Vegan photographers were rightly excited when HoldFast Gear announced their new vegan leather MoneyMaker dual camera harness a couple of months ago, and now it’s available to buy in the UK with no import charges and free tracked delivery from Rigu!
At the start of the year one of my aims for the company to was expand the range of camera straps available, and this included options for vegan photographers. I’m not a vegan, but as a business owner it makes sense for me to cater to a variety of photographers as possible, and I would like to make sure vegans have good options when it comes to camera straps.
The problem with most vegan camera straps is that they just aren’t very good, and their vegan aspect is merely a marketing tool for a cheap plastic camera strap. The reason why Rigu doesn’t have many vegan options is because the vast majority of them are not good enough for me to sell and be confident in the product.
I was really keen to check out the vegan leather MoneyMaker, but as with all new products I have to be careful how and where I invest my money with a brand, even one like HoldFast Gear where I’ve always been impressed with their products. Due to this, I thought it best to play it safe and stick with black and brown options for the vegan leather, rather than something like the neon yellow, as that’s probably a bit more niche in terms of appeal.
As you can see from the photos, the vegan leather MoneyMaker is very, very similar to the standard leather version. In terms of functionality there are a couple of differences. There is no version available with D-rings, all vegan MoneyMakers have no D-rings. The sliders (the part at the bottom of the harness that attaches to your camera) are not adjustable, as they are on a standard MoneyMaker. In my experience, it’s rare that people need to alter the length of the sliders on their MoneyMaker, so I don’t think that this will have too much of an impact on most people.
Other than those two things, it is functionally the same and will give the same comfort, convenience and improvements to workflow that the standard leather version would provide to a photographer.
One thing I was concerned about when placing my stock order was what the material would feel like. I’m yet to find a “vegan leather” that feels like actual leather, and that remains the case with the vegan leather MoneyMaker, but I suppose that’s not really the point of the product.
This are trying to recreate chicken nuggets for vegans so that it tastes like a chicken nugget. HoldFast aren’t trying to replicate their normal camera harness, they’re making a new product that appeals to a wide range of people whilst also meeting the needs of vegans.
It doesn’t really feel like leather, and it definitely doesn’t smell like leather. There’s a slight amount of texture on the material that is similar to the random crinkles, creases, and variations that you would expect from a MoneyMaker, but it’s not going to fool anyone into thinking it’s the real thing.
In my opinion there was no point in them trying to recreate that look and feel because it’s not currently possible as far as I’m aware, though there are some really cool projects out there which are getting much closer. Maybe they could have produced something that looked similar, but it wouldn’t have had the same durability and product lifetime (which is a major reason for picking a HoldFast product over the copycats, their harnesses last a long, long time).
For that reason I’m glad they went in the other direction and produced a MoneyMaker that is all-weather, durable, and wipe-clean. Now, as well as appealing to vegans with avoiding animal-based products, they have a product that can work well for extreme sports photographers, sailors, and anyone that works with their cameras in poor and changeable weather. Matt Swaggart (HF founder) even says that if you were to write on these harnesses with a sharpie pen it would just wipe right off. I don’t necessarily recommend that you write on your harness, but it does get across the point that this is a great option for photographers working in harsh environments where they wouldn’t want to go with a leather camera harness.
As ever, it’s important to remember that my company Rigu is the UK’s leading seller of HoldFast Gear products, and I’m a big fan of their company. It’s natural that I’m going to be positive about the new vegan leather MoneyMaker, but I do think that as a product it is something different that should appeal to both vegans and a variety of other photographers and I’m eager to see how people in the UK react to it.
Rigu has the widest selection of HoldFast Gear products in the UK, at prices that are considerably cheaper than importing them yourself from the US, and without the hassle of paying for customs & import duties, with free tracked delivery.