MonsterPod, the legless, gravity-defying, tripod-like photo accessory first unveiled at the PMA 2006 trade show, is about to ship. In an recent message to the company's mailing list, MonsterPod co-inventor Randel Byrd indicates that production is underway at a plant in China and that shipping is scheduled to begin on June 20, 2006.
Initially, the company will be fulfilling orders placed directly through the company's web site, which is for purchasers in the USA only. Then, says Byrd, "[w]e will wait a week or so after that to get valuable feedback from our initial customers before we begin shipping to retail stores, resellers and for reviews."
For the uninitiated, the MonsterPod is a combination of a small ball head and round base that enables it to mold and adhere temporarily to many different types of surfaces. While it was initially conceived as a clever way to mount a compact digital camera for self-timer shooting, improvements in the product's design since its unveiling earlier this year could now make it a really effective way to mount small strobes quickly and easily on location.
Design changes that may make it a candidate for strobe mounting include a doubling in the maximum weight the MonsterPod will support, from 10oz. to 20oz. (283g to 567g). This means it's now spec'd to hold a shoe-mount flash as beefy as the Nikon Speedlight SB-800 or Canon Speedlite 580EX, even with heavier AA batteries loaded. Plus, Byrd's message makes reference to an optional MonsterPod head that's been developed for "slave flash" use.
At PMA 2006, we greeted the MonsterPod with a yawn, despite the coolness of its sticking technology. That's because the product's weight limit meant it wouldn't officially hold anything we would want to support, not even our weekend knockabout camera the Canon PowerShot S2 IS. The weight limit bump, increased mobility of the ballhead and several other design modifications meant to improve both its sturdiness and appearance have now made us keen to get a MonsterPod and try it out. At about US$30, it will be a bargain if it makes securely placing small strobes in awkward places faster and easier than clamps or other methods that exist today.
Randel Byrd's message to prospective customers is below.