The Platypod ProTM Deluxe Kit is essentially a small pocketable camera and accessory support. When you add a small to medium ball head it will do almost everything a tripod does. Best of all, it will not draw a lot of attention in locations where a tripod may not be permitted. With the addition of a bungie cord you can use it in places where you would otherwise need a three legged flexible tripod like a GorillaPod. So the Platypod Pro is your tripod to-go.
Material: Aluminum (plate), Titanium mounting screws, Stainless Steel spikes
Weight: 3.2 oz
Height Range: 0.16 to 1.25″ (adjustable via threaded spikes)
Load Capacity: >90 lb
Mount Thread Size 3/8″-16 and 1/4”-20 standard tripod and accessory threads
Thickness: 0.16” (4 mm)
Weight: 3.2 oz (90 g)
The Platypod is a sturdy aircraft grade aluminum base plate with a welded 3/8-16 inch titanium screw for mounting a ball-head. A ball-head as large as 5 inches tall and 3.5 inches wide will work and will also fit in the carrying case. There is also a second welded 1/4-20 inch screw that can be used for mounting accessories, LED lights, a small strobe or speed light, etc. The kit includes three stainless steel spikes and lock wheels. A rubber cap is provided for the flat end of each spike. In addition, a 1/4-to-3/4-inch female spigot adapter is included in the kit.
The base plate has three threaded holes that allow you to mount the spikes. Four additional mounting holes have been drilled into the base plate. In addition to providing a secure footing the spikes can be used to easily level the Platypod. The additional holes can be used to secure the base plate to your studio walls, shooting platforms etc. I find these holes to be perfect for attaching bungie cord hooks and securing the base plate to fence posts, rails and tree limbs.
The kit comes in a beautifully designed red and black zippered pouch. In its collapsed state the pouch holds the base plate, screw spikes and the spigot adaptor. A magnetic closure keeps the pop-out pouch in place. It can be attached to your belt or attached to a loop via the supplied carabiner. The pouch will pop out and expand to hold a decent sized ball head. A zippered outer pocket can hold your keys, memory cards, etc.
With a good small or medium sized ball head you can support most DSLRs and mirrorless cameras fitted with normal to long telephoto lenses. A super telephoto lens will not balance well. It is best to position the camera with the lens pointed in the same direction as the nose of the Platypod and with the balance point as close to the center of the ball head. The Platypod is great for ground level photography, a mount for action cameras and for creating panoramas. For panoramas use a pan/tilt ball head like the Uniqball as shown below.
An Astro radial motion time lapse and panorama unit with a camera mounted to it is easily supported for panning time-lapse imagery or automated panoramas.
The Platypod Pro can be used on any flat surface without using the spikes. If you need to level the base plate the spikes can be used in either orientation. The rubber caps not only provide some friction preventing the base from sliding but also prevent damaging furniture etc. For uneven surfaces like asphalt, rocks and brick the spikes are your best choice for stability. To attach the baseplate to a fence post, rail or tree limb, a pair of bungie cords work great. All you need is to secure the cord around your object and hook the ends into the four unthreaded holes in the base plate. Zip-ties have been suggested as an alternative means of securing the baseplate but I find their removal requires cutting the tie. Moreover, zip-ties are not reusable and are not environmentally friendly.
The Platypod has found a permanent home in my photography bag. The Platypod Pro cost $49.95 and you can get yours here.