Accessories under £50
Spudz 6x6in microfibre lens cloth
Spudz microfibre lens cloths are available in different sizes. The cloth is attached inside a neoprene pouch complete with its own hook that allows you to easily attach it to a zipper or stow it away inside a pocket in your camera bag. Well suited to cleaning lenses, they’re also great for cleaning screens and sunglasses. If it gets dirty or needs a clean, simply handwash it with mild detergent and hang it up to dry. You’ll find various sizes available on Amazon, with 6x6in examples starting around £8 and 10x10in cloths costing around £14.
Eneloop Pro rechargeable batteries
- £15 (pack of 4)
Fed up of having to buy packs of fresh batteries for your flashgun, triggers, and so on? Eneloop Pro batteries (formerly developed by Sanyo and now owned by Panasonic) with their extra-strong performance are ideal for devices with high power consumption and can be recharged up to 500 times – great for the environment and your wallet. To charge them you’ll need a standard NiMH battery charger such as the Amazon Basics Ni-MH AA & AAA battery charger with USB port that costs just £9.
Anker PowerCore 20100
Running out of battery power is one of the worst things that can happen when you’re working outdoors. A portable powerbank like the Anker PowerCore 20100 can get you out of trouble, provided your camera supports USB charging. No heavier than a can of soup, this slim powerbank takes 10 hours to recharge fully using a 2 ampere charger and can recharge an iPhone 8 seven times over.
Think Tank Emergency Rain Cover
Having a camera cover you can pull from your bag in an instant to protect your gear from a downpour or dusty/sandy conditions can be extremely useful. This example is designed to fit DSLR or mirrorless cameras and is available in two sizes (small or medium) to accommodate a range of lenses. The medium option is ideal for a gripped or standard camera body with a 70-200mm or 24-70mm lens attached. It features a large window to view your LCD and controls and compresses down into a compact carrying pouch for convenience.
Hoya Pro-1 Digital Protector
If you’re going to spend hundreds of pounds on a new lens, you’ll want to keep it in pristine condition and do everything in your power to avoid potential damage. The Hoya 77mm Pro-1 Digital Protector filter is a great way of doing just that. It doesn’t affect the colour balance or performance of your lenses in the slightest, but constant use protects valued lenses from expensive front-element damage, which could be caused by dirt, knocks or scratches. It’s available in sizes from 52mm to 82mm.
OpTech Pro Strap
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 more than eight colours. It’s worth a look if you’d like to improve your comfort when working with a single camera.
RØDE has a good reputation for 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. Optionally available is the RØDE SC7, a TRS to TRRS cable that allows it to be used with smartphones.
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, 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.
Ansmann All-In-One travel plug adapter
If you like to travel abroad with your camera, the Ansmann All-In-One travel plug is a must-have. You choose which plug socket you want to adapt to, and push down one of four corresponding sliders to release the right adapter. Compatible with 150 countries, they include Australian, American and European plugs. You can also plug multiple types of plug into the adapter itself, and it’s adapted to suit UK plugs too.
Zeiss lens cleaning spray
This optical cleaning spray offers gentle and effective cleaning for lenses and all optical surfaces, including smartphones, tablets, laptops and LCD displays. For best results, lightly spray onto a microfibre cloth before wiping. The two 120ml bottles will keep you going for some time, but you may want to decant into a smaller spray bottle so it takes up less space in your bag.
H&Y magnetic filter frames
- From £23 (100x100mm frame)
Fed up of getting fingermarks on your filters and want to give them lifelong protection? H&Y’s magnetic filter frames are your answer and are made for 100x100mm or 100x150mm filters. You need to modify your filter holder to accept these magnetic filter frames, but Formatt-Hitech, LEE Filters and NiSi filter holder owners can fit magnetic holder adapter strips (£15). The frames let you easily attach and stack filters to your holder.
Kenro Kenair Master Kit 360ml
The Kenair air duster removes dust and dirt from negatives or slides, as well as computers, camera exteriors and other equipment in a matter of seconds. It emits a powerful and controllable blast of air to get dust and dirt out of those hard-to-reach places. If you like to keep your camera kit in pristine condition, add a can of Kenair to your shopping list. With the Master Kit you get a reusable valve, meaning when you run out you’ll only need to buy a refill canister (£14).
Hähnel Universal Flash accessory kit
This flash accessory kit provides you with everything you need to start getting more creative with your hot-shoe mounted Speedlite. The kit is made up of different light-diffusion accessories, which includes a honeycomb grid, flash reflector, filter holder with seven coloured filters, foldable light-beam snoot and flash bracket to aid with supporting a flashgun off-camera and attaching an umbrella. Each light-diffusion accessory attaches using a velcro accessory strap, of which five are supplied in the kit.
SanDisk 64GB Extreme PRO UHS-I SDXC card
With UHS-II SD memory cards becoming more popular, there are great deals to be found on UHS-I SD cards. If your camera doesn’t support UHS-II or you’re not worried about owning the fastest SD card, you won’t go wrong with this 64GB Extreme PRO card. It has a write speed of up to 90MB/s and read speed of 170MB/s. It also comes in 128GB (£55.50), 256GB (£95) and 512GB (£265) capacities.
Accessories from £50-£100
Vanguard VEO 2 AM-264TR
The VEO AM-264TR has a different design to most monopods. The difference is at the base, where three foldable feet, each fitted with an anti-slip rubber foot, are designed to provide a tri-stand platform. Where the four-section aluminium-alloy leg attach to the tri-stand, there’s a ball joint to allow smooth panning and tilting motions. With an extended height of 1,630mm, a folded height of 565mm and a maximum load capacity of 6kg, it’s about as feature-packed as a monopod gets for under £100. It picked up our AP Gold Award when we reviewed it.
Wacom Intuos Small
If you spend a lot of time editing your images and want to take more precise control of the cursor, a pen tablet such as the Wacom Intuos S can be an invaluable accessory. This entry-level tablet is aimed at those who may have never used a pen tablet before and represents amazing value for £60. It provides a battery-free, pressure-sensitive pen that’s designed to suit both left- and right-handed users. If you’re willing to spend £85 you can buy the same device with Bluetooth connectivity built-in.
Hoya NX-10 circular polariser
- £80 (77mm)
Aimed at amateurs and budget-conscious enthusiasts, Hoya’s NX-10 filters may seem expensive, but they’re well-made and feature a sleek, thin profile to avoid light fall-off when using wideangle lenses. They screw in easily without binding and reduce unwanted reflections effectively. They’re available in sizes from 37mm to 82mm.
Metz M360 flashgun
Here’s a great entry-level flash for under £100, extremely compact and weighing 190g. The M360 has only two buttons to control it and with a guide number of 36 at ISO 100, it’s very powerful for its size. It offers a number of features such as a power zoom, swivelling reflector with extendable reflector card and integrated wideangle (14mm) diffuser. It has a micro USB socket for firmware updates and is powered by 2xAA alkaline or NiMH batteries. It’s available for all big camera brands.
LEE 100 filter holder
This holder replaces the classic LEE filters holder that’s been in production for 25 years. Light (52g) and precision engineered from injection-moulded composite materials, it’s strong enough for demanding outdoor photographers. You get a spring release that offers neutral, half-lock and full-lock options, plus new modular filter-guide blocks that make it faster to configure in the field. The filter-guide blocks are designed to accept the attachment of a new LEE 100 Polariser. The existing LEE 105mm polariser can also be used, but requires
the new 105mm polarising ring (£35).
Benro Slim Carbon Fibre tripod + N00 ball head kit
Today you can pick up a lightweight but sturdy tripod for under £100. Compromises include a lower maximum height and recommended load, meaning the tripods are suited for use with smaller DSLR or mirrorless cameras with tilting screens, and not ideal for use with large lenses. This Benro Slim tripod + N00 ball head kit extends to 146cm, packs to 51cm, and weighs just 1kg. At just £99, it’s a bargain.
The Hähnel ProCube2 is a dual battery charger based around the same concept as the original ProCube, with a sturdy metal shell and interchangeable plates that each accept a pair of batteries. The battery holders clip into place and LCD display shows how much charge has been fed into each battery. An in-car charger is also supplied making it easy to top up your batteries when driving between locations. It even has a high-power 2.4 ampere USB output for charging phones or tablets once the camera batteries are full. It’s available for Canon, Olympus, Nikon, Sony, Panasonic and Fujifilm batteries.
Accessories from £100-£200
Benro 3-way Geared Head GD3WH
For photographers who demand precise control of composition, perhaps for architectural or macro work, a geared head can be a godsend. Benro’s GD3WH is a relatively lightweight, portable and precise example that incorporates an Arca Swiss-type quick release. Three large control knobs, one for each axis of movement, drive the camera directly in the corresponding direction, allowing highly accurate setting of composition. With its sturdy magnesium-alloy construction, the head is rated to support a 6kg load.
Metz Mecalight S500BC
This rechargeable and compact LED light is the size of a smartphone. It sports 117 surface- mount LEDs and offers a continuously adjustable colour temperature from 5500K to 3000K. The output brightness is finely adjustable across four stops of range, with the settings shown on a small display on the back. Its sturdy aluminium housing includes a 1⁄4in tripod thread, and you get a hot-shoe mount and removable diffuser panel.
Vanguard Veo Select 49
If you’re forever trying to choose between a shoulder bag or a backpack for carrying your kit, then this cleverly designed bag might just be the answer. It comes with both a backpack harness and shoulder strap, and can be switched between the two carrying modes quickly and easily. There’s space for one or two cameras and 3-5 extra lenses, along with a separate compartment for a 15in laptop and a tablet.
Manfrotto 190 Go! MT190GOA4
For photographers in need of a sturdy yet versatile tripod that’ll comfortably hold an enthusiast DSLR, Manfrotto’s excellent 190 Go! is difficult to beat. With 4-section twist-lock legs that can each be set to four different angles, it achieves a maximum height of 152cm while folding down to 45cm, and weighs 1.66kg. But its party trick is a centre column that can be flipped from vertical to horizontal using a neat mechanism concealed within the central spider, allowing overhead or low-level shooting.
Datacolor SpyderX Pro
If you like to manipulate images on a computer before printing or sharing them online, you need to ensure your monitor is showing colours accurately. Datacolor has designed the SpyderX to calibrate your display faster than ever before, with the whole process taking about two minutes to complete. For most people, the Pro package makes sense, but if you also need to profile a printer, check out the more expensive Studio kit.
A compact flashgun that’s designed specifically for use with mirrorless cameras, the i40 stands out for its high specification, compact size and ease of use. Its auto-zoom head covers lenses from 24-105mm equivalent, and is extendable to 16mm using the slide-out wide diffuser panel. With a powerful output that belies its size, built-in LED video light, and support for advanced functions such as wireless flash control and high-speed sync, it’s available for Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon, Sony and Micro Four Thirds cameras.
Formatt-Hitech Firecrest 85mm starter kit
A decent filter set-up is essential for serious landscape photography. But while 100mm-wide systems are widely recommended, they can be overkill for photographers who don’t use ultra-wideangle lenses. Formatt-Hitech’s latest 85mm system offers plenty of high-end features at a more affordable price, including geared adjustment of a polariser from behind the camera. The kit contains a 77mm polariser and adapters for lenses with 58mm to 77mm threads. Just add neutral density and graduated filters of your choice.
WD MyPassport Wireless Pro
- £140-230 (1TB- 4TB)
This handy device is designed to let you back up your pictures from your camera to its internal hard disc without the need for a computer. Simply pop your SD card into its built-in reader, then press the copy button. A standard USB 2.0 port means you can also back up Compact Flash or XQD cards, using plug-in readers. Its hefty 6400mAH rechargeable battery will last for hours on location, and can even be used as a powerbank to top up other devices.
Syrp Super Dark Variable ND
- £180 (small), £230 (large)
As variable ND filters go, this is one of the best. It sandwiches two polarisers which can be rotated relative to each other to block between 5 and 10 stops of light from penetrating the lens. Two kits are available: one includes an 82mm filter and two step-up rings from 77mm and 72mm, while the smaller option includes a 67mm filter and provides 58mm and 52mm step-up rings. The filter delivers neutral colour and is beautifully presented in a leather case.
Manfrotto Noreg-30 backpack
On the surface, this is a conventional-looking backpack that can accommodate a medium-sized DSLR or mirrorless camera with a couple of lenses, while offering a convenient separate space for personal items. But it uses a clever modular design, with an internal camera compartment that can be removed and used as a small shoulder bag when you only want to carry your camera and lenses. There’s also a removable 15in laptop compartment at the rear. A tripod holder on the front rounds off this well-made and versatile bag.