So you’ve spent most of your life thus far not spending too much time thinking about flanges. Congratulations. But then you bought a PD Travel Tripod, started doing some portrait work, and now all the sudden it’s just 24/7 flanges. You see flanges everywhere, doin’ stuff, bein’ useful. Isn't life something?
We spent months wading through shin-high piles of discarded prototypes before settling on the final three-flange design. We believe it’s the absolute best design possible when the goal is to create a fully functional travel tripod this absurdly compact. Toward that end, the three-flange design allows the head to nestle down perfectly within the tripod hub, which means a smaller, sexier tripod for you. But as you’ve noticed, this results in a slightly limited range of motion when shooting in portrait mode (51 degrees, for all you enginerds out there). No worries. The solution is really simple, and after a few spins through the workflow it’ll become so automatic that you’ll probably stop noticing it entirely.
Your PD Tripod plate system was designed to be used in 4 different orientations. You can snap it into the tripod head with any of the 4 edges facing north. Just like the secret levels in Super Mario Bros 1 on original NES where you smash through the ceiling and run across the top of the screen to the secret room that has the teleportation pipes, you can unlock a full range of motion from your Tripod in portrait mode just by quickly unsnapping your camera, rotating it 90 or 180 degrees on the ball head, and snapping it back in to the tripod.
Check out the video below for a walkthrough of portrait mode and straight down mode with PD Enginerd Tom.
0:34 - Tom talks about how to get the most out of Portrait Mode.
1:31 - Tom talks about how to get the most out of Straight Down Shooting Mode.
2:11 - Tom catches the hell out of a can of frosty cold cider, well earned and much deserved.
Unlocking the Full Range of Portrait Mode
The best place to start is probably with the default plate orientation as seen below, which allows symmetrical angles from horizon as in the two photos below, while also avoiding interference between the camera grip and the tripod, at a low center column height.
As a general rule, if you can’t get the angle you need in portrait mode, flip the camera 180 degrees relative to the ball head, spin it back around toward your subject, and try again. As seen here -
The full useful range of portrait mode angles can be accessed between these two orientations.
Unlocking the Full Range of Straight Down Mode
The flanges are oriented in such a way that you won’t be able to get that perfect range of motion if you’re shooting straight down at a subject on the ground if the plate is in the default setting, or 180 degrees opposite of the default setting (the settings you use for portrait mode).
To solve this, just rotate your camera 90 degrees relative to the ball head and give it another crack. This will unlock a straight down shooting orientation. And just like that, you’re on your way.
As always, if you’ve got any other questions on the portrait mode or straight down mode workflow, bash out a frantic note in all caps and scream it on over to firstname.lastname@example.org.