For almost a decade HoldFast Gear have been producing camera straps and harnesses using high-end leather and components, helping thousands of photographers to improve their workflow whilst looking stylish and being more comfortable than ever before at work.
Over that time, their product range has expanded. Some of these products have a bit of overlap in what they can do and who they’re appropriate for, which can be confusing for some photographers who just aren’t sure what is right for them.
Being the UK’s leading seller of HoldFast products I talk to a lot of photographers and I know that people are often unsure whether they should go for the skinny MoneyMaker of the original/regular version. I thought that I’d provide some advice and clear up a few misconceptions to help people decide what MoneyMaker dual camera harness is right for them. People are of course still welcome to get in touch for advice because buying a MoneyMaker is an investment, and I know people want to be confident in their choice before making a purchase.
This article is being written whilst I’m not able to visit my office due to the COVID-19 pandemic (though orders are being dispatched almost as normal), so I’m just using HoldFast’s own product images for now as I don’t have access to the harnesses at the moment to take some nice photos of them. Hopefully when life returns to normal I’ll be able to get some nice side-by-side shots to better illustrate the differences.
What differences are there between the Original and Skinny MoneyMakers by HoldFast Gear?
The biggest and most obvious difference is the width of the leather. The main belt of leather on the original MoneyMaker is 1.5″ (38mm) wide. The main belt on the skinny MoneyMaker is 1″ (25mm) wide, with removable leather shoulder pads that are 1.5″ wide.
Despite the difference in the main belt width, both versions use the same width of leather on the adjustable slider (except with a smaller metal connector to attach to the harness on the skinny version, so ensure a tighter fit and prevent the slider from catching and nipping at your clothes).
With the main belt being less wide, this of course means it uses less material and is therefore a lighter product, and can also be packed smaller in storage or transport. It’s not a huge difference, but if you are trying to save every gram possible, or have limited packing space in your camera bag then this might be a consideration for you.
Flexibility with D-rings
The original MoneyMaker comes in two versions; with D-rings or without. They can’t be added or removed after purchase, so it’s important to choose wisely when you place your order. The main use for the front D-rings is adding a 3rd camera with a set of leashes, and I’ve heard of photographers using them for their press pass at gigs and events so that it can be kept easily visible without getting in their way. On my on own MoneyMaker I’ve never actually used the D-rings for anything, but I think they look cool and add to the aesthetic of the product so I’m happy to have them there.
Why wouldn’t you want D-rings? HoldFast themselves recommend not having the D-rings if you have long hair that you wear down when you’re shooting, and you know you won’t be using the harness with a 3rd camera. I should say I’ve never had someone return a MoneyMaker because their hair was getting tangled in the rings, but it is something to consider. You might also want a more minimal looking MoneyMaker with no D-rings so that it is just leather on your shoulders.
The skinny MoneyMaker does give a lot more flexibility in this regard. The D-rings are held in place on the skinny MoneyMaker by the removable shoulder pad. You can remove the D-rings and still keep the shoulder pads on the harness (or remove them too) if you are concerned about your hair getting caught in the rings, or you just don’t see the need for them. If you felt you needed them later on then it would just be a few minutes of adjusting the harness to get those rings back on.
Which is more comfortable?
This is a tricky question to answer, because it is very dependent on who is wearing it, so what applies to me and some other people might not necessarily be true for you. Comparing one to the other in terms of comfort is hard because very few people will use the original version for an extended period of time and then switch to the skinny as most people are happy with the first kind they get and stick to it. Still, there is some general advice I can provide, as long as it is understood with the overall advice that no matter which you choose, it will probably be more comfortable than what you are using at the moment.
In terms of spreading the weight of your cameras there should be very little difference between the skinny and original MoneyMaker. Your shoulders take the majority of that weight, and the with the width of the shoulder pads on the skinny being the same as the width of the original MoneyMaker band, you’re spreading that weight across the same area.
If you remove the shoulder pads in theory it could be less comfortable, but I think the difference would be fairly negligible except for in extreme cases with very heavy camera setups and extended periods of use without being able to take a break.
The crossover on the back does also take some of the strain, but I am of the belief that the sizing of this shouldn’t make too much of a difference to the level of comfort.
Overall, I think it’s very even in comfort between the two versions for most men and some women, but in the next section I’ll be discussing how for some women there are a few other considerations to make in terms of comfort.
Which is the best HoldFast MoneyMaker for women?
I have had anecdotal evidence from a few female photographers that the skinny MoneyMaker is more comfortable for them. For some women using the original MoneyMaker the width of the harness can end up rubbing under the armpit or generally being a bit of a bother pushing against their bra.
To be clear, no one has ever returned an original MoneyMaker due to this being an issue, so I don’t want anyone to worry too much. I suspect that as the leather gets worn in and more pliable with use that this issue would subside, but when asked by customers I do tend to recommend the skinny version to female photographers.
Some female photographers (and male too) that are slim or petite tend to prefer the look of the skinny MoneyMaker since it is less bulky. I’m a big guy and the original version looks right on me, so it makes sense that the skinny version would be more appropriate for slimmer people. With this in mind, for people that are slim it can sometimes make sense to go for a smaller size than the sizing chart recommends for your height. In these cases if you are unsure I would recommend contacting me for personalised advice.
Is the Skinny MoneyMaker strong enough for my DSLR cameras?
Yes! I’m not sure where this idea came from, but occasionally I get asked if the Skinny MoneyMaker is just for photographers that have more lightweight camera setups like using a pair of mirrorless cameras or just sticking to using short prime lenses which tend to be lighter.
From a practical point of view, the skinny and original versions of the MoneyMaker can carry the same amount of weight. They are both strong enough that they will carry far more than your cameras could weigh, so you can confidently put a couple of big full-frame DSLRs on there with heavy telephoto lenses mounted without any concerns.
It’s slightly more rare, but I do also get asked if the original MoneyMaker wil handle having a 24-70mm lens on one side and a 70-200mm lens on the other with a pair of full frame DSLRs. The answer remains the same; yes. The MoneyMaker is designed with event and wedding photographers in mind, and so it can carry any setup that would typically be used in those professions.
Is the sizing different?
The sizing chart is the same for both kinds of MoneyMaker. This comes with the usual caveats that height is not the only concern when deciding what size is right for you. Slimmer people sometimes need to size down, and bigger people sometimes need to go for a larger size than the sizing chart indicates. Generally, it tends to be that if you fit into a medium original MoneyMaker then the medium skinny will be the right fit for you too.
Let’s be clear, as someone that sells the MoneyMaker and other HoldFast products I recognise that I am biased, but I do hope this article has provided some guidance and advice that can help you make a better informed decision if you are thinking about buying a HoldFast Gear MoneyMaker.
As I said earlier, every person is different. Different taste, different height, different body shape, different camera setup and that means conclusions are hard to draw. The stats are that the majority of my skinny MoneyMaker sales are to women, whereas men are much more likely to order the original MoneyMaker, but I wouldn’t want anyone to feel that they shouldn’t buy either kind based on gender when the most important thing is you purchasing a harness that you will be happy and comfortable using for many years.
If you’re unsure which MoneyMaker is right for you, give me a message or call and I’ll do my best to make sure you get the right MoneyMaker.
Rigu has the largest selection of HoldFast Gear products in the UK, offering same day dispatch and next day delivery, along with excellent customer service and knowledge of their products. It is considerably cheaper to purchase a MoneyMaker via Rigu than importing one direct from HoldFast the USA after you take account for import taxes and fees. The saving is usually around £50 depending on how the exchange rate is (Rigu is not VAT registered so if you run a limited company in the UK the pricing is a lot closer, but you do have the benefit of getting the harness quicker, and with UK support if needed).