The 1980’s television hero MacGyver was famous for getting out of jams with nothing more than duct tape and a Swiss Army Knife. Photographers won’t necessarily be defusing bombs in out-of-control trains (we hope) or facing down other MacGyver-esque perils, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t use a trusty do-it-all tool in their camera bag.
The Platypod Pro is just such a tool. It’s a sturdy base plate with a 3/8-inch titanium screw to securely mount tripod ball heads. The company recommends an Arca-type ball head mount with an L-bracket on the camera for maximum stability, but almost any ball head as large as 5 inches tall and 3.5 inches wide will screw firmly into place and fit in the carrying case. In addition to the 3/8-inch screw, there’s also a 1/4-inch screw at the end of the plate for mounting a range of photographic accessories.
The Platypod Pro Deluxe Kit includes three stainless steel spikes and lock wheels, a 1/4-to-3/4-inch female spigot adapter,a sleeve and a wallet case that pops open to accommodate a mini tripod head or collapses down to stow only the Platypod, its screws and memory cards or other small accessories.
So what can you do with the trusty Platypod Pro by your side? Here are a few ideas.
1) Get Low
Putting several thousand dollars worth of camera and lens on the ground is always a dicey proposition. The 3×5-inch Platypod’s aircraft-grade aluminum plate won’t crack under pressure, but will support your full frame DSLR, plus a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. Using the Platypod Pro, you can place your ball head-mounted camera flat on the ground for amazing angles, lower than most tripods are capable of achieving. There are three threaded holes and included screws and lockwheels that you can use to secure the Platypod on uneven terrain or to adjust the angle of view. If you’re outdoors, the screws have spiked feet for a firmer grip. If you’re setting up a shot on more delicate surfaces, simply reverse the screws and the rubberized feet will avoid scratches and dirty looks.
2) Go Where Tripods Fear to Tread
Sometimes it’s not practicable or permissible to bring a tripod to a location. Mounting your camera and ball head to the Platypod gives you added stability when placing a camera on a fence post or railing. The Platypod Pro is small enough to slip into any pocket, and the included carrying case can be clipped to a belt or small camera bag for easy transport. The novel ballistic nylon case can expand to accommodate a variety of ball heads or fold up via a magnetic clasp to hold just the Platypod, screws and memory cards.
3) Begin a Committed Relationship
The Platypod’s four unthreaded holes allow for semi-permanent mounting on wooden boards and walls. You can nail or wood-screw the Platypod in your studio or on location to mount cameras or lights into place. Both the 3/8- and 1/4-inch screws are welded securely into the 4mm base so you can hang a full-frame DSLR from the ceiling without fear (but tether it anyway). It’s great for shoots using multiple cameras or for capturing timelapse footage.
4) Perfect The High-Quality Selfie
Do yourself a favor: forget the selfie stick. In fact, forget the smartphone selfie altogether. You can use the Platypod Pro and your “real” camera to take first-class self-portraits. Mount your camera to the Platypod and place it on any flat surface that’s level to your face, then use a remote trigger or your smartphone and camera Wi-Fi app to take a high-resolution and thoroughly proper portrait.
5) Take a Stand
While the Platypod was conceived as a photographic accessory, it easily doubles as a tabletop tablet or smartphone stand. Use a tablet or smartphone tripod mount (sold by companies such as Square Jellyfish) and fix your mobile device securely on the Platypod for image browsing, emailing or a Skype session.
The Platypod Pro costs $49.95 for a Deluxe Kit that includes three stainless steel spike/screws, lockwheels with rubber caps, a 1/4- to 3/8-inch brass spigot adapter, a pillowcase sleeve and a four compartment ballistic nylon belt/wallet case to hold it all, plus your own mini-tripod head. You can purchase your new sidekick here at www.platypodpro.com.
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