Yesterday I received my Platypod (R) – it’s a fiendishly simply way of getting photographers to fork out huge sums of money for what is essentially a simple metal plate…however, it does have certain advantages over a ‘simple metal plate’.
I am a fan of ultra-wide angle lenses – on a full-frame (24x36mm) camera, ultra-wides start at about 18mm and as the number reduces, the angle of view increases…my widest ultra-wide is 11mm…this is a staggering 126° angle of view (as an example, a 20mm lens has a 94° angle)
One way of making visually impressive images with a wide angle lens is to get a really low viewpoint. When you’re doing this in near darkness, a tripod is a huge help – however, sometimes it’s not practical to carry a tripod, and additionally, many tripods don’t unfold particularly ‘low’.
This is where the Platypod comes in.
One simply screws a ball and socket mount onto the centre screw and off we go.
Having a tilting read screen also helps…unless you actually like laying on the ground trying to squint through the viewfinder…
So this allows a very low viewpoint, which means we can produce images such as these…
Despite what I said at the start of this article, my first outing has convinced me of its qualities. It is a very well thought out ‘simple metal plate’ and I can fully understand how their Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign was so popular.
I used two of the threaded screws to adjust the plate, not to be perfectly horizontal (I can do that with the ball-head) but to create a stable base. The length of the plate has been thoughtfully designed to be able to use longer telephoto lenses, and the storage of the screws is very well though out too. Each screw has a ‘rubber’ cap AND an adjustable locking collar, (the opposite end of the screw being a point)- this means you can turn the screw to the desired length, then ‘lock’ it in place – I find it all works very easily.
Of course, it helps to have ball-head handy – which I just happen to have in my vast collection of ‘bits’ – this one is a Manfrotto MHXPRO which I’ve kitted out with the Manfrotto Arca mounting plate the MSQ6T (The ‘quick release’ plate shown mounted on the ball-head is a complete disaster, hence the change) as all my cameras/L-plates are equipped with Arca style quick release mounting plates. The advantage of this ball-head is the weight – it’s made from a magnesium alloy and doesn’t weigh a tonne!