What are the Camera Accessories for easier and successful shooting?
A lens is practically the heart of a camera. However, high end cameras need lenses of many kinds. Knowledge of camera lenses will help you handle digital photography efficiently and creatively. Selecting the suitable lens for a particular photograph is not a simple thing. To begin with, factors such as cost, weight, size, image quality and lens speed should be considered. Lens speed signifies the minimum f-number or maximum aperture diameter, of a camera lens. A lens featuring a bigger maximum aperture is termed a fast lens, as such a lens provides increased light intensity to its focal plane, thereby gaining the same exposure by means of a faster shutter speed.
Before going into the various lenses available, a few words about the term ‘focal length’ are necessary. It tells you how far the point of focus is from the very first glass element of your lens. This distance is usually measured in mm or millimeters. Typically, the higher the mm measure of a lens, the greater its magnification.
Given below are the more important of lenses that an avid photographer needs.
Standard lenses: Standard lens come in the range of 35 to 70mm, with the most commonly available ones being a fixed 50mm. They are usually used for street and documentary photography, situations in which a photographer can move around quickly to shoot a piece of an interesting action. Camera lenses are of three kinds: macro or close-up, zoom and special purpose. For detailed descriptions of these lenses please refer to our exhaustive lens guide.
Macro lenses: A macro lens is used to take a picture which either of the same size or bigger than the subject to be photographed. Below is an example shot:
Zoom lenses: Zoom lenses include both wide angle and telephoto lenses. Wide-angle lenses are ideal for snapping indoor pictures, landscapes, architecture as also people in large groups. A telephoto lens can capture distant objects without being close to the subject.
Special purpose lenses: Lenses such as fisheye lenses, lenses for aerial photography, underwater photography, stereoscopic lenses for that 3D effect etc are examples of special purpose lenses.
Please note that above was just a brief introduction into Lenses. Please refer to our Lenses Buying Guide which will help you further in making your buying decision for Lenses.
Camera filters are essentially optical elements of a transparent or a translucent nature. They can change the light passing through the lens of your camera to improve the image to be photographed. Filters are able to affect a number of factors including color, contrast, light intensity, sharpness, and they also highlight flare individually, or in various combinations. You can also use them to produce special effects. Camera filters come in a variety of types.
Ultraviolet filters or UV filters: Ultraviolet filters help in reducing the haziness caused by ultraviolet light. The sensors of a camera are sensitive to this kind of light, but not to the human eye. Such filters tend to block ultraviolet radiation.
Polarizing filter: A polarizing filter, filters polarized light out, and remarkably reduces reflections, improve as well as enhance contrast. It is used in all kinds of photography. A word of caution! These filters are of two kinds: circular and linear. Linear filters are unsuitable for DSLR cameras as they can cause metering errors.
ND or Natural density filter: This kind of filter brings down the volume of light entering the camera lens, thereby decreasing the shutter speed of a camera. These are used in situations where there is blur caused by motion, for example waterfalls, flowing rivers, and moving people. In conditions where large apertures are necessary, the camera flash should be used to prevent overexposure.
GND or Hard-Edge Graduated Neutral Density Filter: GND filters are used in situations of high contrast, for example when the sky is considerably brighter than that of the foreground and a flat horizon. These filters come in rectangular shapes so that a filter holder is necessary.
GND or Soft-Edge Graduated Neutral Density Filter: These kinds of filters are made use of in high contrast situations too, but when the horizon is not flat. The soft-edge permits smoother changes. These are rectangular in shape too, making filter holders necessary.
Close-up filter or diopter: A close-up filter lets a lens focus much closer to the object to be photographed. Diopters are used only in macro photography.
Special effects filter: These filters come various types. Diffusion/softening filters lend a dreamy atmosphere to portraits; star filters renders bright subjects seem like stars; multi-vision filters produces multiple copies of the same subject; infrared filters prevent infrared radiation from entering the camera.
3. Tripods & Monopods:
A tripod is used in the following conditions:
Tripod heads are an integral part of any tripod system. They attach a camera to the tripod legs, permitting the orientation of your camera to be either locked down or manipulated as needed. Tripod heads are of various kinds. They are:
Ballheads: A ballhead makes use of a ball and socket joint in order to control the orientation of the camera. The ball that rests in its socket, can be tightened so that the ball is locked into place. A stem attaches the ball to the head mount. Their mechanism is very simple as it they contain only a few moving parts.
Panheads: Also known as pan and tilt head, panheads permits the camera’s independent rotation in a few perpendicular axes that seldom intersect. They sport lockable levers intended for every axis, a few spirit levels, as also a scale engraved in degrees to measure the vertical axis. All these make panheads very complicated.
Gimbal heads: Gimbal heads combine the advantages of both pan heads and ball heads. It lets you move as well as position the camera tightly from a well balanced nodal point, enabling the photographer to regulate the equipment smoothly while doing still photography, particularly while recording video with any HDSLR. In short, a gimbal head can maintain all axes, both squared and level seamlessly.
4. Flashes & Slaves:
The built-in flash in your camera might not always yield great pictures. In fact the flash in your camera can illuminate an object that is around three meters away at the most and the light extremely directional.
Such a situation can be avoided and your pictures much improved, if you use slave flash, which is a small accessory to your camera or by means of a slave adapter fitted on a detachable flashgun.A slave flash functions like an ordinary flashgun. You can fit it on to the accessory shoe of any camera or link to a camera by means of an extension cable. The slave can be positioned somewhere within the triggering range of the sensor of your flash’s output you use, to activate it. The slave works in perfect synchronization with your camera’s main flash.
5. Battery and power supply:
Digital cameras are power hungry to say the least as they have to power the LCD, imaging system, as well as the storage system. For factors like high powered zoom and image stabilizers, more power is necessary. The batteries used in digital cameras are of two kinds: normal battery and propriety battery. The latter is needed for high end cameras. It is better to choose normal AA batteries for easy replacement and it is recommended that you keep a supply of them with you.
Battery power is expressed as mAh rating and the higher the rating the longer lasting are the batteries. The power adapter connects the battery charger to an electrical outlet, while some connect directly to the digital camera, others connect to a battery charger. In case you use a USB adapter to charge the battery from a power supply source, be sure to check the amps and volt output to see that it is compatible with your camera.
6. Cleaning your camera:
When out to clean your camera, youshould clean the sensor first, as it is the most sensitive component of a camera. Spots can develop on the sensor with regular use and they should be removed. To make things easy, it is a good idea to do a sensor check to know if it is dirty. Just shoot a smooth clean piece of paper preferably at f/22 and the result will show well defined spots or pieces of lint.
Cleaning a sensor can be tricky, so unless you are sure you can do it, you’ll be left with a hefty bill. The tools necessary to clean the SLR sensor are rocket blower, cleaning swabs and cleaning solution.
After cleaning the sensor, you clean the lens next using a suitable cleaning solution and cloth free from lint.
7. Bags & Cases:
Camera cases: Since a camera is a fragile object, the right camera case protects your camera; it makes the carrying of a camera easy and it should allow for organizing your equipment efficiently. Compact camera pouches and cases serve point-and-shoot cameras as well.
Camera bags: Your camera needs suitable cases to protect them from dust and moisture and bags carry it around easily and comfortably. If your kit is modest, choose either one that fits the equipment you have or one that has room for expansion. However, if your gear is large, buy a big one that can hold all your equipment. Actually there is no such a thing as the perfect bag and professional photographers buy several, to use for the many diverse occasions.
The kind of photography that you are into is a deciding factor in choosing a bag. For example, if you shoot landscapes, a backpack is the ideal one for you. Travel photography requires your bag to be used as hand luggage that can contain your tickets, passports, small laptop and even a newspaper. And a small backpack to use after you reachesyour destination.
8. Memory Cards:
Digital cameras make use of Security Digital or SD cards to store photographs. Memory card capacities range from 2GB to 32 GB. A card of say 4GB can store 1540 photographs, 40 minutes of HS video and about 70 hours of music. Buy a card that meets all your photographic needs.
9. Books and Softwares:
To a beginner in photography, books on the subject can be very helpful in producing fine pictures. The expert also can benefit from the many niche topics written by pros. Different makes of cameras need different software. Your camera is equipped with software for the usual needs. If you need extra software, it is advisable to contact the manufacturer as different companies use different software and one manufacturer’s software may not be compatible with cameras of a different manufacturer.
10. Other Accessories:
GPS and Wireless Devices: Wireless devices used in cameras are essentially wireless remote controls that trigger the shutter instantly without ever disturbing your camera in any way. They are ideal for shooting subjects which are not easy to approach as also to reduce vibrations.
A camera with a built in GPS mechanism is necessary if you travel a lot, taking photographs all the time. Sometimes you might forget the exact location from where you shot a particular picture and rack your brains to remember it. By adding location wise data to photo files, a GPS can pinpoint the exact location from where you have snapped your images, thus saving you a lot of worry.
Straps and slings: All cameras come with straps as they are important to a photographer. Straps are intended to prevent the chance of cameras falling down and the valuable equipment breaking into pieces. Choosing the right camera strap depends on a photographer’s comfort level and shooting situation. Bags with slings offer fast access, comfort while in use, and you can find a number of them which are lightweight in design. Sling bags let you carry your camera on your back, and snap a picture without the need of taking off your camera bag. When all is said and done, deciding on a sling bag will depend on what subject you need to shoot and how much equipment you carry with you.
Sound blimps: A Sound Blimp is basically a housing that is attached to any camera. It helps in reducing the noise caused by a shutter click, especially SLRs. It is used while shooting in movie situations such as still photography to prevent any disturbance. Blimps are also used in situations such as wildlife photography, theatrical photography, and surveillance, where sound can be extremely distracting.
Light meters: A light meter measures the amount of light entering a camera lens. It is used to decide on the correct exposure for taking a photograph. It lets you choose the proper f-number and shutter speed to ensure optimum exposure, given a particular film speed and lighting situation.
Remote controls: Remote controls are necessary if the camera is fixed to a tripod, and you need low shutter speeds. Such controls also are used for sports and wildlife photography, where it is impossible to be physically present near your camera, but you still want to control your shots.
LCD Screen Protection: An LCD screen protector is basically a thin film affixed over LCD screens. This protection can offer a shield to protect the screen from several things that can harm or damagethe sensitive screens.
Useful accessories for various genres of photography
Now that you know about all the various possible camera accessories, you can go out buy whatever is necessary for your individual situation.