The 10 Best Selfie Tripods
10. Yoozon 001
9. Coman E300l + MT50
8. ChargerCity Pistol Grip
7. Maono AU Z04
6. Accmor AC-13TR
5. Benro 3-in-1
4. KobraTech Mini
3. Foneso Extendable
2. Square Jellyfish
1. LifeStyle Designs 4-in-1
A Perfect Love Triangle
Suzy's in love with Jeff, but he's in love with her best friend Anna, who loves him back, but isn't sure whether her love for Jeff is greater or more important than her love for her bestie.
It's a classic love triangle, and it's a tough geometric combination to challenge. It also has a lot to do with tripods.
Mathematically, three legs is enough. You could, I suppose demand, four legs, or even a dozen, but it turns out that it would actually decrease your stability if you added any more legs.
Why is this? Well, you see, it only takes three points to define a plane in basic geometry. I was an English major, so I'm going to employ a little practical experiment here to make my point clear.
Take a piece of paper (the plane) and rest it on the tips of your thumb, index, and middle fingers (the three points). Make small adjustments to the positioning of your fingers and you'll notice that the paper always rests flat on all three points, even as it changes its own orientation.
Now, add a fourth finger to the mix. In order for the plane to keep in touch with all four points, it begins to bend, to distort, to lose stability.
So, when it's time to balance our expensive phones and cameras on something, a good triangle seems like the best bet.
In Defense Of The Selfie
Millennials take a lot of flack for taking selfies.
A now uncountable number of "think pieces" (page fillers for a 24-hour internet news cycle that is forever desperate for hits) has been written on the topic with titles like, Are Selfies Ruining Your Relationships? or 10 Ways Selfies Are Ruining Society.
Very few of these pieces rely on anything more than anecdotal data, statistically anomalous occurrences of death or injury resulting from sheer stupidity, or–my personal favorite–fear of a changing world.
The thinking among large swaths of Generation Xers and older is that the Millennials are self-obsessed, lazy ne'er-do-wells completely and utterly dependent on the technology of their day.
There is, admittedly, some small truth in this. Trends in advertising have locked in on young humanity's need to see ourselves reflected in the pool.
But that need isn't completely sated by advertising and the media, especially if you're not a young white male.
Traditionally, the most elusive and sought-after target of the US consumer market has been 18-24-year-old white males. Funny thing is, that demographic takes far fewer selfies than its female counterpart.
One probable reason for this? Selfies gratify a part of us that seeks representation in media. The only group consistently, overwhelmingly represented in US media from advertising to film and television, is male, almost always white, and between the ages of 18 and 35.
For the rest of the world, selfies are a way to tip the scales of media representation, a way to empower oneself to say, "I'm here, too. I'm a person, and I matter."
Three Legs For A Long Time
While the selfie itself is a relatively recent phenomenon, the tripod goes back at least as far as ancient Greece.
I'm sure not too many people think about it while they're putting their selfie tripod in just the right place, but the oracle at Delphi, named Pythia, sat herself on a three-legged stool when reading into the future and the nature of the universe for Apollo. Mythology is pretty cool like that.
Knowing what we know about the Greeks co-opting a majority of their mathematics from the Persian Empire and Arabic scholars in Egypt, it's pretty safe to assume that the stability of a three-legged seat was known throughout the Middle East for centuries leading up to its recording in Greek literature, pottery, painting, and sculpture.
Tripods as we think of them today developed as stabilizing instruments for land survey equipment. In the middle of the 19th century, photographers took the leveling scope off the surveyor's tripod and replaced it with a large format camera.
Since then, the tripod has been the preferred device for camera stability in still photography and video, though film makers got a new toy in the 70s called the steadycam.
Do you need a $10,000 counterbalance vest for your selfies? I'm going to say no, unequivocally. Would a tripod be nice, though? Absolutely.