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.
In 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).
On 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:
- Helps remove reflections from glass and water surfaces
- 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.
Should you decide to purchase a polarizing filter, keep track of 2 important things:
- Make sure it is a Circular Polarizing Filter – as the linear polarizing filters can confuse your camera’s autofocus system.
- 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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 !