Platypod Pro Review: Quite Possibly The Coolest Camera Support Around

If you’ve ever taken something apart to make it better, or enjoyed building something from Lego bricks, you’re going to love the Platypod Pro. It’s the world’s most compact base for a tripod head, according to its label, but that’s selling it short—it’s really much cooler than that.

“Platypod” is a word derived from Latin that means “having a broad, flat foot.” The Platypod Pro is a broad, flat foot which was carefully designed to support a medium-size tripod head via either one of the titanium screws that are welded to its top. It can be used flat—on the ground for an interesting and perhaps unusual perspective—or atop any cooperative nearby object, thanks to a trio of stainless steel leveling screws that can optionally be used to adjust elevation in very tiny increments.

The main body is made of aircraft quality aluminum and all of the parts and pieces are made of top notch materials and machined with amazing precision. Even the case, which was designed in Indiana, is of remarkable quality. More about the case later. The user attaches his or her favorite tripod head to the Platypod Pro base and it’s off to the races.

There are two screws that secure the tripod head, standard 3/8 and 1/4 inch (although the size is misstated in the owner’s manual / system guide). They are made of titanium, and that should tell you straight out that this is a serious and well-made product.

The Platypod Pro will safely support moderately heavy loads including big DSLRs and long lenses, provided some common sense is applied. Load capacity is where the Platypod rises head and shoulders above traditional table-top-type tripods. I was able to use my Canon 5D Mk II with a 24-105mm lens with ease. Large or fat lenses should be secured to the tripod head by the mounting ring on the lens itself so that they don’t become tipsy.

With a little imagination, the Platypod Pro can be used to support other photo devices. It comes complete with a brass adapter that matches the adapter found on a light stand. Use it to hold a shoe mount flash and umbrella, for example. I plan to make a semi-permanent installation by screwing it to the rail on my cedar deck. No need to worry about rust or corrosion—there are no ferrous parts and nothing to turn ugly after exposure to a New Jersey summer.

Now, about the case. Platypod Pro LLC aptly calls the case “marsupial” and for good reason. In its default configuration, the case stores the Platypod Pro, adjusting screws (which come with non-scratching bumpers and knurled adjustment nuts), light stand adapter and other included accessories.

But it expands to increase capacity by roughly 500% when needed to make room for your tripod head. On second thought, it’s more like a fugu (blowfish) than a kangaroo. Anyway, it’s very cool. It also is equipped with a very functional belt loop and two zippered pockets (one inside and one outside).

The Platypod Pro can be purchased on Amazon or from a growing list of retailers than can be found here. The Deluxe Kit is $49 or you can buy a twin-pack of just the base for $44. Get the kit—you’ll love the case.

—Jon Sienkiewicz