Product Type: Hama tripods
Newest Review: ... in price, height, weight and leg circumference. The model I bought and reviewing is the Hama Star 75 Tripod, which came with a strong, b... more
Budget tripod for cameras and camcorders
Hama Star 75
Member Name: cognition
Hama Star 75
Advantages: Reasonably cheap, very light, comes with carrying bag
Disadvantages: It's not esy to do smooth pans with it
The Hama Star 75 tripod is a budget tripod featuring a 3-way tripod head, built-in spirit level and a quick release plate. The length is minimum 42.5cm and maximum 1.25m. It weights 620g and comes with a free carrying bag. The tripod is targeted at the very low end of the budget camcorder and camera market.
Tripods are commonly used for two reasons. With still photography, should you wish to decrease the shutter speed, such as would be necessary if wishing to take a photo in lower light conditions without using a flash, you will find that if you are holding the camera in your hand, it will almost be impossible to get a crisp photo. Light is needed in order to take a photo. When taking a photo in bright light or with flash, the camera can get enough light to generate a proper photo in an instant. However, when the camera needs to let in more natural light because there is not enough light in one instant, the time it will take to generate the photo can be noticable. It can take enough miliseconds that the tiny movements of your hand will render the photos blurry. With video, tripods are sometimes used for achieving smooth pans.
Cameras and camcorders that are tripod compatible, which happens to be most of them, have a sort of screwhole underneath. There is a scew in the quick release plate that comes with the tripod, so this plate can easily be attached onto the bottom of your camera or camcorder. The quick release plate, as the name implies, is easily attached to or released from the tripod. This ensures that you can switch from tripod mounted to hand held camera use in about five seconds, assuming you've already connected the release plate to your camera.
The tripod has 3 legs that can be extended. There are 2 additional legs inside each of the main legs, and a clamp to hold each leg in place once you've extended it as you would like. So if the tripod is minimized and you want to extend it all the way up, that is 3 clamps to open and close for each leg. So making bigger adjustments to the tripod can be a somewhat lengthy process, as in it might take you a minute and not five seconds.
At the top of the tripod next to the quick release plate is a spirit level. Should you not be acquainted with these, it's a horizontal transparent tube filled with liquid and a bubble. The middle of the tube is marked. If the tripod is completely even levelled, the bubble will be in the middle of the tube, where the mark is. Interestingly, when I got this tripod, I realized just how skewed my old house in London was. I knew it was bad, but I didn't know how bad it was until I acquired this tripod. I think is a very nice feature, although I happen not too care much myself how level the tripod is when I am filming.
You can adjust the height of the tripod, and you can achieve different angles by adjusting the legs differently. The head of the tripod can move 360 degrees horizontally, and you can also move it about 180 degrees or so vertically. Within the available space you are not limited in your movement of the head. There are screws to adjust should you wish to lock the tripod in place once you've got it set up the way you want it. This works reasonably well. With my old heavy mini DV camcorder I sometimes had the problem that even though I thought I had screwed everything in place just fine, the camera would slide forwards, until it was pointing at the ground. This is not an issue with my new and much lighter mini HD camcorder. One thing I was quite interested in when I initially got the tripod, was the ability to do smooth pans, letting the camera elegantly film from the left of the horizon to the right. This should be simple enough, and I think with a more expensive tripod it probably is simple. Maybe the Hama Star 75 tripod would perform better if the joints were oiled up a bit, but I don't do pans any more, just because it's not very easy to get them smooth with this tripod.
Being that the tripod weights only 620grams, is 42cm long at its minimal height, and comes with a carrying bag, it is reasonably portable, although big enough that it's sort of a nuissance to bring it with you. It depends how invested you are in the idea. If I know I'm going to do serious filming, I'll bring the tripod, but I won't be bringing it with me for any spontaneous filming I might be doing, unless if I had access to a car. I also feel it's that bit too big to bring with me on an airplane unless I have room for it in my suitcase.
This is probably one of the cheapest full size tripods you can get, and for the price it is a reasonable investment. In my experience it has worked best for still positions, as opposed to pans. I can recommend it as a budget tripod for still photos, and it's very light. There are better alternatives for those who want to be able to do smooth movements, and those who are more than amateurs, but for those of us who don't want to spend more than £10 for a tripod, this will do.
Summary: Decent budget tripod for those on a budget
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