Build quality

The Hama Omega Carbon II's build quality feels reasonably good but not of the professional standard offered by some aluminium tripods at this price. The clip locks feel a little plasticky, and the hinges that enable the legs to swing out were a little loose for our liking. However, you can adjust the tension in both the clip locks and the hinges using allen keys.

Three grub screws in the tripod platform enable firm fixing of the tripod head, which itself is solidly constructed and feels very durable.

One curious omission is that there's no D-ring on the screw for securing the quick-release plate to the camera base. It just has a hex head with a slot running through its centre. A coin is therefore the ideal tool for fixing the quick-release plate to a camera. You just have to hope you don't run out of small change while you're out shooting.

Performance

In our tests, performance was a bit of a mixed bag. The tripod is fairly stable if you only extend the upper three sections of each leg. However, extend the tripod to its full height using all four leg sections and it becomes very prone to flexing. On the plus side, spiral etching on the surfaces of the carbon fibre leg sections makes for smooth sliding when extending or contracting them.

The quick-release plate isn't as quick as most, as it has a screw-in locking clamp instead of the more usual clip-lock, as well as a separate safety catch. There's also no bubble level or spirit levels on the camera platform to aid levelling. The bubble level on the tripod shoulder only helps to level the tripod legs, not the camera itself.

Another flaw is that the physical connection between the quick-release plate and the camera is via two fairly thin rubber strips. The connection proved noticeably wobbly in our tests, especially when using heavier DSLR and camera lens combinations.

Verdict

Weight saving is a key advantage of carbon fibre tripods but, at 2.7kg, the Hama Omega Carbon II is pretty much the same weight as most competing aluminium tripods fitted with similar ball and socket heads.

We liked

The Hama Omega Carbon II is very easy to use, and the calibrated panning dial on the head is useful for taking a sequence of shots, for subsequent stitching into a panoramic image.

We disliked

No weight saving over similarly sized aluminium tripods and it lacks stability towards its maximum operating height.

Final verdict

The weight, coupled with a relative lack in stability when extending all four leg sections, mean that the Hama Omega Carbon II isn't a particularly good buy at the price.