Gordy's Camera Straps

Somewhere along the way, I ran into [Gordy’s Camera Straps][gordyscamerastraps].

Gordon Coale is a guy out in Washington state who hand makes leather camera straps. Last year it occurred to me that one of his straps would perfectly match my [Hirano case][hirano japanexposures] (which you [may have seen before][live view]). Hand straps are simply a good idea for nearly any camera, because they’re the most minimal safety leash for photography: you don’t really need a one normally; but if something bad happens, you’ll be glad you have one around your wrist. Plus, when you do it right, they look gorgeous:

The food camera and Gordy’s strap
The food camera and Gordy’s strap
Barracuda Sushi, Castro, San Francisco, California

Nikon D3, 24mm f/1.4G, SB-900
1/50 sec @ ƒ2, iso 800, 24mm

I bought this Gordy’s strap almost exactly one year ago.

[gordyscamerastraps]: http://www.gordyscamerastraps.com/ “gordy’s camera straps”
[hirano japanexposures]: http://www.japanexposures.com/shop/index.php?manufacturers_id=36 “Camera Hirano—JapanExposures. These English speakers will get import Hirano cases for you.”
[live view]: http://terrychay.com/article/live-view-aperture-on-the-e-p2.shtml “Live view aperture on the E-P2”

Did you know that if you buy a handmade Italian leather good (camera case, shoes, belt, wallet, etc.), it was probably made by someone from China? That scam is so that they can say that it’s Made in Italy but still keep profits high.

Instead of that, my camera has a case handmade by [an old Japanese man][hirano] and a wrist strap handmade by an old American one. Real custom made goods have stitching that is both simple and direct because there is no computer to aid in the design and manufacture. As many of my friends have noted, the workmanship of both is noticeably better than most—so much so that they seem a matched pair.

Gordy's and Hlaska wallet
Gordy’s and Hlaska wallet
South of Market, San Francisco, California

Nikon D3, 24-70mm f/2.8G
1/30 sec @ ƒ3.2, iso 720, 27mm

(The nominal merge wallet makes a good color and size comparison since I’ve [written about Hlaska][hlaska] before, but I thought I’d given them a shout-out since a friend of mine is managing their three stores. Hlaska still makes some of their goods in Burlingame, CA, but this wallet is made in China in order to keep costs down.)

I highly recommend Hirano and Gordy’s.

### Cross body straps

Another popular thing in photography is the cross body strap with the camera mounted on a D-ring. This design keeps the camera safely to the side with two hands free, but it becomes easily available for shooting. Since I was buying from Gordy’s anyway, I ordered a matching [sling strap][gordys sling].

Gordy's cross body strap
Gordy’s cross body strap
South of Market, San Francisco, California

Nikon D3, 24-70mm f/2.8G
1/30 sec @ ƒ3.2, iso 1000, 50mm

A couple of notes about cross-body sling straps.

First, Gordy messed up. I asked for a white attaching cord (to match the silver tripod lug) and a blue wrapping cord (the accent color of Olympus), but he made both white. I could have exchanged it, but it just wasn’t a big deal.

What **is** a big deal is that my connector is a thumb screw mount connector. Don’t do this with a Hirano case with a low profile tripod lug. You can’t screw it in too tight or you end up with binding (the case permanently attached to the connector); if you don’t screw it in tight enough, it will eventually come loose. Let’s just say that I dented my 25mm F0.95 Voigtlander lens because of this. I was in tears. The repair is going to take months and cost a bundle.

*Always screw a tripod connector in directly to the camera body and then tighten it as far as it will go.*

From my experience, I feel the Olympus E-P2 is too small for a cross body strap, and the Nikon D3 is too big. My Leica M8 seems about right. My favorite strap material for these types of straps is actually a simple nylon. The amount of padding should be a function of the camera weight—you might not need any for a Leica M8 or smaller, but I’d probably get a pad for an entry SLR. YMMV. Keep this in mind before you get one.

[hlaska]: http://terrychay.com/article/minimal-wallet.shtml “Minimal wallet”
[gordys sling]: http://www.gordyscamerastraps.com/neck-sling/index.htm “neck straps: sling—gordy’s camera straps”
[gordys gallery]: http://gordyscamerastraps.tumblr.com/ “goody’s camera straps gallery”
[hirano]: http://www.theturopian.com/webapps/i/84642/240880/343767 “Hand-made leather camera case by Yoshimi Hitoshi Hirano—”

One thought on “Gordy's Camera Straps

  1. Looking for a Castro strap.
    Regular camera type strap around neck, with a BODY STRAP AROUND THE BODY with a rubberized flat circle, that fits OVER the lens, Holding the camera always in place and ready, but keeping camera from dangling all over the place while active. Like paddling a canoe — or bicycling. Had one of these years ago, but can’t find it now, and going on a trip in March.

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