EMULSIVE | Apr 18, 2018 | 11
Gear review: the Peak Design Cuff
You might remember this review of the latest Peak Design Slide Lite from a few weeks back. Well, now it’s time for its little brother to get some of the spotlight. Welcome to my review of the Peak Design Cuff.
I’ve been using the M6 in conjunction with Lutz Konermann’s SLING (a finger grip), and a Zhou “OneKnot” wrist strap for the best part of the past 18 months and was curious to see how the Peak Design Cuff would compare with the latter.
This particular review comes off nearly four months of constant use on my Leica M6 with a variety of lenses from the Voigtlander Color Skopar 21mm f/4 and the 90mm Tele-Elmarit, to the huge hunk of glass that is the 7artisans 50mm f/1.1.
Here’s what I cover in this article:
Table of contents
The Peak Cuff – what is it?
It’s a deceptively simple looking, adjustable wrist strap designed to be connected to your camera using Peak’s modular anchor link system. The strap can be used while connected to the camera body, or disconnected from its anchor link and folded on itself to act as a wristband of sorts.
Forgive the doctored stock photo above, I neglected to take a full “hero” shot of the one I’m reviewing, so stole two from Peak Design’s product page for the Cuff and stuck them together. Clever.
IN THE BOX
In the box you get your strap, two anchor links and a soft, thin microfiber pouch to keep it all in. With the strap attached to a camera.
(TIP: Click or tap on any of the thumbnails below or later on in this article to have them open in a full-screen lightbox.
On the camera and in use
Just like the Slide Lite, there are two colour options, black-on-black with red accent and brown-on-grey with blue accent. The strap follows Peak’s current design style and is made from a combination of seatbelt-style material and either leather (for the ash grey version), or Hypalon* for the black version. As with the Slide Lite, the strap sits comfortably against the skin, be it dry or humid weather.
I mentioned above that I’ve been using a Zhou leather wriststrap for the 18 months or so up to trying the Cuff. Well, it’s time to come clean. For the last nine months or so of that time I’d been using a modified Zhou leather wriststrap, which uses one of Peak’s original anchor link sets (from the 2014 Kickstarter) to replace the split ring the strap came with.
The resulting chimera was a joy to use. Check these images out:
The first image shows the Cuff (top) and my Zhou strap (bottom) with Peak’s anchor housing installed. It may not always be easy to mod your existing strap to use Peak’s anchor link pack, but it can be done. That little leather pouch you see on Zhou strap in image two and the Cuff on image three is Luigi Crescenzi’s spare battery carrier. Very useful if you’re in a bind. It stores two LR44 batteries and wraps around thinner straps.
You can see the difference between the first and current generation of anchor housing plainly in the first three images above. The current generation feels substantially smaller and refined in-use. The fourth image in the gallery shows the difference between 1st generation links (top) and 3rd generation (bottom). Again, they may not look too different but the devil (and usability improvements) are in the detail.
The fifth and final image above shows the new anchor link mounted on the camera, along with the Konermann SLING. You’ll notice that I’m still using a split ring. This is to keep the SLING pinned to the camera body.
Looking at the strap in a little more detail, the gallery above shows off a bit of the workmanship/added functionality. The strap is stitched closed around the anchor mount using Hypalon. It’s double stitched and seems pretty solid.
The strap comes with an easy to grab aluminium adjuster – pull it away from your wrist to open the strap up or pull the strap away from your wrist to close up. The strap doesn’t adjust itself without intervention and if you happen to drop your camera (as I did on purpose a few times), it’ll pull itself closed against your wrist.
On the black/red version of the strap, a strip of Hypalon is sewn along one the outside of one side. It serves an interesting purpose: under the strip is a small magnet (see the “bump” in image three above. The magnet is used to hold the anchor mount in place when you use the strap as a bracelet.
At first, it might seem a little “extra” to have this functionality. Stick with it, it’s actually pretty useful in normal use.
Over the past few months it’s become second nature to clip/unclip the camera as needed and keep the strap wrapped around my wrist when the camera’s in my bag. Even with the battery pack on the Cuff, it wasn’t a ridiculously clunky arrangement and with the pack removed, I found myself naturally rotating the strap so that the anchor mount was on the underside of my wrist. Not extremely low profile but not much than the watch I wear on the same wrist.
A few folks on the internet have expressed their concern with some of the metal parts used in the Cuff and Slide Lite’s construction – Leica users especially seem to be worried about scratching their inanimate children.
With the Cuff and/or Slide Lite in my bag, I have noticed no such problems…none. Not even a little “tink tink” of metal on metal. My advice to anyone worried about ruining the finish on their cameras is to go buy a display case for your gear, or just get over it and use the damned things for their intended purpose.
Besides, it’s not “damage” it’s “character”.
* Hypalon is a synthetic rubber often used in inflatable boats and kayaks. It’s also transparent to RADAR. You learn a new thing every day…
Cost and value
The strap sells for US$30 direct on Peak Design’s website, Amazon, BH Photo and a bunch of other places. It’s very reasonable.
If you’re not a fan of wrist straps, you’re probably not going to get on with this. Still, if you get a chance, head on down to somewhere that will let you try it and see if you can be convinced.
For everyone who has or still use, or want to try out a wrist strap, I’d really suggest giving the Cuff a try. It’s comfortable and the clip/unclip function is pretty addictive (as well as useful!)
If you’re already a user of other Peak straps, then it’s pretty much a no-brainer.
- Wide loop works with large and small hands alike.
- Anchor links can hold up to 90kg / 200lbs.
- Modular: share this strap across multiple cameras which have anchor links installed.
- Spare anchor links included.
- If you don’t get on with wrist straps, this probably isn’t for you.
And that’s it, thanks for reading!
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