A few years back, I met a photographer named Larry Tiefenbrunn. A nicer, friendlier guy you’ll never meet. He and his wife run a little business that makes some of the most unusual, dynamic, and downright useful camera supports I have ever seen or used. They are called – Platypods.
When it comes to camera supports, we all know the problems associated with using a tripod; They are typically big, bulky, heavy and expensive. In some places they are frowned upon or draw unwanted attention – in others they are just downright banned.
Larry’s Platypods have offered a unique (and brilliant) solution in the form of plates you can carry in your pocket or the smallest camera bag, and which can be used to secure your camera when you need a rock-solid shot. The Platypods are as stable as the surface you mount them to. Every time.
I’ve been using the Platypod since it launched. The original Platypod was great but wasn’t quite stable enough when using long lenses on a DSLR. Larry figured that out and continued to innovate. He created the Platypod Max, which can be used by virtually any photographer with heavy gear.
Stats on the Max are:
- List price $99.00
- For heavy DSLRs and BIG lenses
- Best for cameras with heavy or long lenses, full-sized video cameras and bulky accessories
- Supports up to 300 pounds of equipment
- Great for travel—Max is about the size of a mini tablet
- Includes the Max base, 4 spike feet and a removable spike-feet storage box.
- Does not come with a tripod ball head.
After releasing the Max, Larry had a new idea. A new plate that was nearly as small as the original Platypod, but as sturdy and solid as the Max. Enter the Platypod Ultra.
Its claim to fame is that it is smaller, lighter and less expensive than the Max. The new unit makes it even easier to get very low-angle shots and shots from unusual angles.
The Ultra has more options. There are five threaded holes that you can use in any combination to secure the unit. They will work with any standard monopod, tripod or quick release plate. And the belt slots are my favorite thing about the new Ultra. While I had no trouble securing the original Platypod’s with zip ties, this is just a more elegant solution and pretty much any belt will work.
Stats on the Ultra are:
- List price $59
- For mirrorless and midsize cameras
- Ideal for cameras with small- to medium-sized lenses
- Supports up to 90 pounds of gear
- Compatible with most professional tripod ball heads
- Great for travel—the Ultra is about the size of a smartphone
- Includes: Ultra base, spike-feet set, cinch strap. Does not include a tripod ball head
To make every Platypod even more valuable, Larry created the Multi Accessory Kit.
You can buy it in a bundle with a Platypod or separately. I recommend bundling because it’s less expensive and you will absolutely want this kit.
Stats on the Multi Accessory Kit are:
- List price $29
- Spigot Adapter to easily setup flash and monolight mounts. Mount not included.
- Aluminum Riser to mount 1/4 inch accessories directly to Platypods without a ball head.
- Silicone Pad to quickly prevent slipping or scratching objects. Washable with soap and water.
- 36 – inch Tension Strap to hang Platypods to poles and trees.
- Drawstring Pouch to keep all the accessories together.
It is important to note that Platypods do not come with a ball head. You need your own. Just about any head you already own will work. They have published a list of suggested heads on their website at https://platypod.com/recommended-accessories.
I suggest visiting this page at B&H to see some great deals on ball heads…
How can you use a Platypod? Well just about any place you’d use a tripod, a Platypod will work. It is great for mounting cameras, but it is also a great solution for photographers who need a convenient, small, lightweight way to secure flash heads and other accessories on set.
It’s incredibly portable. Heck it might fit in your wallet. The accessory kit is truly valuable. The quality of all the components is off the charts. Anything Platypod makes is top-shelf.
Everyone from still photographers, to cinematographers will find Platypod to be a must-have accessory.
I can’t believe that a tool which is small and portable, can provide so many versatile methods of supporting my camera. And I forgot to mention, that the Platypods are lightweight – they weigh a matter of ounces! If you’re like me and been down-sizing your camera kit, something this small, light and versatile is a Godsend.
How much do I like the Platypod? If I could only have one camera support – it would be a Platypod. Let me take it a step further – if I could only carry ONE accessory with me other than those made for my camera system by my camera manufacturer, it would be a Platypod. Most people would need some time to select what that item was for them. Not me. It’s a clear choice. The Platypod is simply too versatile to leave at home.
I believe the Platypod the most versatile and valuable camera accessory ever invented. I simply cannot think of a single photographer who wouldn’t benefit from owning at least one Platypod. I own several and generally have one in each camera bag as well as each car, because you never know when it might come in handy. Highly recommended.
NOTE: I have no business relationship with Platypod. I consider myself friends of the company owners, but they didn’t even know I was going to write this post. I just really believe in their product. I am also happy to report that Larry isn’t done innovating. Follow this space to see what he dreams up next!
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