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I have a tripod for each of my cameras, I have this Hama Star 61 Tripod for my DLSR, and I have the Hama Traveller Mini Tripod for my compact camera. I could also use this Star 61 tripod with my compact camera if I wanted to, but I don't really see the point, if I'm going to the trouble of lugging around a full size tripod then I may as well take my DLSR camera with me - a Nikon D5000. It was actually my husband that bought both of the tripods for me, he bought them as I'm far too shaky and I really don't have a steady hand when taking photos, he was forever laughing at my lack of photography skills and so he decided to try and help me out by buying me the two tripods.
The Hama Star 61 is apparently an entry level tripod, I guess that means for beginners hey, well that would certainly be me then! It's a really lightweight tripod, I think that I always expected tripods to be really heavy, but this one isn't. It's quite a sleek and slim tripod, and it's made of aluminium, it's in a champagne colour rather than a silver or a black. It even comes with its own black tripod bag that you can just sling over your shoulder when you're out and about with your tripod.
It has a little plate that you attach on to the bottom of your camera (a quick release attachment platform, so my husband tells me!), which then easily slots on to the top of the tripod, and then clips in or releases with just a quick pull on the catch. You can buy replacement quick release platforms should you ever lose it, my husband did buy me a spare one as I do always tend to lose things! This does hold your camera securely and you don't need to worry that it will fall off. The tripod will hold a camera up to 4kg in weight.
The three tripod legs are easily adjustable, and all adjust independently of one another so that you can get the tripod level even on uneven ground. They pull out in two separate sections which then lock into position wherever you need them to be, and they are all attached to the centre column for added stability. The centre column is also adjustable in height as well, this twists up to adjust the height, and then again will lock into position. The 'base bit' of the tripod has a spirit level on so you can check that you have it level. The tripod will go from a minimum height of 60cm to a maximum height of 153cm. The tripod has sturdy flexible rubber feet so that it won't slip on a slippery surface.
Because the tripod is quite lightweight I sometimes kind of think that it isn't quite stable enough, this is especially apparent if it's a little bit windy, I sometimes think that it might just blow over! You can solve this by weighting the tripod down with something, there's a little hook underneath the central column on the tripod where you can hang something to weight it down and to stabalise it if needs be. I will normally just hang my camera bag here, which works fine.
The 'top' (see my lack of technical terms here!) of the tripod where you place your camera is fully adjustable with a large comfortable lever, you can take shots at a wide range of angles and you can even rotate and position your camera to take portrait shots rather than just landscape shots. When you have your camera in the desired position then you just twist the little knob at the side to lock the 'top' into position. The 'top' of the tripod has another spirit level, again so you can check you have it level.
I have noticed over time that this doesn't lock into position at tightly as it once did, I'm finding now (after 18 months) that sometimes if I have my camera angled downwards that even after I have locked the top into position it will droop slightly a little bit further than I intended.
The tripod takes a little bit of getting used to at first as there's so many different bits that need adjusting and moving to set it up, and then to get the right height and angle for your shot etc. It used to take me quite a while at first, but with practice I got much quicker and it takes me no time at all now.
I have to say that this has really helped me to take clearer, crisper shots, obviously it hasn't turned me into David Bailey overnight, but it is definitely a handy thing to have to take great photos. I don't always take this out as a tripod is a bulky thing to carry around with you, I do always take it on holiday though and have got some great shots from using the tripod with my camera rather than just trying to stand as still as possible and shake as little as possible myself! It's also good for using the self timer feature, or the time delay feature on my camera. I'm in the process of trying to set up my own cupcake baking business and I've got some great photos of my cakes and cupcakes using the tripod to take the shots.
As I said earlier my husband bought this for me and he says that he seems to remember it being in the region of around £35.00, I personally think that this is expensive for an entry level tripod, but apparently tripods are quite expensive, especially the good quality ones. I've had this for around 18 months now it has had quite a bit of use, I definitely think that I would get the use out of a more substantial, more expensive tripod, maybe he'll stump up for a better quality one for me if I ask him nicely!
I purchased the Hama Star 61 tripod for use in my place of work, having found it on amazon at a decent price. I now use it on a weekly basis with a Canon Legria HFS10 Digital Video Camera, for recording interviews and short films at tradeshows, (for which it is absolutely ideal) as well as occasionally on our office socials.
Assembling and disassembling the Hama Star 61 is relatively simple, and can be done in around 30 seconds, once you know what you are doing. As an inexperienced user of this kind of tripod, it initially took me quite a while to work out how each of the adjustable sections worked, and how to ensure everything was secure before attaching my camera.
When attaching the camera, there is a handy, removable plate which is a simple but useful feature. You can detach the plate, secure any type of camera to it, and then clip it back in place without interfering with the set up of the tripod.
Having familiarised myself with the tripod's features in recent weeks, I've found the individually adjustable legs to be a great benefit. Combined with the built-in spirit levels, this has really helped me to position the camera for straight and level shots; it's amazing how many uneven floors and obstacles you find while filming at tradeshows!
I've found the tripod is perfect for travelling to visit clients and attend tradeshows. It's is easily packed up into the handy carry case (which is included), and is relatively compact when stowed. It is also extremely lightweight, making it very easily portable.
The camera I use with this tripod is a Canon Video Camera, which is relatively small and light itself. As a result the tripod provides ample support and steadiness for our use. I've stated the low weight as a great advantage for portability, but this could have negative implications when using heavier cameras and accessories/lenses, or when working outside in harsher weather conditions. If using a larger video camera or SLR camera, you may require something more substantial than this unit to provide sufficient support.
Although I primarily use the Hama Star 61 with a digital video camera, I usually take static shots, and do little in terms of panning and moving. When I do, I've occasionally found this to be a little clunky and clumsy, and found it difficult to make the right adjustments to allow the camera to move and pivot freely whilst still remaining stable and secure. This is only a minor gripe, and I'm sure I will become better with practice!
In very basic terms, the tripod also looks smart and professional, and appears well made. Although my work hasn't subjected it to the most rigorous physical testing, it has stood up well to extended use each week.
The Hama Star 61 is a very good tripod for a beginner or possibly intermediate user, or within a small to medium business (as is the case for me). When used with a smaller camera or video camera it is absolutely ideal!
EDIT: Following a helpful comment below, I'd like to clarify my recommendation of this tripod for small businesses. I don't work for a photography business and I'm quite inexperienced with tripods and video cameras. I work for a recruitment company, and we often take the kit with us to shows or conduct interviews to go on our website and youtube. I believe other small businesses with a desire to create smart video content would benefit from this basic tripod.
Having come across the Hama Star 61 on Amazon for a bargain price I decided I needed a new tripod! I have found that, although the tripod does its job very well it is perhaps a little bit too light when it is very windy. Obviously the weight of the tripod is a big plus point when in transit, but I have owned more sturdy tripods in the past and havnt complained about them being too heavy. there is a hook on the tripod and I usually hand something on there, either my camera equipment or a bag just to add some stability. There are many movements on this tripod, so small adjustments can be made with ease, although at first it can be just a case of working things out.
I would suggest you give it a go before going out with it, work out the many adjustables and see what works best for you. The last thing you want to be worrying about is the camera angle when you are setting up a shot, the tripod doesnt need to be fussy and this one is very simple to operate. The tripod helps me achieve near perfect panoramic shots with the pan handle and also allows for many degrees of tilting.
For beginners I would say this is the perfect value option as it would accomodate smaller to mid sized cameras. I would say that if you have a DSLR then you might look for something more substantial, though. Another gripe would be the plastic plate for attaching cameras to, again I would say this could be a stumbling block for DSLR owners as it isnt really equipped to take the larger sized cameras.
Overall this a great budget tripod for beginners and intermediates as it is simple to use and comes with its own carry case. For the professionals unfortunately this wont suit most of your needs.
I had been searching for a new tripod to replace my unbelievably heavy and cumbersome one when I happened to stumble across the Hama Star 61.
This light-weight aluminium entry level tripod is very well designed and built making it perfect for lugging around where ever you happen to be.
It can take a good sized camera and lens as well (advised max of around 2.5kg) - making it a definite bonus, if like myself, you've been looking for something compact and light but able of holding a larger SLR/DSLR and lens.
Although, if using larger lenses it would be advisable, as ever, to use the correct weighting and support on the lens itself to make sure you don't end up toppling over!
One huge plus point in favour of this tripod is the ability to move the legs independently of each other. I have had tripods in the past which don't have this feature and you can spend a long time trying to sort them all out evenly - especially if you happen to be on uneven terrain.
The only improvement to this could be an addition of spikes/support on the feet to add stability.
In addition to the independently moving legs you also have a couple of other very nifty features - including a handle on the body of the tripod and two very handy spirit levels which really do help you ensure a straight and level shot.
I managed to pick this tripod up at Asda recently for just shy of £10 which in my opinion is utterly fantastic. Looking around online you can take this little beauty away for as little as £15.
Well worth a try!
The Hama 61 is constructed from lightweight aluminium and is considered an entry level tripod that is both stylish and durable. There are a number of features that I particularly like about this tripod:
I really like the look of this tripod. It has a kind of metallic tarnished champagne finish with black trimmings. It makes a change from the ubiquitous boring aluminium grey or plain old black.
It's light but not too light. It should be fine for most medium sized SLRs and video cameras but perhaps not for the heavier type video cameras.
Its legs can move independently from one another. Some tripods have legs that are interconnected, and these can be quite difficult and frustrating to level on uneven ground.
There is a handle on the tripod stem. This is very useful as it allows you to easily carry it around without a case.
This is the first tripod I have used or seen that has spirit levels to give you an indication if the shot is level with the horizon. This tripod has two spirit levels: one at the head and one at the base where the three legs join together; a pretty good idea I think. One missing feature is spikes on the feet.
I bought my Hama Star 61 online at Argos for around £30 and would highly recommend it at that price. However, I have since seen it for around £20 including bag at www.picstop.co.uk - a bargain!
- Ideal for photo and video
- 3-way tripod head with quick release plate
- With crank for continuously variable height adjustment of centre column
- With rubber feet
- Aluminium legs, dia.20mm
- Closed length: 60cm
- Fully extended length: 153cm
- Holds up to 3,0kg
- Weight: 1220g
- Incl. bag
© Zmugzy February 2007