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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 appeal. A good camera strap for me must sit comfortably for hours on my neck with an attached camera. It’s got to give me at least a handful of years before it starts to show signs of wear and tear. And while I don’t expect it to be a head-turner, I do like to have friends asking me about where I got my strap from. Harber London isn’t a camera accessories company but a family-run business that produces handmade leather goods. They’ve been around since 2013, but the Harber London Camera Strap appears to be their first foray into making something camera-related. They’ve created a fine strap in sync with the finishing quality of their other products.

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Too Long Didn’t Read

The full-grain leather is pleasant to the touch and isn’t stiff. There are tan and black color options on the product page, but each Harber London Camera Strap essentially comes with one of these colors on either side. It’s just a question of which color you’d rather have visible on the front of the strap when you wear it. The finishing quality is impeccable, with no fraying on the edges at all. It looks great when paired with film cameras but can be equally classy with your DSLR or mirrorless camera too.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • The Harber London Tan Camera Strap is made of 100% full grain leather
  • Adjustable buckles for quick length adjustments
  • Comfortable when worn for long periods of time
  • Soft and flexible for usage as an ad-hoc wrist wraparound strap
  • Handmade in Spain (designed in the UK)

Cons

  • Could have had options for tan or black (single colour on both sides of the strap)
  • Split rings are tight and can be finicky to open up for looping onto your camera loops

Tech Specs

Taken from the product page on the Harber London website:

  • 72 x 2.5 cm / 28.3 x 0.9 inches approximately
  • Adjustable length
  • Stress-free end lugs
  • Handmade by expert craftsmen in Spain
  • Made with our Signature Premium Full Grain Leather

These leathers will age beautifully as they form a unique patina overtime. As any noble woods, you may be able to appreciate some natural marks that shall not be deemed as defects but as a true statement of natural quality.

Gear 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 broadest, the Harber London Tan Camera Strap measures about 2.5 cm (0.98 in), and its narrowest width, beginning at the buckle’s position and continuing until the loops, is almost half of this at 1.25cm (0.49 in). There are no lug mounts here, only flat mounts. 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 really tight to use. My left thumbnail is sore after having to loop and unloop the split ring across three cameras for the purpose of this review. That does speak for the durability of those split rings. I hope Harber London thinks of adding a lug mount option for those of us who’ve mostly got cameras with such mounts. For now, the strap only comes with flat mounts, and you need a bit of patience to thread these split rings on your camera’s strap loops.

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

Build Quality

Harber London is proud to bill this product as being made out of 100% full-grain leather. But if you’re not a leather aficionado, you’re probably scratching your heads about what this means. Simply put, full-grain leather is that animal leather that, once de-haired, goes almost immediately into tanning. No skimming of the upper layer of the hide 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 usage.

If you look closely at the strap, you’ll notice that it’s actually two pieces of leather closely stitched together. The thicker tan-colored outer portion is visible when you hang the strap on your neck. Below this is a very thin black leather portion along the length of the whole strap.

I initially thought this was just the main strap being dyed on its underside, but it appears to be a separate leather piece itself after closer inspection. The strap sides don’t seem to be treated with liquids or sealants. But they haven’t undergone any kind of fraying during my tests for this review.

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

If you choose the ‘Black’ option on the product page of the Harber London Tan Camera Strap, you’ll see images of the strap showing a tan underside. I hope Harber London will consider adding all tan and all-black options of the straps in the future for photographers who don’t want dual-colored ones.

Ease of Use

The hardest thing to do with this strap is loop the split rings onto your camera’s strap loops. This is only because the rings themselves are tough to separate with your fingernail. I read somewhere that using a stapler remover to open split rings can save fingernails, and I wish I’d remembered this when working on this review. Because if you’ve discovered, like me, that you’ve looped it the wrong way and need to remove it, your fingernails will hate you.

The logo is neatly embossed on the strap but strangely not in the center of it

The Harber London Tan Camera Strap is thick enough to prevent the camera from weighing down on your neck when used for long periods. It also doesn’t seem to scuff and scratch easily, both the tan and black sides. Whatever finishing they’ve done to the strap appears to protect it from daily wear and tear.

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

Honestly, if you like the feel of good leather, you’ll find yourself running your fingers across the texture of this strap often. Those expert craftsmen in their factory in Spain really do an excellent job with the finishing. Harber London has nearly a decade of experience in manufacturing leather goods, and this shows with their strap.

Conclusion

Likes

  • Quality finishing with full-grain leather
  • Looks classy and eye catching
  • Fine stitching across the strap
  • Comfortable even with heavier camera+lens combinations
  • Custom text / logo can be embossed (for an additional fee)

Dislikes

  • Color options are in tan/black or black/tan only. No single color options seem to be available in the all leather straps
  • No lug-mount option available. Split rings can be a (literal) pain

If you love good-quality leather, there’s no doubt the British-designed Harber London Camera Strap would appeal to you, especially the tan version. Tan-colored leather just about goes with anything, and the texture of the full-grain leather really stands out even from a distance. It oozes quality finishing and is comfortable. Photographers who enjoy the feel and look of well-made leather products are bound to enjoy the quality of this product. The split rings allow the strap to be compatible with a broader range of cameras. But this means that you cannot quickly put on or take off the strap. While each strap will age uniquely to create its own individuality, out of the box they’d probably all look the same, given the clinical finishing applied to them.

I’m not sure if I’d buy this as a first camera strap. The main reason is that it could be cumbersome to attach and detach from your camera. Most straps made for digital cameras have some quick release mechanism or the other. It might be more suited to a second camera or a primary compact camera like a Fuji X100 model. One where you wouldn’t need to take the strap off from often. Or even for your favorite 35mm or TLR. I think Harber London can be a leading shareholder in the leather camera strap segment of the photography accessory industry. They just need to get out more models soon.

I’m giving the Harber London Tan Camera Strap four stars out of five for finishing quality, flexibility, customizability, and comfort.





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