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5 essential camera accessories

| December 4, 2009 | 6 Comments
Assuming you already own a digital camera (point and shoot or a dSLR), Digital Photography Student brings you a list of 5 most important photography accessories that you can acquire, that will help you advance your photography skill to next level, as well as keep your photo gear in top shape.

1. Tripod – an essential part of any photo gear, tripod fulfills a couple of rolls, most noteworthy being keeping your digital camera steady, and in doing so helping you take sharp photos. It is so vital, that you will notice that all pro photographers use tripod for their photo sessions (even during the day). Tripods come in all shapes and sizes, and it all comes down to finding a good match for your specific need and the type of camera you are using.

Joby GorillaPod flexIn example, if you are only interested in taking travel photos from your vacation with your point and shoot, you might want to consider something like a Joby Gorillapod. The legs can be easily folded to adopt to pretty much any surface, and it is light to carry with you. It is perfect set-up for getting group photos with your friends and family without the hassle of asking other people to take your photo. Just put your camera on this tripod, set up the timer, and you are good to go. If you use a dSLR for the same purpose, check out Joby GP2-D1EN Gorillapod Tripod for Digital SLR Cameras for dSLR’s that weigh up to 800g (1,76lb), or a more sturdy Joby GP3 Gorillapod SLR-Zoom Flexible Tripod with BH1 Ball Head for SLRs up to 3kg (6,5lb).

Ball HeadManfrotto 055XPROB Pro Tripod LegsOn the other hand, if you are looking for a full sized camera tripod, and are willing to invest a little bit more (up to 300$ mark), you can get an excellent tripod, such as this Manfrotto 055XPROB Pro Tripod Legs together with Manfrotto 488RC2 Midi Ball Head. If you are really serious about getting a good tripod, remember, they usually come separate from the head. This gives you the flexibility to decide which head is the best for you. We strongly recommend using the ball head, as it is much easier to adjust and if needed readjust the camera. In 300$ is too much for you to invest in a tripod, there are other tripod kits that are on a bargain such as this Digital Concepts TR-60N camera tripod which you can get for as low as 17$ (bag included),  and it is an excellent bargain, especially if this is your first tripod. Just remember, quality camera tripods cost more for many reasons, such as sturdiness, lightness, flexibility and build quality.

2. Circular Polarizer – the only filter whose effects cannot be fully reproduced in editing software (e.g. Photoshop), and a must have for anyone involved in landscape photography. Polarizing filter is probably one of the most important camera accessories that you can get. Its main benefits:

  1. Helps remove reflections from glass and water surfaces
  2. Saturates the colors in the photo (e.g. makes blue skies bluer)

How much is it important for you to use circular polarizer ? Check the example below and judge for yourself.

Circular Polarizer

Circular Polarizer

Should you decide to purchase a polarizing filter, keep track of 2 important things:

  1. Make sure it is a Circular Polarizing Filter – as the linear polarizing filters can confuse your camera’s autofocus system.
  2. Make sure it is the right size – check out at the end of your lens for the diameter of the filter that you can put on lens (denoted with Ø in the front, e.g. Ø58 mm)

Also be on the lookout for one of our future guides where we will teach you on how to use it.

Remote Release3. Remote Shutter Release – usually used in conjunction with a tripod, this handy tool helps you (beside take photos of yourself with friends) minimize camera shake, resulting in sharper photos. In addition, it allows you to make long exposures, and engage in low-light photography. There are two types of remote shutter releases: wired and wireless. If your digital camera supports it, we recommend wireless, as it makes no contact whatsoever, ever further reducing the chances a camera shake might occur.

Lens Cleaning Kit4. Camera and Lens Cleaning Kit – for keeping your digital camera and lens in top shape, you might want to consider getting a camera and lens cleaning kit. The fluid and the cloth help keep the glass surfaces of the lens in pristine condition, while the blower is used to remove dust particles from the body of your camera. For that purpose we recommend you Giottos Multi-Optical Cleaner Kit. WARNING: Cleaning of the image sensor is a very delicate process, and use extreme caution when doing so, or leave it up to the professionals. For more detailed instructions check out “Proper Camera Sensor Cleaning Tutorial“, from Lilkiwiguy87 from Nikon Help Hotline, in our Video Tutorials section.

Tamrac Camera Bag5. Camera Bag – last but not least, especially if you pack a dSLR camera with a couple of lens and accessories. A good camera bag will not only keep your photo gear nicely organized, but also safe from elements and other events. We recommend the Tamrac 3370 Aero 70 Photo Backpack. This bag has saved my newly bought dSLR from an unexpected high wave on a sandy beach in Maldives. The bag was standing upwards as depicted on the right, and when the wave came, the sea level rose up to the half of the size of the backpack. Fortunately, the camera department was dry.

What are your top 5 camera accessories ? Share your favorites in the comments below. Happy shooting !

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Category: Beginners Photography, Photo Equipment, Photography Lessons

About the Author (Author Profile)

Alan Graf is the editor and founder of Digital Photography Student. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, and is also editor of – a Croatian wallpaper archive, and his own photo gallery at

Comments (6)

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  1. I wish I had bought a monopod instead of a tripod for portability and lightness, but the tripod has been an excellent investement.

    Camerabag – I went with a backpack and love it

    I would possibly add lenshoods for the lenses that dont come with them – I get a bit of flare now and then on my 17-85mm

  2. Grunf says:

    Hi lensaddiction, and thx for comments

    I agree a monopod can sometimes be much more portable and light, and convenient for travels.

    Regarding lenshoods, thx for bringing this to my attention, i will for sure include this in one of the following posts. I had no such experiences as all of my lens came with hoods (Pentax dSLR), but i agree that they are vital. Not only they protect your lens from sun and flares, but also to a degree from dust and impact.

  3. […] for DSLRs (except for a few notable exceptions). The photos below, demonstrate the use of a circular polarizer filter, one of the most common filters used in the landscape photography. Krk townscape – […]

  4. […] Solid tripod that can be fine tuned easily. More often than not macro photography requires tiny adjustments, and […]

  5. […] of time with adjusting and readjusting the camera. You can check our recommended tripods in the 5 essential camera accessories post. In case you do not have a tripod, lean against a wall or some surface for support. It will […]

  6. […] maintenance, make sure that you check your camera instruction manual. Also, make sure that you have proper equipment for cleaning your lens and camera, as well as check this tutorial on proper camera sensor cleaning. […]

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