Here are some additional items I find useful. Some for the bag and others that are just good to have.
- Remote Shutter Release (wired or wireless) – A must have for tack sharp photography. There are 5 types available:
- A wired version that physically connects to your camera with a cable. Good for most photography when you are close to your camera.
- An Infrared trigger that is used to trigger the shutter using an IR beam (this requires you to be in “line of sight” to the front of your camera. These are usually OEM products but a few third-party devices are also available. I find these limiting.
- A wireless radio trigger. This is a two unit device – one is mounted and connected to the camera and the other is the hand-held controller. Hahnel and Phottix are the ones I use.
- An iOS or Android wired trigger. The smart phone is physically connected to the camera to trigger the shutter.
- The IOS or Android trigger. Here you use your smart phone and connect to the camera in WiFi mode to control and trigger the camera.
- Filter wrench (pair) – These come in two sizes and based on the lenses you have you may want to get both sets. Amazing how screw-on filters just don’t come off. The plastic wrenches allow you to apply pressure at the right places and lever the filter off so easily. Adorama branded wrenches are less than $5 a pair.
- LED Head Lamp – a must have when you are in the dark. Always carry one in your bag.
- Intervalometer – A must have device if you do any timelapse. long exposure, or multiple exposure photography. From basic wired devices to wireless units these are made most cameras including ones that have built-in intervalometers. Phottix, Hannel, Canon all make great units. Promote Systems makes a product called Promote Control, one of the finest devices not just an intervalometer but a whole lot more. The Promote Control will do focus stacking, automatic brackets of up to 45 images, with up to 9.0 EV step between shots for HDR. It can even automatically step into Bulb for night-time HDR! More expensive than the others but the Promote Control is my first choice.
- Flash Gels Filter gels are a great way to modify the color of your light but more important, they can balance the color temperature to match the ambient light. Roscoe and Rogue make excellent gels. My personal choice is the full set with the case and elastic band from Rogue. The Rogue set is around $30.
- Rogue Flashbender – These flash diffusers and reflectors are the best I have used. The come in multiple sizes and when used with the front diffuser, that act like a small soft-box. The cam be molded to direct light as needed or rolled up to form a snoot. These start at $20 for the Flashbender bounce card..
- Rogue Grid – If you need more control with the direction of the light from your flash the Rogue Grid is an excellent tool. The design features stacking honeycomb grids that produce 16, 25 and 45 degree grid spots. In addition you can get a set of bells that match the shape of the grid collar. The grid is under $50 and the gels will cost under $30
- Kupo Off-Camera Flash Alli Clamp – The clamp has a jaw that can clamp onto items up to 1.57″ thick. Rubber nubs on the inside of the clamp prevent damage to paint or furniture. The clamp has a 5/8″ receiver for light-stands or a 5/8″ stud for super clamps with matching receivers. The Alli Clamp is topped with a metal locking shoe mounted to a rotating ball for your flash. I use it to mount my flashes, action cams, video lights and any other objects that need to held in place. Cost under $50. A lighter version called the Kupo Alli Clamp is for under $15.
Macro and Close-up
- Focusing rails and racks – These are ideal for precise positioning of a camera in X and Y directional axes. These come in single axis (front to back adjustment and 2 axis where a left right adjustment is also possible. Prices range for under $100 to $600 plus.
- Diopters or Close-up filters – This is one of the least expensive method of doing close-up photography. These filters attach to the front of your lens allowing you to focus closer hence magnifying your subject. They are available in single and dual elect construction. I recommend the dual element as you will have better optics. Prices range from $30 and up.
- Extension tubes – If you like macro these will allow your lenses to focus closer to the subject. As they have no optical elements in there is no image quality degradation. Kenko extension tubes are what I have and love. They come in a set of 12mm, 20mm and 36mm. For the newer mirrorless cameras the tubes are in sets of two at 10mm and 16mm
- McClamp The Clamp – This clamps to a tripod leg and can hold such items as gray cards and 12″ reflectors, and small delicate subjects in place. It has a 26″ flexible arm with a spring-loaded clamp to hold your subject in place. Wimberly also makes a similar device and have a new version called the Plamp II. Both products are about $45.
- Light Tent or Cube – A great light modifier for your product photography, food photography and macro work. These come in various sizes and cost $40 and up.
- Triflip (Trigrip) 6 in 1 or 8 in 1 reflector/diffuser – The TriGrip from Lastolite has a triangular shape with a built-in handle that allows easy hand holding or for attaching to a stand.The TriGrip is 30″ at its widest point and collapses storage. I prefer this to the typical round diffuser reflector kits.
A few for those who dabble with video:
- LED Light Panels – these come in various sizes – remember to get one that is disable and has the intensity you need for your kind of video shooting.
- Variable ND filter – for those bright days when you need to slow your shutter down and keep your aperture wide.
- Shotgun microphone – DSLRs are great at capturing video. The audio on the other hand really is pathetic. The minute in-built microphones are really bad. So get a good starter microphone. A shotgun mounts on the hot-shoe and connects to the mic input port of the camera. My choices for a starter microphone is the Rhode Video Mic Pro with the Dead Cat for around $210
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