Hundreds of accessories pass through our reviewers’ hands every year, so with Christmas fast approaching we’ve picked some of our favourites under £50
Made of thin, high-grip material, MacWet’s gloves have become increasingly popular for a wide range of outdoor pursuits. Operating a camera whether via button controls or a touchscreen is easy when wearing them. Made of a thin polyamide and polyurethane material, the gloves come in two styles for warm- or cold-weather use, each with two different cuff lengths. There’s a choice of colours, each in 14 different sizes.
Lowepro GearUp Memory Card Wallet 20
To keep your memory cards in tip-top condition and avoid them getting lost or damaged in your pocket, we’d always recommend using a memory-card wallet. With its book-style opening and clear organiser pockets, the GearUp Memory Wallet 20 from Lowepro is one of the best of its kind. It’s designed to accept Compact Flash, XQD and SD cards, and features a belt clip for easy, secure access. With 16×5.5x7cm external dimensions you won’t have difficulty finding a space for it in your bag either.
Price: from £18
If you’re struggling to find the perfect backdrop or surface on which to shoot product, food or lifestyle images you’ll want to take a look at these products. The company’s 40x40cm (£18) Photo Boards are ideal for photographing small items, and the larger 60x60cm (£30) designs offer better space for more complex still-life set-ups. The company has recently added larger 80x90cm boards to their range too, all in a variety of styles.
RØDE has a strong reputation for its high-end microphones. Its VideoMicro is a directional microphone that primarily picks up sounds from in front of the camera, and is designed to match small mirrorless cameras. As there’s no battery it’s short (8cm) and light (42g); instead, it uses ‘plug-in power’ that’s supplied by many cameras. It comes with a Rycote mount and a furry windshield.
Eyelead Sensor Dust-Sticking Bar
There are many ways to clean your camera’s sensor, but the Eyelead Sensor Dust-Sticking Bar (SCK-1) is one of the most effective accessories we’ve used to remove dust safely. It’s important to note that the SCK-1 version should not be used to clean Sony or Leica sensors; for these cameras it’s imperative you use the SCK-1S (red) version. The gel on the sticking bar is formulated to capture dust without damaging the sensor and leaves no residue behind. After the dust has been removed, just dab the bar on special cleaning paper, with the higher adhesion of the paper retaining the dust and enabling the sticking bar to be reused. Extra cleaning papers are available separately.
Price: from just £24.99
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OpTech Pro Strap
There are many different types of camera straps out there, yet the neoprene Pro Strap from OpTech is one of the most comfortable we’ve ever used. It does an excellent job of evenly dispersing the weight of light and heavy camera set-ups, while the strap functions like a shock absorber, effectively eliminating neck and shoulder fatigue. It also features a non-slip grip and is available in no fewer than eight different colours. It’s well worth a look if you’d like to improve your comfort when working with a single camera.
Lee Filters field pouch
Keeping all your filters safely together in one place is always a good idea. The Lee Filters field pouch is one of the best with a lid that covers the entire pouch. It’s large enough to store any long 100x150mm graduated filters and there’s enough space to store up to ten filters. To store your filter holder and adapter rings, a couple of compartments will need to be sacrificed. It has a shoulder strap and would be a perfect gift for any serious photographer working with 100x100mm or 100x150mm filters.
CEWE Photobook Pure
Price: £12.99 per book + £1.99 postage
If you want to turn your pictures into something less ephemeral than electronic files viewed on a screen, making a photobook is a great option. This service from CEWE is simple but effective. The app prompts you to select 22 images from your camera roll before laying them out onto pages of the book, which you can rearrange. A title to the book’s cover and spine, and a short message on the opening page can be added too. The print quality is impeccable, with vibrant colours and perfectly neutral black & white images.
If you like to use your smartphone to take pictures, the Manfrotto TwistGrip clamp is worth a look. It lets you mount smartphones with a width of 80mm or less onto any support or accessory that features a ¼in thread connection. It’s perfect for times when you might like to attempt a time-lapse, long exposure or family group shot. Made of aluminium, it features an easy-to-use twist movement and a locking knob. Super-slim, sturdy and well made, this is an essential accessory for anyone wanting to take advantage of a smartphone camera.
H&Y magnetic filter frames
Price: from £23 (100x100mm frame)
Fed up of getting fingermarks on your filters and want to give them life-long protection? H&Y’s magnetic filter frames are designed to do exactly that and are made for 100x100mm or 100x150mm filters. You need to modify your filter holder to accept these magnetic filter frames, but Lee Filters, Formatt HiTech and Nisi filter holder owners can fit magnetic holder adapter strips that cost just £15. The frames then allow you attach and stack filters to your holder effortlessly.
The accessory is designed to improve the handling and operation of your smartphone to make it feel more camera-like in the hand. The moulded silicone grip lets you shoot single-handedly, and with a shutter button directly below your index finger, it makes picture-taking a more enjoyable experience. It connects via Bluetooth and the shutter remote slides off, allowing you to set it up on its supplied tripod stand and capture selfies from a 10m range. It’s compatible with phones 62.5mm-85mm wide and is worth considering if you rely on your smartphone for taking pictures.
Matin M-7096 raincape
If you don’t want bad weather to interrupt your photography, you’ll want a suitable camera cover that can be pulled out from your bag at a moment’s notice to keep your kit dry. This simple but effective raincape fits most popular DSLRs and mirrorless cameras with up to a 300mm lens attached. A small aperture covered by a protective flap allows an uninterrupted view through the viewfinder; it also packs down well. Not only useful for rain, it also provides excellent protection from dust and sand.
Kingston Nucleum USB-C hub
In recent years we’ve seen an increasing number of laptop manufacturers ditch the idea of offering an SD card slot at the side in an effort to make their products as thin and lightweight as possible. This is a huge irritation for photographers as it forces us to buy an external dongle to download our images. With a sturdy aluminium housing, the Kingston Nucleum hub is one of the best we’ve used. It’s from a highly reputable brand, and at £47, it’s not ludicrously expensive. It plugs in via USB-C and includes SD and MicroSD card slots, two USB 3.0 inputs, an HDMI output, and two USB-C ports, one of which can be used to plug in your charger and power your device. The only thing that would make it better is if it accepted Compact Flash cards too.