Best Camera Accessories for Beginners

0Share

If you’ve just ordered your first camera system, now you may be wondering what else you need to get started. Deciding which accessories to buy when you’re first beginning in photography can be a bit of a challenge to the uninitiated. Some accessories, like lens wipes for instance, are universal, but other types of accessories to consider may vary quite a bit depending on the kinds of photos you’re interested in making, and where you plan on shooting them. To complicate things further, there are hundreds upon hundreds of brands to choose from. So, if you’re a beginner who’s brand new to shopping for camera accessories, here’s a gentle nudge in the right direction.

Cleaning Accessories

Speaking of lens wipes, keeping your glass free of dust, lint, and smudges on the front and rear elements is key for most all photographers, for obvious reasons. The trusty ZEISS Lens Care Kit is a timeless classic that many photographers have bought hundreds and hundreds of times over the course of their careers. It comes with a two-ounce bottle of lens-cleaning spray and a microfiber cloth that’s safe for any lens. For quick, one use wipe-downs in the field, you can’t go wrong with the ZEISS Lens Wipes (60-Pack), which are ammonia-free and can also be used to clean your camera’s LCD screen, as well as the viewfinder. If you’re gift shopping for a new photographer in your life, check out the Sensei DOC-CK Deluxe Optics Care and Cleaning Kit, which comes with a microfiber cloth, a lens pen for removing smudges and fingerprints, as well as a brush and a blower for removing dust.

ZEISS Lens Care Kit
ZEISS Lens Care Kit

Another essential part of your camera that is critical to keep free of dust and smudges is the sensor. When you inevitably get dust on your sensor, you’ll know it quickly, because dust spots tend to show up visibly in photos that have larger areas of a solid light color, like a clear blue sky, or a white wall. Now, cleaning a camera sensor is delicate business, and saying that you need to “be careful” is an understatement. Scratching, puncturing, or damaging the sensor in any way is one of the best ways to break your beloved camera permanently. That’s why the first method of attack for removing dust on your sensor is always to try to blow it off, rather than wipe it off. The Lenspen SensorKlear Loupe Kit is great because it not only includes a blower, but it also has the SensorKlear Loupe, which gives you a magnified view of the sensor, making it easier to see where the dust is. Only to be used in situations where the blower fails, the kit also comes with the SensorKlear II pen for removal of sticky dust particles. An alternative kit by Delkin Devices includes a loupe, air blower, and single-use swabs to be used with sensor-cleaning solution. This minimizes friction and eliminates the possibility of particles from past cleanings damaging your sensor. No matter what you choose, just remember—be very careful!

Lenspen SensorKlear Loupe Kit
Lenspen SensorKlear Loupe Kit

The Camera Bag

Protecting your investment with a quality camera bag is crucial, but it’s also important to find one that will serve your particular needs as a photographer. For instance, if your plan is to get into landscape or cityscape photography, and you expect to be making long hikes with your gear, I recommend going with a weatherproofed, backpack-style bag like the Lowepro ProTactic BP 350 AW II. This backpack will hold multiple lenses and camera bodies, has a tripod holder, and offers excellent protection, thanks to a built-in, all-weather cover.

Lowepro ProTactic BP 350 AW II Camera and Laptop Backpack
Lowepro ProTactic BP 350 AW II Camera and Laptop Backpack

If you need something a bit more compact and discreet, say for street photography or for travel, and you only need to carry one camera and one lens, check out a holster bag like the Ruggard Hunter. Available in multiple sizes to accommodate different-sized camera systems, this bag can be carried by its removable shoulder strap, top handle, or via belt loop, which will leave your hands free.

Ruggard Hunter 15 Mirrorless Camera Holster Bag
Ruggard Hunter 15 Mirrorless Camera Holster Bag

If you need more usable space than the holster can offer, and backpacks aren’t your thing, check out a stylish shoulder bag like the ONA Bowery. The Bowery holds a DSLR and a lens, or a mirrorless camera with two lenses, plus accessories. It’s made from water-resistant nylon and features a padded interior with a removable divider.

ONA Bowery Camera Bag
ONA Bowery Camera Bag

The Tripod

All photographers need to use a tripod sometimes. Whether you’re shooting portrait work, architecture, nature, or anything else, using a tripod to stabilize your camera will help you get the sharpest, cleanest possible image, especially in low light. If you’re shooting long exposures for capturing water movement in nature, or traffic lights in cityscape photography, you definitely need to put the camera on a tripod to get a sharp photo. A great starter tripod is the Manfrotto Befree Advanced Travel Aluminum Tripod with 494 Ball Head. Offering a nice balance of affordability, portability, and ruggedness, this tripod is made of aluminum alloy, reaches a maximum height of 59.1" with its column extended, and folds down to 15.7" in length for compact transport in its included carrying case.

Manfrotto Befree Advanced Travel Aluminum Tripod with 494 Ball Head
Manfrotto Befree Advanced Travel Aluminum Tripod with 494 Ball Head

If you’re looking for something truly tiny and very portable, and don’t mind finding other surfaces to rest your tripod on top of due to its size, the JOBY GorillaPod 3K Flexible Mini-Tripod with Ball Head might be for you. This tripod has legs made up of several joints that allow you to adjust it for stability on uneven surfaces, and it can even be used to wrap around an object in your shooting environment, for stability, such as on a pole or a tree branch. However, if your camera and lens combo is too heavy, this is not a good choice, because it has a maximum weight capacity of 6.6 lb.

JOBY GorillaPod 3K Flexible Mini-Tripod with Ball Head Kit
JOBY GorillaPod 3K Flexible Mini-Tripod with Ball Head Kit

One thing to note is that when it comes to tripods, you get what you pay for. Spending a little more on a tripod is a good idea not only because you’re trusting it to support your valuable camera and lenses, but they also tend to get banged around a bit, and you want something that can withstand some wear and tear. Or else, you may be buying a new one in six months.

Looking Forward

There are hundreds, if not thousands of different kinds of accessories that you can buy for your camera, many of which go beyond the scope of this article, which is supposed to be for “beginners.” Nevertheless, you won’t be a beginner forever, so here are a few things to think about, going forward.

If you’re dealing with longer exposure times, whether that’s a creative choice, or out of necessity, a remote shutter release is an essential accessory for avoiding camera shake and getting sharp images. If portrait or studio work is your thing, you’ll definitely end up in the lighting section at some point, and if you’re into shooting landscapes, there may be a neutral density filter or a polarizer in your future. In any case, keep in mind that you can always do a quick search on the B&H Explora blog to find in-depth articles on the gear you’ll need for any facet of photography you want to explore.

Vello FreeWave Plus Wireless Remote Shutter Release for Canon
Vello FreeWave Plus Wireless Remote Shutter Release for Canon

If you have any questions on which accessories you may need, or questions on any of the items I’ve covered, I encourage you to leave them in the Comments section, below.

Close

Close

Close