Luminous Landscape: Peak Design Straps – The Cuff and Leash Review – with COMMENTARY

https://luminous-landscape.com/peak-design-straps-cuff-leash-review/

“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….”

Commentary:

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.

Links:

Peak Design: New Cuff and New Leash

https://www.peakdesign.com/product/straps/cuff

“… The all-new Cuff is the most elegant, unobtrusive way to protect your camera from accidental drops. Quickly and securely connects to any camera, binoculars, or other device using our unique Anchor Link system. Wrist loop magnetically locks in the open position, or comfortably cinches down on your wrist for added security. New all-custom aluminum hardware. When not in use, Cuff stores as a bracelet for quick accessibility….”

https://www.peakdesign.com/product/straps/leash

“The most versatile and quick-connecting camera strap in the world, the all-new Leash packs thoughtful functionality and endless adaptability into an ultra-portable package. Configurable as a sling strap, neck strap, safety tether, and more. Easily adjust length with dual aluminum and Hypalon quick-adjusters, designed to operated with just 1 finger….”

Seercam Cube GH5 Camera Cage for Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5, First Look

Seercam has released its Cube GH5 cage for the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 camera and it is impressive, a major leap forward from the company’s GH4 predecessor camera cages the CubeMix GH4/3 and CubeMix GH4/3 Pro that were released under the Motion9 brand. Cage designs tend to fall into either of two fundamental types, minimalist or full wraparound, and Seercam’s design is uniquely not only almost fully wraparound but also protective. I’m impressed. 

Seercam’s Cube GH5 camera cage for the Panasonic Lumix GH5 is a work of art in its own right.

I have been reading online about cages by other makers and it appears the vast majority have chosen the minimalist route with lightweight designs that are, in essence, perforated aluminium straps wrapping around the GH5’s widest dimension.

Seercam, just as it did under its former Motion9 moniker, has followed the path of maximum protection and maximum support, with two cold shoes built into the body of the cage and plenty of threaded mounting holes all over for extra cold-shoes, Arri rosettes, NATO Rails or dovetail rails for any number of accessories as needed.

Seercam’s Cube GH5 cage with two other cages for comparison

I photographed the Cube GH5 along with a Motion9 CubeMix GH4/3 cage and a minimalist-style SmallRig cage made for the Panasonic Lumix GX8. Please refer to the captions for further information.

Why a First Look?

This article is subtitled “First Look” due to the fact that I am waiting for delivery of a GH5 review loaner but did not want to delay sharing my observations and experience of Seercam’s Cube GH5 cage.

I have used and loved the cage’s predecessor for the GH4, the original CubeMix GH4/3for several years now and it has proven itself time and again in the field, on tripods and most importantly in the hand with or without all sorts accessories attached. I expect the same of Seercam’s Cube GH5.

From the many design advances the Seercam team has built into their GH5 cage, it looks like the experience of using it with a GH5 will be even better. In the absence of an actual GH5, the best I can do right now is share photographs of the Seercam Cube GH5 cage along with Motion9’s CubeMix GH4/3 and a minimalist cage for one of the GH5’s sister cameras, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8.

I have avoided showing the base of the cage as I don’t have the rod riser made to go with it and some questions about how cage and dedicated riser fit together remain for the time being.

Coming soon, a handle raiser/rod holder extension kit

Work-in-progress shots of an extension kit currently being designed by Seercam for their Cube GH5 cage.

The folks at Seercam are working on an extension kit for the Cube GH5 cage to raise the handle up for the GH5’s XLR audio unit and attach a long 15mm rod for mounting side handles, monitors or accessory arms. I hope to receive one in due course.

Watch this space!

Links:

Image Credits:

Header image composite created in Affinity Photo then finished in Macphun Luminar.