However good your camera or lens, quality accessories are also a really important part of the photographic equation. Here are our top 50 favourite accessories for a range of budgets – you may find some items are further discounted as part of Black Friday week deals. With Christmas coming up, accessories can make great stocking fillers too, or a well-deserved present for yourself. Here is part one, with accessories ranging from £7 to and £76. we will be running part two tomorrow.
NiSi Clever Cleaner for square filters, £7
If you’re a regular user of square filters, you’ll know how it easy it is to get them covered in fingerprints from sliding them into the holder and removing them after use. This handy device springs open to reveal a rectangular felt cleaning pad, to help keep their surfaces clean and in perfect condition. Packed up it measures just 8x4x1.5cm, so will slip easily into a pocket in your bag.
Spudz Microfibre lens cloths, from £8
These high-quality microfibre lens cloths are available in a large range of patterns and sizes. The cloth is attached inside a small neoprene pouch that comes complete with its own hook for attaching it to a zipper in your camera bag. Well suited to cleaning lenses, they’re also great for sunglasses and LCD screens, and can be refreshed by washing in mild detergent. The smallest 6x6in examples start from £8, while 10x10in cloths are around £14.
Think Tank CF/SD + Battery Wallet, £9
Keep your camera refuelled and ready for action with this handy dual-purpose pouch. On one side there’s a pocket that will hold most types of camera battery, while on the other you’ll find a clear slip pocket for a spare memory card that’ll hold SD, Compact Flash or CFexpress. It also sports a handy loop for attaching it to a bag or strap using a carabiner. Olympus E-M1 series users should note that the BLH-1 battery won’t fit.
Eneloop Pro rechargeable batteries, £14 (pack of 4)
Fed up of having to buy packs of fresh batteries for your flashgun, triggers or other photo equipment? Eneloop Pro batteries are ideal for devices with high power consumption and can be recharged up to 500 times – great for protecting both your wallet and the environment. Available in AA and AAA sizes, they’re known for their low self-discharge rate and can be topped up using a standard NiMH battery charger.
Canon Remote Switch RS-60E3, £15
You might wonder why we’re highlighting a remote release that’s been on the market for 30 years. But with many manufacturers now adopting the same 2.5mm connector, it’ll fit a surprising number of cameras, not only from Canon but also Fujifilm, Olympus and Pentax too, including many of this year’s top models. It’s small and cheap, and the cable is designed to wrap neatly around the unit when it’s not in use.
OpTech Envy Strap, £15
Ignore the ridiculous name: owning this strap probably won’t make you the envy of your fellow photographers, but it might just make your neck and shoulders happier. It features a non-stretch design with generous memory foam padding, which means it’s extremely comfortable to wear for extended periods. Its low-profile design is ideally suited to the latest enthusiast-focused mirrorless cameras. The neck pad can even be unclipped to allow use as a hand strap.
Camera cufflinks, £13.29
Look sharp and express your appreciation for cameras from the past with a pair of smart camera cufflinks. We’re partial to these TLR-shaped designs from Onyx Arts, but others are available celebrating SLRs, rangefinders or even old 35mm films. You can also get some natty camera badges.
VSGO Imp, £13.50
Bulb air blowers are invaluable for keeping your camera’s sensor clean of dust, which will otherwise leave unslightly blobs on your images. This 10cm tall version counts as a particularly fine example, thanks to a range of unusual features. Firstly it filters the air that it draws into the bulb, and the filter can be easily removed for cleaning. It also employs a soft silicone tip, rather than plastic or metal, so it shouldn’t damage your sensor. A weighted base means that it always stands upright, which also helps keep the tip clean.
F-stop Gear Dyota Ag+ Ion Mask, £19.50
The coronavirus pandemic has turned life on its head this year, but it’s now clear that wearing a mask is one of the best tools we have for reducing transmission. The Dyota mask from camera bag maker F-stop Gear is a cut above most others you can buy. It employs a triple-layer construction with a water-repellent outer, dense non-woven middle layer and soft liner, making it unusually comfortable to wear for extended shoots. It’s available in a choice of three sizes and eight colours.
Samsung EVO Plus 128 GB microSDXC UHS-I U3 Memory Card with Adapter, £19.45
You can get good Amazon deals on this card, which offers up to 100 MB/s read and 90 MB/s write speed with class 10 and U3 compatibility; includes full-size SD adapter. There is enough memory for up to six hours of 4K UHD video, 17 hours of Full HD video, 27,600 photos, or 11,500 songs. The card can also withstand up to 72 hours in seawater, extreme temperatures, airport X-ray machines and magnetic fields equivalent to an MRI scanner.
SanDisk 64GB Extreme PRO UHS-I SDXC Card, £24
With high-speed UHS-II SD memory cards becoming more popular, there are some great deals to be found on older UHS-I versions. If you’re after a reliable SD card, but your camera doesn’t support UHS-II, or you’re not worried about shooting long, fast bursts or 4K video, then you can’t go wrong with SanDisk’s 64GB Extreme PRO UHS-I SDXC card. It offers a write speed of up to 90MB/s and read speed of 170MB/s. It’s also available in larger capacities all the
way up to 1TB.
Pixel Oppilas RW-221, £25
If you’d like to be able to fire your camera wirelessly from a distance, for example when wanting to include yourself in the shot, this simple radio-frequency unit will do the job with the minimum of fuss, operating over ranges of up to 100m. Both the transmitter and the receiver run off pairs of AAA batteries, with single-shot, continuous, timer and bulb modes available. If necessary, it will also work as a short wired release. It employs interchangeable release cables and is available for almost any brand of camera.
Hoya Ultra-Pro Circular Polariser, £27-£179
Hoya’s premium range of circular polarisers is available in 13 sizes from 37mm to 82mm. These filters boast the toughest glass and use 16 layers of anti-reflective coatings to provide excellent light transmission. They’re also designed to repel water and oil while being scratch and stain resistant. An ultra-thin aluminium frame prevents vignetting when used with wideangle lenses. If you’re on a tighter budget, it’s worth looking at Hoya’s more affordable NX-10 range.
Think Tank Emergency Rain Cover, £30-£55
There’s a lot to be said for having a camera cover that you can pull from your bag to protect your gear in a sudden downpour. This example is designed to fit DSLR or mirrorless cameras and is available in three sizes to accommodate a wide range of lenses. It features a large window to view your camera’s screen and controls and compresses down into a compact carrying pouch for convenience.
Benro Arca Smart 70, £40
This clever dual-purpose device can act as either an Arca Swiss-type quick-release plate for your camera, or as a clamp for holding your smartphone on a tripod. With a neat folding design, it’ll securely hold phones from 5.5cm to 9cm in width, which covers pretty much any sensibly-sized device. It even has a miniature cold-shoe for attaching a small video light or microphone. Fold the clip down and you get a 7cm-long camera plate.
NiSi Compact Filter Kits, £42-£85
Users of compact cameras have rarely had the option to use filters creatively, so it’s great to see NiSi address this with a specially tailored and inexpensive range of kits. They’re available for Fujifilm X100-series cameras, the Sony RX100 VI or VII, and the Ricoh GR, GR II and GR III. The starter kit includes a holder, polariser and Neutral Density gradient filter for just £42, while the Pro kit adds Neutral Density and Natural Night filters for a £11 premium.
RØDE VideoMicro, £55
RØDE is well known 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. It’s short and light, at 8cm and 42g, thanks to its use of ‘plug-in power’ that’s supplied by most cameras, rather than an internal battery. It’s supplied with a Rycote mount to suppress any handling noises, along with a large furry windshield.
Wacom Intuos Small, £69
If you spend a lot of time editing your images and want to take more precise control of the cursor, a graphics tablet can be an invaluable accessory. This entry-level model provides a battery-free pressure-sensitive pen and represents amazing value for money.
Mophie Powerstation XXL, £70
With most cameras now capable of charging their batteries via USB, a portable charger can be really useful for making sure you don’t run out of juice. This hefty example packs a 20,000mAH capacity, which should be sufficient to recharge most camera batteries ten times, and can charge three devices at once.
Novo Mantis T3 tripod, £70
Small tripods can be really useful for low-level macro shooting, or when you simply don’t want the inconvenience of carrying around a full-size set of sticks. This latest model from Novo weighs just 500g and folds down to 21.5cm, but thanks to its 2-section carbon-fibre legs can reach a height of 27cm. It pairs perfectly with the MBH-25 ball head (£60), while the optional ET25 extender column can add another 35cm height for £30.
Hähnel ProCube2, £70
This dual battery charger is built around a sturdy metal shell, with interchangeable clip-in plates that each accept a pair of batteries. A backlit LCD display on the front helpfully shows how much charge has been fed into each battery, while an in-car adapter makes it easy to top up your batteries when you’re on the road. It even has a high-power 2.4A USB output for charging phones or tablets once the camera batteries are full. It’s available for Canon, Olympus, Nikon, Sony, Panasonic and Fujifilm batteriesPixel G1S RGB LED light, £70
LED lights have progressed remarkably quickly over the past few years. This smartphone-sized unit offers an adjustable colour temperature over a huge 2500-8500K range, but can also output coloured light covering the entire spectrum. Its powerful rechargeable battery promises 2.5 hours of use, while a folding arm support allows it to be positioned either above the lens, or off to one side revealing a cold shoe for a microphone. It even offers an array of special-effects lighting modes.
Cullmann Rondo 460M RB8.5, £71
If you want a fully featured tripod kit on a budget, this is a great choice. Four-section aluminium legs deliver a maximum height of 159.5cm, while packing down to 43.5cm. It’s rated to support a 4kg load, weighs 1.46kg, and one leg can be detached and combined with the centre column to form a monopod. The head adjusts smoothly and locks down without shifting, while the legs are remarkably stable, even with the column extended.
Vanguard Veo Range 36M, £74
This might look like just another traditionally styled canvas bag, but it stands out for its sheer versatility. Thanks to a full-width fold-down horizontal divider, it allows a travel tripod up to 33cm long to be carried internally, with enough space above for a compact mirrorless kit. Alternatively, the bag can be reconfigured to carry a larger DSLR setup, with a tripod strapped on front. There’s also space for a 13in laptop, while a pair of foldaway end pockets can accept a water bottle or umbrella.
BlackRapid Delta Camera Sling, £75
Cross-body sling straps are the most comfortable way of carrying a camera while providing instant access for shooting. BlackRapid leads this field, with its Delta model sporting a large shoulder pad with a symmetric profile that works equally well over either shoulder. The camera connector screws into the tripod socket and attaches to the strap via a carabiner, with a secondary tether provided to give additional peace of mind.
Vallerret Markhof Pro2 Photography Gloves, £76
While you can use any gloves you like when out taking pictures, if you find yourself shooting in cold winter conditions there’s a lot to be said for specialist ones that let you use your camera’s controls easily while keeping your hands warm. These superb gloves boast magnetically secured fold-back tips for your thumb and forefinger, along with non-slip grips. The water-resistant shell is complemented by a comfortable Merino Wool liner and a warm Thinsulate mid-layer.