Product Review | Holdfast Money Maker

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Alright friends, I’m here to tell you about a product that is going to take your photography game to the next, next level and will have you looking like a total badass photographer while doing so. If you don’t already have your hands on the Holdfast Money Maker, it’s time you know what you’re missing.

Imagine this: you’re photographing a wedding, event, or other type of shoot and need to quickly change your lens. You head to wherever you’ve stashed your camera bag and fumble around a bit, grab the lens, put it on your camera, take the shots you need, change the lenses back again… Sounds like a hot mess, huh? Well, that was me. At every wedding last summer. It just wasn’t working and I felt like I was missing on on some great shots because of it.

Shooting with the Money Maker changes this.

The Money Maker is an excellent strap for people who shoot with (or want to shoot with) two cameras while working and on the go.

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Do you want to have two cameras (film or digital) set up with two different lenses so you can switch between them easily in the rush of an event or shoot? The Money Maker is perfect for this.

Are you a hybrid shooter, working with both film and digital, or wanting to bring more film shooting into your work? The money maker will allow you to have your film camera out and ready for use, rather than being buried in your camera bag. I’ve brought film cameras to weddings often and in the rush of the day simply forgot that they were there. Having one set up and at the ready in the Money Maker means that you’ll actually use that camera you’ve been meaning to as it’s hanging right off of you and not tucked away.

As a solo shooter, the benefits to being able to shoot with two cameras and have all that gear and weight securely supported are enormous. At a wedding, it means being able to get a wide shot of the bride walking down the aisle and a close up of the groom reacting without needing to move an inch.

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For me, being one half of a team, there is still great value in shooting with two cameras. For the past couple of weddings we’ve photographed, I’ve shot with a Canon Mk3 and a Fuji X-T1 on the moneymaker to create some variety in my shooting style and push my creativity by having incredibly easy access to different gear and focal lengths. And, I’m considering adding in a Polaroid to the mix this summer—that’s right, the Money Maker can in fact hold three cameras, two from the side sliders, and one via the D rings on the front of the harness (additional purchase of the Holdfast leashes are necessary to do this).

We tried out other configurations for the Money Maker and it works well as a strap for a single camera. You simply clip your solo camera into the harness on whatever side works best for you (ie. are you a righty or a lefty?) and cinch up the other side so it’s secure against your body. The extra strap length tucks into itself and you’re good to go with one camera. This is how my husband has been using it for a few months. He finds that it distributes the weight of the camera well and has greatly reduced the back/neck pain he deals with at the end of a wedding day.

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I’ve also seen photographers clip a camera bag to one side of the Money Maker and their camera on the other. By attaching a small camera/lens bag, you have instant access to memory cards, batteries, flash, and all your favourite lenses. The weight of the bag is balanced in the harness and you don’t need to worry about picking it up and putting it down all day. Holdfast sells a lens pouch that works well with the harness or but it would be easy to attach whatever bag you wanted, granted there’s a loop at the top for the harness to clip in to. You can also attach a bag that will hang from the back of the harness and Holdfast has one of those here.

Okay, so now that you know you can’t live one more day of your life without this strap, here are some pros & cons we found while using them:

Bad Ass Mother Style

Need I say more? Let’s just say that the Money Maker looks amazing. It will make you feel like this. It is a luxury strap, and if you’re shooting luxury events (ie. weddings) it’s going to hold up in terms of style. Don’t want to stand out so much? There are black leather options that are a more demure. Want a strap with a bit more flair? Holdfast has beautiful hand-tooled options to die for.

The Nuts and Bolts

This is an extremely well-made camera strap. The leather is great quality. We used the chestnut bridle leather strap which is stiff when you first unbox it, but breaks in fairly quickly. Straps are loosened and tightened easily—it’s like using a belt. Cameras are secured via strong clip and screw system so your camera is doubly attached to the Moneymaker should one attachment point fail. If you need to get your camera off the money maker for any reason, the clip quick-releases. It’s a bit tricky putting the camera back while wearing the harness, but there’s not much reason to be taking it on and off all day.

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Another thing to note: As you slide the camera up the strap, the inside part of the strap closest to your body can catch on your shirt and/arm. I have a friend who told me she’s accidentally pinched her arm a few times this way. The fix is simple, you just have to train yourself to hold the camera slightly away from your body as you pull it up. In fact, we’ve photographically illustrated this technique for you below.

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Save Your Back

Every day you spend shooting an event takes a toll on your body. The Money Maker minimizes that toll greatly. At the end of a wedding the one big difference was in how our backs and necks felt—hardly different than when we’d started our day. The Money Maker distributes the weight across your body evenly and supports your cameras in such a way that your neck and back aren’t being pulled on.

Versatility

I love that the Money Maker can handle one camera, two cameras, three cameras, a camera and a bag… you name it. I was able to easily shoot with my cameras in both landscape and portrait style, though, people with longer arms might want to buy the optional portrait sliders so you can extend your reach. A limitation for those of you who like to pull hail mary shots: lifting your camera overhead and shooting isn’t possible with the Money Maker; you can probably stretch your camera as high as the top of your shoulder strap will let you when attached. It is also a bit awkward to take the fully loaded harness off; you’ll need to take time and care so do you don’t go banging your cameras together or on objects around you.

Yay Women!

That’s right—a camera strap system that doesn’t cross your chest.

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For some women, this is a pretty big deal: it’s a strap that is actually comfortable. One thing to note: longer hairstyles can get caught in the D-rings on the upper front part of the harness. You can order the strap without those D-rings—it just means you can’t hang a third camera from the moneymaker. If you have short hair or usually pull your hair up and back while shooting, you won’t need to worry about this at all.

The Business

In a world with instant everything, overnight shipping, and products made by faceless unpaid workers in poor conditions, Holdfast stands apart. Matt, who started Holdfast, is a real person with a real family running a small, local business like the rest of us. The price of the Money Maker reflects how it is carefully and ethically made. That being said, if you’re going to order a Money Maker give yourself a good buffer of time for it to come in the mail. These babies are made to order. Another bonus: we found the Holdfast website, instructions, and tips provided to be really helpful when choosing the right size Money Maker for your body and setting it up when it comes in the mail.

Final Words

The Moneymaker camera strap system starts at $215 USD, and $260 will get you the softer bison leather so there is minimal break in time. There are also hand-tooled art pieces available as well if you’re looking for something fancy.

Seem steep? Well, this is a luxury strap. We are in a luxury business. This isn’t a black nylon strap with a standard carabiner on the end. It is incredibly well made and the hardware it comes with is top-notch. The Moneymaker is our solution for shooting weddings and events moving forward. I love what it has done for my creativity, I love how it has saved my back, and, it looks damn good.

 

Review by Sarah Nickerson.

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