Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Minimalist Camera Straps by The Bandit Co.

My photography friend, Jee Foong has been making minimalist-styled, hand-crafted, genuine leather camera straps. I have always struggled to find the suitable straps for my camera that balances both function and design. Considering the mirrorless cameras that I own actually look quite stylish, I want the straps on them to look equally elegant as well as being comfortable in use. There are many camera strap options but the premium ones that are both comfortable to use and look great are usually not budget-friendly at all. This leads me to another crucial point that makes these hand-crafted straps stand out from the crowd: they are unbelievably affordable.





I have known Jee from my early days of involvement in photography. Jee was there when I just got my first DSLR. He was one of the first few people that I went photo-walking with. Together with his beautiful wife, Ann, they spent time with me and taught me the basics of Photoshop. Of course I went away for a long time, but I was glad to be re-acquainted with Jee just last year and we both had two photography exhibitions together in Kuching, one in February and another in November 2017. We both shoot on the street a lot and we both are firm believers in mirrorless interchangeable camera systems being the future for digital photography. Jee is now a full time photographer in Kuching and you may check his photography out on his portfolio site or his Facebook page.

The story of The Bandit Co. originated from Jee & Ann's beloved pet cat, Zoe who loved to steal food, hence the nickname "Bandit". It was Ann who wanted a minimalist design wallet made from leather, but could not find the right one in the market and the pricing was usually stratospherically high for such products. However, having sourced high quality genuine leather, Jee realized that he could actually hand-craft the wallet himself. Being a photographer himself that relies on camera straps, it was also a challenge to find a suitable strap so he took the next step of creating his own straps.






Jee mentioned that these minimalist straps were made from full grain leather that will age beautifully over time. Care was also taken to ensure that padding was sufficiently provided to prevent scratches of the metal rings on the camera body. These straps are created specifically for smaller mirrorless camera bodies (Olympus PEN, Canon EOS-M, Fuji X100, etc) as well as vintage film cameras. The minimalist styling is easy to match any cameras either with modern or vintage looking design. Currently there are two options of straps for cameras, a short wrist strap and a long shoulder strap. Both strap options comes in either brown or black color. I personally find the brown leather more charming, and it matches my Olympus PEN E-P5 Silver perfectly. I bought one on the spot after my interview with Jee.

Jee is also looking to expand the variations of his camera straps. He is looking into making adjustable length straps that include quick release mechanism which is much sought after by event and wedding shooters. On the other hand, he also has plans to create dual harness system that can handle two cameras on the go. I am excited to see what Jee will come up with and I sure hope to cover them here in this blog whenever these updated products are released in the future. Furthermore, Jee informed me that in a longer run, he also wants to create minimalist camera bags as well as the entire camera accessories eco-system that include battery holders, memory card wallets, etc. Both Jee and me agreed that photographers these days do need to accessorize.






Now here is the stunning part, the minimalist, hand-crafted, genuine leather straps are surprisingly reasonably priced:
Short wrist straps at RM80 (approx USD20) each, and
Long shoulder straps at RM160 (approx USD40) each.

You may purchase the products online here on the official product page, or visit The Bandit Co.'s Facebook page. 

I personally purchased and am actively using the brown short wrist strap now on my ageing Olympus PEN E-P5, and I love every bit of the minimalist strap. I have always emphasized on simplicity in my photography approach and a minimalist strap is perfectly in tuned with what I practice.


If you are a photographer from Kuching, or anywhere else in Malaysia, do support our own local grown business! The straps make beautiful yet functional gifts for your photographer friends.

4 comments :

  1. Well priced, my shoulder strap bought from Amazon was 60USD.
    Interested to test out the hand straps.

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    Replies
    1. Will show you soon! This Saturday lets go

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  2. Just ordered one. Brown long. Rings could have been brass (gold).

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  3. While the look and feel of leather is hard to beat, I simply can not use that kind of strap on a camera.
    Robin, I believe you will understand this: hot humid weather.
    As I am out in the heat of the day in a subtropical location and I actively photograph I often end up with sweaty hands.
    I had a leather strap for my camera and removed it a couple of weeks: the saturated material would take too long to dry and harbor possible mold, not to mention it would get stinky after a while?
    These days I use a DIY thin nylon strap that dries much faster and if totally saturated by sweat can be rinsed under a tap (Olympus E-M1)
    However, if I had to shoot indoors in air conditioned rooms, or outside in temperate climate then the leather might look better than synthetic, but not necessarily more practical.

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