Words by Scott Bourne
“Upgrade your generic Arca-Swiss camera and lens plates to one of these and you’ll thank me later.
“For decades I have espoused the value of the Arca-Swiss system for securing cameras and lenses to ballheads, tripods and sliders. Most serious photographers I know use some form of this system.
“When it comes to mounting cameras, the best practice is to find a plate made specifically for your camera from a company like Kirk Photo or RRS. But this isn’t always possible. Here’s why:
“It takes a while for these companies to create a plate for each new camera and lens and unless they think the camera or lens will sell well, they may not make a plate for the specific piece of gear you have in mind. So in other words, it might not be available. This is more expensive. Since the companies that make these plates won’t sell mass quantities of any one specific plate, they have to charge enough money to get their R&D back and still make a profit. Generic plates that fit the Arca-Swiss system are both cheaper to buy and easier to find. And sometimes they are your only choice if you want to work within the Arca-Swiss ecosystem.
“Many companies make generic plates, but not all of these plates are created equally. And when it comes to ways to mount a camera or a lens or a light to a stable environment, no company innovates like Platypod.
“You probably know about their famous Platypod rigs and maybe have heard of the new, impressive Platyball. But they also make an Arca-Swiss compatible “disc” that does the job of a generic camera or lens plate. And as you’d expect from Platypod, it does it better.
“The Platypod Disc is a 2″ wide Arca compatible, anodized aluminum round mounting plate/riser – 3/8”-16 female w/ 1/4”-20 stainless steel bolt. Male to 3/8”-16 female adapter with circular bubble level.
“For starters adding the bubble level was brilliant. It’s very convenient and very precise. It helps in situations where you aren’t working with a ballhead or tripod that has a level. Secondly, this thing effortlessly screws on to your camera or lens WITH NO TOOLS! Yep – you read that right. NO TOOLS! How many times have you been hunting for an Allen Wrench to put on or take off an Arca-Swiss plate? If you’re like me, too many times to count.
“Well Dr. Larry T. (Platypod’s owner and founder) has struck again. Platypod has devised a system that just lets you screw the disc onto your camera with your fingers and it’s just as sturdy as if you torqued it with a wrench. The round disc design lets you point your camera in the right direction before you tighten things down. Of course you can still rotate the camera using your ballhead if you don’t get the positioning just right the first try.
“It also acts as a mini riser in case you just need a little extra clearance for your lens or camera.
“The 1/4″ – 20 bolt and the 3/8″ threaded socket are a single piece of steel. This is much more reliable than the aluminum mounts you see with other plates.
“The Platypod Disc is competitively priced with other generic plates but a much better value. You can buy it from Platypod directly via the Platypod website. For an even better value, you can buy it as part of the Platypod Multi-Accessory kit for only $39.00. That gives you additional items like a spigot for a monolight and umbrella adapters, a silicone pad to prevent accessories from scratching valuable surfaces and for extra security and grip, a 36″ tension strap that you can use to rig things to trees, posts, polls, etc., a 3″ carabiner and an accessory pouch.
“You’ve heard me talk about Platypod products for years. You’ve probably heard other professional photographers mention them too. The reason is simple. Their gear is effective, innovative, fairly-priced and always valuable. I have been using the Platypod Disc since August and actually have three of them because you just never know when they will come in handy.
“I highly recommend it.”