Easy on the eyes. Harber London Tan Camera Strap Review

I analyze the usefulness of a camera strap based on four attributes: comfort, functionality, quality and attractiveness. A good camera strap should sit comfortably on my neck for hours with a camera attached. It must give me at least a handful of years before it starts to show signs of wear. And while I don’t expect it to turn heads, I love when friends ask me where my strap is from. Harber London is not a camera accessory company, but a family business that produces handmade leather goods. They’ve been around since 2013, but the Harber London Camera Strap seems to be their foray into creating something camera-related. They have created a thin bracelet in line with the quality of finish of their other products.

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Too long; Did not read

Full-grain leather is pleasant to the touch and is not stiff. There are beige and black color options on the product page, but every Harber London camera strap basically comes with one of these colors on each side. (It’s just a matter of what color you prefer to have visible on the front of the strap when you wear it.) The quality of finish is impeccable, with no fraying at the edges. It looks great when paired with film cameras, but can also be stylish with your DSLR or mirrorless camera.

Advantages and disadvantages

Advantages

  • The Harber London Tan Camera Strap is made from 100% full grain leather.
  • Adjustable buckles for quick length adjustments
  • Comfortable when worn for long periods
  • Soft and flexible for use as an ad hoc wrap bracelet
  • Handmade in Spain (designed in the UK)

The inconvenients

  • Could have had options for tan or black (single color on both sides of strap)
  • The split rings are tight and can be difficult to open to loop them onto your camera loops.

Technical specifications

From the product page on the Harber London website:

  • 72 x 2.5cm / 28.3 x 0.9inch approx.
  • Adjustable length
  • Unconstrained end lugs
  • Handcrafted by expert artisans in Spain
  • Made with our signature premium full-grain leather

These leathers will age beautifully as they form a unique patina over time. Like all noble woods, you may be able to appreciate certain natural marks which should not be considered as faults but as a true declaration of natural quality.

Equipment used

  • Harber London Adjustable Leather Camera Strap
  • Nikon F Photomic FTN camera with Nikkor 35-70mm f3.5 lens attached
  • Yashica 44 TLR
  • Yashica Electro 35 GSN

Ergonomics

At its widest, the Harber London Tan Camera Strap measures approximately 2.5cm (0.98″) and its narrowest width, beginning at the buckle position and continuing to the buckles, is almost half from it to 1.25 cm (0.49 in). There are no leg supports here, only flat supports. This allows the strap to be compatible with a wider range of cameras.

I would also prefer to see a lug mount option as the split rings used with the strap are very tight to use. My left thumbnail is sore after having to loop and unloop the split ring on three cameras for the purposes of this review. But that says a lot about the durability of these split rings. I hope Harber London will consider adding a leg mount option for those who own cameras with such mounts. For now, the strap only comes with flat mounts, and you need a little patience to thread those split rings onto your camera strap loops.

If you’ve ever worn a formal belt in your life, the Harber London Tan Camera Strap Buckle System should be easy for you to use. Each side of the strap is adjustable a maximum of 6 cm (2.36 in) in four increments of approximately 1.5 cm (0.59 in) each. I’m about 5’6 and at its shortest adjustable length the cameras used with this strap hung about the waist for me.

Manufacturing quality

Harber London is proud to present this product as 100% full grain leather. But if you’re not a leather enthusiast, you’re probably wondering what that means. Simply put, full-grain leather is animal leather that, once dehaired, goes almost immediately to tanning. No skimming of the top layer of skin is done and it retains all the original texture. This type of leather tends to be more durable as it ages and forms a unique patina with use.

If you look closely at the bracelet, you will notice that it is actually two pieces of leather sewn together. The thicker outer part in beige color is visible when you hang the strap around your neck. Below is a very thin portion of black leather running the length of the strap.

I initially thought it was just the main dyed strap on its underside, but it appears to be a separate piece of leather itself upon closer inspection. The sides of the bracelet do not appear to be treated with liquids or sealants. But they suffered no fraying in my testing for this review.

The website allows you to personalize your wristband by adding text to it. I didn’t choose this option for the strap we received, but it sure will look good if it’s like the embossed logo on our review unit.

If you choose the Black option on the Harber London Tan camera strap product page, you will see images of the strap showing a tan underside. I hope Harber London will consider adding all tan and all black strap options for photographers who don’t want two-tones.

Ease of use

The hardest thing to do with this strap is to loop the split rings on your camera strap loops. This is only because the rings themselves are difficult to separate with your fingernail. I read somewhere that using a stapler to open split rings can save nails, and I wish I had remembered that while working on this review. Because if you found out, like me, that you buckled it the wrong way and need to take it off, your fingernails will hate you.

The logo is carefully embossed on the bracelet but strangely not in the center of it.

The Harber London Tan camera strap is thick enough to keep the camera from weighing down your neck when used for long periods of time. It also doesn’t seem to scuff and scratch easily (the beige and black sides). Whatever finish they’ve done to the strap seems to protect it from everyday wear and tear.

Often, during filming, I take the camera off my neck. When I do this I tend to wrap the strap around my wrist a few times to convert it to a wrist strap. This obviously doesn’t work with some of the stiffer straps, but the Harber London Camera Strap bends easily.

Honestly, if you like the feel of good leather, you’ll often find yourself running your fingers over the texture of this strap. These expert craftsmen in their factory in Spain really do a great job of finishing. Harber London have nearly a decade of experience in the manufacture of leather goods, and it shows with their camera strap.

Conclusion

Love

  • Quality finish with full grain leather
  • Looks classy and eye-catching
  • Fine stitching on the strap
  • Comfortable even with heavier camera + lens combinations
  • Custom text/logo can be embossed (at additional cost)

Do not like

  • Color options are in tan/black or black/tan only. No single color option appears to be available in all leather straps.
  • No foot mounting option available. Split rings can be a (literal) pain.

If you like good quality leather, there is no doubt that the British designed Harber London camera strap will appeal to you, especially the beige version. The tan-colored leather goes with just about anything, and the texture of the full-grain leather even stands out from afar. It exudes quality finishes and is comfortable. Photographers who appreciate the feel and look of well-made leather products will appreciate the quality of this product. The split rings allow the strap to be compatible with a wider range of cameras, but that means you can’t quickly put the strap on or take it off. Although each bracelet ages uniquely to create its own individuality, they would likely all look the same, given the clinical finish applied to them.

Not sure if I would buy this as my first camera strap. The main reason is that it can be cumbersome to attach and detach it from your camera. Most straps designed for digital cameras have some sort of quick release mechanism. It might be more suited to a second camera or a primary compact camera like a Fuji X100 model: one you wouldn’t need to remove it from often (or even your favorite 35mm or TLR). I believe Harber London can be a leading shareholder in the leather camera strap segment of the photography props industry. They just need to release more models soon.

I give Harber London Tan camera strap four out of five stars for quality of finish, flexibility, customization and comfort.



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