I'm looking for an affordable way to avoid perspective distortion when taking selfies. I know the best way to avoid this would be taking a portrait with a DSLR with a 200mm-ish lens from 8 ft away, but this seems too much for me, because of the cost and the setup that requires enough space, a tripod, wifi screen, and remote control. It could be any type of camera, phone, a phone attachment, or whatever. And getting to the subject (myself) as close as I can would be also important since I'll be the one taking a picture of myself.

  • Related: Distance-creating “lens”? – Michael C Jan 2 '19 at 3:56
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    More information about the context of your problem is needed to adequately answer your question. What is the purpose of the selfie? What camera are you currently using? In what setting are you taking the photos? Why are you unable to set up a tripod? Is this a one off? – xiota Jan 2 '19 at 23:22

The most simple answer is a mirror. The distance from the camera to the mirror and back to the subject is optical distance. The additional optical distance will go a long way to reducing most perspective distortion in your selfies or eliminating it altogether.

Perspective distortion is caused by very short (or, in the opposite way, very long) camera to subject distances. When the difference in distance from the camera to the subject's nose and distance to the subjects ears is an appreciable percentage of the first value, the photo looks different than our eyes and brains interpret the same face when viewing it from the same position.

Please note that there is a difference between perspective distortion, caused by the relative positions of the camera and various objects in the field of view and geometric distortion, caused by the way a lens projects a three dimensional world onto a two dimensional sensor or film.

  • I tried with a mirror, and the quality of the picture was too low, it was too blunt when I cropped out my head. So I looked up point and shoot cameras and attachments for my phone since my budget is only $200. My options are: 1. Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 HS point and shoot camera 2. Moment Tele Lens (on my iPhone SE) 3. Upgrading to iPhone 7 (not sure if it's that much of difference) 4. Asus Zenfone Zoom (13 MP, f/2.7-4.8, 28(wide)-84mm(telephoto), 3x optical zoom, OIS, laser AF) I would appreciate your advice! – David Jan 2 '19 at 15:28
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    Perspective distortion isn't distortion per se, like radial/pincushion that you can "solve" in the lens/software. It's a result of the camera<->subject distance only, it doesn't matter if you use a Hasselblad or a shoebox with a hole in it, the perspective is the same. The links provided in this answer should clear that up, it is not a gear solvable problem. – Fábio Dias Jan 4 '19 at 15:30

Selfie sticks were designed to solve this specific problem. Most are well within your budget. They require less space than tripods.

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    Attempting to hold up a 4-5 lb DSLR at the end of a selfie stick of any appreciable length may cause certain other facial distortions... – twalberg Jan 2 '19 at 16:50
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    @twalberg They add character to the portrait. – xiota Jan 2 '19 at 16:52
  • @twalberg The question says "It could be any type of camera, phone, a phone attachment, or whatever." – David Richerby Jan 7 '19 at 11:49

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