Prior to getting my Fuji X-T2, I used a Black Rapid strap on my Nikon D750. A neck strap and a full frame body with pro glass is painful. With the arrival of my X-T2, I decided to go back to a neck strap as the small size of the X-T2 meant it was feasible. Sadly, most OEM straps are somewhere between “terrible” and “if this was the last strap on earth” so I decided to venture out and seek a aftermarket strap.
My key criteria for the new strap were (in no particular order):
– Something leather that fitted the XT-2’s retro theme
– Easy removal of the strap as I don’t like having a strap attached permanently
– Neck pad or some form of wider neck for heavier lenses (as opposed to the platted leather straps)
– Good quality
That’s where the Tap & Dye Legacy Spring Clip Strapcame into the picture.
Tap & Dyecaught my attention as one of the few straps offering a quick release design with clips that made it removable with minimal effort. All the reviews of their straps pointed to the quality of their leather and manufacturing and they met all of my criteria with a quick release clip option and thicker neck strap. What can I say, I’m easy to please.
Ordering and Shipping
As with most online purchases these days, the ordering is easy enough unless you were born before 1930, in which case just getting onto the internet could be a challenge. Unfortunately being a popular custom brand also means backorders exist for the straps, so expect to wait at 4 weeks from order date until the goods are ready to ship. Tap & Dye are fairly open about the delays in the shipping times so there is nothing unexpected from a delivery timeframe perspective.
I realised during the waiting period I had forgot to select the strap length so it had defaulted to 30″ which is about 8 inches too short for someone my height. Yes, you could argue I fall into the “too dumb to use the internet” category but I blame it on excitement. I got in touch with Tap & Dye and managed to resolve this during the waiting period and fortunately they hadn’t started on my strap yet. I had some concerns that they may forget but my fears were unfounded as the strap arrived to the modified spec. I ordered on the 31th October so early indications were that the goods would only ship on the 30th November.
I got a preliminary notification that the strap would be completed and ship on the 3rd December and it arrived at my house on the 16th of December. The shipping was actually fairly quick to Australia (4 days) but it wasn’t helped by our Australian postal service who received it in my city and then decided to send it to a completely different city for a reason no one can explain to me. Many phone calls later it was sent to the correct destination and I probably would have received it on the 12th or 13th had this not occurred. They attempted to blame it on the way the address was written on the package but when the package arrived, the address was perfect. Nine days isn’t bad for international shipping during December on something which was not shipped via express post or courier.
Quality and construction
You can tell a lot from a product by the way it’s packaged when they send it to you. The strap arrived in a Tap & Dye envelope sealed with string and a leather flap. Inside the envelope you’ll find a nice bag emblazoned with Tap & Dye’s details, before you finally get to the strap and find it neatly bound in leather string with the manufacturing details attached with a tag. There is a sense of pride that goes into the packaging and it’s this sense of pride that shows through in the way the product has been manufactured.
The leather itself is pretty stiff. This is not unexpected with any new leather product, I had the same issue with my Pad & Quill Roll Top Bag (another manufacturer who creates quality leather bags I’d highly recommend) but this will soften with use and the strap will age like a fine wine.
The quick release buckles are provided with large silver camera loops. I will continue to use the existing Fuji triangular ones as the large rings look a little strange without the strap attached to my camera but this is more because of my preference to remove the strap. The quick release clips are black (same colour as the leather), very good quality and sturdy so I don’t see them failing, or anymore likely to fail than a conventional strap. The strap I ordered came protective leather flaps so the clips don’t scratch the camera.
It’s worth noting that although the neck pad is loose, I don’t believe you could remove it due to the quick release clips. I haven’t tried, but it is possible, it won’t be easy.
I added this in because any time you add something like bumpers into a strap it could impede the use of some of the controls. In this case, the bumpers are likely to get a little in the way, but it won’t be something that creates problems or prevents you accessing your controls completely.
The bumper is close to the shutter button, so I found it was easier to put the strap between my first and second finger rather than try manipulate my finger on the outside of the strap which is more uncomfortable. It’s been a while since I used a neck strap so maybe I can’t remember if this was a problem but I’m guessing you would still have this issue with conventional neck straps. I can understand if the bumper will annoy some people and my recommendation is that if you don’t need the quick releases, it would be better to go for a fixed strap as you may be able to get away with something smaller.
I paid US$125 for this setup which was option up to include the neck strap and bumpers which I saw as critical items for the occasions where I want heavier lenses. There was also $12.50 shipping to Australia which was pretty reasonable so all up $137.50 or AUD$180 if you convert it. That may seem on the upper end but this is honestly the kind of strap that is worth every cent when you see the construction and realise that this will probably still be around after you’ve switched cameras a number of times.
I don’t have any bad to say about this strap other than the waiting I had to endure for it to arrive. This is not unreasonable for a good product which is handmade because handmade things take time. The product is simply impeccable and a good indication of why it’s worth every cent to get a handmade product. You get what you pay for and in this case it’s something amazing.
I’m so impressed I’ve already earmarked to get a wrist strap from them so I’ll probably be in touch shortly.
I will be honest and say this model of strap won’t be perfect for everyone. Some may feel the quick release buckles get in the way, or the size of the bumpers are too large for them but, this is more indicative of my requirements to incorporate quick release clips and I can’t blame that on Tap & Dye. If I hadn’t gone for the quick release clips, this wouldn’t be an issue so my own requirements mean I have to live with a small compromise. Users who don’t need it have the option of the non-QR version.
If you want a quality leather strap that you can remove when you want to, I would have this right at the top of the list.