Andy Westlake tries out a retro-style leather neck strap for small cameras

1901-Fotografi-Maitani-strap1901 Fotografi Maitani strap at a glance:

  • 12mm wide
  • Full-grain English leather
  • Length adjustable from 83cm to 137cm
  • Available in brown or black
  • Price: £23.95
  • Website: www.1901fotografi.co.uk

Over the past few years we’ve seen a trend in cameras becoming more consciously stylish. The likes of the Fujifilm X series and Olympus OM-D models unashamedly hark back to classic designs of the 1960s and ’70s, enticing photographers almost as much by their looks as by their capabilities. With this fashion for retro design, many photographers are rejecting the nylon strap that comes in the box in favour of something more attractive.

One solution is a classic leather strap, but where to find such a thing? While the internet has been the death of many a local camera shop, it’s also provided a channel for small suppliers to sell their goods directly to users.

1901 Fotografi is a British company that sells a small range of straps and camera bags online. Its Maitani model is named after the legendary Olympus designer Yoshihisa Maitani, and is 12mm (1/2in) wide. It will fit practically any type of strap lug, either directly or via the supplied split rings. Using a two-piece design, its length is readily adjustable using a pair of sliding buckles, from around 83cm to 137cm. The strap is available in either dark brown or black.

1901 Fotografi Maitani strap – Key features

Adjustment buckles

The sliding pewter buckles are inspired by those Olympus used for its early Pen cameras in the late 1950s.

1901 Fotografi Maitani strap – Verdict

Simply but elegantly crafted from supple English leather, the Maitani is a lot more attractive and less bulky than straps usually supplied with cameras. This means that as well as using it as a neckstrap, I can happily wrap it around my wrist and hand while shooting to give a bit of extra security. The inside of the strap has a soft suede finish, which makes it more comfortable than smoother, harder leather. I was concerned such a slim design might be uncomfortable around my neck, but with the relatively lightweight CSC systems that hasn’t been a problem so far (then again, I’d probably not use it with an f/2.8 telezoom). In summary, it’s a lovely strap that has found a permanent place on my own OM-D.

SCORE: 4.5 out of 5

You may also consider:

Footprint-strapsFootprint straps

Footprint is another small company that sells a wide range of leather straps on eBay. Handmade in England, materials and craftsmanship are top-notch, and various designs and camera fixings are available. Alongside traditional neckstraps and wriststraps, some are designed to be screwed into the camera’s tripod socket.A variety of leathers and contrasting colour bindings are available, and you can even request your own combination. Visit Footprint Custom Straps on Facebook.