Overview and Field Test of HoldFast Gear’s Money Maker Leather Camera Strap
The camera strap is one accessory that has definitely evolved along with the photography industry. While the default strap that comes with every camera might suit your basic shooting needs, there are plenty of options available with enhanced features (and style). Some help you shoot more ergonomically by better balancing heavy gear across your body, and some just give you the appearance of looking like a more polished professional. This product review is a camera strap that meets both ergonomic and stylistic needs of today’s photographers: the Money Maker leather camera strap by HoldFast Gear.
About the MoneyMaker strap
The MoneyMaker is one of several camera strap products created by HoldFast Gear founder Matthew Swaggart. As a photographer himself, Swaggart created his line of camera straps to efficiently carry his own camera gear and pocket items, while also maintaining a nice aesthetic. Beginning with his very first product, the RuckStrap, Swaggart’s brand is perhaps best known for the MoneyMaker leather dual camera strap. Based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, every single HoldFast product is made in the USA, and Swaggart has been known to openly collaborate with customers to design custom straps.
Benefits of Dual (or Double) Camera Straps
While dual (or double) camera straps are already very popular among photographers who carry multiple camera bodies, many of them such as the popular Black Rapid Double have designs that resemble tactical SWAT team gear. As a petite female photographer using these dual camera straps, I’m frequently met with raised eyebrows and asked if I’m getting ready for battle.
This is where the HoldFast MoneyMaker comes into play. Once I switched from Black Rapid to the MoneyMaker, I noticed even more raised eyebrows, but this time with the question, “Where did you get that beautiful camera strap?”
Crafted from high-grade leather and metal fasteners and buckles, the MoneyMaker is worn like suspenders, with a camera suspended from each end. The design balances the weight of the cameras so they both hang down by your hips, and you can even attach a third camera to the front by using an optional attachment leash. One of the best features, that is lacking from competitors such as BlackRapid, is the MoneyMaker’s inclusion of a Safety Catch clip that adds an extra layer of security to your camera.
If you’ve ever used a Black Rapid camera strap, the mechanics of the MoneyMaker will be very similar.
- Start by first putting on the MoneyMaker Straps, then fasten the HoldFast screws to the tripod mount of your camera.
- Next, attach the circular split ring from the Safety Catch to your camera. This can be a bit tricky for Canon DSLRs.
MoneyMaker Options and Variations
There are several standard variations you can choose from with the MoneyMaker to make it more comfortable and stylish. First, the MoneyMaker comes in several different materials including English Bridle, Water Buffalo, Great American Bison, and even Genuine Python. Prices and color options vary according to the material you choose, with Bridle Leather being the lowest priced, and Genuine Python costing the most.
For those preferring camera straps not made of leather, HoldFast offers the Camera Swagg collection featuring the same MoneyMaker design crafted from high-grade nylon. Slightly lighter in weight and more affordable in price compared to leather options, this ultra-light option also comes in a wider array of colors including copper, navy, red, and black.
If you want a truly unique, one-of-a-kind camera strap, you can even opt for the hand tooled, hand painted leather MoneyMaker. Each is custom made to order and results in a beautiful, functional piece of art that embodies the art of leather craftsmanship.
All of the leather straps can be ordered in the Original (1 1/2″ wide) or Skinny (1″ wide with 1 1/2 inch removable shoulder pads) version. They also come in Small, Medium, or Large, depending mainly on your height and build, with optional D-ring metal loops that can add extra attachment options. As a 5’2″ petite female, I opted for the Bridle Leather MoneyMaker in Chestnut color, size Small, and the Skinny version with no D-rings (they are’t recommended if you have long hair). It was a perfect fit!
My Experience Shooting with the MoneyMaker
While the MoneyMaker is very popular among wedding photographers, I found it to be perfect for shooting concerts and corporate events as well. At concerts and music festivals, in particular, where leather camera straps aren’t yet prevalent, the MoneyMaker proved to be an excellent conversation starter among other photographers and concert-goers.
When I shoot big concerts and events, I typically have the following camera setup:
- (1) Canon 5D Mark III (B&H or Amazon pricing) with a 70-200mm f/2.8 attached (B&H or Amazon pricing)
- (1) Canon 6D (B&H or Amazon pricing) with a 24-70mm f/2.8 attached (B&H or Amazon pricing)
- (1) 580 EXII Flash (B&H or Amazon pricing)
- (1) Wallet with extra memory cards, batteries, and business cards
Using the MoneyMaker to carry my two camera bodies, I also used a lightweight ThinkTank belt pack to carry my flash and wallet. This combination helps balance the weight in my upper body and allows me to emerge with zero back and shoulder pain after shooting a multi-day music festival and two corporate conferences.
Things to Note
While my experience with the MoneyMaker was highly positive, there are a couple things about this camera strap system to note.
First, the use of all authentic leather makes the MoneyMaker heavy compared to the all-nylon systems of Black Rapid and other competitors. This isn’t a problem when you’re wearing and using the camera straps, but it can feel and appear somewhat intimidating right out of the box.
Second, leather takes some time to break in, so the straps aren’t the softest and most supple at first. That doesn’t mean the straps aren’t comfortable, but you’ll need to use them frequently over time to get them to loosen up. Also, you’ll want to take extra care of the material if you go with a genuine leather camera strap option so it retains high quality.
Over to you
Do you have a certain camera strap that you prefer to use other than the default strap you automatically receive when you buy a camera? Is style as important as function when it comes to your ideal camera strap? What do you look for in a strap?
Please share in the comments below.
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