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.
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).
I have been going through the inventory and have added to the clearance section to make space for new stock. I’ve found that best way to entice people into a purchase is by slashing prices to a level that any other company would find unreasonable. If Rigu had an accounts department, they would have probably mutinied by now.
Many of these items are being sold at cost or below. Please bear in mind that the tracked delivery service that Rigu uses for “free” delivery costs around £4, so in some cases you’re only paying £1 for the item. That’s how good these deals are, how genuine I am about just wanting to make space in my stock room, and also how much I’d just like to see people using products that I think are good but just haven’t sold well for whatever reason.
This is something that I’m planning to do in the start of each month. Releases price cuts on clearance items in one large swathe rather than slowly across the month. There will times when a new b-grade item gets added on it’s own as I come across them in the stock room, so do keep an eye on Facebook and Twitter for those updates, as well as other interesting content like photo tutorials and articles.
EasyCover Lens Rim Protectors
There’s a couple of these left, for lenses with 52mm front threads, and 58mm threads. I can’t remember what they were originally, but they had previously been reduced to £7.99, and are now down to £4.99. They’re useful if you do quite a lot of action photography, or are just plain clumsy.
B-Grade Black Leather DSLR Strap
That’s meant to be a smooth leather camera strap, but as you can see there’s a bit of rippling to the black leather on this DSLR camera strap. That’s all that’s wrong with it. Still carries your comfortably and stylishly, it’s just not as it should be so I won’t let it go for anything like full price. This strap is usually £28.99, but this B-grade camera strap is just £14.99.
Large Skinny HoldFast Gear MoneyMaker (Tan Water Buffalo Leather)
I had to swap out some shoulder pads on a skinny MoneyMaker for a customer, which left me with a large Skinny Water Buffalo Tan Leather MoneyMaker without shoulder pads on it. Usually it’s a £249.99 item, but I’ve reduced this one to £149.99. To be honest, that’s far too low of a price, no one could reasonably think that the shoulder pads are worth £100, but I know they’re an important part of the harness so I’m overcompensating. Hopefully someone will buy it soon as I’m tempted to just keep it for myself.
Will the harness still be comfortable without them? Yes. It’s important to remember that they are user-removable by design, and that some photographers won’t use them anyway. You’ll be missing out on a little bit of width on the shoulder to help spread the weight of your gear, but it’s still as wide or wider than most normal camera straps. It should be comfortable and you’ll still be benefiting from the cross over of leather on your back helping to relieve you of some weight strain.
Large Burgundy HoldFast Gear MoneyMaker
On the buckle on the right side as we’re looking at it on the product photo above, one of the adjustment holes isn’t quite right, meaning that the metal nub at the top side of the buckle (that usually fits securely into the hole) is loose. The other two are still good and tight so the buckle remains very secure and I personally would trust it with my gear.
As a workaround so that all three points of contact are secure, I simply re-adjusted the strap so that the part that is usually on the underside was now on top (as seen in the second photo, on the side closer to the camera). This works perfectly and is just as secure as any other MoneyMaker. It is a slightly different look, but overall it’s a minimal change and something you will not notice when using the harness.
95cm Blue Woven Cotton Rope Camera Strap with Ring Connection
How much is a box worth to you? If you’re giving a camera strap as a gift, probably quite highly. If you are just getting it for yourself, then after you’ve opened it that little black box will probably go straight into your recycling.
I have one of these blue cotton rope camera straps that are popular with Fuji X photographers that has no box (it was a display item when I had a small stand at a camera club for an evening). Usually it would be £17.99, but this one is just £9.99 and it is completely clean and brand new.
Cotton DSLR camera strap by !mo – Little Hearts (Pink)
This canvas DSLR camera strap was originally £24.99, it’s now down to £7.99. Why? No packaging.
These imo straps are very strong and durable (they have been tested to 75kg without breaking), but with an additional piece of soft fabric stitched onto the strap where your neck will be for additional comfort.
Cam-in XL range ring connection leather camera straps
I’ve always been fond of the Cam-in XL camera strap range, but they have performed poorly on the site. Perhaps this is because everyone in the world except Cam-in think of XL as meaning “extra large” when they just meant that it was a limited edition release.
They are a lovely range of straps though, the two-tone leather is a bit different to the norm and they’re very nicely finished. They were a good deal at £24.99 and they’re a better deal at £19.99.
Padded Pouch for Mirrorless Cameras by Vlashor
If you’re looking for a pouch to protect your small DSLR or mirrorless camera, then this camera bag insert from Vlashor is a good option. It had been reduced to £8.99 previously from something like £20 (I can’t remember the original price), but to give you a nudge in the right direction (aka the checkout) I’ve taken this down to £5.99.
Brown Leather DSLR Camera Strap
This is actually Rigu’s most popular camera strap ever. Well, not this particular one, but the normal version is. Every so often the tanning process doesn’t work out perfectly and I receive a strap with some blotchy colouring, and this is one of those cases.
The funny thing is, well, funny to someone that spends all day looking at and selling camera straps, is that within a few months this strap will look like the rest because they change colour slightly and gain their own patina through being used, worn and getting a little dirty.
Normally they’re priced at £28.99 each, but this b-grade bargain is down to £19.99, and it’s still possible to have it personalised with a name or message on the camera strap.
Hayden Backpacks by Ideer
I’ve got to put my hands up and admit that stocking these backpacks was a mistake. I thought that as people liked Ideer’s other bags, they’d be interested in a backpack that wasn’t a dedicated camera backpack, and instead a normal backpack that was intended to be paired with a camera bag insert. I was wrong, and that’s probably because there are thousands of other backpacks out there, so it’s hard for people to be interested in getting one from Rigu when the range is small.
They are still nice bags though, my partner uses one of their backpacks for her commute to work and gets plenty of compliments on it. Originally £44.99, they are now available in pink or soda blue for £6.99 each. As you’d imagine, I’m taking a pretty heavy loss on these at that price (postage costs me more than £4, remember?), but I’d rather someone was using them than they were sitting in the stock room.