This article was written for Fujilove Magazine, and originally published in October 2018. I had a regular column for the magazine for a year between 2018 and 2019, and am reproducing these articles here for posterity. All Fujilove archive posts
This is meant to be an F1 review, but it comes with some background about my Simplr journey, and the strap that started it all.
I’m sponsored by Simplr. I got my very first strap just over a year ago when Jason Petrisko – the man behind Simplr – sent me a desert tan M1a.
There’s nothing about a Simplr strap that asks to be admired or fawned over, no flash or fanciness. I love plain, sleek things that are made well though, and this is exactly what I found attractive about it at the start. It’s all class.
Once I got it on the the camera, something awesome happened.
I’ve never used a strap that I haven’t had to adjust my camera-carrying to, before this. I’ve felt the rest of them plenty at the beginning, because they were made from some odd material, or weren’t the right length, or had funny buckles, were stiff or… something. I’d stuck with a Domke Gripper for years for this reason: it was a no-nonsense strap that I liked, and had done the work of adjusting to. It takes me a while to season my straps – or for them to season me – and I dislike doing this unnecessarily. Straps are just that, straps. They should work from the get go.
And that’s what the M1a did. I stuck it on the camera, slung it on my shoulder, and promptly forgot it was there. It molded itself to me and – bonus! – it was even long enough for me to use cross body, which I love. This is true of the M1 Ultralight and the F1 as well.
In writing this review, I’ve had to look a little closer at the straps on my cameras to identify why they work as well as they do. For me they are how straps should be made: comfortable, adjustable, lightweight, made with robust materials and stylishly understated. You use them without needing to fuss with them.
So let’s have a look.
Made of military grade everything – from main strap, to extenders, D-rings etc. They’re tough. And there isn’t a scrap of metal on these straps, which keeps them light, but the nylon and plastic components are solid, and don’t bend or flex unintentionally, have dodgy edges or fray. They’re made to work without hindrance or failure. Bonus: they’re easy to clean.
Strength & Connector Loops
Simplr straps are strong. I’ll never have to test their weight limits with a camera, but I have occasionally used one of my M1as to tie stuff down: ballast to tripod on windy days, or tripod to bag when I’m too lazy to carry in hand. Not what they’re designed for, but nylon is a supple material, and perfect for these extracurricular uses. Being able to disconnect them quickly from the camera helps plenty in this instance.
On the quick disconnects: I’ve removed the quick release connectors from all of my straps, following the snapping of a connector loop while out shooting one day. My camera – thank goodness – survived the fall undamaged, but I won’t risk it again. As far as I know though, I’m the only one who’s had issue with these loops.
While we’re on the suppleness of nylon, this is what makes Simplr straps so great to use. I currently use a canvas satchel with a broad strap made of similar material, as a camera-and-everything bag. That nylon strap distributes weight and bulk of the load across the my shoulders and back exceptionally well, necessary for someone with back issues. Nylon camera straps do the same. This sounds like a small thing, but as most of you would know, it’s the small things that can cause big pains in the long run.
I’ll say it again: as far as I’m concerned, Simplr straps are how straps should be made. They’re light, easy to use, and comfortable, combining function beautifully with form. Black accents of extenders, keepers, buckles and stitching against the various strap colors gives those clean lines a subtle elegance.
The new F1
The F1 is a continuation of the Simplr lineage.
Unlike the classic M1 series – M1a, M1 ultralight and M1 wrist – the F1 isn’t a quick release strap. Instead it has longer extensions to make up for length that the quick-release connectors add to the regular M1a, so those of us who like wearing our cameras slung across our bodies can continue to do so. New D-rings have a slimmer profile, which is a nice touch, and come with industrial strength split rings.
New on the F1 is a pull tab for strap adjustment on the go. Anyone who moves around a lot or works on location would find this a very useful thing to have. I don’t find using the tab any different from the strap buckle (they take the same number of hands) for shortening, but it is an incredibly efficient way of lengthening your strap on the run.
If you’re familiar with Simplr’s products, you’ll know that they normally come in muted forest hues. The F1 debuts a brand new hot red option. It looks great on my graphite X-Pro2.
I’ve really appreciated having a Simplr strap on my camera. I wouldn’t still be using them otherwise. They really are a great strap to have on a camera, and do their job with zero fuss.
Do I recommend them? Absolutely. If you’re after a no-nonsense strap that does its job and leaves you free to shoot, this is one to have.