Hawkesmill Oxford Wrist Strap Review
Let me say outright that the Hawkesmill Oxford is a very nice camera wrist strap. In fact, it’s probably the best strap I’ve ever seen, yet alone had the pleasure to use.
Is that enough info? Probably not… Let’s go deeper!
At over £50 (around US$70), you would of course expect this strap to be something special.
Yes, it seems expensive, but when coupled with a camera that cost more than a used-SUV, and considering the cost of a dual holster-style leather strap, then it seems more reasonable.
Either way, at this price level, this is not aimed at the budget-conscious photographer.
But for those that either want to give their rangefinder-style camera the best possible companion (for this is undoubtedly the type of camera best suited to Hawkesmill straps), or to give their expensive camera and lens the best support possible, then this is perfect.
In use during weddings and travel, this strap simply does its job exactly as hoped, without any fuss. Remembering, of course, that part of its job is to look great!
It’s easy to get on and off (not the case with other straps I’ve used), and thanks to the quality of leather used, you simply don’t need to think about the strap at all as it feels so comfortable.
For those times when you don’t want your camera strapped to your body but do want a casual, aesthetically pleasing way to keep your camera at hand, this will tick all the boxes.
If you’re looking to narrow down the best camera strap for you, the Hawkesmill Oxford should be on your shortlist.
Hawkesmill Oxford Wrist Strap Specs
- Workmanship and quality of materials
- Visual appearance
- Length: 22cm (8.75″)
- Width: 1.5cm (0.6″)
- Material: Brown or Black ‘Horween Chromexcel’ leather
- Maximum Recommended Weight: 2.75kg (5lbs), but tested up to 13.5kg (30lbs)!
- Mount: Lug. Fits all lug mount cameras, including Nikon, Leica, Olympus, Sony, Fujifilm and most 35mm vintage cameras
- Other features: Strong colourful stitching
Build & Appearance
Hawkesmill have put a lot of effort into the design and manufacture of the Oxford strap.
This branding and quality is evident from the outset with the Hawkesmill-stamped waxy-paper that surrounds the tiny, cotton drawstring bag.
Opening up that little bag is like opening a box containing the finest pair of brogues: there’s a similar level of attention to the stitching and quality.
The Horween Chromexcel leather used is naturally textured and is soft to the touch yet strong.
The contrasting orange stitching adds to the impression of quality and workmanship.
There’s a sturdy metal ring that threads onto your camera lug to attach the strap to your camera, and gives total confidence in its durability.
Hawkesmill have put thought into this too – there’s a little leather flap that stops this ring from causing any abrasion to your camera body; a very nice touch.
Ease of Use
A problem I’ve had with camera wrist straps before is that they often have a slipknot design that ends up cutting off the circulation to my hand.
No-one wants to see a blue-handed photographer unless it’s at a Smurf wedding.
But the Hawkesmill Oxford strap has a simpler adjustment system using a leather band. This simple design works surprisingly well, and generally stays put without getting unintentionally tighter or looser.
Another benefit of the system is that it allows you to adjust the strap quickly so it can be taken off – again, something that’s not always easy with the lasso-type when they’re at full tightness!
Other than that, the strap is a fit-and-forget deal. It just works really well, and the only time you ever think about it again is the occasional “Wow! My camera looks cool!”
Value for Money
Here’s the focal point of things. At around £55/$70 it would be hard to argue too strongly about the value for money on purely practical terms alone.
Not having a handmade camera strap of the finest leather is somewhat a first-world problem.
A para-cord wrist strap would be only 10% of the cost, but at the expense that you’ll possibly lose your hand from lack of circulation. Not to mention that it will look, well, cheap.
If you want a strap that will protect your investment in camera kit and deliver the highest level of quality and aesthetic appeal, then the Hawkesmill Oxford is a great choice, and something that feels like it would last for years.
The cost proposition ultimately comes down to how much you value your appearance as a photographer. After all, for professionals, the thing we are selling is a lifestyle, a brand and a passion for photography.
And this strap certainly allows for that appearance to be maintained.
For me, that’s worth it.
Hawkesmill Oxford Wrist Strap Review | Conclusion
I love this strap.
I know it’s expensive, and it solved a first-world problem I didn’t have, as the strap I was using before was just fine.
But then, my Swiss Automatic watch does nothing that my cheaper Seiko did, but I love to put my watch on every day too.
If you value aesthetics and craftsmanship, the Hawkesmill Oxford is definitely a winner.
Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.