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Review of the Miggo “Wrap and Strap” and “Grip and Strap” Camera Carriers by Rob Will
Review of the Miggo “Wrap and Strap” and “Grip and Strap” Camera Carriers by Rob Will

[Image: Beauty%20SHot.jpg]


I never used to carry a bag. Time was that I could throw my wallet in my pocket, perch my sunglasses on my forehead, drape my SLR around my neck, and hit the streets for a day of photography. If I needed to carry more gear, I shoved everything into my $5 war surplus rucksack. It didn't provide as much protection as a real camera bag, but it was small, rugged, and didn't cry out “camera" when I was in a rough neighborhood.

Nowadays, I carry an iPad, 2 pairs of glasses, car keys, a light jacket, a mobile phone, chargers, a water bottle – an endless list of the “essentials” of everyday life. If I add my camera to the mix, it’s in constant danger of being scratched by one of the other items in my day bag. Carrying a second dedicated camera bag is an option, but let’s face it – carrying 2 bags is not only awkward – but it’s a powerful thief magnet as well. What's a modern guy (or gal) to do?

The team at Miggo thinks that they have the answer - or more accurately two answers to the problem. Wrap and Strap is a padded neck strap that wraps around a camera and secures for storage or transport. Grip and Wrap replaces the neck strap with an adjustable wrist strap and a padded sock to protect the camera lens. Both products are available in two sizes - a smaller model aimed at mirrorless (CSC) cameras, and a larger model appropriate for a medium size DSLR.

So what's a medium sized DSLR? A Nikon D800e with any lens is too large - but my vintage Nikon D200 with attached 18-200 VR F/3.5-5.6 zoom fits just fine. The D200 is comparable in size to a Nikon 610, Nikon DF, or Nikon 7100 - so I believe that the Miggo DSLR straps will also fit those cameras - although I did not physically test them.

Note: At the time of writing, Miggo has launched a round of crowd funding at Kickstarter. The nature of crowd funding is that individuals contribute cash towards the development and production phases of a product - and in return, they receive one or more final versions of the products when they eventually reach the market. The Miggo straps tested for this review are pre-production versions, and because of this, they may be somewhat different from the final commercial versions.

Wrap and Strap

In the old days, I had one of those wide "pro-style" fabric camera straps that I would wrap around my camera when I was storing it in my rucksack. It provided little protection, and it came unwound easily. Strap and Wrap improves on this simple idea by replacing the old school strap with a wide neoprene and Lycra band that attaches to the camera’s tripod mounting socket. Unwrapped, it's a comfortable and attractive neck strap. Wrapped, it’s a padded impact and scratch resistant pack (or purse) friendly bundle.

[Image: Open%20and%20Closed.jpg]

There is a lot to like about the Strap and Wrap concept. The neoprene strap is wide and comfortable, and zips up for additional security on the street. It comes in a variety of great looking fabric patterns and colors - its styling was a hit with the female photographers that I showed it to (they thought the patterned fabrics were particularly chic).

[Image: Colors%20and%20Patterns.jpg]

All Miggo straps come with a handy pocket for storing a lens cap when the camera is active. This is a great idea, and I’m amazed that more camera straps don’t include this handy feature. Unfortunately, smaller caps like the one on the Sony 16-50 F3.5/5.6 are prone to falling out of the pocket if you remove the Wrap and Strap before replacing the cap. Ideally, Miggo will add a pocket closer of some sort to the production version.

For storage or transport, Strap and Wrap rolls up around your camera, and secures in place by hooking the neck loop of the strap around the lens (for larger lenses) or around the camera body (for smaller lenses). I really like how this system works for smaller camera/lens combinations, where the strap hooks around the camera body (i.e. Fuji X100s or Sony NEX-6 with attached 18-50 zoom), but I'm less enthusiastic about larger camera / lens configurations that require the strap to be secured around the lens itself. In my opinion, this can place too much lateral torque on the camera's lens flange.

Strap and Wrap provides decent protection for a camera when wrapped, with all of the key displays and controls covered by a layer of neoprene. I tested several different combinations of camera body and lens, and the level of protection provided in most cases was very good. In a few cases, the camera sides were exposed, but this wasn't a significant issue with any of the combinations I tested.

All Miggo straps attach to the camera’s tripod mounting socket rather than to the traditional strap mounting lugs on the sides of the camera. The camera end of Wrap and Strap comes pre-drilled with several rows of mounting holes that support various tripod mount locations. This is particularly handy in the case of cameras with off-center mounts such as the Sony NEX-6. In practice, I only found the front three rows to be of practical use. Attaching a camera further back leaves a lip under the lens that looks odd and interferes with lens adjustments when shooting.

[Image: Lip.jpg]

Metal mounting hardware is provided to attach the camera. The hardware is comprised of three pieces, a rubber O-ring to protect the camera's finish, and two metal disks that connect to one another via a metal "neck". A camera is attached to the Strap and Wrap by threading the neck through the selected mounting hole, and screwing the two disks together – one on each side of the neoprene. The outer disk of the mount is over-sized to allow it to be finger-tightened, and also to provide a tripod mount - the existing one being occupied by the Miggo mounting hardware.

[Image: Mounting%20Hardware.jpg]

I'm not entirely convinced about this design. Strap and Wrap is completely usable when your camera is in your hand, but I don’t like how my camera hangs when I am not actively using it. In hands-free mode, the mounting system requires the camera to hang upside down with its lens surface facing your body. I worry about anything touching the front of my lenses, and while I don’t mind hanging a camera like that for a moment, I wouldn't walk any distance with my lens brushing up against my belt or poking into my stomach. I would be a lot happier if I could swivel the mount so that the lens surface faces outwards.

[Image: Hanging%20backwards.jpg]

Grip and Wrap

Miggo's second offering, Grip and Wrap, shares a lot of features with its Wrap and Strap sister. Both are available in the same colors / patterns, and both are made from the same excellent materials – a combination of Lycra and neoprene. Both models also share the same metal mounting solution described above. Grip and Wrap also has an integral lens cap pocket, although in this case, the pocket is on the front of the lens sock, and not on the strap itself.

Unlike its sister, Grip and Wrap includes a reinforced handle that allows you to potentially carry your wrapped camera without requiring another bag. It also makes Grip and Wrap a lot easier to pull out of a crowded day pack.

[Image: handle.jpg]

Grip and Wrap reminds me a lot of an old school leather half case with a detachable top. Like the half case, Grip and Wrap attaches via the camera’s tripod socket and features a two part design that provides protection for the both the camera body, and for the lens and top controls.

Wrapped, the camera and lens are fully enclosed in neoprene. Grip and Strap provides a decent amount of scratch and bump protection for its contents, and even a bit of drop protection for the butter fingered. Unwrapped, the strap is divided into 2 parts – a sock-like neoprene lens cover, and an adjustable loop that doubles as a wrist strap. When you are done shooting, you slide the sock forward and pull it over the lens barrel. Secure the bundle by pulling the wrist loop over the lens sock and you’re done – the Grip and Wrap has been converted into a padded bundle that is both attractive and highly packable.

I really like how this works on Grip and Wrap DSLR. The bundle is secure, nicely padded, and easy to carry or store. The loop secures around the lens low on the barrel, and does not torque on the lens flange. The same cannot be said of the Grip and Wrap CSC when used with larger camera/lens combinations. Miggo provides detailed guidelines on their website about recommended camera and lens configurations, and I strongly suggest reviewing them to ensure that your camera and lens is a good match before purchasing. I tested it on a Leica M9 with 50mm F/2 and also on a Fuji XE-1 with 25mm F/1.4. In both cases, I found that the wrist loop took some effort to pull over the lens barrel, and once there, it applied more lateral torque on the lens flange than I am comfortable with.

[Image: CSC%20Wrapping.jpg]

One of the flaws of the traditional half case was its top cover. It tended to either hang in front of the lens when shooting in portrait mode, or get left behind if detached. Miggo attempts to get around these problems by allowing the photographer to tuck the flexible lens sock into Grip and Wrap’s integral carrying handle – and because the lens cover does not detach, it can never be left behind.

[Image: Grip%20and%20STrap.jpg]

I have small wrists, and because of this, I found the adjustable wrist loop to be a bit larger than I would like. I also found the process of adjusting the wrist strap and tucking the lens cover into the handle a bit fiddly for my tastes, so I typically didn’t bother with either adjustment when using the Grip and Wrap DSLR. With the Nikon D200 and 18-200 zoom, this wasn’t an issue, as the lens was large enough so that the lens sock never got in the way. When using the smaller Grip and Wrap CSC, however, the untucked lens cover can partially obscure the lens in portrait orientation or when shooting at a downwards angle. I recommend always doing the tuck when using Grip and Wrap CSC.

The lens cap pocket in the pre-production Grip and Wrap DSLR sample that I tested would only accommodate a 55mm lens cap, although Miggo assures me that this issue has been resolved in their latest version. My Nikon 18-200’s lens hood (reversed) would also not fit into Grip and Wrap’s neoprene lens sock.

It may sound strange, but the biggest single issue that I have with Grip and Wrap is its potential to damage other items in my bag. The camera itself is well protected in its neoprene cocoon, but the exposed metal thumb screw of the mounting hardware is a major scratching hazard for anything else that it comes in contact with such as a table top, the roof of my car, or my undefended iPad screen. I realize that the mount is exposed like this for tripod compatibility, but at the end of the day, if I am not carrying a dedicated camera bag, the odds that I am carrying a tripod are extremely remote. Hey Miggo – how about a no-tripod version with a recessed screw head that tightens with a coin?

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I rarely get an opportunity to review a product so early in its life cycle, and I find it difficult not to judge a prototype by the same standards that I expect in a finished product. Having said that, I’m a big fan of minimalist carrying solutions, and Miggo is definitely making strides to appeal to minimalists like me.

I like Miggo's selection of fabrics, colors, and patterns very much, and I think that Wrap and Strap will appeal to fashion conscious photographers. I also like the fact that Grip and Wrap DSLR adds little bulk and weight to my camera while still providing excellent protection. The integral lens cap holder is a great idea that just needs a little tweak to make it a winner.

I’m not a fan of Miggo's metal screw adapter. It’s a scratching hazard on the Grip and Wrap, and forces a camera to hang with its lens surface facing inwards on Wrap and Strap. In my opinion, this adapter is the biggest potential source of improvement for the final production version. I’ll also be interested in seeing what improvements are done to Grip and Wrap CSC to allow it to accommodate a wider selection of cameras and lenses without lens torque.

I think that the Miggo concept is a compelling one, and the products have real potential to be the type of solution that makes people ask: “Why didn’t I think of that?” I look forward to seeing how the products evolve on their way to market.

Rob Will
February, 2014


I saw this last week described elsewhere on the Web, and thought that it was a solution in search of a problem. I have two home-made camera straps. If I am using my camera, it is secured to me by the wrist strap attached to the right hand side ring. If I want my hands free, it is clipped to a neck strap, so it hangs in front of me. If I am not using it, the camera goes in the middle section of my shoulder bag - with its lens cap on and a screen protector fitted, it has come to no harm, despite sharing its home with the junk in my bag.

Thank you Toad for posting this review. We appreciate that you have been helpful in the past here in the forums with posting this type of information (as well as being a member here). We also appreciate the help you have offered most recently to add more info on site.

Barbara - Life is what you make of it!
Mr. B:

Good point - I tend to take the same minimalist perspective. It will be interesting to see how the market responds.

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