As good as a product can be, it may not come with the best packaging. I went through this with my Sony a6500 camera. It only came with a neck strap, when the camera is compact enough (that’s part of the point with mirrorless cameras) to carry on the wrist. So I went out looking for a premium strap that could compliment such a camera.
The task ended up tougher than I imagined (it didn’t help that Sony seems to have stop making them). Scrolling through Amazon shows some wild choices, with not many fitting for the aesthetic of the camera. You can just go functional with the high-rated option from Peak Design, but a $30 price tag for something so simple could be unattractive.
A bit more custom and stylish options are out there with some digging. This article from Nico Goodden compiles a lot of great straps. But to my dismay, they could run $80 and upwards. I get that a strap is a one-time-purchase investment, but close to $100 for just a simple strap? Come on.
I then stumbled upon an intriguing Amazon listing from a brand called Tarion.
It looked as good as those expensive options, but at a reasonable $10-$15 cost. Many times, this would mean you’re getting inferior materials and build quality, but its “Handmade Yak Leather” statement and solid presentation begged me to see if it could be one of those rare, low-cost gems. This Synopsis sums up the experience and important details.
Wrist straps like this are simple – a looped band with an attachment mechanism on one end (in this case, a metal keychain ring). Tarion opts to wrap the closed end with many strands of a tightly wound fabric. This design cue gives them the opportunity to offer different accent colors (black, red, blue, brown). The strap itself is two-layer, with a darker, smooth leather surface and lighter, rougher underlining.
- Premium looking and feeling
- Thickness invokes confidence
- No faults developed after our testing
- Fantastic value
- Can be large for some cameras
- A bit stiff
- Takes some effort to remove hand
- Attachment ring may not work for some cameras
What it’s like to use
- It’s first important to know that the makeup isn’t the predominant solid/smooth affair one would expect from a leather strap. This is only seen on the outer, thinner layer. The strap’s base is a much thicker and rougher layer that’s lighter in color. It may not be to everyone’s liking (and slightly less premium-looking), but I think the contrast works and provides a unique look.
- The strap is on the large side, making it more suitable for APS-C or larger cameras and less for compact cameras. It hits the size limit I’d want on the a6500. Compared to the smaller Sony RX100, it’s pretty overbearing.
- Something to have in mind is that the considerable size and thickness means the more area it’ll take up when packaged for travel.
- The attachment is a simple metal keychain ring. It’s an effective solution, as there’s no seams that are vulnerable to coming undone. This end of the strap is a closed loop, and the ring comes already installed in the box.
- You’ll need a large enough lug on the camera’s attachment point to accept this keychain ring. Judging that I wasn’t able to fit it onto the RX100, it may be more of a challenge on compact cameras. But the solution would be simple – just find a smaller ring.
- It’s unknown what’s going on underneath the tightly-wound threading that binds the attachment end of the strap. I hope there’s no invisible vulnerability that can allow the strap to come apart. Going off of the immaculate construction, and that nothing came undone whatsoever during my testing, I can’t say there’s anything to worry about.
- Being inexpensive, I was initially worried about the thinner, top leather surface. Would it crack easily, or would the layer separate with stress? I cannot speak speak for longevity (us reviewers don’t generally have that option), but I can say that after close to two months of use on my a6500, it looks like it did on day one.
- In the box, Tarion includes two differently sized rubber rings. The larger one is meant to go around the strap, so that the user can adjust the wrist opening. This is a less-premium solution, but it works. The ring combats some friction as you move it (making chafing a concern if you adjust it a lot).
- The smaller ring is meant to fit over the camera’s attachment lug. The strap’s metal keychain ring will butt up against the camera’s body, which may cause scratches. So the rubber ring serves as a bumper. Its effectivity will depend on the camera. On the a6500, for instance, the fact that Sony has its own ring attachment in place increases the attachment’s distance/rotation, allowing the metal to still touch the camera’s body at certain angles.
- The rougher, underlining leather layer results in quite a bit of friction. This is great with respect to slippage. I could go without the rubber tighter, because strap sort of sticks to the skin. But it can be annoying if you’re constantly picking up and putting the camera down during a shoot. It’s takes extra effort to doff it.
- Stiffness is a factor of the leather’s thickness. It was a minor contention to me at first, coming from a thin, fabric wrist strap on my previous camera, which could easily wind. Tarion’s strap does loosen over time, but not to an easygoing extent.
- At times, the metal ring hit the side-placed Record button on my a6500. However, I more consider this an issue with the camera than the strap.
If you haven’t been able to tell, I’m a fan of this wrist strap. Compared to other leather straps, you’re getting a great value. Its makeup isn’t as “premium” as it gets, but its most of the way there. I initially had reservations about trusting a “cheap” strap to keep my expensive camera safe. Nothing has given me any reason to believe that it would fall apart; there’s been no evidence whatsoever of it. I plan to keep this strap for the long run, so I’ll post an update if anything changes.
Furthermore, any noted concerns were minimal and minor. If you have a mid-size to large camera, and like the leather aesthetic, then the Tarion wrist strap is quite a no-brainer.
Also See: Sony a6500 and RX100 Camera Comparison