Fstoppers Reviews: The Platypod Pro Max Camera Support

Fstoppers Reviews: The Platypod Pro Max Camera Support

Announced on Fstoppers a while back, the Platypod Pro Max Camera Support is one of my favorite recent additions to my primary camera kit. The Platypod Pro Max Camera Support is a wide, stable, and ultra low-profile platform that allows you to set up a large tripod head, camera, and lens on both horizontal and vertical surfaces. The larger platform is solid and even more stable than it’s predecessor for better results.

First Impressions

Everyone needs one of these. Relative to the price of a quality tripods, I consider the $99 Platypod Pro Max an inexpensive option to place a camera in rather unconventional locations. Yes, one could argue it is simply a piece of metal Swiss cheese, but the creativity it enables is remarkable. It is beautifully machined and the thought that went into the design is considerable. While it doesn’t replace a tripod, at 5x8 inches and just 13 ounces, it is a fantastic tool to have while traveling or in places where tripods are taboo.
 
A tripod head is required to secure a still or video camera, adding to the cost while opening up a world of options. If you have a ball head laying around already, the investment is a no brainier. A speedlite or PocketWizard with a 1/4” socket can be threaded in using the supplied spigot, enabling a light to be placed quickly or in a spot a super clamp won't fit. Even longer lenses with a collar mount balance quite nicely on the Max; if anything, the load capacity of whichever tripod head you choose will be the limiting factor. A ratchet strap can secure the Max with a mounted DSLR camera, GoPro, speedlite, etc., to a post, tree, or fence (note: it’s wise to implement a safety cable anytime a camera is mounted remotely). Even on the most uneven floors with a long lens, the camera can be leveled out and secured with gaffer tape. Nail holes allow for the option to permanently or temporarily securing the Max to a vertical or topside surface. I haven’t found frequent use of the four threaded feet but those are a nice option for uneven surfaces.
 

What I Liked

  • Versatility to place a camera in new locations
  • Quality of thoughtful design and build
  • Portability
  • Stability

What Could Be Improved

  • Additional 1/4-20 threaded slots
  • Price
 
The Platypod Pro Max is well thought out and a great value but still on the expensive side. The inclusion of a 1/4" - 1/4" male to male spigot is brilliant, but I wish there were more threaded spaces for it to attach a second flash/PocketWizard Flex TT5 to double flash output. Those are cheap enough to add anyway. I may use Loctite to permanently secure the included spigot, making it easier to unthread speedlite stands.
 
 
My favorite use of the Platypod Pro Max is setting up a remote camera with a series of PocketWizard FlexTT5 Transceiver Radio Slaves to cover alternate perspectives. That’s a separate conversation in itself, which I might discuss how my configuration works in a follow up post, but the level of flexibility the Platypod Max offers is remarkable. From photojournalism to events, the Platypod Pro Max is a good quality item, and has become an essential tool for my work.
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHMU6FpO58U
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13 Comments

Definitely hard to get past the fact it's really just a chunk of metal. For about the same price, you can get a Gorillapod, and it seems like it has more limited applications than the Gorillapod does. Thoughts?

Jay Jay's picture

Definitely an oddball piece of gear that i can see someone buying, using only once or twice, then storing it in their closet, cursing their GAS. Because of the size and width, (like Caleb said previously) does this have any benefit over a Gorillapod?

I appreciate the myriad of accessories used to mount cameras securely and creatively. But I had to say: This thing makes just about zero sense to me. A piece of sheet metal with some feet for $100? You're having a laugh. Plus it weighs damn near 1lb! As a traveler the last thing I want to do is lug a 1lb piece of metal around (plus the weight of whatever head you'd like to use). There are many great options for ground level travel stability accessories. My favorite is the RRS Pocket Pod with the smallest RRS head. It weighs half of what this thing does, it folds up super small, it holds 100lbs with the basic leg orientation or 15lbs in its lowest setting. And hey, if you want to use a tie strap to clamp it to a 4x4 post could do that too!

Jon Wolding's picture

I just saw this in use on ig the other day... thought it was cool, but not $99 cool.

I think my $40 aluminum cheese plate has more utility. The strap holes are nice, but they need to be cut better to clear that foot-storage block.

Spy Black's picture

$10 Chinese knock-off in 3...2...

I'd buy that. Not much more you'd get from brand name I'd think.

it's like they saw the viral video from a year ago where the guy mounted a ball head to a teflon skillet and made it into an actual product.

Dusty Wooddell's picture

Hmmm. *casually walks over to his drill press....

Shawn Chambers's picture

You can easily tap in a few extra 1/4-20 threaded holes if you wanted. If you weren't comfortable doing it yourself, a machinist could bust it out pretty quick. Obviously they'd charge a bit... but maybe they'd trade for a few promo pics of their shop. :)

John Skinner's picture

I've used a plate like this for some time now for low angle sports images.

But unlike people that pushed these products like this one and one called FPlate? or some such thing, I've always taken a bit of pride knowing I did it myself. So a small trip to a local metal fab company I was able to find a 9 X 5" of 1/8th" aluminum plate stock. I took this and fashioned the corners, made two holes for the head mounting, got a screw for the mount and afixed a lock washer to the screw, scuffed the plated with 600 grit, and sprayed it flat black.

A small spray of clear coat, some velcro patches for pocketwizard pieces, and finally, small rubber feet to have it sit well on hardwood floors for basketball. I've place 2 or 3 types of heads on this for years now, with great results. All done for about 20 bucks, and some time well spent with myself.

I encourage people to imitate and replicate.. There is a strage satisfaction when you find answers, and or, improve on what it is you're trying to do.

Shawn Chambers's picture

I was thinking about this again. I think I'll make a knockoff, similar to what John Skinner did above. Luckily I have access to sheet metal and a plasma table, so I can cut out something other than a rectangle. Might try a different shape or two. I dont have a ball head yet, but I might buy a tripod with one... so I guess they'll have to share. LoL

I think this is an interesting idea, but way over-priced. I went to Grainger, got a 12"x12" piece of .23 acrylic. I will cut a 6"x9" piece, put 4 holes in corners, and buy 5 screws. I think this is under $10.

I have this and the original smaller version. Both via kickstarter, so a lot less money. Very useful and and not as easy to make as you might think with the same versatility. The weight is required to maintain the stability of larger camera/lens combinations (the smaller version is better for less weight). I have also used it for low level lighting with my AD360, All that said, if you have access to milling equipment you could make something similar for <$25.