Every one of us, who carries his camera nearly on daily basis, knows how important camera straps are. There are many straps out there, but only a few fit our requests of functionality and good looking. I mean, for us the camera strap is like a clothing item. It needs to be functional, provide comfort and if it’s possible, good looking too.
Now, I’ve been following Patrick, (https://neunzehn72.de/ - Chief Mate Strap) the creator of this camera strap, for quite a long time. I have even met him and his wife here in Reykjavik for a coffee. He is one of the photographers that inspire me a lot and I just hope that in the near future I will be able to visit one of his workshops.
It quite surprised me, when I saw that Patrick got himself a custom made strap. It did make sense to me, if you are not happy with products out there, you just create one that fits your needs very well. We are living in a time where this is possible. The strap did look very well thought through. It surprised me more when Patrick started a production of those camera straps and I decided to put it on my watch list as something that I want to get my hands on.
Well finally the camera strap arrived and first thing I did is to stick my nose into the strap bag and to smell that leather. I really like the smell of leather :)
I chose Chief Mate strap in Black and Red in size of 138cm, being a bit tall (178cm) this should fit perfectly and yes, it does fit and the camera is positioned on the side exactly where I want it to be.
The strap comes with a small bag for it, a small manual and 2 sets of 2 rings (16mm) to fit the camera anchor points. Even better as my Konica Autoreflex T3 has already two of those exact rings, which opens the opportunity to use the Chief Mate strap on 3 cameras.
So with no further delay I have installed the camera strap on the Konica first. Easy and fast process once you have the rings on the camera anchor points.
Next would be the Canon AE-1, grab the ring and it’s the same process as putting a ring on your set of keys. After that, grab the camera strap, pull the ring through the slot in the strap, turn the strap 90° and attach the snap link to the ring. And …. That’s actually it. The strap is now on the AE-1. Easy installation, easy removal.
Ok so far you saw the camera strap on 2 different cameras from 1970’s and 1980’s. How does it look like on a modern mirror less camera?
Let’s take the new M6 (Canon M6, not Leica). It has anchor points that are not as big as on the old 35mm film cameras but still enough to attach the rings that come with the camera strap.
And that’s it, the rings are attached and you can use the Chief Mate strap on something modern. If you visit the Instagram page of Chief Mate you will see that a lot of mirrorless systems can use this strap, Leica, Fuji, Sony, Hasselblad and even Pentax. So as you can see, this strap system is compatible with lots of cameras.
Which brings me to this point. Canon how difficult is it to include just simple rings with your new mirror less camera? Why do you need to invent the wheel from scratch? Your anchor links are just useless in case of if you want to use a different strap rather than the one that comes with the camera. Your links are not compatible at all. Konica made it simpler with coming with rings. The Canon AE-1 from 1981 came also with much better anchor links, compared to the M6. Also not exactly compatible but it gave me enough room to make it work with modern straps.
I had to fiddle around to make it work with my PeakDesign strap. But now I can remove the anchor links and replace them with the rings from the Chief Mate strap. Which are even more stable and securing your gear safely while you wear it on you.
And what I really like about the Chief Mate camera strap, is that is bloody compatible. Simple and good. If I decide to use my Chief Mate strap on one of the older film cameras and still want to take my M6 with me, I can use my PeakDesign strap. I just install quickly the PeakDesign anchor links, strap in and that’s it. Easy and simple.
I think this is the most important point for me, that I can use Chief Mate straps on my cameras with the setup I am feeling comfortable with, without spending a lot of time to swap the anchor links. It just fits easily into my day to day shooting behavior and it’s so simple that is just genius.
Especially, me doing long exposure landscape photography, I need a strap system that I am able to remove from the camera while in the field to reduce the surface area that is affected from the wind. And we have a huge amount of wind here in Iceland, so you will need to remove the strap to reduce the camera shake while you are taking long exposure shots.
This is definitely a product designed and used by a Photographer. I really don’t know how much time was spend into developing this camera strap but as I wrote in the beginning it is very well thought through.
- Smells good
- Looks good
- Feels good
- Very good materials are used for those camera straps
- Compatible with most mirrorless cameras
- Compatible with different strap systems, in this case PeakDesign
I will be honest with you, there are no things that I am not happy with Chief Mate so far. I still need to rock the strap for a few weeks to find the weakest link and I will update this review once something negative will come up.
But I want to use this space to advise a few things that actually have nothing to do with Chief Mate camera strap.
One thing is, that when you get your Chief Mate strap, the strap is a bit stiff. This information is even included in the letter that you get together with your strap. After a few weeks the strap will become a lot softer. That also is the case for the slot in the camera strap where you pull the ring through. In a few weeks of usage it will become a lot softer.
Another thing that has nothing to do with the Chief Mate camera strap or Patrick, is the point that it took 4 weeks to be delivered to me here in Iceland. There are only two ways to get something delivered to Iceland, one way is by plane and another way is by ship.
The camera strap comes from Hamburg, so I already was prepared that it is going to be delivered to Iceland via Ship which is actually not bad at all as it is the Chief Mate :)
There are many camera straps out there if you choose not to use the standard one that comes with your camera. Every photographer needs to find his own strap that fits his photography style that fits his equipment and is compatible with other things.
Camera straps came a long way, the same as your camera. Some manufacturers invented the wheel from the beginning, others just continued to use a simple way. In our time, the camera strap is a clothing item that needs to feel good, be functional but also look good on you.
For me, the Chief Mate fits everything that I need and want from a camera strap. It is so simple and so good. You should check their store out and get your own Chief Mate camera strap
Back to you Patrick. From Reykjavik with love!