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What is it? The hama traveller compact is another small tripod of the variety that isn't designed for SLR cameras.
What does it look like? The tripod is bigger than many of the other minature tripods available and stands between 22.5 and 43cm high - this gives compact/bridge cameras stc some extra elevation and support, but it isn't sturdy enough to place an SLR on with any degree of confidence.
Colour wise it is black with silver detailing on the legs. The bottom of the legs are finished off with rubber caps to prevent slippage. There is no quick release plate, but the layout and panning arm give the overall look of a more traditional tripod.
How do I use it? As standard for most tripods, the legs extend to give extra height - in the case of this particular tripod this is not controlled by screws or clips, but simply by pulling the end of the leg out and it clicks into place when it reaches full extension (so esentially height is not adjustable on a cm by cm basis) - this extension comes in too stages. Like other tripods of similar small size, there is no brace between the legs to prevent collapse, but the rubber caps provide enough grip to make collapse unlikely except when significant force is applied.
As mentioned earlier the tripod head does not feature a quick release plate and the whole head is securely attached to the tripod. To attach your camera you use a small bit of rigged plastic, located to the base of the screw thread and simply twist it to screw the camera on top. The easiest way to access this is if the head is placed in the vertical position.
The head can only be placed either vertically or horizontally for shooting purposes as the placement is controlled by a push and twist action, where it slots into notches. The panning arm however is alot more versatile - it allows for complete 360 degree panning and also vertical movement, with is very smooth and easy to control. Twisting the arm clockwise locks it firmly in the given position.
To collapse the tipod back down, you need to compact the legs back down which can be alot trickier than extending them! Sometimes they go back without any problems and at other times you end up trying all sorts of movements to get them to collapse - whacking the end, twisting the leg around, wiggling it back and forth etc. After this the head should be tilted back so that the arm now lays flat along side the legs (minus the camera on top of course).
The 43cm maximum height means that this tripod can be used with some degree of sucess to photograph small objects placed on the surface directly below the camera. However when the head is positioned to point the camera straight down, this compromises the stability of the whole structure and I have discovered (with some careful experimentation) that is cannot hold anything as heavy as a Canon G12 or Nikon P7000 in this position without toppling over.
Positives: - Lightweight - Easy to transport - Gives better height than other similar compact tripods - Camera attachment mechanism better than many other tripods that also lack quick release plates - Decent quality plastic - doesn't feel like it will break easily
Negatives: - Legs can be a pain to fold back down - No quick release plate - Head can only be completely vertical or completely horizontal (so can't correct for horizon if tripod isn't placed on level surface - Still not sturdy enough for bigger cameras, especially if the head is placed in such a position that the weight of the camera isn't evenly spread across the tripod.
How much can I expect to pay? Price varies quite alot but expect to pay up to around £20, with the higher prices usually being found on the highstreet. I have just discovered though that Tesco direct are currently selling this tripod on offer at £11.42
Who would I recommend this tripod to? Anyone with a compact camera who would like a tripod that can make a variety of functions easier eg. self portraits, group photos on timer, photographing small things for ebay etc.
Who wouldn't I recommend this tripod too? Anyone with a camera that's the size/weight of a Canon G series or similar.