Selfie! It was declared word of the year for 2013 by the Oxford Dictionary.
Studies have shown that the use of the word has increased by 70,000 per cent in the last one year. For every 10 pictures on Instagram, four are currently selfies. For most people under the age of 31, one third of all pictures they now take are selfies. The top 10 most recently retweeted tweets on Twitter have a selfie involved.
You get the drift; selfies are the super-hot 'it' thing right now. And that is rather unfortunate!
There really is nothing more annoying than a selfie. Apart from the whole narcissistic angle to it all, psychiatrists have called too many selfie posts as a cry for help and an affirmation of low self-esteem. Selfies are also the worst way to get attention.
Think about it. Would you go up to somebody at a party with a distorted face, your nose looking twice as thick, holding your chin sky high, sucking your cheeks in, pouting your lips and distorting your body at an angle and ask them what they think of you? Obviously not, so why would you do that to yourself in a picture sent out to every single human being you know personally? Lots of people spend a good part of their day untagging themselves from pictures that they don't look good in, yet also keep posting selfies in which they look much worse.
The tech of it all
There's a reason why it is almost impossible to look good in a selfie. First of all, due to the technology involved in reeling off a self image, you are destined to look truly terrible. Most front cameras have terrible optics, no flash, distort the image and angle and can't handle very bright or low-light situations.
Plus, the very act of taking a selfie (hold camera as far as possible with one hand, then move the camera and keep staring at a screen till image looks acceptable, then using the same hand or other hand, press screen or button to fire off the selfie) makes sure that the picture is shaky and distorted.
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The only selfies that technically come out well are those taken in front of a mirror, but then how many pictures of yourself can you take while prancing and preening in your bathroom?
A lost cause
While I may rave and rant as much as I want about the embarrassing new world of selfies, I also know that I am a rare minority. The world has gone 'selfie crazy' and it is my duty to make sure that if I can't stop this frightening image explosion, I can at least try to make sure that the quality of selfies is improved. Here then is the selfie bible - best camera and camera phones to take selfies, apps that can improve your selfie-taking abilities pre and post as well as a 101 on how to take the best selfies in the world!
Best Camera Phones To Do The Deed
It's sad but true. Phones today sell on their selfie-taking ability. Here then are the top snappers to feed your narcissism.
Samsung Galaxy K Zoom
Fantastic optics, 10X optical zoom and a Selfie mode that is truly intelligent. Mark a spot on the screen where you want your face to appear in a selfie, turn the phone around, start panning and the camera recognises you and takes the picture automatically. Plus, a Beauty mode that apparently makes you look much prettier and doesn't care if you are a man or woman.
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Gionee E7 Mini
The optics are great with a 13.0-MP camera, 12 levels of Auto Beauty modes and a Phone Booth mode that adds backgrounds to your selfie. But it's the swivel camera that really makes the big difference, as you can just turn around the back camera and take a really good selfie.
It is built from the ground-up to take selfies. This too has a swivel camera but goes two steps further. A Bluetooth remote control to click pictures, plus the back of the phone is touch-sensitive thus enabling you to snap a picture by tapping behind.
LG G Pro 2
This one uses street smarts to ensure your selfie is well lit and has uniform lighting. As soon as you use the front camera for a selfie, it illuminates the outer edges of the screen with a very bright light, which has enough of a throw to brighten up everything right in front of it.
Sony Xperia Z2
Great optics, plus the BIONZ mobile image-processing engine takes good pictures in low-light conditions and eliminates blur. Plus, it's waterproof, which means this may be your only choice in getting your first swimming pool underwater selfie.
A Promise and a Request
Lots of other manufacturers are adding selfie-friendly features like a wide angle front camera lens and even voice command picture clicking. But the whole selfie ecosystem needs more than just camera phones to stop the nightmare of distorted pictures that keep appearing around us. Cameras, apps and tips to become the best selfie photographer in the world shall make their appearance next week. Till then, don't you dare click another selfie and frighten the world even more!
Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3
From HT Brunch, May 18
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