How To Make Your Own Quick Release Camera Strap

How To Make Your Own Quick Release Camera Strap

If you are like me, then chances are, you find yourself constantly detaching and reattaching your camera strap. When I'm shooting long exposure shots in a breeze, I don't want the strap whipping in the wind. Removing the strap while not rocket science, can be a bit time consuming, and I am the type of photographer that finds myself in ever changing situations where adding and removing the strap is not always the best use of time. Now I could spend forty plus dollars on a quick release strap and be done with it, but personally, I get more pride out of making things. Oh, did I also mention I am cheap?

So I took my camera gear and headed to the drawing board to create a DIY quick release strap. This project is cheap and simple, requiring only a quick trip to the hardware store, an existing camera strap, and a tripod plate with a D-ring.

Shopping List:

Two Key rings
Bolt snap hook
Your camera strap
Tripod plate with a D-Ring

Once you have all the supplies, you need to complete a few simple steps to put together this efficient way to carry your camera.

Step 1: Adjust the strap

My strap of choice for this project was the one that came with my 6D, but I'm willing to bet any strap you find will have the same or similar set up. All you need to do here is adjust the ends to make the strap an appropriate length for you, then thread the ends back through the keepers to create a loop.

Adjust Strap

Step 2: Attach the key rings to the bolt snap

Next, you are going to attach the key rings to your bolt snap. Thread them on like you would a set of keys to create the perfect and inexpensive camera attachment point.


Step 3: Attach the key rings to the strap

Now take that fancy strap of your's and slide each of the end loops on to the key rings.

Bolt Snap Attached

Step 4: Clip it in and start shooting

Now that you are a DIY camera strap pro, it's time to get back to shooting. Clip your new quick release strap into the D-ring of your tripod plate, make sure it's tightly screwed into the camera, and you're ready to shoot. Again, make sure that camera plate is tight! I am not responsible for dropped cameras, you hear!

Well there you have it folks! If you have less than five dollars and fifteen minutes, you too can whip up this cheap and easy project that will have you slinging your camera in a whole new way.

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I'm not sure I'd want to trust my camera to a bolt snap like that. Wouldn't some kind of carabiner with a locking mechanism be a better (and probably not all that more expensive) choice?

Zach Sutton's picture

I'd have fear in putting my camera in a set up like that. Especially the Tripod mount. Manfrotto even released a statement once saying they do not recommend you using that for a strap system.

okay having very recently shot highliners with the engineers of a rig on set and having had a discussion on the safety of carabiners.... that bolt snap hook is a very dangerous choice! If you do choose to use one - and I'm not sure where to get this - look for one with a locking, screw-type clip.

Pacsafe (very recommended for travelling in thief-friendly areas) uses its own special locking type of bolt snap - if that could be bought somewhere it'd be a good choice I believe.

A swivelling and stress-tested version of this would be my personal choice if I were to make one.

Patrick Gensel's picture

I have been considering reworking this design, but thus far I haven't had any issues. I will try a mini carabiner option, but since the bolt snap is on a swivel, there is little stress on the bolt snap. But I do see your concerns and will look at some other alternatives, and report back. Thanks for the feedback.

I like the idea of a removable strap, but hate to give up the tripod mount. The nice straps that Canon CPS gives you, or the retail version of them that cost about $20 without the logo have clips to quick release the bulk of the strap.
The other thing that helps is to attach both ends of the strap through the same attachment point on the left side of the camera. This keeps the straps from tangling your right hand when you go to shoot or switch settings. It also keeps the strap from tangling in your lens or flash.

Watch out, those d rings on the manfrotto base plate bend. Ive had a few break off.
Just a fair warning.

Chris Helton's picture

HERE is a much better version. Also DO NOT use the D ring on the manfroto base plate. It is literally 2mm holding that D ring to the plate.

Luke Lee The Photog's picture

I'm just using peak design's leash these days.

The problem with this is the D-Ring is not strong and it bends sending the camera to ground. This is an old idea that fails.

Lee Christiansen's picture

I'm afraid this is not well researched and constitutes some of the worst advice I've heard for a while...!

The ring on the Manfrotto plate is not continuous and can easily come out of it's fixing.
The bolt snap is cheap, not stress tested and the swivel unlikely to last.
The bolt snap doesn't lock...!

Key rings can stretch and I've had them break under load.

And the total saving - maybe about $25 (or £15 in real money - I'm British - ha) is simply not worth the risk.

One of the most expensive pieces of photo kit you own should not be hanging from anything less than fully tested and reliable hardware. There is a reason more expensive releasable straps cost a little more.

This is an article that should not have made the site.

olivier borgognon's picture

agree on some points, disagree on others.

Being a DIR Scuba diver, i can say : Don't go for cheap.

1) Go for a Tough, high quality, stainless steel Bolt Snap and it will not break... i have massive load and effort stress on mine.

2) Go for the same quality for the rings, they will neither stretch, nor break

3) Manfrotto plate ring is the main issue for me here, and it could be solved by using a spigot with a hole in it and pass another Stainless steel ring in it.

which is clearly continuous and would work perfectly, whilst taking out the stress on the manfrotto plate (which by the way needs to be purchased and if we're on strap... i doubt we're on tripod at the same time :)

hope this helps and I think LeeTheCam that you are overrating by getting annoyed and criticising the whole stuff... lets give credit and yes give positive feedback to make this DIY work (or do you work for a manufacturer or photo shop loosing clients through DIY ? in this case... rejoyce... they will come and buy new gear from you if it doesn't work).

Lee Christiansen's picture

Hi Twolights.

Don't worry I don't work for anyone who makes anything like this. I'll give positive feedback on any carefully thought out idea, but alas this isn't.

Bad advice is free to give and we all have the right to do so, but if this was a print publication I'd guarantee the editor would have pulled the feature before it made the run.

It seems that recently a few less considered articles have been placed on this otherwise excellent site and that is the thing that gets my goat.

Unfortunately there are those out there who don't think about mechanical logistics like you and I (or many others who have commented) and I fear for just the one person who tries the idea out - only to find their beloved camera taking a fall.

If we're going to have DIY suggestions (and I welcome them,) then for the sake of the integrity of Fstoppers I'd prefer them to be worthy, well thought out and not potentially hazardous.

Kudos to Patrick for thinking creatively - but before committing those thoughts to a site as a contributor is would be expedient to research the concept more thoroughly. This is just a requirement of good journalism, (and good editing if contributions were vetted before adding).

Regards, LEE

Having tested quite a few, I can verify that the key rings are unpredictable. Some are surprisingly weak and straighten out under a small load. As @leethecam:disqus says, you are taking a huge risk with the ring on the Manfrotto plate. It WILL eventually pull out. If you hang your expensive camera from snap hooks, well, you will eventually get exactly what you deserve.

I discovered a lot about the elements involved in all of this while designing a new carbine-style strap. I am quite pleased with what I ended up with, but haven't marketed it yet.

Tom Miles's picture

I can confirm this works perfectly - used it for about 2 1/2 years before finally treating myself to som Black Rapids last summer. The D-Ring on the manfrotto plate is perfectly strong in my experience - I probably shot something like 250 jobs with this setup.

I occasionally still use it as a 2nd setup when, say, I've got the 70-200 on one of my bodies - I'll put a tripod plate on the lens tripod mount, and the black rapid on the camera body. That way I can easily and quickly stick it on a tripod.

Highly recommended.

Geoff Lister's picture

Well this is a terrible idea. If there's any place I'd spend money, it's the thing that hold your camera on to you. Don't cheap out here.

Is the clip not a continuous rotating clip? I use my Rapid Strap on my manfrotto plate without issue. 70-200 and all.

Someone please explain to me why you would ever need a quick release in the first place. I'm a professional photographer with 23 years of experience and have never once needed to "quickly" release my camera from the strap, or myself. I've covered the Iraq War as a photojournalist and have shot all over the world in every condition and have always smartly had my camera around my neck. And if I ever needed it free from my body, I would just simply take the strap off from around my neck, so much simpler than any sort of quick release rig. I just don't get it! This seems like something someone would do to impress other photographers and look cool, but that in practice it is a stupid and useless idea.

If I don't have it on a tripod, it's securely around my neck on a strap. If I have it on a tripod, I have the trap around the tripod as a safety measure (something that has more than once saved me from dropping my camera while dismounting it from the tripod. I mean, when would a strap be just so intrusive that you need to not have it on the camera???

Please someone help me understand. :o| And good luck!

Chris Helton's picture

I envy your opportunities to photograph the world as you have. For the strap, I guess dont knock it till you try it. The sling style strap is SO much more useful and comfortable (to me) when carrying the camera for days. I say sling style, NOT whatever this thing is in the article. See my sling here Traditional straps hang around your neck causing stress, make you more acceptable looking like a tourist, and are more difficult to maneuver on my body. I like to have my strap on my left shoulder, across my chest, and the camera under my right elbow. You can do this w/ a traditional strap but it binds against my clothing when bringing it up to shoot. I feel much more secure with my camera to my side where Im able to push it around behind me while handling other things, I can bend over and its not dipping into what im doing.

For the quick release. Many people would prefer an easy carabiner release thats still secure vs trying to remove the strap around your arms/shoulder/neck depending how you carry the camera. They may have heavy clothing on with a scarf and hat, or a helmet that makes it more difficult to remove the whole strap/camera vs a simple carabiner. I've set up a tripod for a shoot but clip the camera off the sticks and on my side while running around for B'roll or just to not leave my camera wile I need to go get something else. The strap is also an issue at times when setting the camera on a table, if I'm working an event and pull up a seat w/ my laptop I want my camera on the table but not the strap that gets hung as others work around me and accidentally pull the camera off the table. The example list goes on and on. Please feel free to message me if you have questions maybe I can help with :)

Sometimes it can be very expensive to go for the cheap solution.

That's Manfrotto providing the "Quick Release" =)
I've been using Nikon's own rings for attachment and in that corner I can tie the strap
around my wrist for extra stability. Small issue is also the easy attaching and removing of the battery grip, which I seem to be doing a lot.