Accessories

The 595Strapco Quick Release Horween Leather Camera Strap

Horween Camera Strap

A few weeks ago Dave from 595Strapco popped over to Worcester bringing with him a pair of prototype Horween leather camera straps for me to play with. I’ve been trialling them since – especially the neck strap – and I think he might be onto something pretty decent with these designs.

I follow Dave on Instagram, and have done since sometime before he made me the Laverton strap I reviewed for him last time. I liked the Laverton strap but at the time it wasn’t unique for it to pull my attention away from the Footprint straps I was using at the time.

Watching Dave’s Instagram since then has been quite interesting. He posts photos of the straps he’s making but also documents some of his product development. What’s been of particular interest for me has been watching his process of finding some quick release clips.

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Quick Release Clips

Since I’m constantly swapping from one camera to the next, quick release clips are are must for me. They just make life so much easier. They were in fact one of the big draws to the Footprint straps. Unfortunately the footprint clips haven’t ages particularly well – the rubber heat shrink has frayed and come away leaving the thin bare metal, which is ok, but is perhaps a little function-over-form in its appearance. The clips that Dave has settled on are much smarter. They’re chrome finished and much more chunky. Dave tells me they are used extensively within the equine industry, which apparently means they are strong and of a high quality – which has to be a good thing, it’s certainly reassuring!

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What they lack when compared to the footprint strap is the ability to swivel. For me this is definitely something I miss, but whether or not this would be a big deal for anyone else would just come down to personal preference.

Beyond that though, my biggest concern about the clips would be for those who worry about every little mark on their camera. This isn’t relevant for all cameras, but cameras like Leicas where the strap lugs are slightly down the sides of the camera, there might be a possibility of the metal of the clips marking the camera. It’s not a concern for me, since I don’t really mind the odd scuff mark, but for those who do, some sort of protective strip or disk of leather to go with this strap might not go amiss.

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When I asked Dave about this just before publishing the review, he said “I’m looking at adding camera protectors to the range, of course at present rubber O rings can be supplied but I’m looking at a more suitable option which can be utilised. In addition if people require something custom adding to a strap this can also be accommodated.”

The Leather

The clips are one thing, but the interesting story here about the type of leather. Now, I didn’t know anything about leather before I met Dave the other day, and actually I must be honest I have forgotten most of what he said to me. Dave, as it turns out, knows a fair amount about leather – as you’d expect really, it’s at the core of his business.

What I do remember was the main points about the difference between the leather I’m used to with my Footprint straps, the leather Dave uses for his other straps, and the leather he’s used for the straps I’ve been playing with. What I am used to with my footprint straps is what he called traditional bridal leather which is finished on both side. It’s main feature seems to me to be that it’s very hard wearing, but with that comes quite significant stiffness. Some of this stiffness ages away, but some remains – my darker dyed Footprint is still quite stiff even after over a year of use.

The 595 Latherton strap I reviewed last time was made of a quite thick material that Dave informs me is a “premium English veg tan leather”.  It was quite stiff when I got it, and whilst it has softened over time it still has a bit of a stiffness to it in the similar way the Footprint straps have – though less pronounced. Thats not to say this is a bad thing, its well finished and quite comfortable, its just quite a stiff material.

Horween Chromexcel

Dave’s new Horween strap is different. Apparently it’s made from a US made leather called Horween Chromexcel. Sounds like something a pharmaceutical company would churn out rather than a leather, but nonetheless that’s what it’s called.

Intrigued, I ended up googling this stuff and found this very interesting blog post on Horween’s website. It certainly sounds like pretty special stuff, though most of what that post talks about goes of my head. As such, I’m not really sure why or how, but in use this leather is quite different to the leather I’ve been used to.

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The main difference being, that this stuff is anything but stiff, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. I’ve posted a few photos of it on my Instagram, and on more than one occasion it’s been commented how supple it looks. It is indeed very soft, in fact could almost be described as floppy when compared to the other straps I’ve used.

Whether you like it stiff or floppy is probably going to come down to personal taste, but I definitely think I am a floppy strap convert. The supple nature of the material just makes for a very comfortable to wear strap!

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Design

Design wise, I find the 595Strapco Horween strap a little bit more interesting than the Laverton too. The Laverton it held together with a couple of simple double headed rivets, whereas this new strap is stitched together with waxed polyester. In use there is no real difference, but aesthetically it’s very nice.

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Additionally to the construction, I find the colour of the leather to also be very nice. I find some medium-dark brown leathers to somehow look cheap, but this is far from that.

Strength and Longevity

Of course, I’ve only had it for a few weeks so really I have no idea how it will hold up long term. But what’s surprised me so far is how strong it feels despite its suppleness. Ive certainly had no concerns hanging my Leica M-A or M9 off it, which should give you an idea of the confidence I have in it.

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Price

After all of this, what’s really impressive is the price. Have a look at some of the big brand strap websites and your paying at very least £70 for a neck strap like this. Dave is churning out the Horween neck strap at £40!

In conclusion

Overall, I’ve been very impressed! If like me you are constantly swapping cameras you’ll find the clips useful. The leather is genuinely one of the nicest I’ve ever felt and is very comfortable indeed to wear.

My only real concern is about the potential for the metal clips to mark cameras with low mounted strap lugs, but that’s going to come down to the individual and the camera it is to be used with as to whether or not it’s a deal breaker – and it sounds like Dave has a plan for those who might have issue anyway.

Ultimately I shall definitely be getting Dave to make me a Horween leather camera strap. The one I have been using has comfortably supplanted my Footprint straps for day-to-day use, and that is something I genuinely didn’t expect to happen!

Cheers,

Hamish

If you would like to buy one of Dave’s Horween leather camera straps, they are now in production and you can find them on his website here. He’s also offering 20% off to readers of 35mmc with the code ’35mmc20′!!

 

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10 Comments

  • Reply
    Paul
    October 9, 2016 at 9:43 am

    That looks great, and I make take up the generous offer of a discount. One of my favourite straps is an old 80s Olympus one which has pretty standard swivel trigger clips (I think they’re called) which in turn attach to the camera with black nylon loops that can be quickly removed. So you get the swivel, the quick removal, and no metal-metal contact. Being a little OCD though, I feel uneasy with an Olympus branded strap on a non-Olympus camera, and it’s part white and non-washable. which seems like a bit of a design failure.

  • Reply
    George Appletre
    October 9, 2016 at 10:29 am

    Not for me really.
    The less metal the better

  • Reply
    Alex Yates
    October 9, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    Good looking strap, although for me the clips would be a no-go for most cameras where I’d want a strap of this quality (I have a strap per camera rather than swapping them around). As for the leather, Horween makes some great stuff – really supple and it ages beautifully (evo as it is known to the geeks). Now all you need is some rare selvedge denim and some kick-ass boots and you’ll be a true hipster.

  • Reply
    Tony Karnezis
    October 9, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    I really like this strap because of the leather (I love the shoes and watch straps I have made from Horween leather), but the clips will surely be a non-starter for many of us. Scuffs on the body are one thing, but the clips are also long enough to scratch the rangefinder window (e.g. when the camera is in my bag). Addressing this will surely widen the strap’s appeal.

  • Reply
    Daniel Fjäll
    October 9, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    I’m buying one. The now discontinued Tipton & Co strap os the only one that has ever been in consideration for my part. This looks very similar to it. I might just have to order one without the clips. I prefer rings. Fantastic!

  • Reply
    Des McSweeney
    October 9, 2016 at 9:36 pm

    Hi – I’ll give these a try though slightly worried about the size of the (non-rotating) clips. However better this I think than the bad experience I had with well known Gordy ( http://www.gordyscamerastraps.com/quick-disconnect/index.htm) it simply came off and left my M6 on the pavement! I also wrote to them and received no reply, bad show Gordy and one up for Strapco – I still have a very nice one of their ‘natural’ neckstraps after your earlier review. All best, Des

  • Reply
    Dan James
    October 11, 2016 at 8:00 am

    I bought a standard strap from Dave at 595StrapCo a few months back with the standard rings, then remembering what a faff it is to keep removing and reattaching those rings on a handful of different cameras, asked him if he did a quick release version of some kind. He suggested these same clips, but I got the standard veg tan leather. I’m very happy with the item, and I think it was only around £20, if someone is looking for a cheaper option than the Horween leather.

    I can’t stand having a bunch of cameras each with a strap, and them all keep getting entangled. It’s also led to one or more getting dropped on more than one occasion as I’ve picked up one camera and another couple have come leaping off the shelf too. Now my cameras sit contentedly strapless on the shelf, and I just use the one quick release strap to attach to whichever camera I choose to use. Ideal solution!

    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      October 14, 2016 at 2:13 pm

      We have the exact feeling toward straps

  • Reply
    anais
    October 16, 2016 at 8:50 am

    All of these issues are resolved by the elegant and tough box-standard Leica strap. Works well on many cameras.

    As for this? Two schoolboy errors – horween hates moisture; it cracks. Second, those clips. Awful! Check out the Luigi “genius” straps to see a good no-metal solution

  • Reply
    Stuart
    August 2, 2017 at 7:28 am

    Looks really nice, but personally I couldn’t use it because of those metal clips. Maybe with one of my old film bodies I’d be ok with that.

    I would get one of their stitched or riveted straps with rings, or ideally I’d like one from Hawkesmill. They just look a little bit more refined. This one is on my xmas list: https://hawkesmill.com/product/kensington-leather-camera-strap-brown

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