A week or so ago, Dave from 595Strapco sent me one of his Laverton Leather Camera Neck Straps. I’ve been using it since on a verity of cameras so thought I’d share my thoughts.
These days it sometimes seems that there are as many choices of leather camera straps as there are cameras to put them on. A quick search on Google will reveal a fair few brands of strap, all coming in a verity of different shapes and sizes. In fact, if you are looking for a camera strap there is probably more choice available today than there ever has been. Many of these straps come with their own stories of high quality leather, hand made to order etc etc. I guess many of these cottage industry manufacturers set out making a strap for themselves. They then ended up producing something of such quality they came to the conclusion they could make and sell the things to folks over the Internet.
I should add, I don’t know if this was Dave’s story, I’m just speculating about the rise in cottage industry strap manufacture as a whole.
I personally wouldn’t have a clue where to start making one for myself. On face value, it’s just a strip of leather with a split ring at each end, how hard can it be? Well, not that hard I suppose, at least once you’ve found a way to cut the leather perfectly straight, then dye it and finish it to a consistent and high quality standard. There is also the responsibility of making something that is going to hang someone’s pride and joy around their neck without the risk of it breaking. I know leather itself is very strong, but some of the ways some of the straps you find on eBay are assembled look decidedly iffy to me! I’m sure these people know what they are doing when they make them though – my point is that I don’t. So whilst, as I say on face value it’s “just” a strip of leather with a split ring at each end, there does seem more to making these things than perhaps meets the eye.
The question then I suppose is this, does the 595 Strap Co Laverton offer anything that any of the other brands out there don’t? Well, I suspect that in such a crowded market place the answer is no, it doesn’t. This strap isnt a thing of unique design, its not even uniquely priced. Though it might be considerably cheaper than the likes of the top brands, many of its ebay competitors are actually a very similar price.
What the 595 Laverton does offer though is a sense of quality material. It also gives me confidence through what appears to be a very sturdy method of construction – the steel rivets don’t look like they would shift anywhere anytime soon.
Whats more, it is actually very comfortable strap to wear. It might be the thickness of the material, the softness of the underside of the leather, the clean but unfurnished edge, or perhaps a combination of all three? I’m not sure it matters why it’s comfortable, but it certainly is! Even with my Leica M5 hanging off it for the entirety of a 10 hour wedding the other day, I barely noticed it was there – and the M5 is quite a lump!
If I had any criticism it would only be that I may have chopped the leather a touch shorter past the rivets… But thats hardly a real issue beyond a minor aesthetic consideration.
So would I recommend one? Well yes I suppose would, I often roll my eyes at the price this sort of thing sometimes goes for just on the basis of its handmade nature and fancy branding. Dave’s straps might be simple, understated, or perhaps even basic in their design, but they are definitely a good quality material and construction that gives me confidence that they would last. They also look nice, are comfortable, and are petty inexpensive too… in short for £23, the 595Strapco Laverton is fine by me!
A little bonus, Dave the chap who makes them seems like a good sort too… And if you happen to be from my neck of the woods – Worcestershire in the Midlands, UK – buying one from him is supporting a local company, which I’m always a fan of!