When it comes to buying a camera, there are so many options for you to choose from: There’s the budget compact camera, then there’s the Single-Lens Reflex (SLR) camera. Budget compact cameras come with a lens already built-in, and are made more for portability and the quick snapshot. The SLR camera is built to take different lenses at one time, allowing for more options regarding focal length and aperture. In other words, you can be shooting a wide-angle landscape at one time, and when you see a location or a scene which needs a lens with more reach, you can switch the wide-angle lens for a telephoto (zoom) lens on the same SLR. SLR cameras can still be categorized further based on features and sensor size, but that should probably be reserved for another article.
However, regardless of what camera you are planning to buy, or regardless of what camera you already own, there are some accessories that you may want to consider purchasing to broaden the range of photographs you can take.
1. Tripod – You will need a tripod if you want to be included in a group picture, without having to run the risk of asking a stranger to take the shot for you. Most, if not all cameras today have a timer function which helps you by giving time for you to run to take your place in the frame before the shutter is activated. Some of the more advanced cameras also have wireless capability, for you to control the camera through an associated application installed on your smartphone, so you take the shot exactly when you want to take it. The tripod’s primary function is just so valuable – you will actually be surprised at how much more options you can take advantage of from a device which is dedicated to just holding your camera in place without you around.
A tripod can help you take those memorable shots with you included, but you would definitely need it for night and low-light photography as well. If you want to take more than just black in the night, the camera needs to keep the shutter open for a longer period of time. While you can pull off a low-light shot with shutter speeds as slow as 1/30th or even 1/10th of a second, it’s pretty much guaranteed that there is going to be some handheld blur in your shot, no matter how still you think you can be. For shots which require slower shutter speeds to take, you are definitely going to need a tripod to hold the camera in place for you. Most, if not all decent shots of car light streaks and of the stars at night have been taken with the assistance of a tripod.
2. Filters – Filters provide you even more options regarding what shots you can take by enhancing what your lens sees in terms of color, and other aspects. Compact cameras and even some digital SLRs already have built in software filters which you can use if you want an automatic black and white shot, or a shot in sepia. For more fine-tuned and manual results, SLR users can use physical filters – these are treated glass components which can be attached to the front of your lens for all sorts of effects:
Circular Polarizer (CPL) filters enhance the color of the sky. Some photographers also use CPL filters to remove the reflection of the water in certain landscape shots.
Neutral Density (ND) filters purposely darken the lens for the camera to take a shot using slower shutter speeds. This allows the camera to keep the shutter on longer even in scenes where there is ample light, in order to create effects such as smooth and creamy streams when taking running water i.e. rivers and waterfalls. Graduated Neutral Density filters only have the upper portion of the filter darkened, for landscape photographers to darken the sky while taking more details of the foreground.
Ultraviolet (UV) filters are more for the camera, but well appreciated in the future. Most photographers snap a UV filter onto their lens to protect the front element from any damage, but the UV filter actually has a function in the sense that it filters out invisible UV light, which may not affect the human eye, but have slight effects on your camera’s sensor. UV filters make a scene look closer to how it really appears.
3. Bag – Besides protecting your camera from the elements, an inconspicuous bag can also help simply by hiding your camera from would-be thieves and pickpockets. We are still in a world where wearing a camera strapped around your neck definitely makes you stand out, if not as a tourist, as a target. An appropriate bag would help you lug a camera and additional accessories (filters, and even a tripod on some special models) around conveniently and comfortably.
Though there are bags dedicated for just cameras, you may want to look into the more versatile models and makes which allow you not only to carry cameras and other accessories, but laptops and your daily items as well. There are many choices regarding camera bags online, for even the most discerning of photographers.
4. Extra Stuff – By extra stuff, this means extra batteries and extra memory cards. Many moments have not been recorded and have forever faded into history because the camera battery died or ran out of memory at the precise time when the shutter should have clicked. You would do well to have an additional battery and a backup memory card so you could be ready for any occasion. Of course, it helps to keep this extra battery charged, and the card should always be ready by being empty. If you have any of the more advanced SLR models with features such as live view and more electronic parts, you may want to have another extra battery in stow if you’re looking to be travelling and shooting for a day at a time.
Photography is fun in nature. Though many have their cameras for business purposes as well, the fact is you would definitely enhance your own capabilities in this art with these accessories with you.