Let’s be honest, camera straps that comes with camera’s (mainly DSLR’s) leave much to be desired. Besides promoting which likely new and expensive camera you are carrying, they are only really good for hanging around your neck, and awkwardly off your shoulder. Neither of these positions are comfortable, or safe for your shiny new camera. Plenty of aftermarket camera straps are available in every length and price range imaginable, but the strap I went with after much research is the luma labs “cinch” strap.
First off the Cinch is “crafted” in Portland, Oregon which is a huge positive for me as I like to support things that are Made In The USA, of course. The Cinch was delivered within a week or two; there was a waiting period when I ordered mine. It was packaged nicely, although coming from Oregon I expected a more ‘earth friendly’ package, rather than a thick plastic bag which reminded me of opening a military MRE! A small set of paper instructions details how to quickly attach the strap and get it adjusted which was helpful. The actual Cinch strap is available in 3 sizes: “small”, “regular”, and “big”. As a 6’1″ male I ordered a “regular” per the luma labs web site (http://luma-labs.com/products/cinch). The regular is indeed a perfect fit, with plenty of adjustablility for many positions of use.
The Cinch is constructed of heavy duty military grade webbing, stitching, leather, and nicely computer machined aluminum parts. It is black in appearance with a brushed silver look on the machined parts. The overall look of the strap was partially what sold me, and it is a very nice looking product when all is said and done. It attaches to the camera at one of the standard camera strap mounting points as well as the tripod screw point. I am traveling abroad soon and having the camera securely attached to the strap was of paramount importance for me. The portion of the strap that touches the users neck/shoulder is nicely padded, stretchy foam material which also happens to be grippy enough to stay put and not slide easily. The tripod mounting point is low profile and unobtrusive, unlikely to catch on clothing or hazardous objects.
The main selling point of the Cinch, perhaps where it gets its name from, is the pull tab located on the side of the strap. The strap allows the user to quickly convert the Cinch into a should sling, neck strap, or across shoulder carrying position for the camera. It’s extremely easy and works great for any of the named positions.
The real selling point for me was the way in which the camera is positioned against one’s body in the shoulder carrying positions. The lens and body are kept close to your side and walking movement does not cause the camera to ‘jump’ or ‘bounce’ around much at all. It feels very natural when walking normally or briskly (for all you photojournalists).
At $70 USD (as of May 2012) the Cinch is not inexpensive, and was originally a deterrent in my decision when perusing camera strap options. Alternatives would include the Custom SLR C-Loop ($40) (which I sold after purchasing this strap), Black Rapid camera straps ($50-70), the “free” Canon/Nikon/Sony/etc strap, or just about any other photography company strap alternatives ($10-80). I’m excited to see how the Cinch hold up over time. Their use of tried and true materials may make for a winning combination, and I certainly hope that to be the case. If the price continues to reflect the quality of materials and craftsmanship I wouldn’t consider this a downside.
It’s nice that the Luma Labs Cinch is not inundated with bright, attention attracting logos which is refreshing. Overall I feel this was $70 well spent, for a quality product made in the good ‘ol U S of A. I would highly recommend anyone in the market for a new camera strap to consider the Cinch.
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