The rod system is one of the most flexible aspects of building a camera. Enabling users to slide accessories any distance, or any angle, from a camera it provides a firm foundation for attaching matte boxes, follow focuses, and more to a camera no matter what size lens you strap on. Zacuto, who make many of those matte boxes, follow focuses, and shoulder rigs in addition to tripods and others accessories, have just released the new Polaris baseplate system for adding 15mm rods to your small mirrorless or DSLR camera.
There are two features that stand out in the Polaris design, the Arca-Swiss compatible bottom plate and the height adjustment. The Polaris features an Arca-Swiss style mounting plate built right into the body of the baseplate itself.
This doesn't mean you can't also attach another type of baseplate. It has a threaded hole for that, but by building into the body of the unit itself, Zacuto removes a potential point of failures.
We've all worked with a camera where the tripod plate and the baseplate didn't get tight to each other and would "slip" against each other. By integrating the plate into the unit, that won't happen at the bottom of the baseplate (though of course, it can still happen to the top, where a screw thread will mount the baseplate to the camera).
Arca-Swiss is a standard size that, while more popular in still shooting than motion, is very common. You'll see the dimension show up in tiny tripods, ball adapters, and sliders, as well as a variety of Zactuo's own accessories, including the shoulder pad.
The other standout feature is the height adjustability. Accessories are designed for a pretty standard height between the rods and the center of the lens, but small modern cameras don't have that consistency brand to brand. On top of that, it's never anywhere as large as it was on the older film cameras that had to account for a loop below the gate.
Thus, Zacuto has designed the Polaris to adjust to heights to accommodate a variety of cameras and ensure that your follow focus can reach the lens and your matte box will be centered on the lens.
If you already use a lot of Zacuto accessories, this would make a great addition to the kit, but should also be considered by others who do a lot of smaller camera shooting, which is most of us these days.
- 1/4"-20 and 3/8"-16 Threads
- 4.25 x 4.15 x 2.5" (10.80 x 10.54 x 6.35cm)
- 16.55 oz (469.18g)
- Arca-Swiss-Type Bottom
- Works with Polaris 15mm LWS Rod Support System
- Mounts Follow Focus & Other Accessories
- For DSLR & Mirrorless Cameras
- Twist Knob to Slide / Pull to Release
- 1/4"-20 & 3/8"-16 Tripod Mount Threads
- Made in the USA
The Polaris baseplate system is available now for a little over $330.