In the last 35 days, I’ve traveled to Florida, Nevada, Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Shandong in China, the Oregon Coast, Seattle, and I’ve been hiking four times near my home in Portland, Oregon. I’m sitting in a hotel in Spokane, Washington, right now, and I’ll be heading to Bozeman, Montana, Idaho Falls, Idaho, and Boise Idaho in the next few days. I’ve made thousands of pictures in each place, and I couldn’t have done it half so well with a bulkier DSLR. I realized there are a couple of accessories I use everywhere I go and they are so integrated with my camera that I can’t imagine working without them. So here are a couple of excellent tools I highly recommend for anyone using mirrorless cameras.

Off-Brand Batteries

It’s often easier to carry extra batteries than it is to carry a charger. But batteries manufactured by your camera company are generally very expensive. I’ve saved a lot of money buying off-brand batteries, but I have another tip, too. I searched for my camera’s battery on the interwebs and discovered that Sigma’s DP0 camera uses the same battery, but it costs a lot less than my Lumix batteries. The thing is, branded batteries often have microchips that manage power flow more precisely; in fact, many cameras won’t function with the very cheapest off-brand batteries because they don’t have the chips. B&H carries quality third party batteries (just enter your camera model in the search bar), and I’ve also had excellent results with Wasabi Power Batteries. Make sure the output rating matches your camera batteries. Also, before you go to HongKong, make sure your battery charger says 100~240V Input. It probably does, but if it’s 110VAC only, it won’t work in countries that use 220VAC in the wall.

Spider Holster System

The Spider Holster frees your hands to be a person while keeping your camera handy to be a photographer. their latest lineup of lighter tools is ideal for mirrorless shooters. I’ve got the SpiderLight holster on my belt all the time, and the SpiderLight plate, which has an integrated Arca-Swiss compatible tripod plate, is permanently attached to my camera. these allow me to carry my camera on my belt in comfort and keep it handy without fatiguing my neck with a strap. It’s perfectly secure and so simple to use. I also use the Spider hand straps, and I can’t get enough. I highly recommend the Spider Holster system, and it’s great for DSLR’s, too. (Full Disclosure: I love these so much, I’m an ambassador for Spider Holster.)

Platypod Ultra

I was shooting from The Presidential Suite high over Shenzhen and down on the ground under the lace leaf maple in Portland’s Japanese Gardens, and both times the Platypod Ultra served me well. It’s light and low profile and always worth carrying to stabilize your photographs. I use mine with the Vanguard TBH-50 ball head, which comes with the Veo tripod (also a good tool for mirrorless cameras). This head has yet to fail me, and it’ll support everything you throw at it, beyond what it says it’s rated for. If you pre-order the Ultra on Kickstarter you’ll find some very good pricing, but the lowest prices won’t be available after it’s funded so hurry over to Kickstarter.


These tools are always with me, and I’ve been using them for years with only the best results. I highly recommend them to you. They will help you have your camera accessible when the best pictures happen right before your eyes and you’ll be ready to capture them.