Is it possible to take a self-portrait using a flip rotatable screen DSLR for example, like Nikon D5200 and involving the hand ONLY?

I haven't found much research on this on the internet so was curious to know as I'm planning to buy Nikon D5200 with the 50mm 1.8 lens

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ You better not be too short with proportionately short arms: the minimum focus distance of the 50mm f/1.8G is 18" (45cm). =D \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Commented Aug 21, 2016 at 0:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you want to use the hand in question to trigger the shutter, or are you going to take a photo of your own hand? \$\endgroup\$
    – Caleb
    Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 7:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Caleb I want to trigger the shutter using the hand. \$\endgroup\$
    – Anonymous
    Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 3:11

2 Answers 2


Of course!
BUT odds are that your head (or hand) will occupy MUCH more of the image than you are happy with.
ie not really if purely hand held.

You can

  • Prefocus camera place on semi stable location (backpack/table/rock, sheep, ...) use a 2s or 10s timer
    trigger camera and step back Survival of camera depends on stability of sheep etc.
    Or on the ground. The ground is often nice and stable. Not always.
    Shop shelf or Ground or Ground? - this was 10 second timer on table or similar - probably self timer on table maybe not. Ground vertical

  • Hold camera by outer end of lens and use eg 2s timer. With practice you'll get photos from slightly further away, but not far enough at 50mm + APSC (I just tried).

  • Use a mirror. Yes, that's cheating, but it works. Maybe not quite like this , but it gives the idea.

  • Use a low cost low quality front of lens add on. These are usually not suited to quality photos but often good-enough for trip-record / fun self photos. Playing with various lenses intended for other purposes may turn up something that works 'well enough'.

  • Buy a really really really awful tripod - the sort that sell for about $US7 equivalent in NZ. These will mount a DSLR but as a atripod for normal use they are ultra marginal. As a tripod when you have no other and MUST have one they are still marginal, but may be better than nothing.
    As a short DSLR selfie stick they may suffice BUT be sure to use the camera strap as an 'arrest' should the camera fall.

  • An only slightly dearer tripod can work quite well.

Cheapo tripod as selfie-stick.

This was probably at 17mm with an APSC sensor but demonstrates the 'long arm,' / tripod-selfie-stick method being applied. A light weight but not totally junk tripod is extended as required - probably about 2 leg sections here. Mount camera pointing (what would usually be) down along the legs.
Hold tripod by enough of leg ends to get adequate leverage.
Use camera strap attached to you somehow to (try to) present total disaster.
Camera is manually focused (more or less), self timer is set to 2 seconds.
Stabilise self - lock arm through handrail or whatever - falling off a train at 60 mph not recommended (nor at most other speeds).
Swing camera in to where shutter release can be contacted - a remote would be marvellous. Activate timer, swing camera out. Oh well - try again
10 second timer and flip over screen more predictable.

I don't know what all the blue is - looks like massive CA but the lens wasn't that bad. No matter - photo quality is definitely a secondary issue in cases like this.

BUT - 50mm really is not what you want to use.
Here are quite a few mostly-arm-unseen Old Grey Guy images.
Some are obviously not hand held by me - most are. That's at 17mm APSC in most cases. At 50mm you only get 17/50 = 34% as long sides and area is 34%^2 ~= 12% of the area at 17 mm !!!!


enter image description here

Comment from timeline:

  • Train-splatting - Malaysia. This is "safe enough" as long as you are constantly aware. She wasn't. I had to point out how rapidly posts, trees, bridges and other assorted things creep up on you at 60 mph+. Hopefully I managed to convey the point. This is looking into direction of travel.

I've tried with a wider 30mm lens (on a crop-sensor camera, like yours) but I still barely fit my full head into the frame; at 17mm my face takes up over 1/3 the width of the frame. I'd be really surprised if you can manage anything other than an extreme close-up of your face with a 50mm lens. Here's one example of someone who tried what you're proposing and they barely fit two tightly-cropped heads into the frame: there would not be much space left for any landmarks around you (and with the larger sensor of a DSLR, they'd be far enough away that they would be out of focus)! I'd suggest searching online for something like "50mm selfie" to see what other people have tried and look for images to see if you'd be happy with the results.

The kit lens, at its widest length (18mm) and at very small apertures, would be a better way to capture a selfie and show the area around you.


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