Got a new camera? Now it’s time to look at some camera accessories. Accessories are the extras, the add-ons that keep your expensive camera safe or make it easier to use. Depending on what types of photos you want to take, some accessories are more like necessities. Let’s look at what’s available
The #1 accessory is a case. Bet you thought I was going to say another lens, huh? A case is a safety item. Your camera is an expensive piece of electronic gadgetry. Most are built well, but inside they have scores of tiny precision parts, all of which have to stay in the proper alignment. A camera case is its protection.
My big cameras are packed away in a case that holds the camera and all of my accessories. That way everything is protected, and when I want to use the camera, I can just throw it over my shoulder and take everything at once.
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I have a bad habit of just popping my point and shoot in my pocket. It’s tough on the camera, but easy to use. That may be the reason why I go through so many small cameras. Still, when it gets put away, I don’t want to just throw it in the drawer with a bunch of other junk. I put it in a small case for protection and to make it easy to find.
The second most important piece of equipment or accessory is a cleaning kit. Not so much for the camera is for the lens. A camera lens isn’t actual glass; it’s something called optical glass. It’s a soft plastic and scratches easily. Scratch a camera lens and the camera is just about useless. While you won’t see the actual scratch on your pictures, you will see distortion, flare, and fuzziness as the image has to travel through the scratch.
Tissues may be ok for keeping your eyeglasses clean, but they’re not good for a camera lens. Optics need special lens tissues with soft fibers and free of any grit. Bunch the lens tissue up a bit to make a cushion before using it and always use a clean sheet. Lens cleaner cloths aren’t safe, no matter how soft they feel. Just one little bit of grit on a tissue or cloth turns it, into sandpaper, and that’s not good for your lens. A brush with a blower is a good accessory to have also and will gently blow away dust without scrubbing.
Next on the accessory list is a tripod. A tripod holds the camera steady much steadier than you can with your hands, especially for using a telephoto lens. You may not notice camera shake when you first look at your pictures, but it robs sharpness. Lines won’t be as distinct as they should be and your pictures won’t have as much visual snap.
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Tripods have a little cousin called a monopod. It’s not a steady as a tripod as it just has one leg, but it goes a long way towards removing the wiggle and jiggle they can ruin your pictures while still allowing you the flexibility to pan your camera and move it from side to side.
My digital cameras don’t have as much need for filters as their old film counterparts did. The electronics in it do a good job of balancing colors, and what the camera misses can by corrected by software later. But there still a few filters that are important to have. Every DSLR lens should have a skylight or UV filter. These are almost clear looking to your eyes, but filter out UV light that can cause haze. Most important, though, they provide an inexpensive protector for your expensive lens.
I also like using a polarizing filter. Just like polarized sunglasses, a polarizer reduces reflections and can dramatically brighten colors. They’re especially useful for shooting around water and hazy scenics.
These are my top suggestions for must-have items, but there’s no end to the number of accessories available for photographers. Underwater cases, remote triggers, umbrella lights, and lots more. Have fun!