While the concept behind Selfie Sticks might seem like a fairly modern phenomena in the world of photography, evidence does exists that this is not the case. According to Wikipedia, the concept originated in 1983 with the "Minolta Disk-7" product. This was a camera with a convex mirror on the front to allow the composition of self-portraits. The product's packaging showed the camera mounted on a stick.
In the same year, a telescopic extender for a compact camera was patented in the U.S. Since then a Japanese Selfie Stick featured in a 1995 book of "101 Un-Useless Japanese Inventions". Phone-holding rods have been available in America since 2011 and the selfie stick featured in the 25 best inventions listed by the Time Magazine in 2014 before being dubbed the "Narcis stick" or the "Wand of Narcissus".
This, more or less, brings the selfie stick saga up-to-date as products are developed and manufactured while some authorities ban the use of Selfie Sticks on their premises. Without taking sides in this matter, my role is to check out the performance of a Selfie Stick within the compass of its feature set such as this next product from PNY (which stands for Paris New York).
As part of the company's mantra to "Make Life Simple", PNY has released its Wireless Selfie Stick product. This kit consists of the Selfie Stick, Smart phone mount, Smart phone mount joint (coloured orange), a standard-to-micro USB lead and a one-page User Manual.The Selfie Stick combines a black rubber handle grip with a silver expandable tube that can increase the available length from 23cm up to 100cm as it is manually pulled out. At the head of the stick is a module onto which you can screw the Smart phone mount and then swivel it through 90o forwards and backwards for an ideal capturing angle.
Located at the base of the stick are an on/off switch and a micro USB port which is used to charge the device's internal battery for its Bluetooth feature. Partway along the rubber handle grip is a button to activate the Smart phone's camera shutter when taking a photo.
Putting together the various elements of this kit is straightforward. You just need to screw the Smart phone mount on the top of the stick either by twisting the mount in a clockwise direction or turning a thumb wheel built into the head of the stick. To cope with the different sizes of Smart phones currently making the rounds, the mount element of this kit can be expanded in both vertical and horizontal directions.You can increase the available width by 2.5cm and the height by 1.5cm. You also need to attach the small orange coloured retaining joint to the mount's back support post.
Depending upon the size of the smart phone and where its camera lenses are mounted, some care does need to be taken when positioning the handset within the mount so that neither the front or rear mounted camera is blocked by the support post.Remember even though this product is entitled a Selfie Stick, it can be used for taking photos that do not include your self. The benefit of the stick can be put to use in order to capture scenes that might otherwise be blocked by obstructions. The Selfie Stick will enable you to view over or around such obstructions when capturing content.
You will need to pair the Smart phone with the Selfie Stick.This is generally a quick operation using standard procedures that are started by turning on the power switch. You do need to be aware that this selfie stick can only be paired with a single device. As a result if you need to change the smart phone being used with this device then you will need to carry out an unpairing procedure otherwise the Selfie Stick will be invisible to the replacement handset and unable to pair.
PNY also recommends that you disconnect other Bluetooth devices that might be paired with the smart phone to avoid any possible conflicts. However this does seem rather a drastic route to take. In my tests I encountered no conflicts despite my smart phone having been paired to a variety of Bluetooth devices that were still resident on the Smart phone.
When you have the scene you want composed within the smart phone's screen, you just need to press the button integrated into the selfie stick's handle and the image will be captured and stored on the Smart phone. This wireless selfie stick will work with smart phones running iOS 4.0 and later or Android 3.0 and later platforms.