While at WPPI, I was able to check out Platypod’s much anticipated tripod head, known as the Platyball. Available in two versions, Platypod aims to solve the headaches of traditional tripod heads through new technologies and rethinking how best to stabilize our cameras on top of a Platypod or traditional tripod.
The Platyball is available in two versions — the Ergo and Elite. The difference? The Elite comes with an electronic leveling indicator — the first of its kind. Both models support up to 22 pounds, meaning it’ll work with that new Canon 1DX Mark III you have your eye on.
During my time at the Platypod booth, I visited with Larry Tiefenbrunn, CEO for Platypod, and discussed some of the unique features of the Platyball.
Solving common ball head headaches
Platyball tries to solve several issues, including being able to pan without your tripod legs being perfectly level.
But the big one — instead of using knobs to adjust the tripod head, the Platyball uses a pumping action, much like you would find in the 90s-era Nike Air shoes.
“Most tripod heads have three equal knobs and you have no idea what to [adjust] when you’re running and gunning quickly. The other problem with the knobs — I would never want to pack a flash on top of it, because I’ll crack my flash,” explains Tiefenbrunn. “So we got rid of the knobs, and made it such so that you can close your eyes, grab it and your fingers are on all the controls immediately.”
Platypod says that you can go from lock to unlock in just four pumps. It’ll work with any Arca Swiss-style plate.
If you opt for the Elite version, you get one game-changing feature — an electronic level.
“When you’ve got a camera on a ball head [with a bubble level], you can’t see it. We got rid of that, and instead we have the world’s first electronic level. We have three brightness levels. There are four lights on [the Platyball], and it’s perfectly level,” said Tiefenbrunn.
The level is also able to be calibrated so you can match a certain angle with ease.
Going the extra mile
Platypod knows that its customers take their equipment with them, whether they’re traveling, hiking, mountain biking … you name it. Each Platyball comes with a round arca plate — the first of its kind — so it can easily be screwed or unscrewed without extra accessories.
Both versions also come with a carabiner hole — perfect for climbers and hikers — as well as a neoprene jacket.
And finally, for the Elite, it’ll ship with an extra A23 battery (which can otherwise be found at your local grocery store or pharmacy).
The Platyball Kickstarter lasts through Sunday, March 15, 2020, where you can save up to $50 on the Ergo and $76 on the Elite. Early backers are expected to receive their Platyball in December 2020, with other shipments coming in early 2021. Click here to order yours!