Before I get started, if you’d like a “Quick Link” to the Kickstarter project for the Platypod eXtreme that I mention below, You Can Find It Here. Or just click on the image below:
Now for the longer story…
I have great respect for inventors who create products or services that solve their own problems, and then follow-up by creating products and/or services to help others who have similar wants or needs.
The Platypod and Platyball product lines are perfect examples of that. I’ve been following the story of the company’s founder Larry Tiefenbrunn since the first Platypod hit the market in 2015. I then backed the Platypod Ultra in 2017, the Platyball Ergo in 2019 and today, April 6, 2022, I backed the Platypod eXtreme on Kickstarter.
The Platypod is described by the company as an “all terrain camera support,” and the best way to see what it (as well as their Platyball tripod heads) can do is to watch some videos of the products in use, like the ones on the company’s website at Platypod.com.
Another great resource is the video replay of a livestream from earlier today on THE GRID with Scott Kelby. On the show, the product was described by Larry Tiefenbrunn, Scott Kelby and photographer Lizzy Gadd. Some of Lizzy Gadd’s incredible environmental self-portraiture was featured throughout the show, as well as some “behind-the-scenes” photographs showing how she used the Platypod eXtreme on location. To say that I was blown away by Lizzy’s work is an understatement!
A replay of the livestream can be found below:
And to see more of Lizzie Gadd’s work, visit: https://www.elizabethgadd.com.
And here’s some more technical information about Platypod eXtreme from the company’s press materials:
Like all Platypods, the new eXtreme utilizes four independently adjustable legs for precise adjustment on uneven terrain, and greater stability than conventional three-legged tabletop and travel tripods. What makes the new model unique is that the threaded legs not only adjust up and down, but also rotate for instant deployment (Editor’s note: Those new rotating legs are a big deal! That’s because of the speed at which they can be deployed compared with the previous models.)
When not in use, the legs fold flat for storage and needn’t be removed. The Platypod eXtreme also features an integrated handle and multiple attachment points for compact lights, extension posts, and other important mobile accessories.
Barely 5mm thick, measuring only 7.75×5.25 inches (19.7 cm x 13.3 cm), and weighing just 9.6 oz. (about .27 kg), the Platypod eXtreme features a plate constructed of premium aircraft-grade aluminum, with a standard 3/8” titanium main bolt. The precision eXtreme utilizes stainless steel rubber-tipped legs, screws, and springs, and is designed to securely support camera/lens combinations up to 22 lbs.
As I mentioned above, the Kickstarter project for the Platypod eXtreme can be found HERE. There is also a special offer for people who back the project during the first 72 hours of the campaign. I always note to my readers that Kickstarter is not a store, and you may want to look over the Kickstarter basics HERE. That being said, the company behind the Platypod eXtreme has always delivered to their customers and their communication to backers, especially during the recent pandemic when some delays occurred, was excellent.
Full disclosure: I received no compensation or products for review from Platypod Pro.
I recently had a chance to see and touch two groundbreaking photo ballheads at Imaging USA 2020 in Nashville, TN called the Platyball Ergo and Platyball Elite. The main reason why I’m excited about them is the way in which they can “lock down” a camera and lens with just a few presses of a button on the front. They also, due to their inverted design, allow you to take panoramic images while keeping the horizon level. The one Platyball prototype that I tested at the show (Platyball Elite) felt very solid when I held it in my hand, and it responded well when I pressed the buttons on the front. I also have to give the manufacturer props for the way they made the Quick Release (QR) work. I’m not a big fan of the way most Arca-type QR systems work, but they’ve designed an elegant turning mechanism that looks to me to be a big improvement.
The best way to truly see how the Platyball works, and why it’s different from all other ballheads, I would highly recommend taking a look at these two videos:
A Note About ALL Kickstarter Campaigns
As Sharky James, host of the PetaPixel podcast always says: “Kickstarter is NOT a store,” so it is possible that you will not receive this product, or anything that you back on Kickstarter. However, based on my experience as a backer of multiple Platypods (another fantastic product which you can find by searching for the word: platypod), I have faith that the company will deliver quality products on time.
Where to Find Out More or Order a Platyball
Because I believe that the Platyball Ergo and Platyball Elite products are worth recommending, I have decided to use the Kickbooster platform to become an affiliate for this campaign, which means that I will receive a small commission if you use my link to visit the campaign site and make a purchase. You can also just search on your favorite search engine for Platyball if you’d prefer not to use my link for any reason. To see the Platyball’s campaign on Kickstarter (Ends Sun. 3/15/2020 at 4:30PM EST) , visit THIS PAGE.
Show Floor and NYC (plus my head!) reflected in the glass, PhotoPlus Expo NYC 2019 © Andrew Darlow (click on image to see it larger)
I visited the PhotoPlusExpo 2019 in New York City yesterday, and as usual, it did not disappoint! It was a smaller show than some of the shows in the past, but it was still jam packed with a lot of great gear, and one of my favorite things of all…high-end photo papers! In fact, I think that it’s worth the trip just to see the printed samples in the booths of the companies I’ve listed below.
In addition, for this post, I will list some specials that are happening online and at the show. That’s a “Super Tip”: Whenever there are big trade shows, look for special offers from the companies who are exhibiting. They know most of their existing and new customers are not able to come to the show, so they will often share promo codes and offer other specials while the trade show is live. The show continues until Saturday, 10/26/2019 and Expo-only tickets are now just $25 (free expo passes ended on 10/23). You can purchase passes on-site if you haven’t already, and HERE is the main website for the show.
Also, in case you missed my article with information about the many presentations happening on the show floor (updated 10/25), you can see that article HERE.
PAPERS, PAPERS, AND MORE INKJET PAPERS!
As I mentioned above, one of my favorite things to do at the PhotoPlus Expo (and any photo trade show), is see the wide range of high-end inkjet papers that are on display. Often, different papers are presented (with the same image on each print) in racks like you might see at a store that sells posters. In the case of this year’s show, large, very impressive prints are generally displayed to showcase what’s possible when you pair exceptional images, a high-end printer, and a high-quality paper. Here are some of the booths that I saw and recommend checking out at PhotoPlus Expo 2019 (or you can, of course, check them out online and order sample packs of their papers to do your own testing.)
• Canon USA (Booth #121) – Link to Canon’s Large Format Printer Page
• Canson Infinity (Booth #449) – Link to Canson Infinity’s Site
• Epson (Booth #701) – Link to Epson’s Site
• Hahnemühle USA (Booth #237) – Link to Hahnemühle’s Site
• Moab Paper (Booth #629) – Link to Moab Paper’s Site
And I would be remiss not to mention Blazing Editions (Booth #748), whose dye-sublimation prints on aluminum always amaze me. The prints start out as inkjet prints that are then infused into aluminum panels using heat and pressure. Below is a photo from their booth.
Blazing Editions’ Booth at PhotoPlus Expo 2019 © Andrew Darlow (click on image to see it larger)
There is also a fantastic exhibition of the work of Jay Maisel and Stephen Wilkes at the Icon Gallery located next to the Blazing Editions booth (Booth #737).
B&H Photo (Booth #451) has many show specials, which you can find HERE. As noted on their site, some of the special offers require a promo code, which is PPEBH19.
Hunt’s Photo & Video (Booth #362) has special pricing on many items on the flyers they are distributing at the show. I assume they are the same price on their website, but you could always ask them if you call the store to order. You can find many of their current special offers HERE. One item in particular that caught my eye is the Lowepro Fastpack BP 150 AW II ($59.50).
PhotoflashDrive.com (Booth #861) is offering 20% off all of their products (Expires 10/26/2019). If you are at the show, I highly recommend stopping by to see what they do, and don’t miss seeing their amazing PlayBook Video Player.
Skylum Software is in Booth #149, and they are doing continuous demos during the show, as well as speaker presentations (you can see a Google Doc overview of their talks HERE). They just announced their Luminar 4 software, and it looks extremely impressive. If you don’t use Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw for your editing (or if you want to access some of Luminar’s unique tools as an external editor/plug-in), I think you will love it. Full Disclosure: I have an affiliate partner with Skylum, so I receive a small portion of sales when you use the links I provide. To see all of what Luminar 4 has to offer, including a lot of amazing bonuses when you pre-order, including a free 1 year subscription on Smugmug.com, visit THIS PAGE. (Luminar 4 ships Nov. 18, 2019).
ONE MORE THING!
I have one more thing I’d like to share from the Expo. I was very impressed by a company called My Case Builder. Basically, you choose what case you have, and they will then custom cut foam for your gear that fits perfectly in the case. For more information, visit www.mycasebuilder.com. They had a show special printed on a postcard at the show, but I don’t see it offered on their website, so I don’t think it’s right to share it. However, you can call or email them and ask if they will apply their current show special to your order.
IN-PERSON OFF-CAMERA FLASH WORKSHOP IN PRINCETON, NJ – 11/2/2019
I’m really looking forward to teaching a workshop titled: Mastering Off-Camera Flash at Rising Star Photography Society in Princeton. NJ on Sat. 11/2/2019. For full details, visit THIS PAGE.