Smartphone photography: the right selfie stick for the perfect shot

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Selfie sticks are best known for their use with smartphones. For Youtube, Tiktok, Instagram or Facebook they are a popular tool to take photos from a distance or to stabilize the image. But even for Actioncam users, the added value of the handlebars is undisputed. The selfie stick is not only much more comfortable to hold, it also expands the choice of perspective. Most sticks use a classic tripod screw for fastening – all kinds of adapters or cameras can be screwed onto this. Other versions come directly with the Gopro mount typical of action cams or just a clamp bracket for smartphones. Ideally, you always have that matching adapter ready if you want to switch between action cam and smartphone.

The handles are available in very different lengths between about 15 and 300 cm. While very short sticks are only suitable for better handling of the camera, the longer versions help to significantly increase the distance to the subject. By extending the arm, better self-portraits and shots from unusual angles are possible. What you should always consider when buying is a sufficiently compact design. Personal experience shows that large and heavy selfie sticks usually only offer more possibilities in theory. In practice, models that are too bulky are often left at home. Short sticks and handles that fit in every pocket are therefore usually the better choice.

Most models are made of aluminum. Above a certain thickness, the material is sufficiently stable without being too heavy. Carbon versions are even lighter and just as stable, but more expensive. Very short sticks are only made of plastic. However, this is less durable and ultimately only suitable for short handles.

Inexpensive selfie sticks consist of metal tubes pushed into one another and have a similar structure to old antennas. The disadvantage of this variant is the limited stability. The individual components are not properly secured against twisting around their own axis or against being accidentally pushed together. That’s enough for a short self-portrait, but there’s not much more to it. If the handlebar is used for sports recordings, in strong winds or in other more demanding situations, the individual stick parts should definitely be firmly lockable.

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For those who only take smartphone recordings, a model with an included or integrated Bluetooth remote control is worthwhile. This also simplifies handling and enables recordings to be made without a timer.

If the smartphone is used infrequently, the cheaper variants from the supermarket or petrol station will do the trick. These are available both with and without a Bluetooth remote control. In some cases, they bring a simple wired remote control with a jack plug. The classic headphone jack has become rare, but can often be retrofitted with an adapter. The advantage here: the cable remote control does not need any electricity and always works. However, these remote controls are not suitable for use with an action cam.

The very affordable models are only suitable for photos and short video clips without much movement. When buying such a cheap home, you should definitely check the stability regularly. The plastic parts on the smartphone holder in particular are prone to material fatigue, which can damage or destroy the smartphone or action cam. If you consider the prices for high-quality camera smartphones (list of the best), from our own experience we would always invest a little more in the selfie stick.

With frequent use, sports recordings and for heavy smartphones or action cams, significantly more stability is required. This serves on the one hand to protect the camera and on the other hand to ensure reliable operation. It frustrates when the shot is ruined by a selfie stick retracting or twisting. For a good stick, extendable models should definitely be lockable. This works either with a snap lock or with a twist lock.

Handle extensions with an integrated or included stand have proven to be particularly practical. In addition to selfie recordings, this variant enables chic group photos or long-term recordings, like with a classic tripod. For better mobility, we recommend a version with a screwed-on stand for long handlebars. With short models, the tripod feet replace the usual handle.

We recommend taking pictures on or near the water buoyant sticks or Handles. If you lose your camera, it floats on the surface of the water instead of sinking. Because of their buoyancy, they are only partially suitable for taking pictures under water.

We recommend for heavy users Variants with an integrated power bank and USB port. This relatively heavy variant replaces the usual handle bars or serves as a supplement to the actual selfie stick. Thanks to the additional power, significantly more and longer recordings are possible. This is extremely useful both on the go and with time-lapse recordings lasting several hours. If you buy such a power bank stick, you should make sure that it is equipped with a screw thread so that it can be attached to a tripod.

If the usual 90 to 140 cm stick lengths are not sufficient, then ultimately only XXL models come with one Total length of up to 300 cm in question. It is theoretically possible to screw several selfie sticks on top of each other, but they are simply not designed for that. The forces occurring at the connection point are simply too great. The result is either shaky shots or two broken handle bars including a defective camera or a broken smartphone. If you really want to go high, you should take a closer look at the DJI Mavic Mini entry-level drone (test report).

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Our experience with a three meter long stick made of non-lockable carbon rods is ambivalent. The astonishingly light stick fits in any backpack when retracted and is accordingly mobile. Due to the lack of locking, however, the individual segments tend to slide together unintentionally or twist – they should therefore be able to be fixed. Due to its length, the construction is also less torsion-resistant, which means that the rod can sometimes bend seriously. Keeping the camera steady is downright impossible. Such XXL variants are ideally an addition to shorter selfie sticks.

For taking pictures in poorly lit surroundings there is Smartphone sticks with an integrated LED ring light. Cheap variants are listed on Amazon from under 20 euros. The hybrid version of selfie stick and three-axis gimbal is also interesting for smartphone camera users. The FeiyuTech Vimble 2S is available, for example, from Amazon for 89 euros.

Selfie sticks, regardless of the version, are a useful accessory for anyone who often films and takes photos. However, if you consider the prices for high-quality cameras and smartphones, you shouldn’t be too frugal. A total loss due to a defective cheap stick is very annoying and unnecessarily expensive. Sensible selfie sticks are available from around 15 to 20 euros. Ideally, the adapters used should also be made of metal.

We recommend either buying a very short handle with an integrated tripod or a lockable handle bar with an additional stand. The most flexible are models with a tripod screw. If a joint or a ball head is installed, it should definitely be made of metal in order to be sufficiently stable. In the editorial office, for example, we have had good experiences with the models from Huawei, Insta360, Manfrotto and Xiaomi.

For everyone who works a lot with the camera, it is also worth investing in a selfie stick with an integrated power bank.

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