If you've watched anything from Scott Kelby in the last year or so, you've see mention or ads for the platypod pro family of products. I am not being rude by not capitalizing the name, it's how the company does things. I resisted for a long time, but some recent events caused me to rethink getting one. Am I glad that I did? Read on...
I like tripods. Goodness knows that I have spent enough money on them. I presently favour Really Right Stuff for my stills work and use both Sachtler and Manfrotto for my cine work. They are all excellent products. I carry my RRS TQC-14 with me all the time because it is so light and collapses so small. Why would I need something else?
In two words, with an adjective, f%^&ing tripod police. I'm not sure what these folks think I am going to do with a tripod but the "no tripods allowed" stupidity is well out of hand. I get that museums don't want other guests tripping over my tripod, if I were such a dick as to put it in the way of others. I couldn't anyway because there are so many people in my way trying to take snapshots with their freaking iPads. People. Just go away. I also understand why museums and galleries might be concerned that I might use my tripod in a destructive manner on artworks because goodness knows our world has more than its fair share of asshats. There are lots of other places however, where a tripod is no threat to anyone, but the tripod cops, who are actually very rarely real cops, want to demonstrate their authority and power for no good reason, other than perhaps insecurity or a lack of functional neurons.
Anyhoo, enough cranky old man. As a result of exposure recently to some truly brute stupidity, I decided to order a platypod pro Max. With enormous respect to the creators, there is no rocket surgery going on here. It is a milled plate with a ⅜-16 stud to mount a pro tripod head and four height adjustable feet. There are a couple of slots where you can put a tensioning strap through to bind it to something like a post or a tree. Not fancy, but clean design that just works.
While I can use the device to mount a camera at near ground level for low angle shots that I think is really handy, the adjustable length leg screws allow me to make a solid ground connection on even materials like rocks or boardwalks or really anything not particularly level. I've used it already on top of a deck fence and it just works. The screw-in feet have a rubber foot on one end and a hardened point on the other. Pick the end that suits the environment.
The construction is very solid and there is a magnetic block for storing the screw feet so that they do not become lost. The unit comes in a microfibre cloth bag so you can stuff it in your camera bag and not worry about it scratching anything up. The Max is about the size of a small tablet and can handle up to 300 pounds. I have no idea what kind of camera that would be, but it's an indicator that this is a solid piece of kit. I like that the Max as it has two tapped holes for both ¼-20 and ⅜-16 so you could mount it directly to the post of a tripod, which I think would be handy in the field. There are threaded mounting holes for the legs and a couple of drilled holes so you can nail or screw the thing to something else.
Do note that there is also a version for mirrorless and smaller cameras. It is called the pro and includes a ⅜-16 to ¼-20 conversion spigot along with two separate mounting studs for the tripod head, one is ¼-20 and the other is ⅜-16. It is about the size of a large smartphone.
At $99 USD it's not inexpensive, and while a person with a decent basement metal shop could probably make one for considerably less, I am not unhappy with the purchase at all. I bought mine direct, and paid extra for shipping and it arrived in about a week. They shipped it USPS and that was trackable completely to the border. Once in Canada, I could not track it but Canada Post got it to me about three days later. In hindsight, I should have bought it from B&H who would have shipped it for free, and I may have seen it faster. Live and learn.
I did search using the Google for a Canadian reseller and didn't find one, other than independents on Amazon with delusions of markup. I hope that the company gets a Canadian distributor at some point. In the mean time, B&H ships to Canada without hassle.
I like it and while the exchange on the dollar is highly unpleasant, I do not regret the purchase. Other than the price that I think is a bit high, I give it a solid rating.