Platypod alternatives

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by Colin O, May 21, 2021.

  1. For a long time I've thought that a Platypod actually looks like quite a useful thing to have around for those few occasions when I am travelling and want to take a stable (night-time) shot, but where I might be out with others, without a tripod for example. Or in a location where a tripod would create a nuisance, etc. But it seems just a little expensive to me for what it is. However, it never dawned on me that there could be cheaper equivalents, and yesterday I discovered the Desmond Table Top Pod, the Glide Gear LayLow Mounting Plate and the Jobu Design Table Top Pod.

    I'm just wondering if anyone has any experience with these Platypod alternatives.
    This is something that I would use probably only a handful of times per year.
  2. What's wrong with a bean bag?
    Or even a lump of Blutak if there's a table or other horizontal surface handy.

    Photo gadgets are like (overpriced) kitchen gadgets. By the time you've found and set up the specific gadget-for-the-job, you could have completed the task with some more common tool.
    Last edited: May 22, 2021
    Gerald Cafferty likes this.
  3. The Platypod looks good for macro work but I can't see those plates as accomplishing anything useful in the field, especially for the money. They're also the sort of thing I'd probably go out to the garage and just make one up out of some aluminum sheet. Or masonite. Anyway, I'm still enamored with the $25 Manfrotto table tripods. Light, well made and you can hold it up against a building, put it on the hood of the car or just use it as a grip. Manfrotto PIXI Mini Table Top Tripod (Black)
  4. A tightly knit bag with a zipper can be filled "on location" with beans or pebbles.
    Watch out for loose fabric that allows dust to filter out

    If you're not crossing biological quarantine lines, you can actually use beans*.

    *It's generally best to use dry beans rather than canned Heinz beans:rolleyes:
    Last edited: May 22, 2021
    rodeo_joe|1 likes this.
  5. Not even if you solder a 1/4" Whitworth bolt to the can?
  6. Tony Parsons

    Tony Parsons Norfolk and Good

    Or - the Tony unpatented public domain bean bag :

    1) Cut at least a foot (pref 18") from the leg of a pair of defunct jeans (I used brown corduroy, which had not survived a barbed-wire fence).

    2) Turn over and sew up the non-hemmed end (or fit a zip, or persuade someone else so to do).

    3) Partially fill the bag thus created with large polystyrene packing beads (the ones about the size of your thumb - hence rule of thumb), so that the completed bean bag will be able to mould itself round hide hatches, fences, tree-stumps or any other solid support.

    4) Sew up the already hemmed end, to prevent the beans escaping.

    5) Place the bag in the lowest compartment of the backpack, with tele lens or long zoom resting on it for protection.

    Polystyrene beads are of course both lightweight and waterproof, hence their choice.

    Prepare yourself for the envious gaze of other togs, who have spend inordinate amounts of money on very similar items. It would also be possible to place the beans inside a ziplock bag, then place this inside the fabric bag - but this would add to the cost.
    rodeo_joe|1 likes this.
  7. One important question is; what is it you want to stabilize? Small mirrorless or large DSLR with a telezoom?
  8. Tony Parsons

    Tony Parsons Norfolk and Good

    I anticipate my solution working for any design of camera up to and including FF with zoom. It certainly works with my Pentax K3 (APSC) and Sigma 150-500 zoom.
  9. But, but.. I don't have an ISO standard sized thumb. Not only that, but which part(s) of my thumb?
    From wrist to tip? First joint to tip? Just the top joint including nail?

    Come on Tony. We need more specific information on these polystyrene packing thingies. Is one and 49/64ths of an inch about the right size?
  10. Tony Parsons

    Tony Parsons Norfolk and Good

    Having measured my thumb, I can state that it measures 32.5mm from the first wrinkle at the mid-way knuckle when said knuckle is bent through an angle of 77 degrees to the end of my thumbnail - a smidgeon longer than when I was at school, when it was one Imperial inch - but of course, I have acquired more wrinkles since then.

    The dimension that you give is somewhat longer than the poly chips which I used, but, of course, it all depends on the length of your trouser leg.

  11. Hmmm. Only 32.5mm eh?
    Damn! Now I'm going to have to buy a hot-wire cutter to slice down all 493 of those polystyrene 'worms' to the correct size.:mad:
    Tony Parsons likes this.
  12. Tony Parsons

    Tony Parsons Norfolk and Good

    I don't think the actual dimensions are mandatory. Just follow the usual advice - fill the trouser leg with the chips, add on two inches for turnups, deduct the wet from the dry, and there you are.

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