Any serious photographer will be aware that investing in a decent tripod is a must, and in the world of the tripod it's often the case that you get what you pay for - this begs the question of whether or not the low cost Hama Star 42 is any good.
Price & Design
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Costing only £10 from Amazon, the Hama Star 42 is one of the cheapest full-size tripods on the market. The reason that the product is so cheap is arguably down to the quality (or lack of quality) in the materials used in its construction. One of the most important parts of any tripod is the head that the camera fits onto - and here it's all plastic and feels rather flimsy. What I can say in the HS42's favour is the fact that it hasn't broken in the time i've used it - and that has to count for something.
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The usual tripod adjustment settings are present on the HS42 including a twist-lock system for easy angle changes and a quick release pad which screws directly into the underside of your camera. That said, additional features on the HS42 are all but lacking - with spirit levels and other such gimmickery reserved for the more expensive models. In terms of the product's vital statistics, the Hama Star has a maximum height of one and a half metres - although if you actually extend it to this length then a fair bit of stability is lost. This is especially the case in outdoor windy conditions, where you'll notice a slight amount of wobble - the problem is down to the fact that the legs are rather flimsy and rather thin.
In terms of the good points - well, the tripod is fairly lightweight and the rubberised feet prevent it from slipping on most surfaces. A nice touch would have been the inclusion of a carrying handle attached to the body - but again, this feature has probably been omitted to keep the costs down.
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Although it's not a terrible tripod, there are plenty of better models out there - unfortunately they all cost a bit more. If you're willing to spend an extra £15 then Jessops' basic model is probably a better option (although that does have a few flaws of its own). I would only recommend the Hama Star 42 as a 'first tripod' - and if it's used without being fully extended, it will probably be perfectly acceptable.
I was looking for a value tripod that would offer a smooth travel when panning my camera during filming. I didn't have a large budget so was looking around at what was on offer and saw a few reviews of the Hama Star 42.
What first interested me was the 'fluid tripod head' specification listed for this model.
That normally means a better movement that is smoother when panning your camera. I really needed that as there is nothing that makes a video look really bad than jerky movement.
When it arrived I was keen to test it. I was delighted at the travel; it was a definite improvement on another entry-level tripod I'd been using that I'd bought at around the same price.
To improve the movement even more, I've added extra length to the handle. I do this with a simple cut of plastic tubing gaffer taped to the handle supplied. This allows a more precise movement and it's a tip I'd recommend for those who might be struggling with movement jitter on any tripod.
The height is also good at 151cm and the quick release plate for your camera is both well made and fixes into place firmly and securely.
The tripod sits well on the ground and has rubber feet to keep it gripped to most surfaces. Design is stylish and compact. The built quality is good.
Even though it's a full size tripod, it doesn't take up too space and folds well for storage. Ok, you can buy far better tripods - but for its price it's a great choice if you are on a budget.
If you've ever found yourself looking through the family photo album cursing the wonky landscapes and tilted portraits, it's about time you invested in a tripod for your camera.
The Hama Star 42 is a consumer model tripod suitable for everyday shooting events. Although aimed solely at the home market, the tripod comes complete with quick release system and 3-way positioning head to ensure precision and speed in equal measure.
The tripod is made of lightweight aluminium and is of a typical nine segment construction. Each of the three legs has three extendable sections, allowing you to adjust the height with a fair degree of accuracy. These segments are held in place with small plastic clips that pinch into place; while these tabs aren't the strongest I've ever encountered, they do an admirable job of holding things together on a day to day basis.
The rotating head plate is made of a strong plastic, as is the quick release mechanism. While this means you'd be unwise to trust the Hama Star 42 with your most expensive equipment, it does provide an adequate level of support for virtually all home cameras and recording appliances.
Being constructed of aluminium, the tripod weighs in at a paltry 1.2kg, which means you're unlikely to be breaking a sweat whilst lugging this around; having been on several outdoor excursions with this tripod, I can report its easy enough to transport without issue. In fact, while *not* recommended, I have had occasion to pick up and move the loaded tripod using the panning armature alone.
Unlike your average 'pro' model, the lack of ballast equates to a rather pleasing result. When fully retracted the tripod becomes incredibly portable, resulting in a practical stand you can keep and store in the back of your car without concern for wasted space.
While it's hard to fault such a utilitarian device, there are some issues that should be identified before throwing down your cash on the tripod.
Firstly, you must remember you're getting a consumer model. As such you don't get the typical extras like gyroscopic elements, ball-bearing swivel heads and spirit level indicators; you therefore shouldn't rely on this model for professional quality work, lest you find your camcorder pans a little jerky, snaps slightly askew and your heavyweight £10,000 DSLR crashing to the floor in a strong gust of wind.
Secondly, I have had a couple of instances where the grips and 'locks' have become stuck or wedged after the tripod has been left sitting unused for a couple of months; however, these issues have easily been solved with a quick spray of WD40 and a little elbow grease.
Minor quibbles aside, the Hama Star 42 is a proficient, if somewhat generic, attempt at a consumer-grade tripod. If you're looking to up your photographic range without investing big-bucks, you can do far worse than splashing out £20 for this model.
Hama Star 42 is budget priced, but is still packed with all the features you would expect from a good tripod.