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photo by Rasulovs via iStock
Photography can be an expensive hobby, what with the high prices of new cameras, lenses, and accessories. We can save money as photographers in various ways, though.
A huge money saver is buying inexpensive camera gear through reputable used equipment stores. Another money saver is finding cheap camera accessories that can actually do the job we need them to do.
What is surprising to many newer photographers is that some of the best camera accessories for accomplishing certain jobs are also some of the most inexpensive camera accessories available. Here is a list of some of the best cheap camera gear that we have found to be extremely useful for all levels of photographers.
The small and very inexpensive camera and accessory mount OctoPad is one of my favorite items and is also one of the best cheap camera accessories around. It is such a simple idea that I’m surprised I never thought of it before. It’s not a bean bag, not a suction cup, not a clamp, not a tripod, it’s simply a weighted non-slip pad with a ¼-20 thread mounting screw.
The non-slip bottom is the key aspect of what makes this much more than a weighted bean bag. The OctoPad is designed into a specific shape which is maintained by the tight sewing of the canvas material and the semi-rigid rubbery bottom pad.
The weight and the non-slip pad allows you to place the OctoPad on various surfaces that can be angled up to 45 degrees. Adding a small ball and socket head to the center threaded post gives you lots of available adjustment for exact camera or accessory placement and position.
You will no doubt find all sorts of uses for your own OctoPad, I use mine for my camera, small LED lights for video, an accessory microphone, and I have even mounted a small wireless video monitor. OctoPad is always on my short list of cheap camera accessories I can recommend without hesitation.
The Camera Canopy is a cheap camera accessory that allows you to keep shooting during inclement weather such as rain or snow. It is different from other inexpensive camera accessories for rain like bags in that it leaves your camera controls easy to access and is adaptable to various size lenses.
It is three hard pieces of plastic that mounts on top of your camera and can be adjusted to accommodate long lenses and also protect the backside of the camera. A lot of times, you will only need the two main pieces.
They are angled like a roof line, providing protection from snow and rain, even with some wind involved. It is not 100% coverage for severe weather, but it works perfectly for most conditions I would be out in.
Neewer 5-in-1 Reflector Pack
If you’ve been following my articles, you know I am a big fan of the Neewer brand of inexpensive camera accessories and lighting. The Neewer 5-in-1 Reflector Pack is one of the most useful cheap camera accessories that can greatly enhance your lighting for photos or videos.
It’s a 43 inch reflector that collapses down to 15 inches for storage and transport. The 5-in-1 aspect of it is that it’s a translucent white frame with 4 different colors in covers that fit tightly over it. The translucent part can be used for diffusing light, the 4 colors, white, black, silver, and gold are reflectors.
The Neewer 5-in-1 is very lightweight and is super simple to use for either video or photos. I tend to use either the white reflector or silver reflector for my personal images since they don’t add much of a color shift. The gold reflector comes in handy for some portrait subjects to warm up their appearance.
The translucent white and the black are useful for toning down the intensity of the light falling on the subject with the translucent white also diffusing the light making it softer.
CamKix Camera Cleaning Kit
In order to keep your camera and lenses in top condition, they will require periodic cleaning. The CamKix Camera Cleaning Kit has everything you need for cleaning lenses and the camera body but not for sensor cleaning. For sensors, you either need a specialty kit or use your favorite local camera store.
When cleaning lenses, it’s very important to use kits that are specially designed for cleaning optics. Regular glass cleaning supplies or our shirt tails are not good for the glass of our lenses or on camera bodies.
This kit has a blower to remove large chunks of dust and dirt, reusable microfiber lens cloths, soft brushes, and a solution for really stubborn smudges or oils. Hint: to avoid damaging your expensive gear, never apply any liquid directly to a lens or a camera, always apply to the tissue or cloth first.
Bargain Shop on Trusted Websites
photo by jacoblund via iStock
To find all of the cheap camera accessories you want, you will need to find a couple of trusted websites that host valid reviews. You can usually tell a real review because they will tend to praise things without implying perfection and also tend to have some nitpicks included.
I tend to gravitate towards specialty retailers like camera stores and the well established general sites, but I also find it fun to scour the internet for new ideas. If you find a good candidate for our next cheap camera accessories article or something else you would enjoy, post a notice in our message board forum and I promise that I’ll take a look.