As you might have guessed from the title of this article, I am not the biggest fan of the standard neck strap that usually comes packed with new DSLRs. I find them obsolete, impractical and I'm not very attached to the “tourist look” they give you either.
I shoot in various locations and I use my cameras both indoors and outdoors in rough conditions. I'm not a wildlife photographer or a war correspondent but I often need to use my cameras fast and that rules out neck straps, even if I wrap them around my arm.
So what's there to be done? I considered hand straps for a while. I actually tried some. But then I found them annoyingly impractical because they actually made my work harder for several reasons. Most of them have connections that keep your hand from sliding into and out of the strap. Some actually require the use of your other hand to get the shooting hand into position correctly. Also, I couldn't reach the shutter release with my fingers very well. So after a few months of trying to build a solid relationship with various hand straps, I finally gave up, not without a strong sense of disappointment. But my cameras do feel naked when I shoot stills and that's not right. Not to mention, it's a bit risky. So I've been doing some research and I found something that could prove to be the solution that I, and I believe many other pros are looking for.
It comes from a company called Spider Holster. In case you haven't heard of them, they're a group of very passionate photographers who also happen to have a talent for crafting various things photographers need. They claim they've come up with a hand strap that finally works and can be used in real life situations. It's called the SpiderPro Hand Strap (no surprises there) and I did some research on it to see if it meets my needs.
First of all, it's designed to slide in between the camera body and the tripod plate. Any universal plate is good. That's one solid point because you don't have to replace it with a manufacturer plate in case you lose it.
It has a very interesting "S" shape that enables good access to both the memory card slot and the battery compartment.
That all sounds good so far, but then I asked myself what happens if I strap it to my 5DMK III with the battery grip mounted. SpiderPro have solved this problem with a combination of intelligent design and quality materials. One of the hardest things other manufacturers failed to get right is the actual position of the camera in your hand. The correct position of the strap is above your knuckles, close to your wrist.
Because the materials include genuine leather, the SpiderPro Holster will remember the shape of your hand, thus becoming more comfortable to use over time.
The connection to the camera is good enough to allow your hand to slide in and out, but what's even more important is that it doesn't obstruct access to the controls on the rear of the camera.
It took a little longer than I expected, certainly longer than I would have preferred, but finally there is a hand strap good enough for pros to use in real life, in the field.
However most good things come with a cost. The team at Spider Holster have been developing the SpiderPro Hand Strap for over two years. That pretty much explains the waiting. However, in order for the Holster to go into production and make my life and yours easier, the team need a little support from the community. This is a great opportunity to get an awesome, customized Hand Strap. Spider Holster have prepared several sweet packages waiting for photographers who are willing to speed up the production of the Spider Pro Hand Strap. Visit their website for full details, but don't forget their Facebook , Twitter and Instagram either.