My take on it.
I have a lot of experiance with the MG42.
The MG42 is very accurate in light config. It is a waist of ammo to fire more than a five round burst with one due to the thing wiggling around. There is very little recoil on the light config no matter how many rounds you fire. The problem is barrel rise. I have fired it from the hip with live rounds and the bullets were launching skyward after about three rounds. Low recoil, lots of barrel rise. It is also very possible for a one man team to fire, reload and change the barrel of the MG42 with little problems. Doing all three is impossible, and it always helps to have an aid gunner to attach the belts of ammo together so no real reload time is needed. This is done by having the first and last link of the ammo belt empty and linking the two belts together with spare bullets from the aid gunners Mauser pouch. I have played both positions, gunner and aid gunner. The gunner has the easy job. All he does is shoot and change a barrel once in a while. The aid gunner has twice the load with four ammo boxes, a mauser and his personal ammo. The gunner just carries the loaded weapon and most likely an ammo belt or two around his neck. Another thing that is cool about this weapon is the design of the ammo boxes. They are made so that you can pick up two of them with one hand really easily. Well they are kind of heavy, but you can grip them easily.
Now the tripod mount is a completely different animal. You can hit anything with it you can point it at. And it is easy to aim. It is also easy to change the covered arch if you have one aid gunner. It is also possible to run with a tripod mount over 30-40 meter distances carrying the gun, spare barrels, and six cans of ammo if the crew is used to doing it and you have four people. I have done this many many times in a single day, not just over my total experience. The optics are not all that great really, but better than nothing. The cool feature about the tripod is the auto travers that can be adjusted for suppressive fire. It will swing the gun across the set fire arch back and forth with no control input from the gunner. It also has a nice trigger push button extension that allows the gunner to remain under cover while shooting the gun.
In conclusion, the light config is great for aimed short bursts, but not sustained fire. The tripod is great for any need, but only if you have enough men to crew the thing.