From the people who brought you the best camera in the world…
Da dun da da dun!
The best camera strap in the world!
This is the Leica 14312.
I believe that it first surfaced in the 1990’s but I invite a more knowledgeable Leicaphile to comment on its precise origins. All that I know is that this is the best camera strap that I’ve ever used and I’m happy to inflate its reputation in true Leica tradition!
Psst! Please don’t close this page just because you don’t own or potentially even despise Leica! You may just find that this strap is perfect for your Nikon, Canon, Sony, Pentax, Olympus, Fuji, whatever too! Guess what? Nobody else has copied this design yet! So read on, weary-necked photographer!
Many shooters seem to use their camera straps as a form of self-expression. Leica shooters tend to sport multi-hundred dollar, handcrafted Italian leather straps which often match their hot shoe covers, soft shutter releases and other pointless jewelry that seem to oppose any concept of utilitarian stealth that they may have idealized when choosing Leica.
Other classic camera shooters choose bright, nostalgic wide woven “hippie straps” which loudly announce their presence and retro style.
The DSLR crowd who aren’t using fake vintage hippie straps to match their fake vintage film filters, are usually more utilitarian and will typically advertise their camera model in bold lettering on their straps.
Grandpas use bloated, ugly neoprene things with massive plastic Tinker Toy-like plastic fittings that resemble medical apparatuses.
If the 14312 had a nose, it would thumb it at these embarrassing fashion and function faux pas.
Oh Leica 14312, how do I love thee?! Let me count the ways…
1–The 14312 is made of common, soft, strong black nylon that should last 30-40 years, has about the same carbon footprint as wool and matches every ensemble. It isn’t made of dead animals and will not split and break with age like leather. It will not irritate allergies or cause dermatitis like neoprene. As such, it’s perhaps the only thing that Leica’s ever sold that wasn’t pretentious!
2–The 14312 is easily adjusted quickly without loose strap ends flicking about like the unsightly, untied shoe laces of an unkempt child.
3–The 14312, in all the frills of simplicity, features a basic rubber neck pad. Unlike every other manufacturers’ neck pad , the 14312’s pad is fixed in position so as not to be chased about clumsily, making one appear idiotic. The neck pad isn’t bloated. It features, in understated black-on-black, the word “LEICA” which is, as it were, enough said.
4–The 14312 is as compact as it is tidy. The clips and length adjusters are small but effective. Metal where metal is good, plastic where plastic is good. Nothing more, nothing less. Stows easily in a camera bag, does not block ones lens or rangefinder windows when lifting the camera to the eye, coils round the wrist if one chooses to hold it like that, wraps neatly around the camera body when not in use.
5–This is where I get excited. My absolute favorite, completely indispensable feature of the 14312 are these fucking ingenious anchor clips.
Hippie straps are fast/easy to remove but their big medieval metal spring clips scratch the shit out of the corners of your top plate. Metal keychain-style split rings will break your fingernails and patience trying to install or remove them. Nylon strap loops can come undone (I’ve seen it) and also take a hot minute to install or remove. But these guys, THESE GUYS are goddamn foolproof!
You’ve got the reliability of a metal split-ring but with open ends that are easy to install/uninstall. The locking plastic cover also serves to protect the top plate from scratching/brassing. INGENIOUS!
What would you expect to pay for this modern marvel of stylish grace and effective simplicity?!
Believe it or not, the 14312 one of the few Leica products that isn’t grossly overpriced! You can buy one brand new in a collectible official Leica box for just $50 at B&H! That’s right! Just FIFTY U.S. DOLLARS!!!
WOW! They must be crazy! But not so crazy that if you call now, you’ll get an extra one for free. 😉
I currently own three 14312 but am slowly replacing all my 35mm camera straps with them. How about you? Are you sold on the Leica 14312? Is it the best camera strap in the world?!