Verdict: Four stars ★★★★
You probably got a cheap strap with your camera so why pay for a premium version of something you’ve already got? Keep reading to find out why, and to learn how Peak Design’s neat touches might even tempt one-time strap haters.
When does a strap become a leash? Who knows, but Peak Design offers three over-the-shoulder camera strap designs under its Slide and Leash brands, designed for photographers carrying different-sized cameras.
The two recently-redesigned Slide straps are wider and get their name from their ‘slide’ action, which comes from the use of low-friction nylon webbing. If you pass your head through your camera strap and wear it like a ‘sling’, you’ll know how annoying it is when you bring the camera to your eye and the strap drags your clothing with it – or grips so tight it’s difficult to actually manoeuvre the camera.
Twist and stick
That’s what the ‘slide’ material fixes, and it does indeed slide smoothly over your clothing when you need to bring the camera to your eye. Or, if it’s sliding around just a little too much as you’re clambering over rocks or stiles, you can flip the strap over so that its grippy side, which has inset silicone ribbing panels, is against your clothing.
With many straps, flipping them over like this would leave some annoying twists in the webbing, but Peak Design’s clever Anchor Links get round that. They consist of a short loop which you can pass through your camera’s strap eyelets and a flat disk which clips into a spring-loaded buckle on the strap. If you flip over the strap surface, you just put a twist in the Anchor Link loop, not the strap.
These Anchor Links don’t just attach to the camera’s strap eyelets. They can also connect to a flat plate that screws into the camera’s baseplate via the tripod socket (it’s tightened with an Allen key, provided). If you attach one of the Anchor Links to the camera base and one to a regular eyelet, the camera hangs at your side with the lens facing downwards not outwards, so you’re less likely to hit it on things (and people) as you walk past. As well as making the camera feel more secure, it can also make it easier to bring it to your eye for shooting.
So what if you want to use your camera on a tripod – does that mean you have to unscrew that little Anchor Point baseplate? Well, yes, if you fitted it, but there is another way. You can simply hook an Anchor Point loop over the screw of a regular tripod plate (or Peak Design’s own Capture plate) when you fit it. Hmm, well, maybe. We tried it with an Arca Swiss plate on the camera side and it the plate lost much of its grip on the camera base, make it prone to twisting, and looping it over on the underside mean the loop fouled against the tripod head when fitting the plate.
Anchor Links and tripod plates
This works well with the Capture Clips’s camera plate, which has ready-made holes that don’t lie flat with the camera base. The Clip plate also slots straight in to a regular Arca Swiss tripod head, so this might work better than trying to use an Anchor Link with a regular tripod plate. It does mean making an extra purchase, of course.
The idea of combining the Slide strap anchor link with a regular tripod plate is great in principle, but not always convincing in practice, then, but that is a pretty minor point since it’s great that you can do it at all. You’ll just have to try it with our own tripod to see if it affects the grip.
Otherwise, these two Slide straps can hardly be faulted. They come with two quick action adjustment buckles – you raise the buckle and drag to adjust the length and then snap it back to lock it. So much better than wrestling with regular cheap nylon bucket and complicated webbing loops.
The full-size Slide even has discreet internal padding over the shoulder that doesn’t snag on your clothing and get it the way, but does offer extra comfort for heavier gear. We tried a 6-mile hike carrying a Nikon D7200 with a weighty Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 – not something you’d necessarily do every day – and it was fine.
The smaller Slide Lite was a good fit for our Fujifilm X-T20 – Peak Design does target the Lite model at mirrorless users – and with a small kit zoom or prime lens fitted, the side eyelets or baseplate anchor point work equally well. With a longer lens, attaching an Anchor Link to the base will point the lens downwards and out of the way.
Each strap comes with a soft carrying pouch, two spare Anchor Links, a small tripod socket plate for base-mounting and an Allen key for fixing the plate. The spare Anchor Links are there so that you can quickly swap the strap from one camera to another (you’d leave the Anchor Links fitted to both cameras) or you can use them as spares for if/when the existing ones wear out – peak Design says you should replace them if the inner red cord shows through the black outer layer.
So what’s with the Leash, and if this is another shoulder strap, why isn’t it in the Slide range as the ‘Slide Mini’ or something similar? Perhaps because even though the material is the same low-friction nylon webbing, there’s no ‘sticky’ side to flip to and the regular Slide adjustment catches free replaced by a different system where you hook a couple of fingers through loops on the buckles and pull them back to release the strap. When you pull the strap taut again, the buckles flatten against the strap to lock them at that length.
The Leash is narrower than the Slide and Slide Lite but looks perfectly well suited to an APS-C mirrorless camera with a light kit zoom or prime lens fitted. It uses the same removable Anchor Links, so all three strap mounting are interchangeable. Peak Design also advertises it as a ‘safety tether’ but it’s a little difficult to see what it means by that, since it’s too long to be much use as anything other than a shoulder strap. It does detach quickly, though, and can be rolled up and pushed in your pocket when it’s not needed.
Peak Design Slide and Leash verdicts
Some people like camera straps, some don’t. If you do wear your camera on a strap, you’ll find all three of these Peak Design products quicker and easier to use and more comfortable than the strap that came with your camera. Whether you think they are worth the money will depend on how much you value good design and usability over value for money. They’re not cheap, but then they’re not expensive either, given the quality of the materials, the spare Anchor Links, baseplate mount and soft carrying pouch. All three are effective, fuss free and really nice to use.
Will any off them convert camera strap haters? Unlikely, though if the only thing putting you off straps so far has been finding the right one, well these might be the products to do it. The regular Slide is pretty wide unless you’re carrying a DSLR with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, say, and the Slide Lite is perhaps the best middle ground between size and cost for most of us. Don’t rule out the Leash for a lighter camera setup, though.
Verdict: Four stars ★★★★
Price: Slide £59.99/$64.95, Slide Lite £49.99/$49.95, Leash £34.99/$39.95
More information: Peak Design website