be much more manageable with the Miggo. The Strap folded brilliantly around the camera for storage as well.
Now about that grip. This is a product designed to act as a hand-mounted strap instead of a neck-mounted strap. Naturally, the Grip is smaller, and geared toward smaller cameras like point-and-shoots, mirrorless ILCs and the smallest DSLRs on the market. The large Grip measures a little over 1 foot (30cm) while the small Grip hovers around 10 inches (25cm). Most mirrorless ILCs and point-and-shoots will be able to fit in the small Grip, and anything outside that range will have to go with the large Grip. Even with my battery grip removed, I was not able to fit my 5D Mark III on the large Grip, so I mean it when I say the smallest DSLR you can find.
|The Grip in use.||The Grip folded into wrap mode.|
The Grip functions by sticking your hand through the wrist hole and cinching it tight via an elastic bungee cord. The goal here is to cinch it tight enough so that the grip won't fly off your wrist while walking around, but also so that you don't cut the circulation off and lose all feeling in your hand. In order to pack the camera up, the Grip has a dedicated lens cover that slides over the lens. A lens cap pocket resides at the front of the lens cover, which I found to be another bonus. Then, the wrist hole stretches over the camera and slips tightly over the lens, creating an instant camera wrap for transport.
I took the Miggo straps and grips on a shoot with me and compared them with my trusty old 'fanboy' Canon EOS 5D Mark III strap (as some commenters have pointed out to me in the past). We'll begin with the Strap. Using the Olympus E-PM1 mockup mounted to the small Strap, I came upon some pluses and minuses. First off, the construction of the Miggo Strap is excellent. The Strap is also exceedingly comfortable, especially compared to traditional straps. I didn't have to think twice about where to store my lens cap, as I just slipped it into the built-in pocket, and when it was time to wrap things up, I literally wrapped the camera up and threw it in my day bag without a concern. In this sense, the Miggo has a lot of good things going for it.
|The Strap's main issues came down to the camera mount.||The camera falls downward mounted to the Strap.|
However, my concern with the Strap centered on its mounting base. Since the camera is mounted tripod-style to the base of the Strap, its physics become skewed. With a traditional strap, the camera is being pulled from the top, on either side of the body. This way, the bulk of the camera's weight naturally gravitates toward the ground and the camera refrains from tilting side to side. Also with a traditional strap, the camera faces forward when hung around the neck or slung around the shoulder.
|A camera mounted to the base of the Miggo Strap.|
With the Miggo Strap, the camera points downward. As a result, the lens slams into my belt buckle when I take my hands off the camera. If I mount the camera further back on the Strap, the lens is protected by the neoprene, but the camera still awkwardly tilts downward.
The other issue has to do with compromised dexterity. Since the camera is mounted to the bottom, and on such a wide platform, there is no way to comfortably hold the camera with fingers underneath. I can place my fingers under the neoprene, but I'm very particular with my grip and like having my fingers underneath the camera. This is not as much of an issue with the larger DSLR, as the taller body and higher controls keep my fingers far away from the neoprene base, but it definitely irks me with the mirrorless ILC.
This can be remedied with a Miggo Strap that fastens traditionally to the top of the camera. If the Miggo attached that way, it would solve the balance issue and I wouldn't think twice about replacing my Mark III strap with one.
|The Grip's handy carry handle.|
The Grip benefits from the bottom mount, as the camera is meant to remain in the hand, rather than around the neck. After walking around a bit with the little Olympus, I was impressed with how easy it made shooting, and I could see the Miggo grip replacing a traditional mirrorless ILC or point-and-shoot strap. The lens cap pocket is very handy, and the bungee cord adjustment provides just the right amount of fine-tuning in order to snugly fasten the Grip around my wrist.
The only thing I have to wrestle with is the lens cover, but when I tuck it out of the way it works just fine. It is also much easier to get my fingers under the camera, since the mounting area is far more flexible. One of my favorite additions is the neoprene carrying handle, which allows me to tote the camera like a little case after it is wrapped up and secured. Overall, I really liked the Grip, and think Miggo hit the nail on the head with its design.
The Miggo straps and grips bring a lot of innovation to the way we tote and transport our beloved investments. Their versatile multi-use designs combine a high quality camera wrap, a method of securing the camera to your person and lens cap pocket all in one. The construction and materials are top notch, and this is a product that will last for a long time.
My only gripe had to do with the fastening method on the Miggo Strap. I think a traditional top-mounted fastening method would solve the Strap's balance issues and improve dexterity. The Grip is great, and benefits from the bottom mount. Aside from that, I think if the Miggo team could sew on a small Velcro pocket or two on both the Strap and Grip for memory cards and batteries, it would make the products even more versatile. Miggo is a welcome addition to the photography world, and I welcome future iterations of their products.
What we like:
- Innovative multi-purpose design
- Rugged construction
- Lens cap pocket
- Carrying handle on the Grip
- Very comfortable
What we don't like:
- Tripod mount on the Strap gets in the way
- Long Strap is too long
- Needs more pockets for cards and batteries
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