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I am just a beginner to photography and I have a simple question.

I was shooting in night when I realized that through manual settings when you increase your shutter speed the images becomes blurred due to slight shake and you need some sort of support or a tripod to have a clear picture.That is when I started searching for a tripod as I have no knowledge on the tripod I came across "HAMA STAR 61" which for me is quite affordable and decent.So My question is can "HAMA STAR 61" be used for DSLR's ? or should be specific in looking for DSLR's tripods ?

Your answers are highly appreciated and thanx in advance.

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1  
That tripod is not going to be all that stable, really. It's not going to take much movement around it (be it air or vibrations) to result in blur, especially when doing night shots. This isn't an uncommon problem with inexpensive, consumer, tripods. It may be better than nothing, but I don't think by much. –  John Cavan Jun 21 '13 at 1:15
    
Assuming you are using something like this - amazon.co.uk/dp/B0000WXD0W ? Can you use that with a Nikon DSLR, sure. Is it decent, no not really. A small wind gust will take your equipment over and likely damage it if used on a hard surface. See the following: What should I pay attention to when choosing a tripod? and What are my best options for a tripod for up to $100? –  dpollitt Jun 21 '13 at 2:08
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I have the Hama Star 62, see my comment to Esa Paulasto. It's better than handholding, but it takes some care and patience to keep it steady. OK with short focal lengths and a remote release. OK if you're just trying to figure out whether you want a tripod at all. But if you're planning to use it quite a bit, I'd suggest finding something more stable. –  j-g-faustus Jun 21 '13 at 13:50
    
@j-g-faustus - why not make an answer. Direct experience is more helpful to this direct question than general guidance even if general guidance helps on similar questions in the future. I think your experience with the tripod in question is most certainly worth of an answer. –  AJ Henderson Jun 21 '13 at 13:57

4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

As long as the tripod and head are stable and rated to handle the weight of the device you are mounting. It doesn't much matter what the tripod is designed for as long as it has the appropriate mount. A DSLR uses a typical single screw mount so should be fine. The main time you would need something fancier is for video when you need smooth panning and tilting (in which case you would want a fluid head tripod). If holding still is all that is needed, a sturdy ball head is fine though.

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Actually the tripod which mentioned above comes with the titling and panning as well as useful for photography.So I guess that would make sense ! if you can say more about it I would recommend you to look at that model video so that you can be little more helpful for me ! –  DRK Jun 20 '13 at 20:26
    
@DRK I'm sorry, but I don't understand what you were trying to say in your comment. I'm not saying that panning and tilting aren't useful for photography and a ball head tripod is capable of doing these movements. The difference is how smoothly and controlled it does it. A fluid head tripod is a much more heavy duty (and more expensive) tripod head that uses glide plates to have variable and constant resistance to motion. This allows a video camera to be smoothly panned and tilted while recording. For photography, the smoothness of motion doesn't matter, just the lack of it. –  AJ Henderson Jun 20 '13 at 21:45
    
I am sorry I mistook the context you posted. But I agree with you the fluid head tripod is very expensive. But since I am a starter I should try to use the simpler ones first and then move on to expensive ones. Thank you for the input. –  DRK Jun 20 '13 at 21:49
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@DRK - since you are doing photography, you have no need for fluid head. You only need that if you are doing video. A ball head works fine for photography as long as it is stable. –  AJ Henderson Jun 21 '13 at 2:00
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I recommend against getting a tripod and head rated to handle the weight of the device you ware mounting. Assuming the lens/body are balanced on the head (and they're usually not), then as soon as you tilt the head the weight is off-center and the tripod will no longer stably hold the weight. That's why many heads for DSLRs are rated 10-15 or more pounds -- it's not that the camera weighs that much, it's that the balance shifts the weight so much. –  Dan Wolfgang Jun 21 '13 at 10:31

I can't address the specific model of the @OP's question, but I have bought three tripods and have read many articles that say that tripod purchases typically have a beginner's tax. You don't want to spend much money, so you get a cheap one. It mostly works. But you find that it really doesn't hold the camera steady. You can't shoot shots that take a few seconds of exposure as it won't hold steady.

So you buy a slightly better tripod, and its better. But not good. A few years later, you spend a few hundred dollars on a solid tripod and use it for 20+ years. The cost of the first two tripods was the beginner's tax.

See http://strobist.blogspot.com/2010/03/most-powerful-light-in-your-bag.html "Tripod Buying 101

First: Don't buy a crappy, no-name tripod. You'll only have to repeat the process later. Trust me on that one. I learned the hard way."

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I have the Hama Star 62, a sibling of the Star 61 you're asking about. The Star 62 has a slightly higher maximum height and is rated at 4 kg instead of 3 kg, otherwise they appear identical.

For your primary question: Yes, the tripod can be used for DSLRs, including Nikons.

The good news first:

  • The tripod comes with a quick release system, which is quite handy.
  • It was OK for my 18-105mm lens, as long as I used shutter delay and a remote release.
  • It works well for fast shutter speeds, e.g. self portraits.
  • It works well as a place to put the camera when you need both hands free for a moment.
  • I'm confident that the tripod won't just tip over. And there's this hook where you can hang something heavy for stabilization if you're somewhere windy.

There were some minor issues:

  • At 105mm, I had to zoom a bit wider than the picture I had in mind, since the adjustments aren't very precise and the head sags when you let it go. So you can't really do precise framing, and it's easier to crop in post than to make a small tripod adjustment stick.
  • I tried macro, but gave it up due to the lack of accurate adjustments. I could actually make more precise adjustments by moving the entire tripod than I could by adjusting the head.

For the price, I still thought it was an OK deal.

But when I bought a 70-300mm, the minor nuisances became rather major:

  • At 300mm, it's hard to manually focus on the moon at night (or anything else, for that matter), since touching the lens causes the live view to shake so badly that I can't tell whether it's in focus or not. So I make one tiny focus adjustment, wait several seconds until the shaking dies down so I can see the result, and repeat a dozen times over. Tedious at best.
  • At 300mm, the imprecise adjustments and head sagging starts to seriously interfere with my ability to do any framing at all. Now it's more like "put the subject somewhere in the middle of the frame with lots of room on all sides, keep my fingers crossed, and do the framing in post".

At 300mm, I don't think it's an OK deal. It still beats handholding for night shots, but the cost of a better tripod is starting to look like a small price to pay to avoid the hassle.


In general, I think the advice in How to choose a tripod for a DSLR makes sense:

  • If you currently do not have a tripod and you want to buy one, get the cheapest aluminum tripod system with an integrated head for less than $150 total. Why do I recommend the cheapest tripod? Because you first need to understand how much you will be using it.
  • If you already have a cheap tripod and you want to get something better, save yourself a lot of money and frustration and get the best tripod with an arca-swiss quick release system – skip the middle.

He also lists a few recommendations under "Low-budget tripods".

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First, that tripod is okay for your DSLR. Having a cheap tripod is better than not having a tripod at all.

I haven't used the Hama tripod you mentioned, but it looks like all the other similar tripods of cheap quality, a bit wobbly. That is to say; just like my own tripod, which is a Velbon CX-300. It will do the job of holding your camera steady. Not much more. But, it is okay, when you know what you are doing and what you can expect of that kind of tripod and what not. Here, an example:

I was taking photos of the moon two days ago, choosing a windless night because wind is a no-go weather with this tripod. I extend the first extension parts of the three part legs, but not the second ones, because the 2nd extension legs are so thin that trade-off between height and wobblyness is not good, and this means I won't be able to stand behind my camera, which I knew beforehand and brought a garden chair to sit on. Also I did not extend the vertical part, but let the tripod head rest at the junction of the legs. So, in favour of steadyness I'm only getting a half of the height that the tripod could offer. No problem, I got the chair to sit on.

Now, equipment set up, ready to capture the moon. Need to focus the lens next. I'm doing manual focus this time, and using longest lens I've got, a 300 mm zoom lens. Whenever I even slightly touch the camera it shakes badly, even on the tripod. But, I got steady hands, and with the help of focus magnifying on the rear display (live-view) I finally get the moon in focus (to tell you the truth, I did not, because I forgot my reading glasses home... but for the story's sake we assume I got it) and it is time to start shooting. My camera has two delayed shutter settings: 2 seconds delay, and 10 seconds delay. From previous experience I know that 2 seconds delay is not even nearly long enough time for the camera+tripod combo to stop vibrating. The moment I hit the shutter release (since I don't own a remote release) and take my hands off the thing, it will take almost 10 seconds for all vibrations to die. All good, and I got the moon captured as nicely as I can make it. The 300 mm is not quite long enough, and the tripod is not quite steady enough, but I got the photo anyway.

So, all in all, along with that tripod you'll also need:

  • windless weather
  • steady hands
  • a garden chair and
  • long shutter release delay, preferably with a remote release device.
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2  
+1, since that's pretty much exactly my experience with the Hama Star 62. The legs are decent, I think, but the head is so wobbly that it's hard to focus a 300mm on the moon, and a 2 seconds delay isn't nearly enough for the shaking do die down. Still, with care, holding my breath, and a remote release, it beats handholding. Although I'll be looking for a tripod upgrade very soon. –  j-g-faustus Jun 21 '13 at 13:41

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