A few months ago I was contacted by an enterprising photographer, Myron Hensel of Artisan Origin, regarding the possibility of carrying his line of leather camera straps in our shop. I was initially hesitant owing to the knowledge that there’s an almost over-abundance of choice when it comes to camera straps, especially of the leather variety.
In the end, curiosity won out, so I asked Myron to send over some samples for review and told him we’d take a look. The straps arrived quickly, and I just as quickly fitted one to my Sony a7.
I’ve worn the strap for more than three months now, and in that time I’ve subjected it to merciless abuse. It’s been with me nearly every day, suffering the wear and tear of mountain climbs, saltwater submersion, rain, sun, and wind. It’s been bent, folded, stepped on, and charred (that time on the beach when I just had to get macro shots of burning charcoal). This thing’s been through the ringer, and it’s about time we penned our review.
So what do we think of Artisan Origin’s straps? Get reading!
Functionally speaking, a camera strap doesn’t have the most complicated existence. It needs to hold onto your camera, distribute weight, and not be an uncomfortable nuisance. If it looks gorgeous at the same time, that’s just a bonus. So what’s the deal with Artisan Origin’s offerings?
Getting right to it, Artisan Origin’s straps are among the prettiest we’ve seen from any leather strap maker. They exhibit a beautiful luster, rich texture, and exceedingly luxurious feel. They’re exactly what you’d expect from a premium, leather product (except they forego the premium price – more on that later).
AO’s straps are offered in a variety of colors, so there’s something for every taste, and certain camera/strap pairings are just dripping with class. Colored versions are hand-dyed and finished with leather conditioner, ensuring the strap won’t lose its looks with age.
The ends are held together with copper rivets, and the lug connectors are similarly styled. These unusual accents present a bit of visual distinctness without being too polarizing. This is certainly different from the other leather strap offerings we’ve seen, and while it may not be to some photographer’s taste, we like it.
When speaking of functionality and comfort, AO further impresses. Some leather straps we’ve used miss the mark when it comes to thickness. They’re either too chunky and have no flex, or they’re too thin and can’t bear a load. Not so with these straps.
It’s true that Artisan Origin’s straps are a bit stiff when new, but that’s to be expected. In just a few weeks the strap breaks in perfectly, and the leather strikes the right balance between flexibility and strength. Weight is distributed well, even without a neck pad, and the straps are flexible enough to be casually looped for easy storage.
The large diameter of the lug rings allows for plenty of swing, and the protective lug pad has never gotten in the way on the numerous digital and film cameras we’ve tested.
All this said, the functionality of a camera strap is among the more difficult subjects to nitpick. The straps work; enough said.
So AO’s straps look amazing, ooze class, and work great. But if that isn’t enough to convince you, maybe the price will. Artisan Origin’s straps are just $60. That’s pretty inexpensive for such a quality, handmade strap, and it’s far less than we expected after spending time with Myron’s product.
For those who may not be familiar, comparable offerings from some of the better-known brands will run over $100. Pretty remarkable.
As mentioned earlier, Myron initially contacted us asking if we had interest in carrying his line of Artisan Origin straps. We’re happy to say we’ve agreed to do so, but we want to make it explicitly clear to our readers that we wouldn’t sell them if they weren’t good. We put this thing through hell, and it’s only gotten better with age. We’re entirely convinced they’re more than just good; these straps are amazing.
If you’re interested in a premium leather camera strap at an everyman price, head over to our shop and take a look. You won’t be disappointed.