View Full Version : Is the Gripper Camera Strap the best strap?

Jim Domke
09-11-2008, 05:35 PM
With zoom lens the camera bag got lighter but the camera and lens seems to have gotten heavier and photographers are still trying to find the perfect camera strap. I certainly don’t want a strap that has the camera name printed on it!

In 1973 I met Henri Cartier-Bresson at a reception and noticed how he carried a compact Leica C with a Summilux 50mm lens, always ready to capture that “decisive moment.” No flash, no camera bag, just the camera with a normal lens. It was the smallest camera Leica made, smaller than the Leica M, with just a 1/2-inch wide leather strap and he never left home without it.

Most of the time the camera simply stayed on his shoulder, all you noticed was the black strip and when he saw something interesting, he could wrap the strap around his hand and hold it behind his back out of sight. With today’s DSLR with pop-up flash and a 24-105mm zoom lens, you can carry your camera on your shoulder like Cartier-Bresson and be ready 24/7 to take a picture of everything and anything.

However the DSLR is lot bigger, especially with the zoom lens. That’s why I like the 1-inch wide TAN (sand) web Gripper strap, which I think is less noticeable than black webbing. The 1-inch with the rubber woven into the cotton webbing is wide enough to distribute the weight of the heavier camera, but unlike leather or nylon it breaths. The Gripper strap can also easily wrap around your wrist and not call attention to the camera.

Other non-slip camera straps stick too tightly to the shoulder, making it hard to quickly slide the camera off one shoulder and over to the other side. Something I do when walking in crowds. Or, when you carry the camera under your winter coat or a rain coat, the camera strap has to slide.

Pro gear is expensive and nobody wants to worry about rivets popping, rings bending or plastic breaking. The cotton webbing on the Gripper is box-stitched around heavy metal d-rings with industrial thread and the 3/8-inch nylon webbing is bar-tacked to prevent unwanted surprises. The straps are made to last like the Domke Bag.

This is the same webbing that has been used for over 20 years on the Domke bag. Cotton webbing is better than nylon on other straps, because it is thicker and won't "cut" into the shoulder.

It’s as near perfect as a camera strap can be.:rolleyes:

Jeff Laitila
09-15-2008, 08:59 AM

I've tried a lot of different straps over the years, but was never totally satisfied until I tried my first Domke Gripper strap.

They are the perfect combination of materials and engineering. They are everything you need in a strap, and nothing that you don't.

Since switching to the Domke Gripper strap I have l kept my eye out for a better carrying solution for my cameras, and from time to time have purchased some rather high end straps to see if they would be better. But they never have the same "just right" feel of the Domke. Either they grip too tightly, not allowing the camera to easily slide off your shoulder when you raise the camera to take a shot, or they slide off too easily. Also he materials can be a ot les comfprtable than the high quality cotton Domke straps.

With the Domke Gripper strap I find that it has the perfect amount of "gription" (for lack of a better word) that keeps the camera right where it is supposed to be when not in use, the weight of the cameras ensuring a snug slip-proof hold. But as soon as you lift the camera to use it, the amount of "gription" instantly reduces, allowing the strap to slide and adjust to the new shooting position.

Domke straps also only get better with age, becoming soft and supple, but loosing none of their gripping power. They easily and comfortably wrap around your wrist when you want to carry your gear one-handed.

My days of looking for a better strap are pretty much over. (Unless that is, Domke comes out with an even better strap...) I am completely satisfied with my Domke Gripper straps and recommend them to any serious shooter who prefers that their gear be as transparent a part as of the shooting process, allowing them to focus fully on getting the shot.

05-13-2009, 03:17 PM
I have a 1 inch gripper strap on one of my Leicas and love it. Though, I'm no HCB!

I do have a question about the 1.5 inch straps, though. I just bought a new DSLR and would like to put the 1.5 inch gripper strap on it and ditch the strap that is emblazoned with the camera company and model in bright yellow. My choice is the 1.5 inch black gripper. However, in order to avoid unnecessary bulk and complication, I'd prefer to have one without the swivel/quick release function (like the simple 1 inch gripper strap I have on my Leica) but haven't found one in that configuration. Is the 1.5 inch gripper strap only available with the swivel/quick release clips? Thanks in advance.

05-13-2009, 03:21 PM
Yes, it's only available in the swivel/quick release.

08-19-2010, 05:55 AM
No matter what is on the camera strap, I entirely agree with you that the best camera straps have swivels on them. I think about all the time that I spend turning my camera strap in the right direction so it's not tiwsted and man, that's a lot of time :)

08-20-2010, 10:38 PM
sorry if this sounds like a dumb question, but i have tried and tried.
exactly how do you wrap a camera strap around your wrist ?


Jim Domke
08-23-2010, 05:32 PM
With the smaller cameras it is nice to hold camera in right hand strap wraps around wrist and then is held tight between palm of hand and the right side of the camera. This lets you hold the camera behind your back and then quickly bring it up to your face to frame a photo. You're hanging onto the camera and just trying to keep the strap out of the way. Nobody wants to have the strap in front of the lens.

08-24-2010, 02:26 AM
That's also the best way to carry a second heavy camera/lens in 'off road' terrain when you have to take care of your front camera.

09-28-2010, 07:59 AM
Just to send you a good adress : I just ordered a second Domke strap to Eventcameras. Ultra fast shipping. I received the item in France in less than a week.