Top critical review
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Suited to all cameras in general but not DSLR zoom lenses
on 6 December 2009
I enjoy night and low light photography outdoors so I thought it was time I invested in a tripod. Being on a budget, I decided to try this.
BUILD & DESIGN
Opening the big white box it comes in, you'll find a free bag and the tripod itself. There's no instructions as other reviewers have mentioned but it's not too hard to work the tripod.
The tripod itself has nice bronze painted aluminium legs but everything else such as the quick release catches are made of plastic - Cheap plastic that make cracking sounds as soon as you apply a bit of pressure. If you look closely enough underneath the head, you can actually see the glue used to put the joints together!
The head has a detachable platform so you can remove the camera quickly if you needed to such as for sudden action shots before clipping it back onto the tripod.
Quick release catches are used to extend the legs and hold them into place. There are also two plastic bolts on the central column - One at the bottom near the hook that you can tighten to prevent the tripod closing up and, one at the top where you can crank a small handle to extend the height further.
All these joints makes setting up and putting away the tripod quick and easy.
Extra features, there is a hook at the bottom where you can add extra weight. There are two spirit level - A spot one near the handle and a line one on the head itself.
Personally I've never found a use for any of the extra features really.
As for the free bag itself, it has a single pocket with a small zip that forces you to put the tripod in legs first. This means you'll probably want to clean the plastic feet if you're using it outdoors.
Attaching a DSLR with an 18-55mm standard zoom kit lens, the tripod seems to be steady enough even at full height. Shots come out sharp even with long exposure times of 30 seconds outdoors.
However, the problem arises when using heavier zoom lenses. At the telephoto end of 300mm shots come out blurred. The tripod itself remains steady enough but even with everything tightened, I noticed the head isn't firm enough to stay still as soon as the shutter goes off to take the picture.
Turning up the ISO setting so that you can lower the exposure time fixes the problem but, this defeats the point of using a tripod in the first place of course!
This also means it is not ideal for bulb mode or when you have to press the shutter button yourself.
Furthermore, if you're using a DSLR the head is strong enough to hold the camera at 90 degrees angle for portraits but, it will fall flat if the angle is anything less than that.
The Hama Star 62 appears to be a bargain packed full of features that make it both quick to setup and put away - It even comes with a fairly good quality free bag!
However, you have to wonder how long it will last with all the important, frequently used parts of the tripod made of cheap plastic such as the catches on the legs, the head itself and other joints.
It's a tripod that is suited to most cameras but not for anyone into zoom photography with DSLRs.