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I've wanted a Joby Gorillapod tripod for my compact camera for quite a while now. I love the quirky gimmicky look of the the Gorillapods, with the black balls with the brightly coloured stripes, and the fact that they are flexible tripods. My husband says that's all that they are though - gimmicky tripods and that they are not worth the money, £20 - £25. I think because I've gone on and on about wanting a Gorillapod he decided to buy me something similar - this Hama mini flexible tripod. He said that this was only £5, and that it will basically do exactly the same things as a Gorillapod at just a fraction of the price.
The Hama flexible mini tripod is the perfect size to use with a compact camera, it's really small and very lightweight and is a really convenient size to easily fit into a pocket or a handbag. I can easily fit this into all of my handbags along with my camera, I would only really struggle in a small clutch bag when I'm limited for space anyway, and I'd much rather take my lip gloss than a mini tripod! This even has a little clip on the tripod so that you could even attach it to your belt or shirt pocket, or maybe your camera case so that they are both kept together and you would always have it to hand.
This is a sleek and stylish looking little tripod, and it's black in colour, this does actually blend in really well with my camera which is black. It's made of metal so it's a sturdy little tripod, it's not cheap and nasty. It has the screw thread (I'm sure that's not the proper technical term for this!) on the top of the tripod which you screw into the little hole on the bottom of your camera. It seems to fit most compact cameras, it fits both mine and my husbands which are both Panasonic Lumix's but both different models, and I've had a number of friends use it with many different makes of compact cameras on nights out and it has fitted every single one. It is only suitable for compact cameras, it won't support the weight of a DLSR.
So after you've screwed your camera onto the tripod then you would then open the tripod legs and position the tripod on a table or a flat surface, or actually with this flexible tripod you could position it anywhere to get your shot. The little tripod legs are easily adjustable and the tripod will go from a minimum height of 10cm to a maximum height of 14cm, each tripod leg is flexible and independently adjustable so if you have the tripod positioned on an uneven surface then you can flex and adjust each leg accordingly to get it level, and to get it to stand steady. You can even twist the little legs and wrap them around something, such as maybe a chair back or a pole. The little tripod legs have sturdy black rubber balls as feet on the ends, so that it won't slip or slide on the surface you have positioned it on, they will create a steady hold for your camera. Your camera is safe and secure on the tripod, all you need to do then is just shoot your picture.
My two main issues however with this flexible tripod are; firstly, the 'top part' of the tripod where you screw your camera into isn't adjustable, it doesn't tilt or turn in other words. To adjust the angle of the camera you have to flex the legs. This just seems a bit odd, and the tripod just doesn't seem to be able to achieve the same range of angles that I would have expected. For instance you can't take portrait shots using this tripod. And secondly, although the little tripod legs are flexible, they don't flex as much as the Gorillapods legs, and so you can't use this in as many quirky situations, and it doesn't feel quite as secure as a Gorillapod when wrapped around something. I have used a friend's Gorillapod as well, and so I have compared the differences.
I do think that this little tripod is good value for just £5, however it isn't quite as flexible as the Gorillapods. It does work well as a mini tripod though if you are happy to just take landscape shots, and just need a small amount of flexibility with the legs. It certainly helps to take clearer, crisper photos, as obviously it takes away 'the shakes' factor, and it does create 'a steady hand' to take your photos. It works especially well for taking shots with the self timer feature, group shots, self portraits, time delay pictures etc. It's easy to use and to adjust, and it's very handy to have and use on the go, it's great for holidays, nights out etc.
This is most probably the most basic tri-pod you can possibly find. it consists of a screw top and plastic legs which slightly deform to give you the desired angle/height.
I got this tri-pod before my current gorilla tri-pod for my pocket camcorder. I liked it because it was really easy to attach and detach from it and therefore made it really good for travel, along with its really compact size, I could keep both in my pocket, side-by-side and have them ready to shoot within seconds by just screwing it onto the bottom of my device.
The rubberised plastic feet are probably the main reason I don't use this any more, they really didn't sit on a surface well. I like my devices to be secure when i place them down and i really didn't trust the lack of grip that the feet of this tri-pod had to keep my camcorder still. The bendy legs pushing in to revert to their old position was usually enough to move the feet a centimetre or two; this means that I would have to re-adjust my height or angle which could get frustrating after a while.
You can use this tri-pod to wrap around objects to film from instead of merely placing the tri-pod on the ground. This does enable more interesting shot to be taken due to the variety of angle you then have to film from. However, I now use a gorilla tri-pod which has rubber all over the legs which aids in grip when in these situations. The grip of this tri-pod is far worse on the legs and it can either not attach or struggles to stay still when attached to these objects. The legs are a little more restricted in their movement too and this makes them unsuitable fro many objects.
An advantage of this tri-pod is that if you do manage to keep it still on a table, the shot will remain level and give you some nice footage as all of the legs generally go in and out to the same points easily - it really annoys me with certain tri-pods when you can't get all of the legs at the same length or angle and therefore you get an unlevel shot, this is something I don't have to worry about with this tri-pod.
I purchased the Hama 4024 mini tripod about 6 months ago mainly for use with a compact digital recorder. Most people will use it with small compact digital cameras as I have done on occasion. Small tripods are ideal when used in conjunction with the timer function on your camera. After setting up your camera on the tripod, you can press the timer button and do a quick self portrait or jump into a group photo shot.
The tripod is quite light so it would only be suitable for small digital compact cameras rather than a heavier SLR type. Although you might get away with using one of the smaller bridge cameras. It would be advisable to avoid using this tripod on very blustery days as a light camera perched on top might have a tendency to topple over. On the plus side this is a very compact item that can easily be slipped into a pocket and won't add much weight to your bag .
The tripod is about 12cm in height. At the top of the tripod affixed to the head is the universal screw thread mount that will fit nearly all cameras. This juts up from a rubbery textured surface that provides grip with the camera body once it is screwed onto the head of the tripod. The head itself is in a fixed position so if you want to point your camera in a different direction you have to turn the whole tripod. I don't find this a disadvantage. Pointing down from the head of the tripod is a clip that can possibly allow the user to clip the tripod onto a belt or something similar.
The three black finely ridged bendy legs can be adjusted so as to allow you to point your camera, once it's attached to the universal screw thread, in almost any direction. Each tripod leg can be adjusted independently. This should allow you to keep the viewfinder relatively level when the tripod is rested upon an uneven surface. The foot of each leg consists of a rubbery ball that provides a considerable amount of grip on most surfaces. As an alternative to resting the tripod on a relatively flat surface the 9cm legs can be twisted to wrap around, for example, a narrow post or a thin tree branch in order to provide a different kind of viewpoint.
When taking pictures with the tripod on a relatively flat surface the only slight criticism that I have is that it can be quite difficult sometimes to get the viewfinder into a perfectly horizontal position. So in a shot with the landscape in the background for example, don't be surprised on the odd occasion to find your horizon on a bit of a slant. However, most people nowadays should have access to some kind of photo editing application whereby you can easily adjust any wonky photos. One final important point to emphasise is to make sure the screw hole at the base of your camera is near the centre of the base. If you only have a camera where the screw hole is positioned at one end, then this tripod will not be suitable as it will be likely to tip over.
Apart from the above, there are not many complaints that I can make about this tripod, considering it cost less than £3. I would recommend it as a very handy little device.