It’s pretty hard to stand out from the crowd in the camera strap market and it seems that every couple of months I get another press release from someone that claims to have the “next big innovation” in this sector. I also get my fair share of requests from people to test their latest straps, and usually it’s pretty hard to get excited about that prospect. Recently I got an email from the folks at Cecilia though, and what struck me right away was the fact that they weren’t trying to reinvent the wheel with some form of clever sliding sling strap. Rather, they were simply making beautiful products, and letting the materials and craftsmanship do the talking.
After a few minutes poking around their website I genuinely did find myself getting excited about the prospect of trying some of these straps because they were such a departure from the kind of thing I’ve seen people pushing towards in recent years. The Cecilia straps are made from genuine leather and Peruvian woven baby alpaca wool to provide an interesting mix of durability, simplicity, and luxury. That last point is worth underlining. These straps don’t come cheap at around the $70-$100 mark, but I suspected that would be a justifiable cost based on what I had seen in the photos on their site.
Sure enough, when the package arrived I was immediately impressed with everything from the packaging to the wonderful leather smell that was emanating from the box. The straps looked every bit as beautiful in real life as they did in the photos, and the leather is pleasingly soft to the touch.
Cecilia Strap Styles
The straps are available in a variety of different styles and colours that can’t all be easily named here. You’re best bet is definitely to take a look at their excellent website. In choosing a few models to test, I tried to get a bit of a variety so that I can show you the main styles, even if it doesn’t show all the patterns and colours. The first main style is full leather, and the second main style is a combination of the leather and the baby alpaca wool. The wool comes in solid colours, and there’s also a selection of woven Peruvian patterns.
The three straps you see in my photos are:
- Charcoal Baby Alpaca Wool and Brown Leather Camera Strap
- Challaypu (Mountain) Alpaca Wool and Brown Leather Camera Strap
- Cecilia x iLCP Collaboration Leather Camera Strap
Having lived with these straps on my three cameras for the last month, I’m still not sure which I like the best, but I think I’m leaning towards the patterned wool strap. This is certainly the one that gets the most comments from other people! The iLCP ( International League of Conservation Photographers) full leather strap is the most comfortable one with its extra thick leather on both sides, but it’s only a fractional difference to the wool/leather straps, and those do look incredibly smart!
Whilst I think any photographer would appreciate a product of this quality, the smartness of the straps definitely lends themselves to being used by wedding and commercial photographers who want to dress smartly and don’t want big bright coloured straps that scream CANON or NIKON. Street and travel photographers can also use the subtlety of the darker styles to blend into their surroundings.
Cecilia Strap Sizing
Being a DSLR guy I tested the DSLR straps, but Cecilia also make straps for mirrorless cameras, and thin hand straps that could conceivably be used on any camera size.
Being able to quickly release a strap from my cameras is important because I often want to shave weight from my pack when I’m heading into the mountains. The weight of two or three leather camera straps can definitely add up. To solve this problem I use the Peak Design Anchor Link system on pretty much everything I own. What’s great about it is that if Peak Design’s own strap style doesn’t suit your taste, you can easily adapt any other camera strap to use the QR anchors, as you can see in the photos.
I realize this is a bit of an aside from a review of Cecilia straps, but I feel that the aesthetic (and price) of the Cecilia straps and Peak Design straps are so different, that they are probably two different kinds of customer. Whether you like PD’s design style or not, I don’t know anyone that doesn’t love their Anchor Link quick release system, so it’s definitely worth knowing that you can adapt any strap to use it. I don’t want people to miss out on an opportunity to own a great strap like these Cecilia ones, just because they wish they had a quick release system. Now you can have both!
These camera straps are every bit as great as you hope they’ll be when you first see photos of them, and they’re pleasingly comfortable to wear thanks to the beautifully soft leather. I think the straps that have both leather and alpaca wool are my favourite, but it’s nice that Cecilia offers the all leather ones at a substantially lower price point. If you’re looking for the perfect gift for a photographer in your life, or yourself, you’d be hard pressed to find something that is going to be so universally liked. Sometimes it’s good to go with a little refinement instead of innovation. Functionally there’s nothing new here, but I couldn’t care less because they look and feel fantastic.
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