Turning a Standard Upside Down
By Skip Cohen
For those of you who don’t know my background, I’ve spent my life in the photography industry. And in all those years, I’ve never been involved with any company or products I didn’t honestly believe in.
When asked to join the Platypod team last September, l accepted because of two things—the owners of the company and the quality of the products. While I wasn’t involved in Platyball’s design, I’ve been part of the team every step of the way, helping to educate the industry, starting with why the world needed to be turned upside down.
Tripods haven’t changed since the 1820s. Years later, tripod heads came along, and it wasn’t until the 90’s that Arca Swiss set the standard for release plates. So, for all those years, artists have been leveling from the ground up with a never-ending flow of evolutionary redesigns, but never revolutionary.
Time to turn the tripod world upside down!
“Dr. T” came along and, as he’s done with Platypod, felt there was a better solution. If leveling is from the top, instead of the bottom, the horizon will always be level. It’s especially apparent when panning.
Next on his list was to redefine the meaning of “ergonomic design.” We’ve all worked with tripod heads with multiple buttons and dials, and everybody has had one not line up in the direction you want when tightening it down.
Wanting to give photographers more control, the process needed to be streamlined. Dr. “T” chose to bring technology, simplicity, and efficiency together with a ball head that had just two buttons and could be adjusted with only one hand, even while wearing gloves in winter!
As Scott Kelby demonstrated in his video, two buttons with a new standard of quality manufacturing and material was all “Dr. T” needed—one to loosen the ball head, the other to tighten it. Next, bring in the best materials, weather sealing and the strength to hold 22 pounds of gear in place and *poof* Platyball was in the news.
Now, add in the patented electronic indicator on the Elite model, powered by an easy to find over-the-counter A23 battery, with the ability for photographers to level outside the camera’s system. There are no blocked bubble levels and based on the position of the ball head, it can be viewed from the front of the camera or back. This is especially effective in tight spaces for meeting the demands of architectural photography, shooting at night and simply expanding creativity.
But there was one last addition, the Arca Swiss release, complete with an Arca twist locking collar and 360-degree indicator plus a quick release safety lock.
Remember, where I started in this post? I said two things made me want to be part of the Platypod team. Well, the first was the attention to detail and design of all their products like Platyball. The second was the quality and integrity of the people.
I’ve never met anybody more focused on Customer Service, quality, and keeping his promises than “Dr. T.” This is Platypod’s third Kickstarter campaign. He’s always delivered on time with products exceeding expectations—precisely what he’s always committed to doing.
We call him “Dr. T” because he really is a doctor, not of engineering but a full-time working pediatrician with a practice in New Jersey. Fortunately for our industry, photography became a passion for him forty years ago, and he never does anything halfway.
He told me a story once about his interest in photo. His father gave him a book about photography and told him to learn everything in the book BEFORE he could have his first camera. Everything under the imaging umbrella became a passion, and as the industry changed, so did “Dr. T’s” focus.
Whether it’s his love for medicine and finding answers to health challenges that set the standard or his passion for solutions and engineering contributing to Platypod’s reputation, he’s created a company built on listening to its customers.
Platyball’s arrived, has turned the tripod world upside down, and in the process, our lives as artists are about to get better. We’re all about to have more time to create and waste less time in setup.
With just four days left in the Kickstarter campaign, this is the community’s last chance to save 20% on the new Platyball. That’s a significant saving on the Ergo of $50 and $76 on the Elite. But in addition to the savings, you’ll be part of a revolutionary new approach to leveling and using a ball head.
Visit www.platyball.com for more information.