Today we are taking a look at an interesting accessory that started its way on Kickstarter last year and raised close to 120,000 USD. Its name is the Platypod Pro Max and it was designed to help you with your low to the ground type shots as well as a few other situations where it is hard or even impossible to connect a camera in any other way.
The Platypod Pro Max is a larger version of the original Platypod (which fits smaller cameras). It measures approximately 8″x5″ (or 19×13 cm). It has four holes for screw-type legs (that fit in a removable magnetic holder)ץ These have sharp tips on one end for placing the platypod on uneven ground and a rubber end on the other side for more delicate surfaces. You can adjust each leg by screwing it in which can take a few minutes in the field.
Besides the threaded leg holes, the plate also has two (non-threaded) holes for connecting the unit with screws to any surface that can accept them – in the video you can see how we used two screws with washers to connect the Platypod to a long wood piece which you can use for example if you want to place your camera up high and you don’t have a tall tripod. Just make sure you secure this whole rig somehow so that your camera would not fall and smash (which almost happened to us – the shot in the video was 100% real).
The last interesting feature the Platypod has are dual slots for attaching a strap. You will need to provide one (you can use something like this strap) we decided to try and use a simple leather belt. It sort of worked, but to be honest, it isn’t ideal and something a little bit more stretchy would be better. We also think that there should have been some additional hook or metal attachment for the belt on the plate to prevent the strap from getting “away” from the plate between the two slots, but it is possible that with the right type of strap this will work much better. At any rate, you can hang your camera from a tree or any other surface where you can strap the Platypod securely enough (we didn’t risk this with a heavy camera but with a better strap it might work fine).
The Platypod tied to a tree – you will need a better strap
You can connect the Platypod to a tripod using one of the two threaded holes in the center (1/4″ 20 or 3/8″), for example, if you have just one head, but if you have other options we would just use it for its intended purpose.
The type of ballhead you will use with the Platypod is even more important than on a regular tripod. We would suggest a low profile sturdy one with knobs that won’t get in your way (the handle on the cheap entry-level ballhead we used in the video for example was really a pain to use).
In terms of what you can do with the Platypod Pro Max and who do we think is the target audience – we think that it could be an interesting solution for product photography when you want to shoot relatively small objects on the ground or a table from up close and your tripod can get the camera close enough (or you just can’t bring or use it), it might be good for wildlife shooters that want very low-level shots (but in this case a good head is really essential) and as we have shown you it can also be used to connect your camera to different objects and materials that would otherwise be impossible – permanently or just for a few minutes.
So what do we think about the Platypod Pro Max – after using it for a few months we defiantly love the idea and think that for some types of shooting is can be a really useful tool.
An interesting solution for very specific shooting situations
At just under $100 the Platypod Pro Max isn’t a cheap accessory especially when you consider the fact that it is basically an 8×5 inch metal plate with holes and tiny screw-like legs. At this price, it should have included a bubbling level and a decent strap in our opinion. But if you can look past the price and have a need for the functionality that the Platypod Pro Max offers you should definitely check it out.
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Update: We now have a whole new subsection dedicated to tripods for you to check out with new releases and reviews plus lots of info and videos.