The Hand Strap

The Hand Strap

We had ’em then but we don’t have ’em now – not unless we make ’em specially.

Every camera my family owned, from Grandpa Sheedy’s Kodak 3A to my Mom’s Brownie 620 and the family Magazine 8 Kodak had a hand strap permanently attached to the top of it. There were no lugs at the side of the cameras and no thought of a neck strap. That was reserved for the leather cases that held the cameras and accessories. It was old-fashoned, but useful.

Cameras in those days ( after dinosaurs but prior to Elvis ) were special-event things. They got hauled out of the case for the family or travel record and then put back carefully. Nothing dangled around the neck – it was all hand-held. And oddly enough the cameras were lighter than the current crop of mirror-less and DSLRs that are dangling around our necks. Our increasingly sore necks…

Hasselblad had the right idea when they made accessories for their 500C and 500C/M cameras – their suspension lugs were flat studs at the sides of the camera body and things could be easily attached and detached from them. One of my favourites was a small hand strap that clipped on. You could haul out the camera for studio work without a half meter of leather strap looping about the light stands. Pentax also did this with a similar quick-release strap for their 6 x 7 cameras.

I would suggest that this might be a good thing for the designers of modern digital beasts to think about. A good big DSLR is every bit as bulky as the Hassie was and nearly as heavy as the Pentax 6×7. Put on some secure quick-release posts and let us have a hand strap option. Slinging a big camera from its tripod screw on a shoulder strap is all very well, but it is frequently upside down just at the wrong moment.

Story of my life, really…


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