The 10 Best Selfie Sticks
How Old Is The Selfie Stick?
The original selfies date back to antiquity, with the Renaissance being a period rife with self-portraiture. Of course, this was long before the invention of the camera, but even in the early days of photography, evidence of self portraits exist. Take this 1926 picture as an example. Here you'll see Mr. and Mrs. Hogg, and there's no missing the rigged selfie stick obscuring half the shot.
There's also a Japanese man named Hiroshi Ueda who, in 1983 while working with Minolta, invented a selfie stick for the Disk-7 camera, though it was referred to then as an extender stick. He claims to have come up with the idea after traveling Europe with his wife, where they found it very difficult to get passersby to take their photo.
As you can tell, the idea of the selfie stick has been around arguably longer than photography has, though the means of producing them and getting consumers to latch onto the idea is another story. Even as recently as 2005, Canadian Wayne Fromm invented what he called the Quick Pod, but it would still be nine more years until the mainstream press would take notice.
In 2013, The Oxford Dictionaries named selfie the word of the year. In 2014, TIME named the selfie stick no.18 of the top 25 best inventions of the year. Ninety years after the first known appearance of the selfie, the selfie stick finally caught on.
What You Can Expect Your Selfie Stick To Do
Selfie sticks are really quite genius, and the less-than-exciting explanation of their function goes like this: a selfie stick is a modified monopod comprised of a pole and a clamp to hold a camera, or, more popularly, a smartphone. Typically, they telescope outward, and are thickest at the grip for better balance once the device is attached. Many offer Bluetooth remote controls, built-in shutter buttons, and wrist straps, too, making them simple to transport with you and to set up that perfect shot. From here, the variations are a matter of taste and manufacturer quality.
Some selfie sticks are built with smartphones in mind exclusively, whereas others are designed to be compatible with a range of devices including GoPros and DSLR cameras. Depending on your preferences and array of gear, you'll want to lean on the side of customization. Selfie sticks are very straightforward, though there are options that weigh a little more. Some have features like an aluminum body, pivoting head, and tripod attachments. Naturally, these cost more than their basic counterparts.
As far as durability is concerned, many selfie sticks are produced out of aluminum alloy that's not only tough for daily use, but lightweight, as well. And if you're unsure whether you would benefit better from a Bluetooth or wired connection, consider this: Bluetooth may sound like the more high-tech and obvious option, but this requires charging the unit; corded counterparts are always ready to go.
At the end of the day, it's all about allowing a person to hold their camera at a distance far enough away to get themselves in the frame. Finally, the masses can create their own high-quality self portrait with only a smartphone and a selfie stick held high enough to give a flattering angle. And let's face it, people love self-portraits.
Finding The Right Camera Mount
A selfie stick is nothing without its mount. This is what's positioned at the top of the stick, which holds the smartphone or other device in place. The most important responsibility of the consumer is to ensure that their device is compatible with the mount, as they vary from one manufacturer to another - it is, after all, one of the main aspects that sets them apart.
Many selfie sticks feature a ball head with a 1/4-20 screw to accommodate cameras with the same tripod thread size. It is wise to consider the weight of the device you want to attach; if it's too heavy, typically over two pounds, it will place too much pressure on the stick, which could render it impossible for the user to hold up, and possibly compromise the selfie stick and the camera on the end of it. Don't get us wrong - selfie sticks are durable, but they have a weight limit, too.
There are, however, even simpler units targeted exclusively towards smartphone users. With these types of sticks, you'll find a spring-loaded mount that pulls up for device placement with a rubberized or silicone coating to prevent device damage and ensure a snug fit. They are designed to hold devices at the horizontal position, though some, but not all, have mounts that are able to pivot to the vertical position, or up to 180 degrees.