Spoiler alert: I’m a big fan of this strap and there is a lot to tell about it, so at allmost 2800 words this review got a bit longer than I planned. There is also a ton of photos. If you want to skip all that and jump to the conclusion just scroll down.
Until a few months ago I firmly believed that adding carbon look to something would only make it look worse. I guess I have to admit I was wrong. 4V Design has managed to create something they call carbon look leather. And as you can see in the photos in this review it looks absolutely stunning. It is true Italian leather that looks like carbon fiber, but still has all the advantages of real leather. Unfortunately it is almost impossible to capture it’s beauty in a photo, so it even looks better in real life than it does in the photos.
4V Design has several camera straps that are available in the carbon look leather. In this review I’ll tell you more about the Versis SL, that is only available in black carbon look leather. The Versis SL is designed for intensive, all day long use with all types of cameras from mirrorless to heavy pro bodies. 4V Design also offers the Sella (review here) and Ala Top in carbon look leather.
4V Design Versis versatility
If you check the 4V Design website (here) you’ll see there are a quite few different versions of the Versis available. First you have two versions, the 4V Design Versis Up and the 4V Design Versis SL. The Up and SL are the same straps. The difference is in the way you connect them to your camera. The Up is designed to be attached to the side strap connector on your camera. That is perfect for smaller and lighter camera’s. The SL comes with an extra hook that is screwed in your cameras tripod mount. That way you can comfortably carry a heavy camera. Both straps come with a small extender you can use to lengthen the distance between the base strap and the camera. Without it the distance between the strap and camera can be too small for some people, especially if you have a bigger camera.
That isn’t where the 4V Design Versis versatility ends. The 4V Design Versis has got so many options it is easy to get lost in all the possibilities. I’ll try to explain it as easy as possible, but if you need more information please check the 4V Design site here. You can buy different kits to make a 4V Design Versis kit to be able to carry two or even three cameras. What I really like is that you can buy them as complete kits or start with one Versis and add extra parts later on to complete your kit. When you want to buy the complete kit at once you can choose the Duo, Twin or Trio. The 4V Design Versis Duo is designed to combine one bigger and heavy camera and one smaller camera. The Duo will also work with two heavy cameras, but for optimal comfort you are better off with the Versis Twin. The 4V Design Versis Twin is designed for two bigger cameras. The 4V Design Versis Trio is, as you might guess, designed to carry three cameras.
4V Design QR plate
The other important part in this review is the 4V Design QR plate. That is a small quick release plate you can use to attach your camera to the Versis strap. It can also be used with other straps with a hook system, like black rapid and therefore is sold separately. It is designed as an alternative to the hook that comes with the 4V Design Versis SL. The smart thing about it is that besides a hook to attach your Versis it is also an arca swiss compatible quick release plate. So you can attach it to your camera and use it to mount your camera on any tripod with a arca swiss compatible head. The hook on the 4V Design QR plate is foldable. When you need it to attach your 4V Design Versis you flip it up. When you don’t need the hook you can fold it flat. The QR plate offers some fantastic industrial design. If you are a fan of that the foldable hook is a real joy to look at and use. It uses two spring loaded clips that allow you to set the hook in three angles, folded flat, 90 degrees or exactly in between. Moving it between the positions it gives a great, very durable feeling and it snaps in place with a reassuring click.
The QR plate is attached to you camera with a screw with a foldable wing, so you can attach it without any tools. It also has a slot to use a coin, flat screwdriver or allen key to lock it. One detail I really love is that the foldable wing on the screw has got a small ridge on it, that is just big enough to get you fingernail behind it when the wing is folded down. Otherwise it would be very hard to flip it back up again. It’s just a really small detail, but one that is very important in day to day use. On the top it has got 4 rubber pads to make sure it has enough grip and doesn’t slide. There is also a wide slot you can use to attach other accessories like a peak design clutch to the QR plate.
4V Design Versis SL
I’ve talked a lot about the leather and how the 4V Design is versatile, but I haven’t even started on the design of the strap itself. The Versis has got a nice ergonomic shaped shoulder pad that is comfortable when you use it as a neck strap because of the form. But is even more comfortable using it as a shoulder strap with one, two or even three cameras on it. On the shoulder pad you’ll find the two metal hooks you can use to attach the second or third camera. As always 4V Design has used solid metal rings and hardware to make sure all parts of the strap will be durable.
The underside of the shoulder strap is has got a grippy coating printed on it in the form of 4V Design logos. That makes sure the strap doesn’t slide off your shoulder. The pad is lined with a double layer of memory foam that feels very comfortable. The strap adjusts to the form of your body. I like how the middle of the strap is a little thinner making it more flexible. That helps when you store the strap in a bag as it folds easier, but also help it to form to your shoulder.
The 4V Design Versis uses a wide 25 mm polyamide band that is very strong and durable. The Versis is strong enough to hold up to 10 kilograms, making it strong enough to carry any current DSLR with lens. The band offers a wide adjustability from 107 to 131 cm. That means it is long enough for larger and long people and can be adjusted short enough for smaller people.
The 4V Design Versis is a true sling strap that can also be used as a neck strap. If you use it as a sling you’re supposed to have your camera hanging from your hip while making it possible to grab and slide it up to your eye within a second. To do that 4V Design uses a small and light slider that can effortlessly slide over the 25 mm wide polyamide band. The slider is designed very well. It offers a small plastic knob you can unscrew to unlock the clip that attaches the 4V Design Versis to the hook or QR plate on the camera. This system takes some practice, but after that it is a very quick system that offers great durability and safety.
Compared to my Carry Speed
Before I got the 4V Design Versis SL I used a CarrySpeed whenever I needed a sling strap. And most of the time I would just leave it at home because I didn’t think the bulk and extra weight were worth the convenience. Since I have the Versis SL I’ve been taking that with me allmost every time I took my camera since it just that much lighter and easier to stuff in a bag.
One of the biggest differences between the 4V Design Versis and CarrySpeed is the material they are made off. The 4V Design Versis is made in Italy of Italian leather, explaining the price difference. The CarrySpeed is made China out of neoprene and other synthetic materials. The CarrySpeed is sold for about 90 euros, the 4V Design Versis starts at 119 euros for the Versis Up kit. Both straps are designed to comfortably carry heavy gear all day long. The natural materials used in the 4V Design make sure it doesn’t feel sweaty after using it for a long time on a hot day. That is a downside of the CarrySpeed, because of the rubber coated neoprene that it is made of it gets hot and sweaty after some time in use.
Both the CarrySpeed and 4V Design Veris SL straps are designed as sling straps that use an attachment on the bottom of the camera instead of the normal straps on the side. The straps let the camera hang upside down at your waste and when you need them you can pull them up to your eye in a second. Both the straps use some system that slides over the band to make that possible. But that is also where the similarities between these two straps end. The CarrySpeed uses a big and bulky plate with a big round knob on it that sticks out from the bottom of the camera. That is both bulky and heavy and the knob can get in the way when you handle the camera. I really like the system 4V Design uses on the 4V Design Versis SL better. The Versis SL comes with a small screw with a rotating hook on it. That is much lighter and smaller than the CarrySpeed system. The CarrySpeed does offer a arca swiss compatible profile on the plate, so you can use it the attach it to you tripod. If that is what you are looking for you could also use the 4V Design QR plate as an alternative to the standard hook that comes with the Versis SL. The QR plate also offers the arca swiss compatible profile, but it is much smaller and lighter. And when you don’t need it you can just fold the down so it doesn’t get in the way. Something that isn’t possible on the CarrySpeed plate.
The way you connect your strap to the attachment on the camera is also very different between the 4V Design and CarrySpeed. The CarrySpeed uses a heavy system that works with a collar you have to twist and pull back to open it. It takes some time to get used to it, but after some practice it is possible to open and close it with just one hand. The 4V Design system on the other hand is much more elegant, light and smaller. It consists of a small metal hook that can be opened by loosening a screw and pressing it. It does need twohanded operation, so it is a little slower to use than the CarrySpeed system, but I would take that over the weight an bulk of the CarrySpeed. Another advantage of the 4V Design system is that because it is lighter it also moves over the band a lot easier than the heavier CarrySpeed system. That makes the 4V Design system easier and quicker to use.
The CarrySpeed weighs 350 grams, mostely because of the heavy plate that comes with it, because the neoprene of the shoulder pad is ligther than the leather used by 4V Design. The Versis SL with the standard hook weighs just 200 grams, and just 235 grams with the QR plate. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. Most of the weight of the 4V Design Versis is in the part that rests on your shoulder. With the CarrySpeed a lot of the weight is attached to your camera. So it is heavy when it hangs from your shoulder, but also weighs down your camera itself. Therefore the difference feels even bigger than it is in numbers.
All in all the CarrySpeed and 4V Design Versis are designed for the same kind of use, but have a completely different design philosophy. The CarrySpeed is big, bulky and not really good looking, it is built just to be practical. The 4V Design Versis is designed to be very good looking but it even manages to be more practical than the CarrySpeed. There is a difference in price, but for me the 4V Design Versis is certainly worth the extra money.
In day to day use
The big test for the 4V Design Versis was when I used it while photographing a full day wedding. I had my Nikon Df with different lenses on it the whole day and during the wedding ceremony I even had a heavy speedlight on the camera. This is a true stress test for a strap, and it performed beyond what I could have hoped for. The 4V Design Versis is really the most comfortable strap I’ve ever used. The shoulder pad is capable of evenly dividing the weight of the camera over your shoulder making sure it doesn’t create pressure points in any way.
I love how my camera would hang at my waste without dangling in to people or worse: walls or doorposts even while I was running around to be at the right place the right time. The slider is smooth and makes it easy to grab the camera and move it up to your eye in the blink of an eye
As it was a warm day I was very happy with the material on the inside of the shoulder pad. It doesn’t feel warm / sweaty like neoprene straps do. I am also happy with the grippy coating, after putting the strap on your shoulder you never have to adjust it because it doesn’t slide off your shoulder.
I have quite a few good looking and expensive straps in my collection and after using the 4V Design Versis for several week all of them have permanently moved to my closet and will stay there for now. There isn’t a single strap in my collection I’d rather use than the 4V Design Versis. And that says a lot!
I’ve used the 4V Design Versis SL with both the supplied hook and the optional 4V Design QR plate. Both options work very well. If you don’t need to use a tripod I prefer the supplied hook as it is very light and works very well. But if you want the option to switch between using your camera on a tripod and hanging it from your strap the QR plate is a true gift. Because of the smart design you can just fold the hook flat if you don’t need it and because the QR plate is acra swiss compatible you can just pop it on any compatible tripod without the need of removing it or adding other accessories. The QR plate itself is so small and light it doesn’t bother me at all.
Once again I’m impressed by 4V Design. They’ve managed to create a strap that is designed with professional and intensive use in mind but still is very good looking and stylish. The carbon leather on the 4V Design Versis SL is very pretty and feels very durable like all the leathers used by 4V Design. It is great that the 4V Design Versis is extremely versatile. You can choose to buy the strap to carry one, two or even tree cameras at once. And if you have a 4V Design Versis for one camera you can still buy all the parts you need to turn it in to a Versis Duo, Versis Twin or Trio. Add that to the comfort, the great looks and I can only conclude that this is by far the best camera strap I’ve ever used.
And if you are thinking about buying a Versis and have a arca swiss head on your tripod I would strongly advise you to consider adding a 4V Design QR plate to the kit. The hook that comes with the Versis SL is very good, but the QR plate makes it possible to attach your camera to a tripod without taking the QR plate off your camera. And if you don’t use it to mount your camera on a tripod or to hang it from a strap you just fold down the hook and you’ll forget it is there.
If you buy the strap at the official 4V Design website you can use the promotional code: 4V-RICKSREVIEWS-10 and for a limited time you’ll get a 10% discount.