“Most people are familiar with Peak Design, a company that makes camera bags, packs, and straps. I have been a major fan of the company’s straps for quite some time and have mentioned them on a number of our Toy Shop episodes. Peak Design has, in my opinion, invented one of the best camera strap lines on the market…
… Since using the Peak Design system, I have never been happier with the use of straps. Peak Design offers a variety of straps of varying widths as well as a wrist cuff strap. As soon as I get a new camera or even a review loaner, I insert the Anchor Links. Then, depending on the weight of the camera or how I’ll be using the strap, I decide on which strap to use….”
I have yet to see the new Peak Design Cuff and Leash appear at a camera store, here so please read this commentary bearing that in mind.
The only local camera store that carried the Peak Design brand has now closed and the remaining camera store in our local area has a very limited selection of stock of any brand; Peak Design is not one of those brands.
Like Kevin Raber of Luminous Landscape, as soon as I buy a new camera or receive a review loaner, I attach Anchor Links then a Peak Design Clutch and Peak Design Cuff and never remove them unless a loaner must be returned.
As a result, every single camera in my collection wears its Anchor Links, Clutch and Cuff on a permanent basis, the latter two only coming off when I need to place the camera inside a cage that requires their removal in order to fit.
Camera cages with built-in strap attachment points have only started appearing in the last year, via brands like 8Sinn (latest version not yet on their website), Movcam and SmallRig. I have been looking for an optimum solution for attaching Anchor Straps to other cages, L-Brackets and hand grips but the best so far, Peak Design’s Pro Drive Screw, has its annoyances and limitations.
I have tried many different brands and types of camera straps over the years, made by camera manufacturers and third parties, and none of them has been ideal. Some have failed spectacularly and others have proven to be a real pain to use.
One of the brands that came closest to ideal until I discovered the Peak Design brand through the late Michael Reichmann of Luminous Landscape was Dsptch, and I still have some of their products stored away should I ever need them again.
After buying the Peak Design Capture Pro camera clip, quickly followed by the company’s Clutch, Cuff and Leash camera straps, then trying out Peak Design’s Slide and Slide Lite sling straps for reviews, I have not looked back.
Capture Pro is my most-used Arca-Swiss conversion solution for traditional stills and movie tripod quick release camera plates, until I invest in an Arca-Swiss clamp for each of my current stills and video tripods and monopods.
Slide and Slide Lite live in storage until I need to cover events and documentary subjects demanding a two-camera, two-lens in-depth approach where both cameras must be easily available at all times. Even then, Clutch and Cuff remain in permanent residence on every camera.
Leash, my first Peak Design sling strap, is reserved as a safety strap during urban and bush treks when I am carrying one camera in the hand but run the risk of dropping it in risky terrain.
I am not sure if and when I will have the chance of my first look at the new Cuff and Leash, so must rely on articles by trusted reviewers like Kevin Raber.
I have a couple of cameras at the top of my wishlist, the coming Fujifilm X-E3 mostly for documentary and portrait stills photography and as a backup to my X-Pro2, and the Panasonic DC-GH5 mostly for documentary moviemaking.
I am currently undecided as to whether I will attach the new Cuff and old Clutch to them both, or start searching for old versions of Cuff at online retailers as old Cuff has served me well over the years.
I have a couple of concerns about new Cuff and new Leash. Foremost is the leather component of Peak Design’s Ash colourway, introduced in the company’s Everyday camera bags range.
Now that the effects of climate change and global warming are well set-in here in Sydney, the risk of mould has become a constant concern. When mould attacks leather and certain plastics, its spores set up permanent residence inside and can never be removed.
With a sudden change in the weather, mould’s fruiting bodies can appear on the surface of the leather or plastic then start spreading onto other products inside and nearby.
The idea of susceptible leather and plastics transferring mould infection to cameras, lenses and other expensive objects fills me with horror.
I have asked Peak Design staffers to confirm whether the Ash colourway’s light tan leather trim and the Charcoal colourway’s black Hypalon synthetic are resistant to mould or not, but have not heard back about that yet.
There are other concerns with leather, whether mould-resistant or not. Leather production is part of the global industrialization of agriculture and is inherently cruel as well as environmentally irresponsible. I will not be buying any more leather products or products containing leather, so no Ash colourway Peak Design products for me.
Another concern is the idea of metal parts in close contact with fragile camera parts whether when on the move or at rest. Old Clutch and old Cuff have all-plastic hardware that has not shown signs of mould so far and neither have they rubbed my cameras and lenses up the wrong way.
Slide, Slide Lite and Leash go into their own little fabric bags, other small bags or camera bag internal pockets until needed then go back there or into safe storage when at home.
For now, new Cuff and new Leash’s aluminium hardware is an unknown quantity.
My appeal to stop using leather in camera bags and accessories
I am calling on all makers of camera bags and accessories to stop using leather.
The reasons are clear and well-justified – the extreme cruelty of industrial agriculture, its environmental irresponsibility and the ever-growing problem of mould infection resulting from climate change and global warming.
There is no intrinsic need for leather even in products like shoes and boots. Camera bags and accessories makers like Cosyspeed are leading the way in showing that leather simply is not necessary.