One Epic Piece of Gear

Review by Dave Williams

The company behind the Platypod Ultra and Max and, of course, the Platyball, has a new player in their lineup: The Platypod eXtreme aims to replace the Max, and it’s one epic piece of gear. I’ve been testing the eXtreme for some time now, and it hasn’t let me down once. 

We all know what a Platypod is by now. It fills a gap in the market, but only requires a small gap in our camera bag (or pocket), so pound for pound, it’s priceless for what it achieves. Speaking of which, the eXtreme comes in at 9.6 oz (272g) and is 7.75″ (19.7cm) x 5.25″ (13.4cm). It weighs in at approximately three-quarters of the weight of the Max, largely due to the careful design and machining. The number of cutouts in the aircraft-grade aluminium make for easier transportation with the included carabiner, as well as saving weight without compromising strength. The extra mounting holes give more options than before, too. 

As well as the design elements, there’s one notable difference, and it’s to do with the screws. The eXtreme features screw spikes that are attached, rather than in a separate pouch or mount, so they can never be lost. The stainless steel screws are fixed on each corner of the eXtreme and are adjustable through 360˚. Just like the Max and Ultra, you can use either the spiked end or the rubber-capped end of the screws, and you don’t need to worry about them getting in the way if you don’t use them because they fold flush with the bottom plane of the eXtreme. 

The Platyball or ballhead can be mounted directly to the eXtreme via a very strong titanium bolt. Although the eXtreme is designed to securely support up to 22 lbs., I can confirm that not only does it support the weight of my Nikon Z6 and Nikkor 14–24mm lens, mounted via a Platyball Ergo, at a very concerning angle with the spikes holding everything in place on a sheer ice wall, but it can also support my body weight standing on it. 

Finding a use for a Platypod has become somewhat of a craze, and it’s amazing to see what people do with them. Personally, I use mine for getting into tight spaces or for saving weight when I need to shoot somewhere remote. Having an item that performs exceptionally well makes everything a whole lot easier, and it’s great to have something that does its job without compromise while looking good, too. Aesthetics are important to us as photographers; it comes with the territory. 

The Platypod eXtreme ticks all the boxes, including when it’s stored in its red neoprene carrying sleeve. I never left my Ultra behind, and now I never leave my eXtreme behind. Note: At time of this writing, the eXtreme was still in its Kickstarter campaign, which is scheduled to end on May 10, 2022. Platypod expects to start shipping units to its crowdfunders very shortly after the campaign ends. ■