Snapshot Voyager is about my own personal photography journey. I am always looking to try something new, inquisitive as to how it works, and to the end results I might achieve.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

The 7 most useful D-SLR accessories you can buy

Camera stores make tons of money by selling accessories to unwary buyers for stupid money.  Here’s 7 very useful accessories, and what to pay for them.

1)      SLR case – Get a case for a body and lens only.  This is very useful as a grab and go protective bag for your camera. May not fit a larger lens, so test fit before you buy.  Don’t spend more than $20

2)      Medium size camera bag – For body, 2-3 lenses, flash and other bits.  When you need to carry a few more bits and pieces for a shoot.  $25 should get you something really nice.  Alternatively, buy a backpack that has a padded bottom section for camera gear, and an upper unpadded section for whatever you want to stuff in there.  Perfect for overnight trips. About $100.

3)      Filters – There’s only 2 filters I’d buy for a D-SLR – a protection UV filter and a polarizer.  Protecting the front element is very important as a scratch or blemish will dramatically reduce the value of the lens (but not necessarily the performance).  Other filter effects you can recreate on Photoshop.  A circular polarizer is needed for some AF lenses for the AF to work, but most work fine with an ordinary, cheaper (linear) polarizer.  Pay $20 for a new 52mm or 58mm UV, or $40 for a 72mm or 77mm UV.  For a polariser, pay double the price of a UV filter.  I recommend sticking to Japanese name brands such as Hoya or Marumi.  The German ones, such as B&W and Rodenstock, are great, but hideously expensive.  Used filters can be really cheap, but look carefully for scratches.

4)      Extra battery – You don’t want to get ready to shoot and find the battery is flat and you don’t have a spare.  It is hard to get away from paying full MSRP for a second one, but don’t get 3rd party batteries.  I’ve always been very disappointed, and they’ve caught me out with a dead camera several times, making me very unhappy.

5)      Macro and reversing rings – This is a cheap way to create excellent macro.  You don’t need electronic coupled ones, just use manual exposure and manual focus.  A nice set with 3 different size tubes should not set you back more than $50.  Either a 3rd party or genuine Nikon revering ring is a great way to create ultra macro.  They work best in combination with wide angles, and you can use extension tubes with the reversing ring to increase the magnification.  This technique needs lots of light and a fair bit of patience, but it works well.  A used Nikon BR2 or BR2a reversing ring will cost about $20-$30, about the same as a new aftermarket one.

6)      Lens Hoods – These are great to reduce flare and retain contrast in your photos.  If your lens didn’t come with a hood, a screw in rubber hood is useful and cheap.   Rubber ones collapse, and often vary in how far they extend, making them useful for wide, standard and tele lenses.  Pay no more than $10 for a large diameter rubber hood.

7)      Lens cleaning solution and tissues – Essential to clean the grime off your lenses and filters. You don’t need anything special, just pay a $1.50 for a box of tissues at the supermarket, and $5 for lens cleaning solution at the camera store.  The solution lasts forever – I’m still on the same bottle I bought 10 years ago.

Sydney - Nikon D100 with Nikon 28-105mm

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