Best tripods under £200

Hama Omega Carbon II - £180 (about $285)

Carbon fibre tripods are rare in this price bracket, but the Hama Omega Carbon II comes complete with a chunky ball-and-socket head – though the combined load rating is a meagre 4kg. That's the joint-lowest in the group, along with the Velbon Sherpa 600R.

The only tripod in the group to have four- rather than three-section legs, the Hama folds down to a fairly short 69cm for stowage, yet extends to a respectable maximum height of 174cm.

The trade-off is that the bottom leg sections are quite spindly, with a diameter of 16mm, and flexing is quite noticeable with the legs fully extended.

As with most tripods in the group, you can set the legs to any of three different angles, but the centre column lacks a pivot facility. There's a handy compass as well as a bubble level on the tripod collar, but no bubble or spirit levels in the ball-and-socket head to assist with levelling the camera.

The head features adjustable friction damping and a panning lock, but there's no D-ring on the quick-release plate, so you need a coin to fasten it to the camera. Connection to the camera's base plate relies on two fairly thin strips of rubber, the result being that it feels a bit wobbly in use.

Read the full Hama Omega Carbon II review