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Herringbone Hand Strap

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by Musashi, Jan 26, 2014.

  1. Musashi

    Musashi Mu-43 Regular

    56
    Nov 17, 2013
    Chicago
    Personally, I've always been partial to hand straps. Especially with DSLR's, I find them more comfortable and secure than wrapping the neck strap around my wrist, and I feel it makes the camera less bulky.

    Typically, most aftermarket hand straps are made for DSLR's, and a result most of them look odd on a typical m4/3 camera. The E-M1, however, because of its larger size, and because I use it with the grip, seemed like a perfect candidate for a hand strap. When I bought my E-M1 back in October, the Olympus GS-5 hand strap hadn't yet been released, so I had to look for other options.

    I ended up buying a Korean-made leather hand strap from Herringbone. They seem to be readily available from Ebay, though I ordered mine from a small NYC shop that happened to have a few in stock. From what I've seen, the same strap seems to be sold under different brands (like Ciesta, who makes good-quality camera straps and half-cases).

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    Having used it now for a good 3-4 months (though it does have some glaring faults) I'd give it a high recommendation to those who are looking for an alternative to neck straps and wrist straps.

    PROS
    First, the overall quality is excellent. The leather is very good - actually, much better than expected. Relatively thick and fine-grained, the leather feels great against the back of the hand, and more importantly, really provides a good support for the camera. The coloring of the leather is nice and uniform, and the stitching is excellent with no loose or frayed ends.

    Plus, it works great. Once you manage to get it installed (see "cons", below) and adjusted to your liking, it fits and feels better than any other hand strap I've ever used. The HLD-7 has a recessed lug that's almost purpose built for a hand strap, and that eliminates the need for a plate that screws into the tripod mount. While it makes for a smooth-looking install, it pretty much permanently attaches the grip to the camera. And unlike most of the synthetic hand straps (including the good ones from Canon, Nikon, and Olympus), the inner surface of the pad is leather, not cloth. So the inside of the strap never gets damp, and even if it does, could be easily wiped down.

    And it looks like a million bucks. It adds a touch of class to the camera, and with the number of leather/stitching combinations, you can really tailor the look to your personal taste. One warning though: while it's almost ideally sized for an E-M1 with an attached HLD-7, this hand strap (in my opinion) is probably too large for a gripless E-M1. In terms of size, it'd probably work just as well with a gripped E-M5, though I'm unsure whether the HLD-6 has the same recessed lug as the HLD-7.

    Last, the price is right. I think I paid around $30 for mine from a shop out of NYC, but the going rate for a Herringbone/Ciesta on Ebay seems to be around $25 (from Korea), shipping included. After reading about some pretty long wait times, I decided to pony up the extra $5, buy one that's already in the US, and receive it in a few days. For essentially the same price ($29), the Olympus GS-5 now seems to be available from all the usual places, though it appears to be made from synthetic leather and nylon.

    12160456896_d2c60fe1f9_c.

    CONS
    First, the presentation/packaging is nice, but the documentation/directions are utterly useless. It's so poorly translated that several parts of it make no sense at all. Of course, once you get the gist of what they're saying, it's downright hilarious - seeing how they're talking about quality, their attention to detail, etc.

    As a result, it's an absolute PAIN to install. It's not rocket science, and you will eventually figure it out. But be prepared for a long and tedious install. To me, there were way more parts (loops, fasteners, etc.) that I'd have thought possible from such a simple device. And the clearance on some of the little loops is so tight, that properly installing it takes more than a little ingenuity - my install included a needle/thread and a pair of pliers. And essentially, once it's on, it stays on (along with the HLD-7).

    The fastening strap is way too long (but to be fair, it's better than too short, I suppose). As you can see from the pictures, you need to loop the strap around everything twice, and even then there's at least 3-4 inches of extra strap left over. That much leather does give a sense of solidity and security, but I'd rate the threading that strap through the HLD-7's lug right up there with an IRS audit, a root canal, or taking another bar exam. I'd trim it, but I'd be afraid of the stitching coming undone.

    12160202854_4d08d2e872_c.

    CONCLUSION
    I'm hesitant to recommend the Herringbone to somebody who's looking for something easy to install, and/or needs something easily removable. Sure, there are solutions, like using a plate. And if you're inclined to use one, there are plates available (like the ones from Camstrap) that are definitely slimmer, and constructed of better materials than most. However, having used plates before, I think it decreases the stability of the connection between the camera and tripod. Essentially, you're connecting your tripod to a socket twice-removed: an aluminum plate connected to the grip, which is in turn connected to the body.

    But if, like me, you're already predisposed to hand straps, then I'd totally recommend this one. The install, while tedious, is not anything that you already haven't done before with other hand straps - it's just more difficult because of the thickness and relative stiffness of the leather (compared to a typical nylon one). It has its quirks, but the Herringbone is a quality piece. It works well, looks great, and you get all-leather construction for the price of pleather & nylon.
     
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  2. Jay86

    Jay86 Mu-43 Veteran

    477
    Dec 26, 2012
    Thanks for the review and write-up. :2thumbs: Looks like a nice hand strap.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Whtrbt7

    Whtrbt7 Mu-43 Regular

    195
    Jan 7, 2014
    Ooh nice review. I'm using a herringbone black with red stitching on my E-M1. I have it on the RRS plate instead of the hlD7 grip. It's super comfy.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Musashi

    Musashi Mu-43 Regular

    56
    Nov 17, 2013
    Chicago
    Thanks! And please post an image of your setup - I'd love to see how that looks.

    With the Herringbone attached, taking the grip off has become such a hassle that I've reverted to using just the battery in the HLD-7, with no battery in the body...which sort of defeats the main purpose. So essentially, I'm using the grip just as an anchor for the Herringbone. If I'm just going to use one battery, I'd love for there to be an option for me to keep the Herringbone without using a plate.
     
  5. klee

    klee Mu-43 Veteran

    367
    Mar 20, 2013
    Houston, TX
    Kevin
    great write up! having one myself, I can say that every bit of it is accurate to the ownership of the strap with an OMD! (so much so that it cracks me up).

    for a long time I wondered why there were seemingly no reviews for this online. so I just ordered one myself.

    I originally got it for my EM5 before I got the HLD-6. And I had to rig up all that extra slack some how to make it fit over my knuckles and in the end I conceded that it was not working out. So when the opportunity arose, I essentially bought and HLD-6 just for my herringbone strap!

    I was so miffed at having to spend $160 for a grip to use a $40 strap I bought for my $1300 camera that I refused to pay another $30 for a battery for the grip. So I do what you do and just shoot with one battery in the grip.

    I've gotten used to removing the strap from the body when I need to slim down the EM5 though. but it always stays attached to the battery grip since it was such a PAIN to thread it through the slot.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Musashi

    Musashi Mu-43 Regular

    56
    Nov 17, 2013
    Chicago
    I can't tell you how glad I am to hear that I'm not the only nutjob out there using a battery grip (with only one battery) just to keep the Herringbone...

    I actually like the way the camera looks and feels with the grip - and I don't even mind the weight (even if I did use a second battery). But like you implied, it's the principle of the thing - using a $200 grip to serve as a mounting point for a $30 handstrap...that's what kills me (along with the install).

    And it's right at that point where it's too nice to just cut off, and just too expensive (and not common enough in the US) to buy a quick replacement if you did.
     
  7. darosk

    darosk Mu-43 Top Veteran

    705
    Apr 17, 2013
    Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
    Daros
    I always liked the Herringbone stuff - looks very nice. I tried handstraps for a while but I personally found them not to my liking in day-to-day use. Very nice looking though.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Whtrbt7

    Whtrbt7 Mu-43 Regular

    195
    Jan 7, 2014
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    So here are some kinda not so great shots but it should give you an idea of what the RRS plate allows you to do with the Herringbone strap. I used to use the strap on a Canon 5D Mk III but I switched to the EM1 completely since if I need more pixels and that level of detail, I could just use a Hasselblad. The plate gives a little bit of room for grip and retains a lot of the original size of the EM1 which was what I was looking to do in the first place with the switch. I wanted it to be much more discreet for shooting and it accomplishes that but a part of me is thinking of getting an EP5 so I look more pedestrian.

    My wife's EM1 has a saddle leather hand strap and the same RRS plate which I'm also considering getting the L part so we can do portrait on the tripod. Overall, the cameras are great and we are enjoying the switch to m43 from FF135. It kind of reminds me of using 110 cartridges in those old Kodak Ektralites.
     
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  9. klee

    klee Mu-43 Veteran

    367
    Mar 20, 2013
    Houston, TX
    Kevin
    ha, yeah even now I don't really know what to do with the slack.
     
  10. Musashi

    Musashi Mu-43 Regular

    56
    Nov 17, 2013
    Chicago
    Looks great - the black/red is very sharp. Plus, I like how RSS incorporated a strap lug in the design.

    But whatever did you do with all the slack?
     
  11. Dave in Wales

    Dave in Wales Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 5, 2011
    West Wales
    Hand straps, IMVHO, are an accident waiting to happen, It's impossible to change lenses/remove grip one-handed.

    I use a neck strap wrapped around my hand for shooting and looped around my neck when changing lenses etc....best of both worlds.

    I can remove the grip from the E-M1 whenever necessity dictates and still be left with the E-M1 safely hanging around my neck.
     
  12. Musashi

    Musashi Mu-43 Regular

    56
    Nov 17, 2013
    Chicago
    To each his own, of course. But based upon on my own experience, I have to disagree with you about the comparative safety of neck straps versus hand straps.

    The only camera accident I've ever had involved a neck strap failing. I was walking with a gripped 7D slung across my body, the camera behind my arm at roughly elbow height. My walking (and the weight of the camera) must've caused one side of the nylon strap to inch down and eventually slip out of the plastic slider/retainer. I remember taking one step from the sidewalk down to the street, then the next thing I know I felt the strap slip off my neck, and looked down just in time to see the Canon hit the concrete, lens first. Luckily, apart from the hood and filter getting scratched up, the camera was fine. And even now, 4 years later, that 7D continues to work flawlessly.

    Needless to say, I've been using hand straps almost exclusively since, though I still keep the neck strap attached to an extra tripod plate just in case the mood strikes me. Of course, after that incident, I do find myself being a bit more careful with my gear, but I've never had any incidents with any hand strap.

    But I totally agree with you that it is impossible to change lenses or remove the grip one-handed. I'll have to admit, however, that it's never occurred to me to try. I always prefer a flat, secure surface - or at the very least, have the camera body securely sitting at the bottom of the bag.

    And this is just my opinion, of course, but I'd venture to say that the practice of changing lenses and/or removing the grip one-handed (even with a neck strap) is significantly more of an" accident waiting to happen" than using a hand strap could ever be.
     
  13. Whtrbt7

    Whtrbt7 Mu-43 Regular

    195
    Jan 7, 2014
    Oh the slack is buckled. That's what the buckle/ button mini strap is used for.

    Regarding safety, the hand strap is only a part of my safety solution, I normally mount the camera to a Spider Pro belt so I can be hands free and neck free. When I want to start shooting, I just draw from the Spider Pro and the handstrap keeps the camera on my hand. Lens changes take place on the holster.