Nauti Strap: Cascade Wrist Strap and Vector Wrist Strap

Cascade_largeNauti Strap is a new camera strap company started by photographer and blogger Tyson Robichaud. He sent me examples of the four different straps he manufactures and asked me if I’d like to give them a test drive. This being a blog about the M Monochrom, I picked the two Wrist straps I would use when shooting with the Monochrom and gave them a spin.

Camera straps are a very personal business. Depending on your size, build, shooting preference and the gear you carry, the kind of strap that works best is much a matter of personal preference. When shooting on the street, which is my preference with the M Monochrom, I rarely carry a camera bag. Instead, I put my gear in a small light backpack. Because of this a wrist strap works well as it makes removing the camera from my pack one easy motion. I slip my hand through the strap and I am ready to shoot as I pull the camera from my bag.

A wrist strap is also great when you are wearing a jacket with large pockets. Because a wrist strap takes up very little room, the camera and strap can travel in the jacket pocket and is ready to use at a moments notice. On a cold day I could keep the strap attached, and shove both camera and hand into my pocket, much more practical than a neck strap.

Vector Wrist Strap barely visible on my right wrist.

Vector Wrist Strap barely visible on my right wrist.

The M Monochrom is probably at the outer limits of weight for comfortable wrist strap use but it is a good option for working quickly. Wrist straps work very well with diminutive micro 4/3 cameras and many mirrorless models such as the Leica T or X.

So what’s so special about the Nauti Strap?

The answer is obvious, the material. Nauti Straps are made of high performance sailing line and the fasteners attached using nautical rope splicing techniques. Nauti Strap maker, Robichaud, worked in the yacht racing industry for 15 years and his fondness for this tough material must have inspired his designs.

Cascade Wrist Strap

Cascade Wrist Strap

If you have ever sailed, the materials used will be familiar and reassuring. The way the straps join to the 15mm split ring, that holds the camera, is elegant and extremely well crafted. The Cascade Wrist Strap, pictured above, uses a dual braided round rope. The loop that goes around the users wrist can be adjusted to any size using a rubber o ring. This strap tends to hold its shape, and the round rope tends to be more “nautical” than the other material that is used in making Nauti Straps.

The Nauti Strap Vector Wrist Strap is made of a “High Tenacity Polyester blended with Vectran fiber” and the cord has a flat profile. The material is smooth and very comfortable, yet I’m sure it could easily hold my camera, me, and maybe even a Smart Car aloft. It is very pliable, making the strap virtually disappear when my attached camera is shoved into a bag or pocket. It also, like the Cascade, has an o ring that allows the user to adjust the size of the wrist opening. Of the two straps I tested this was my favorite, because it added almost no weight or bulk to my kit, and after wearing it I even had to check once if it was still around my wrist.

Vector Wrist Strap

Vector Wrist Strap

If you have a fondness for sailing, find sliding clips and extra nylon webbing annoying, or simply appreciate an original design, then Nauti Straps will make you happy. When design is practical and elegantly solves a problem then it is successful. Nauti Straps meet both the practical and elegant test, and at only $25* for the Nauti Vector and $37* for the Cascade, they also meet the “value” test.

Nauti Strap Web Site

Tyson Robichaud

*Price as of 7/25/16, prices subject to change.

One Mobile Device to Rule Them All

Leica-35mmLeica just announced a partnership with Chinese mobile device company Huawei. The speculation is that Leica will provide high quality optics for Huawei cell phones. Again Leica has shown that it is a different company than the slow-moving, traditional camera manufacturer of my youth. Although high quality optics on a mobile device is not a new concept, Nokia has already manufactured a cell phone with a Zeiss lens,  this partnership is intriguing.

With the quality of electronics improving at breakneck speed, is the “one-device” concept the future of photography?

I can hear the moans of my brethren now. But what if the conventional wisdom was turned on its head? What if your beloved Leica was also your mobile device?

This concept is close to becoming a reality. Both Nikon and Samsung have produced 16MP point and shoots with the Android operating system builtin. The idea is appealing. Why not put an M mount on your iPhone 10? Just think about it,  your trusty Summicron-M 35/F2 would always be by your side, ready for that “decisive moment.” When traveling you could take a professional quality photo, make a 4k movie, surf the web and make a phone call all with the same device.  My back feels better already.

One thing is certain, the vast majority of people are using cellular phones to make still images and movies. Why not make them with good glass? Sorry gotta go, my Monochrom is ringing.

Being There: Garry Winogrand at the Met

© The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

© The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

Garry Winogrand was a sheer force of nature for whom a Leica was an essential body part. He singularly exemplified Sarah Greenough’s observation in The Mystery of the Visible:  “The Leica was hailed as a machine that seamlessly merged hand, eye and mind.” For a glimpse of Winogrand’s voraciously curious mind visit the touring retrospective on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where one hundred and seventy-five of his luminous silver gelatin prints form a visual roller coaster ride.

Winogrand was less interested in answers or reflection, he urgently froze moments, relishing the ambiguos, mocking any attempt on the viewers part to edit, codify or contain the expanse of our human experience. He shot ferociously and framed off-kilter. He held form above content, inciting an active debate and tension between these two dynamics by pushing our focus to the photo’s edge, emphasizing shape and shadow to insure we experience looking in while remaining outside.

Winogrand developed 26,000 rolls of film over 34 years and died with 250,000 negatives unseen by his eyes. Several posthumous selections are included in the show. Also on display are glimpses of his intensely-lived life in the form of an angry letter from his second wife admonishing him for his denial of unpaid bills and taxes while ignoring her desire to start a family. Photos by equally acclaimed photographer and close friend, Tod Papageorge, catch personal and professional moments, including the unlikely moment of Winogrand taking the now iconic image of the couple holding chimps in the Central Park Zoo. The experience of seeing this small sample of Winogrand’s zealous photographic pursuit leaves the viewer in the same state as a ride on the Coney Island Cyclone; disoriented, exhilarated and eager to do it again.

The Garry WInogrand exhibition is on display until 9/21/14 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

Post by J. Sybylla Smith

Reflection on the Leica T

The recent announcement of the Leica T has elicited some interesting responses. I have personally vowed to stay away from camera reviews in this blog, and since I have not had the chance to test the Leica T, I will avoid all talk of megapixels, lens options, metering, and all things technical.

I will however comment on the Leica T as an object and as such the Leica T is simply stunning. Leica has brought this new camera to sculptural levels. Produced from a single block of aluminum, it has a sleek abstract form. With only a few dials and a touch screen, the T brings Leica’s traditional minimal, utilitarian design into this century. I believe that regardless of the T’s performance, Leica deserves accolades for their daring alone.

If Leica’s craft went into all commercial products the public might not be so quick to move on to the next new thing. Will the camera sell? Who cares really. The fact that Leica is producing the T shows that they are dedicated to advancing their vision of photography.

Leica’s new camera reminds me of another compact, the Contax T. When the Contax T was introduced in the mid 1980s the press said the pocket size rangefinder with a Zeis lens was too expensive.  Yet the Contax was a great little camera that raised the public’s perception of the Contax brand. When this first T was released the press said it was not a “serious” camera. However I sold quiet a few to some photographic heavy weights from the store where I worked in Boston.

In conclusion, all I can say is well done Leica. I hope that in the case of the Leica T beauty is more than skin deep.

I am including a link to so you can read their in depth reviews of the technical side of this new Leica T. I am also including a couple of links to the Contax T for reference purposes.

DP Review Leica T

Contax T reviewed by Paulo Moreira

Leica T Specifications

Charles A. Meyer

©Charles A. Meyer 2014

©Charles A. Meyer 2014

A camera is much like a musical instrument; each one is simply a tool, but when matched with the right artist, something more happens. Leica has been kind enough to loan us one of their M Monochrom cameras from time to time, so we can have the privilege of putting it in the hands of that “right artist.”

Charles A. Meyer is a critically acclaimed fine art photographer and filmmaker. A look at his portfolio places him in the respected circle of fine art black & white documentary photographers. Many know Charles from his years of teaching photography at Boston College. The students that came out of his classes were excellent technicians, but also creative and inspired with a love of photography. I can say this with some authority, as I have known a good number of his students.

Charles took the Leica M Monochrom out on a cold, clear day to Revere Beach, Massachusetts. I caught up with Charles a few months later to get his impressions. [Keep Reading…]