Camera Strap

Cecilia Leather Goods | Camera Strap Review

cecilia camera strap

Good Camera Straps

There are very few things that I hear photographers bitching about more than camera straps, or their struggle to find a good one. I may or may not have been one of those photographers at one point or another. I've tried a good amount of camera straps over the years and never found one that looked good but was also comfortable to wear. I know, I know, the ones with all the little pockets for memory cards and your license are nice and all, but... yes I'm kidding. But Jay, you wrote a review about how much you love your Moneymakers, what are you talking about? The Moneymaker isn't a camera strap, it's a holster, that can also double as part of my cowboy Halloween costume. 

While finding a good camera strap seems to be a popular topic of conversation on message boards and social media, there's far from a shortage of options out there. There's also plenty of photographers out there that I see sporting those fancy manufacturer straps that actually come with the camera. Besides wanting to show off the camera you're shooting with, there really isn't a worse camera strap you could be using. But, there are also no cheaper options out there, so... I get it. 

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The Cecilia Camera Straps

I can truthfully say that I haven't had a camera strap stay on one of my cameras for more than a couple weeks since I started shooting 6 years ago. I've tried a good amount of them, just could never quite find one that I liked. Even though I don't really have a desire to use one on any of my DSLR's, my wife does. I typically only shoot my DSLR's at weddings, and my Moneymaker is my go-to for shooting those. My Leica gear is where a good strap would come in handy, and I've struggled to find a good one. I shoot with my Leica M a good amount at weddings and just about all of my personal work, so I've had a good number of camera straps come and go. 

Since I had a destination wedding coming up, I was ready to try again. I remembered reading a review on SLR Lounge by my good friends Andy and Amii Kauth, from Sunshine and Reign Photography, about the Cecilia camera straps that they use. So, with a few weeks before my trip, I decided to give them a try. 

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Jay Cassario Leica

After a few weeks of using the Cecilia straps, one for my Leica M10, and another for my wife to use with her 5D MarkIV, I can finally say that I found a camera strap that I like. It not only looks good, but it's also comfortable to wear and durable. It's made of high-quality Argentinean cowhide leather with stitching that can take a beating without having to worry about it coming apart. The thin part of the strap is just the right size so that it doesn't get in my way, with a thicker neck support section that has a small amount of padding to make it comfortable yet not bulky. The opposite side of the leather, on the thicker neck support area also has a good looking wool like texture made from Peruvian alpaca fiber. How do I know all this? I liked the straps so much that I reached out to the owner and had him tell me about the company and how he came up with the design of the straps. Now that I know a little more about the company and know that most of the Cecilia products are handmade... I like them even more. 

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CONCLUSION

The Cecilia Camera straps aren't going to be the most versatile straps on the market, but there are tons of options out there if that is what you're looking for. Black Rapid straps are probably the most popular for those looking for versatility. I personally haven't like those either, but that's just me. The Cecilia strap, however, is an awesome looking and durable leather camera strap that is actually comfortable to wear around your neck. There are many different styles to choose from and different options for different cameras, as you can see from the photos above. After 6 years, this is the longest both my wife and I have had camera straps on our cameras. Not only that, but it's rare that both of us like the same product, so that alone is saying something, ha.

After I fell in love with the their camera straps, I decided to see what else they had to offer. One of the products that the owner had mentioned during our conversation was the full-grain leather laptop skins. I've never put any kind of skin or cover on my Macbook Pro, I've honestly never seen any that I thought really looked all that good. A leather skin? That was more my style. So, I ordered the Montana Cocoa color leather skin and just like the camera straps, that hasn't come off either. It was easy to put on, and just because I was nervous about it coming off, I took it off a few days later. Underneath, there was nothing left behind from the skin, and surprisingly it went right back on with no trouble. 

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One of the toughest products to write a review on is a camera strap, for the same reason that it's difficult to review a camera bag. Personal preference along with style and taste can be a big influence in whether or not the reviewer likes a product. I have always tried my best to review products as honestly as I possibly can, while also being sure to explain the reasons why I like or dislike a product. For me personally, the products that I choose to use also have a lot to do with the people that stand behind and represent them. Not only does the Cecilia company make high-quality products that I personally like, but the company is one that I have a good amount of respect for. A big reason for that is they are focused on the photography community and strive to promote the work of photographers while also building relationships with them. If you are looking for a good camera strap, definitely give the Cecilia straps a look.

Thank you!

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Newly Designed - Holdfast Money Maker

Photo by: Tim Hussey

Photo by: Tim Hussey

I've never been a fan of just shooting with one camera body and having to switch lenses. I don't really care how fast you can swap lenses, it still takes more time than simply lowering one arm and raising the other. That's also one of the reasons I've never been able to shoot with a flagship body like the Nikon D5. I can pretty much shoot with two prime lenses for most of the wedding day, while carrying a small bag with 2 more lenses to rotate in and out if needed. With that being said, I need a good setup for carrying and shooting dual bodies on a long wedding day.

About 2 years ago, both Sandi and I switched over to shooting the Holdfast Money Maker from the dual Spyder holster. We were both tired of having to walk sideways through tight spaces, as wearing the belt made you about 10-12" wider with a camera on each hip. It's a nice system, but there were a few things we didn't love about them. So, onto the Money Maker.

Photo by: Sandi Cassario

Photo by: Sandi Cassario

At first, we loved our Money Makers. Not only were they much better looking than the Spyder system but we preferred the mobility of them as well. We quickly learned though, that the sexy look of the Money Maker had a problem. A very painful problem. Due to the design of the slider, it would pinch the shit out of the skin on our arms as they moved up and down if you were wearing a short-sleeved shirt. It was at this same time that I started to learn a little more about the Holdfast company and the man behind the scenes, Matt Swaggart. A photographer himself, a Leica photographer actually, happened to already be in the process of designing a new slider to help prevent the pinching. I was happy to see that although the product seemed to be kicking ass in the wedding photography circle, he had heard about the pinching and was already hard at work designing possible resolutions. A few weeks later, he sent me out a couple replacement sliders to try and BAM! (In my best Emeril Lagasse voice), no more pinching.

Photo by: Tim Hussey

Photo by: Tim Hussey

I'm a huge advocate of working with companies that not only create and offer awesome products, but are also run by great people who continue to work hard at improving on them. Holdfast is one of those companies. Matt is always creating new products and working hard to improve on the already successul ones, such as the Money Maker. A few weeks ago, he reached out to me and said he had made two impressive upgrades to the Money Maker that he wanted me to try, the first being new buckle design. A new buckle design? I didn't think there was anything wrong with the current one. Well, that's what makes a great company. Matt had made a pretty impressive upgrade to the buckle system, not because of a problem, but simply because he noticed something that could be improved on. The new buckle completely hides all the excess, which you can see the difference between the two in the photos at the bottom of this article. Well done Matt, well done. 

Photo by: Tim Hussey

Photo by: Tim Hussey

The 2nd upgrade is the one that I'm really impressed with, and that's the new leather Matt is using with the Chestnut and Tan Money Makers. Again, there really wasn't an issue with the leather that was being used, but Matt spent over a year working on finding something better. I could immediately tell when I opened the package that the leather was a new, it's thicker and the texture looks slightly different. It's a softer leather which makes it more comfortable to wear and it doesn't have as much memory after wearing it for a full wedding day. If you sweat a lot on a hot day like myself, you know how much the original leather absorbs sweat like a sponge. When it dries, the leather would lose its original shape. This new leather doesn't absorb sweat as easily, and after wearing it for 3 long hot weddings it has kept its original form and looks brand new. 

If you already own and love your Money Maker, I would consider an upgrade to the new leather. If you tried one in the past and didn't like it, I recommend giving Holdfast another chance. If you ordered a Chestnut or Tan leather Money Maker in the past 5-6 weeks, you more than likely received one of the new ones. I will be purchasing a new one for Sandi since hers is almost 2 years old now and I know she will find the new leather much more comfortable. The newly designed Money Maker is pretty impressive upgrade to an already popular product that I have no doubt will make photogs love wearing it even more now. 

Below: The new design next to the original

LEFT:  Original Design |  RIGHT:  New Design

LEFT: Original Design | RIGHT: New Design

New design in the middle

New design in the middle

New design on the left

New design on the left

New design on the left

New design on the left