Permanently attaching a Domke Gripper

Well, in truth, not permanent, but very secure.

These are some of the nicest and toughest straps made. They're a bit pricey, but I think they're well worth the extra cost. One of the things I didn't like is that with most straps, it didn't feel really secure.

So I devised a way that will securely attach the strap to the camera.

You'll need a pair of needle-nose pliers, a pair of sharp scissors and a flame, such as a match or stovetop gas burner.

The first thing I do is cut off roughly four inches from the end. But this depends on how low you like the camera to ride on your chest. I like to have it ride about mid-chest, so four inches is about right for me.

If you like to let the camera ride about belly high, you don't need to trim much.

Cut the tip so it's rounded or truncated (see crude drawing at left). Next, get a flame: either one of the burners on a stove or a small lighter. Heat the tip. You don't need to melt it, but you need to heat it enough so that you can flatten it into a wedge shape with the unserrated part of the pliers. It's OK to melt it a little, but don't let it catch on fire or drip.

The idea is to make the tip as smooth and flat as possible, especially the tip. So give it a good squeeze. This is important, because you need to tuck it through a plastic strap. It will be a very tight fit.

You also might need to trim the edge. You don't want the strap to become wider, and sometimes when you flatten, you'll have a small piece coming out of the side. If that happens, snip off the excess, re-heat it and flatten again. Do as many times as necessary with the goal of making it as flat as possible.

Look very closely at this photo to see how I've looped the strap.

It goes through the first retaining strap, buckle and second retaining strap as normal. Now, it comes back through the second strap, through the buckle and other retaining strap, again as normal.

Now, here's where I do something a bit different.

First, ensure that it's the correct length before you do this part. Simply lay the strap over the end. It should reach almost, but not quite, to the end of the first fold. If it's long or short, make the adjustment now.

Wrap the strap back down through the bottom loop of the buckle a third time and push it through the retaining strap. This is the toughest part, and you really have to work it. This is why you created the wedge shape.

Push the tip into the retaining strap and work it back and forth until the tip appears. Then grap it with the needle-nose pliers and pull it through.

You're done. You can remove it, and so can others, but it won't be easy. It provides an extremely secure fit. And that will give you peace of mind.

The retaining straps help keep the rest of the strap from the body, while the leather flaps do their part to protect the camera from the strap and metal ring.

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