Filters of all sorts, flashes, cards, readers, light-meters, remote triggers, straps, battery chargers, batteries, business cards, business card holders, lens bags, cases, cords, levels, tripods, lens cloths, blah, blah, blah. Do you need it all and does it have to be the best of the best?
YES, GO BUY IT ALL RIGHT NOW (but only if you’ve got a limitless income!)
Well, most of us can’t go out and buy a car full of photography equipment, so I’d recommend that you start off slow and figure out what you need and want to use first. I always felt like I needed gear protection, wanted functionality, and then played with creativity enabling accessories, and thats the order of purchasing that I’d recommend if you don’t have an agenda. So after you choose your gear and lenses (Building Your Bag: Lenses), on to Accessories, Part 1: Gear Protection
Whether it be a computer, camera, car, carcass, or can of pop, if something I buy has value to me and can make me money, I do whatever I necessary in order to protect my investment. I think of it as an investment for an investment.
Protect the lenses you buy with a UV filter, but don’t sacrifice quality to save a cheap penny if you’re able to. Your glass quality is only as good as the last piece of glass that’s attached to it, which is why many purists would disagree with me advising people to put a UV filter on the front. Personally, I’d rather sacrifice a $80-$120 piece of easily replaceable and relatively inexpensive glass rather than a the front element of the lens that 1. needs a couple weeks to repair and 2. requires me to sell my kidney. If you’re using a kit lens, I wouldn’t spend much time or money on it (even though they’re capable of some great images), but instead, I would utilize that money for a well desired upgrade. Ones that I would typically use are B+W Filters and Hoya HD filters.
In environments like dust bowl that I live in, it’s important to keep your glass and camera sensor free from those really pretty specs of picture ruining ridiculousness! A nice and durable case or bag is what I would purchase next! To me, there are only three kinds that really stick out in my head. One is a plastic hard case like a Pelican case (I use the Pelican 1510, and it is typically what I use to store and transport everything), or a zippered backpack like a LowePro Fastpack 350 (one that’d use for hiking or shoots that only need my camera and a lens), and the last is a stylish over the shoulder bag (like this Retrospective 5 I reviewed from ThinkTank).
Things to ask yourself before purchasing a case or a bag:
- Where will I be going with this bag?
- How much gear will I be carrying?
- Do I need to look professional or casual?
- Indestructible or get me through the day?
I keep a little “air rocket”, a little portable duster powered by your fist, in my bag. The one that I use is a Giottos Rocket Air Blower (in Red). These are really nice for those somewhat stubborn pieces of dust that get stuck to your lens or even your sensor. Most specks of dust won’t entirely effect your image if you’re using a wide aperture, but if you’re stopping down and getting everything in focus, you might get a lot more than you were wanting. There are a bunch of little dusters that you can buy, so pick up one of them and keep it in your bag. They’re also nice to annoy people with.
There’s also lens pens and random other overpriced cleaning products that I don’t have too much familiarity with. Don’t use compressed air directly on your sensor, there have been some horror stories. Trust me.
Not something that is super necessary, but they’re nice to have if you’re transporting a lens in a normal JanSport backpack or something like that. Plus they tend to be good for shelf storage if you’re not planning to tote all your lenses around at the same time. Most photographers that are on a budget don’t really pick up one of these on purpose… they’re most likely given one with the lens. They’re really good for putting other random stuff into as well.. like small props, or lens caps, or even batteries. I’ve got a ThinkTank one that I use occasionally with trips on my motorcycle.
I’ve always used Giottos screen protectors on my LCD’s. They’re really helpful for preventing scratches and keeping resale value up! No one likes a seemingly jacked up display, so I figured that $40 is worth keeping my crazy investment pristine and pretty! The Giottos protectors that I had on my Canon line of cameras were all made with Schott glass, so there isn’t any fogging or hazing on the screen that you typically see with those cheaper adhesive films. It’s well worth it! Cleaning the beloved face grease off the LCD with a cloth or a shirt can rub dirt and such into the LCD itself, causing unwanted scratches and such, but if you’ve got this great piece of glass goodness, you can rub all day, and nothing will happen!! It’s really saved me a couple times when my camera was swinging from my shoulder– it hit a corner of a desk and the glass didn’t even break. Another time, I hit a rock when I was hiking, and the glass cracked, but the LCD was still perfecto!
Just like in many aspects in life, protection is important. Haha, keep things safe and clean and you’ll be able to keep using it for longer– also you’ll hopefully be able to keep things looking pretty, which means better resale value! And this cover’s Part-1 in my book.