Boring camera straps are everywhere. Almost every camera you buy comes with a camera strap, and most are ugly and made of cheap synthetic materials. If you are unlucky the manufacturer has ‘decorated’ the strap with an ugly logo in white, yellow or red. Perhaps I would be able to forgive those straps for being ugly, but besides ugly most are also uncomfortable to use. They are thin, feel uncomfortable in your neck and adjusting the length can be a hassle.
Luckily changing the standard strap for a better one is easy, and there are companies out there that do know how to combine style, comfort and usability. One of those is the Italian 4V Design. Last year I’ve reviewed the 4V Design Ergo Wrist Strap Large, and I was very impressed with that strap. And still am, so much even that I have been using it as my only wrist strap for the last year. Sometimes a wrist strap just isn’t the best way to carry your camera, for instance when you need both your hands free to do something. For those situations 4V Design has got several beautiful shoulder straps. I think the Sella is the prettiest of them all. In this review I’ll tell you more about the Coffee / Brown coloured Sella, with a Brown shoulder pad and a lighter brown (cappuccino-like colour) strap. The Sella also comes in brown with a natural / light brown strap and a black version with 4V Designs special carbon-style leather (especially great for car- and race enthusiasts).
4v Design Sella
Like the other leather products made by 4V Design the Sella is made of beautiful Italian leather. 4V Design only uses Tuscan-made leather named cuoio and the straps are made in Trevisio. Cuoio is a special kind of durable leather, the outer skin layers of the leather aren’t used. That makes the leather more supple and more durable. Cuoio doesn’t crack as easily when it gets older. I can affirm that the leather used by 4V Design is very durable. My Ergo Wrist strap has only gotten more supple after one year of intensive use, but it still looks as good as when it was new. A leather strap isn’t cheap, but these straps by 4V design will last for years and will only get prettier over time. That it is real leather is immediately apparent when you open the box, as a fantastic leather scent comes from the strap. The first few day’s you’ll even be able to smell where you’ve left you camera as the scent is that strong! If you don’t care for the smell of leather you don’t have to worry, in a few days time the most extreme scent will wear off and you will only smell it if you put your nose right on top of the strap.
Of course 4V Design has used their ‘signature’ cyan-colour on the Sella strap. The stitching on the strap is made with cyan-coloured tread, which looks great with the brown leather. As you may expect the stitching and overall finish quality is great, right down to the smallest details. The sides of the leather have been hand painted to match the rest of the leather, which shows great attention to detail. The only downside of the Ergo Wrist strap for me was that 4V Design put a relatively large 4V logo on it. With the Sella 4V Design has done a much better job showing off their company logo. On the shoulder pad you’ll find a small 4V-logo embossed on one side and a subtle ‘Sella’ logo on the other side.
The shoulder pad has got thick padding made of memory foam, and is cut in an ergonomic shape. Because of the used materials and the cool looking shape the shoulder pad never feels uncomfortable when wearing it as a shoulder or when you use the Sella as a neck strap. On the inside of the shoulder pad 4V Design has used a rubber-like coating with the cyan-coloured 4V design logo on it. The coating feels a little sticky making sure it doesn’t slip off your shoulder. Because of the memory foam padding the shoulder pad adjusts to your body so you don’t get any pressure points on, for instance, your collar bone even when you attach a large and heavy camera.
The main strap goes over the top of the shoulder pad, and is led trough two gaps in the leather keeping it firmly in place. The strap has got a brass buckle to adjust the length of the strap. Adjusting the length with the buckle is easy, and because 4V Design has used solid brass the buckle is just as durable as the rest of the strap. The strap can be adjusted from 102 cm to 134 cm (40-52”), so it will fit just about everybody.
The strap comes with a mounting kit, with two rings and some leather protection tabs. On my Sony A7 I didn’t use the kit and mounted the strap directly to the mounting points on my camera. If that doesn’t work on your camera you can use the supplied rings to attach the strap to your camera. The mounting kit also comes with two leather tabs (colour-matched of course, they are Italians so you can’t fault their style!) to protect your camera from damage.
The attention to detail makes this strap a pleasure to use. The shoulder pad is very comfortable to use both when you wear it on your shoulder as when you wear it as a neck strap. Because of the coating on the pad it doesn’t slip from your shoulder and stays comfortably in place. The straps length can be adjusted over a long length so that it will fit just about everybody, and can be adjusted to every body type. There are a lot of different options to mount the kit to your camera making it fit just about every type of camera. Because of the wide and comfortable shoulder pad you can use the Sella with smaller and lighter mirrorless camera, but also with bulkier DSLR camera’s with attached zoom lenses. For the biggest en most heavy cameras you can always take a look at the bigger Lusso Large strap.
New out of the box the strap is supple and comfortable. Looking at my other 4V Design strap I’m confident the Sella will only get better and more supple over time, while the leather will keep looking great.
With the Sella 4V Design shows they are leather makers with a photographers-heart. The 4V Design Sella is one of the most beautiful camera straps you can buy right now. And the best part about it isn’t even the great looking and smelling leather or the high-end finish. The best part of this strap is that it combines style and usability / comfort in a way only 4V Design does. In the past you may have had to choose between style and comfort, but with the Sella that isn’t the case anymore. In day to day use the superbly designed shoulder pad with the memory foam padding stands out. That makes this stylish strap just as comfortable to use as straps that are only made for functionality. That, combined with the great looks, make it worth every penny. The Sella costs about 120 euro’s. With the high quality leathers this strap will probably last you at least ten years, taking that in account it costs you about 12 euro’s a year. For just 12 euro’s a year I can’t imagine anyone choosing to use one of those ugly camera-brand straps!?