When using 'the camera you have with you' for serious photographic pursuits, sometimes the visual elements present in the scene lack that personal connection so critical in modern photography. Perhaps some critical social commentary might be best conveyed with a collective portrait of you and your studious colleagues engaged in serious, artistic pursuits. Or perhaps you just woke up at Coachella and need to find out how far your pants have crowd-surfed.

All of these situations call for that groundbreaking coalescence of technology, dexterity, and tubing, known as the selfie-stick. Yes, that indispensable, yet pocketable, imaging support system that provides just the framing flexibility that almost all photos require, but very few human limbs can provide. To help with the time-consuming and intellectually agonizing pursuit of selecting the perfect selfie-stick, we have collected some of the industry stand-outs for your edification.

Recommendations are subject to change and are current as of April 2015

Rollei Selfie Stick Arm Extension

Click here for full specifications, sample images, user reviews and more

Although the legendary Rollei company has only recently stopped making and servicing the cameras that were the tool of choice for generations of serious self-photographers, the brand name lives on in the aptly named Selfie Stick Arm Extension.

Available in anodized green, orange, blue, or gallery-serious black, this Rollei arm extension is robustly built from precisely nested aluminum tubes with a contoured, ergonomic plastic grip at the base. Within the grip is an included lithium-ion rechargeable battery to power the Bluetooth wireless camera controls.

The stick also comes with a color-keyed wrist strap, carabiner (not for use as lifesaving device), and a 1/4" threaded stud for attaching either a Black Rapid sling strap, or spare Leica Monochrom.

The physical controls for the wireless functions are simple, but extensive. Nestled within the hand grip are the requisite shutter release, bluetooth pairing, and power buttons, along with an innovative zoom rocker switch (compatible with Samsung, and select other advanced electronic imaging systems).

The cradle at the top is durably made from high-impact, space-age thermoplastic, and is adjustable via a counterscrew system that holds even the oldest and heaviest of portable iPhonography devices at much-greater-than-arms-length. Below the cradle is an honest-to-goodness ball and socket swivel head, just like the selfie-sticks of the previous century.

Extended length   36 inches
Collapsed length  12 inches
Weight  6.6 oz
Cradle size  iPhone 5
Remote  Bluetooth
Battery  Li-ion (included)
Price  $86

What we like:

  • Luxurious build quality

  • Fashionable anodized colors

  • Extensive controls

  • Li-ion battery included

What we don't like:

  • Legendary brand name price

  • Not phablet compatible

Kootek Selfie Stick with Tripod Stand

Click here for full specifications, sample images, user reviews and more

The Kootek company once again provides a valuable photographic accessory that is 'perfect for traveling, video diaries, hiking, camping, weddings, parties, the beach, concerts, aerial photos, sports, gift ideas and etc.' The whole idea of using a selfie-stick for aerial photos puts the confusing rules and regulations of commercial drone use into the has-bin. Read on for even more creative uses and ideas!

In a stroke of convenience, Kootek has thoughtfully provided a carrying pouch to hold the shutter controller, extendable pole, phone clamp, and tripod leg(s). This is a godsend for a device that is so multi-part flexible and just begs to be reconfigured for all possible photography situations.

Rather than simply holding up the tripod legs to get a better angle, they can be safely stored in the pouch while the stainless steel (!) telescoping rod holds the digital mini-view camera at an acceptable (and adjustable) angle.

One standout feature of the Kootek stick is that while the maximum extension is 38 inches, the range of the Bluetooth remote is a healthy 33 feet. If you connect 10 Kootek Selfie Sticks end-to-end (somehow), you will still not exceed the range of the wireless shutter release remote. Of course, if you use the mini-tripod legs to set up your high-resolution image capture system a fair distance from your soccer team, the detached remote unit can capture the perfect moment for eternity.

 
Extended length   38 inches
Collapsed length  11.5 inches
Weight  11.2 oz
Cradle size  HTC Rezound G22
Remote  Bluetooth
Battery  built-in USB charged
Price  $23 (on sale)

What we like:

  • Stainless steel (!) telescopic tubing

  • Timeless monochromatic finish

  • Mini tripod included

  • 2 Years Hassle-free Warranty!

What we don't like:

  • Some assembly required

  • Tripod does not support a 600mm f/4 lens

Flexion QuickSnap Pro 3-in-1 Self-portrait Monopod

Click here for full specifications, sample images, user reviews and more

The legendary Flexion company has improved upon its QuickSnap and QuickSnap 2-in-1 products with the recently unveiled QuickSnap Pro 3-in-1 version of their popular self-portrait monopods. Following the proud Flexion motto, 'Never ask a stranger for a photo again,' legions of wandering 'street' photographers can only sip cold coffee on the cobblestones of Paris while newly empowered self-portraitists expand the boundaries of personal expression with 41 extra inches of glorious focal distance.

One of the defining features of this latest Flexion product is the tremendous flexibility (perhaps this is Flextech (TM)) of the camera cradle.

Expand the image to the right to see just how big Flexion claims its cradle can go. This kind of size will not only accommodate pretty much all touch-screen, forward and reverse viewing camera devices, but will also accept the gigantic dimensions of a 3D 4K photo display device.

Quite impressive, although there is no mention of a weight limit for the stick that this cradle is mounted to.

One of the unfortunate realities of the Flexion lineup is that the capacious cradle only has a single-axis swivel joint below it. This restricts the motion of the advanced imaging capture system to simply point up, down or straight back at the narcissist. The company has pointed out that the tubular nature of the stick portion can be rotated 'by hand' (whatever that means) to achieve other angles of photographic glory, but this has yet to be proven.

Extended length   41 inches
Collapsed length  9.3 inches
Weight  9 oz
Cradle size  Sony XBR-X900B
Remote  Bluetooth
Battery  built-in USB charged
Price  $35

What we like:

  • Vast cradle can hold a 3D 4K TV

  • FlexTech(TM) included

  • Durable build

  • USB charging

What we don't like:

  • Limited color choices

  • Tilt adjustable only

BenGoo Extendable No Charger Charging Free No Bluetooth 3.5mm Wired Remote Control Cable Control Selfie Stick Selfie Handheld Stick Monopod Extendable Handheld Pole Holder with Adjustable Phone Holder Mount Holder (2015 New Version)

Click here for full specifications, sample images, user reviews and more

The renowned BenGoo company has been providing innovative technical solutions to mass-importers for almost 3 years now, and their latest handheld stick monopod shows that they are serious about providing the most colorful rubber handles for the lowest price. 

Naturally, what most distinguishes BenGoo from Kootek, Flexion and others, is their impressive use of internal capitalization, along with their belief that 'both the quality and price can thoroughly defeat all other suppliers in the market.' Beyond this, they have a dogged reliance on these things called 'wires' to connect and control the amazing photo-centric devices mounted on the end. 

The BenGoo Extendable No Charger Charging Free No Bluetooth 3.5mm Wired Remote Control Cable Control Selfie Stick Selfie Handheld Stick Monopod Extendable Handheld Pole Holder with Adjustable Phone Holder Mount Holder (2015 New Version) comes in four neon-bright colors, including neon-black.

It also apparently has greatly enlarged parts for ease of identification and finger-pressing, along with a remote control wire that is curly at one end.

Perhaps most refreshing of all, the cradle on this extendable monopod stick can swivel an entire 180 degrees, producing not only a selfie, but also an otherie. While this is definitely not the intended use of this handheld pole, it offers a creative option seldom seen with these advanced photographic support devices.

Extended length   43 inches
Collapsed length  9.8 inches
Weight  2.4 oz
Cradle size  Xperia Z3
Remote  3.5mm audio plug
Battery  not required
Price  $14

What we like:

  • Colored rubber handle w/ button

  • 180 degree swivel head

  • Extremely light

  • Control wire is curly

What we don't like:

  • All colors have silver tubing

  • Control wire is curly

Your Arm

(no link available, should be included with all standard models, and non-models)

Everyone's got one, and if that's not enough, You are even provided with a spare. This articulation device, or armature, may not be the newest design available, but it comes at an incredibly affordable price for most users.

One of the most curious things about the Arm is that it is not terribly well suited to hold and control a slim, electronic, visual documentation device. While it has the lowest price in this whole roundup, the relative bulk and short extension regretfully exclude many creative photography opportunities. Also, the remote shutter release requires digits, not a blue tooth. Another negative point is the Arm's tendency to break (a damaged copy is pictured above). 

Extended length   18-28 inches
Collapsed length  18-28 inches
Weight  self-supporting
Cradle size  varies from iPod to iPad
Remote  digital
Battery  Krebs cycle
Price  Free

All of those minor inconveniences aside, the Arm does have the ability to hold many different cameras, from iPods to iPads, from a Lumia 1020 to a Surface 3. This kind of flexibility cannot be denied, although it begs the question as to what self-image capture device it is intended to hold. Perhaps a mirror?

What we like:

  • Multi-functional to hold many different devices

  • Fits inside a jacket, shirt, or really long glove

  • Airport security ‘safe’ (for now)

  • Self-repairing for minor issues

What we don't like:

  • Ancient design

  • Difficult to replace


As many of you have guessed, this article was posted in jest on April 1. Our sincere thanks to Mark Banas for surprising us with such a thorough writeup in a week when we've been so busy we completely forgot about the date. Hats off to you, sir.