- This Modular Camera Gear Will Change the Way You Work
- Cheap Camera Accessories You Need in Your Camera Bag
Photo by GaudiLab via iStock
Let's face it...
There's about a million things you could put in your camera bag. But what are the things you must have in there?
There will undoubtedly be some arguments about what a "must-have" list should include. This list includes some of the usual suspects as well as a couple of items you might not have considered.
Having said that, let's get to the list!
First Things First...You Need a Good Camera Bag
Before you begin investing in must-have camera accessories, you need something to carry them all in.
And while it might be tempting to go the bargain-basement route and pick up the cheapest bag you can find, trust me when I say that this is not a good idea.
Think of a quality camera bag as a long-term investment, something that you will get years and years of use out of. This cannot be said of cheap bags - they will fall apart much more quickly, and then you'll be back to square one and in need of a bag again.
I've used Holdfast bags for years and years, and the quality and craftsmanship these guys put into these bags is second to none.
A great option I like to recommend is the Holdfast Sightseer.
This bag is a great size - not too big and not too small - and offers tons of features that make it a joy to use.
Not only is it a gorgeous bag that’s durable and made of high-quality materials like waxed canvas, American Bison leather, and Aztec flannel fleece, but it’s also a modular system that can expand as your collection of gear grows.
That means you can start out lean and mean with just the Sightseer bag by itself, and then add additional pockets and pouches as needed to protect small, medium, and large lenses. There’s even add-on pouches for small and large phones!
Better still, each lens pouch has a false bottom so you can carry your spare batteries, memory cards, or other odds and ends with ease. That means you can carry three pieces of gear inside the bag (i.e., your camera body and two lenses) and then add several more lenses or other accessories to the outside of the bag via the add-on modular pouches.
Take it from me - you’re better off in the end if you invest in a top-notch camera bag like the Holdfast Sightseer right from the start. Don’t fumble around with ineffective and poorly constructed bags. Get something that’s purpose-built for photographers that looks good and performs well too.
Essential Camera Gear: Weather Protection for Your Camera and Lens
Photo by Josef Mohyla via iStock
I live in Southern California, so I don't have to be as concerned about rain as much as someone in Seattle or Portland.
But I like to travel, and when I do, I want to be sure I have the proper device for protecting my camera and lens from moisture. For that, the Camera Canopy is the way to go.
You've probably seen your fair share of photographers over the years with one of those plastic rain jackets (or a garbage bag) over their camera. And while they are pretty good at keeping the moisture out, they are not much fun to work with.
They obscure the viewfinder. They are often ill-fitting. You have no protection for the rear of the camera, either.
That's why Camera Canopy is such a great piece of gear to have in your bag.
These gadgets come in regular and mini sizes to accommodate both DSLRs and mirrorless bodies. The plastic shield extends long enough to cover a 500mm lens on the regular Camera Canopy, so you get protection no matter if you're shooting ultra-wide-angle photos or using your big telephoto lens.
Best of all, there's no fighting with a plastic bag to use your viewfinder or see the LCD. What's more, the shield hangs over the back of the camera so you can put your eye to the viewfinder and not get raindrops on your glasses!
In addition to its functionality and customizability, what I appreciate about Camera Canopy is that it is made in the U.S.A.
Photography Must-Haves: Camera Stability
There are certainly occasions when handholding your camera to take a shot is warranted. But there are also plenty of times when you need to have a tripod or tripod alternative to give your camera the support it needs. Long exposures are one such example.
Investing in a good, solid tripod will set you back a good chunk of change - probably over $100. And like a good camera bag, a good tripod is an investment for the long term. Spend as much money as you can to get a tripod that will last you for years to come.
But you also need something smaller and lightweight that you can stuff in your camera bag for quick trips. Octopad is a great option.
Octopad is essentially a weighted doughnut-shaped device that provides the support and stability your camera needs.
Since it's so small - it's 6.5-inches in diameter and weighs 1.6 pounds - you can easily throw it in your bag.
It has an anti-skid base so it'll stay right where you need it, and with an integrated 1/4-20-inch threaded bolt, you can use Octopad to support anything from your camera to a light to a phone mount.
The wide base prevents Octopad from tipping over, and since it doesn't rely on a suction cup, you don't have to worry about it suddenly coming detached.
The integrated high-force ball head gives you the security you demand for your camera or another accessory. And with a cable strap included, you don't have to worry about cords getting in your way or suffering damage.
Octopad also has a clip grommet so you can use a carabiner to attach it to the exterior of your bag for quick and easy use.
Best of all, this little guy is less than $30!
Photography Gear List: A Polarizing Filter
Photo by 4FR via iStock
If you're into landscape photography, you absolutely need to have a polarizing filter in your camera bag.
Polarizing filters help eliminate reflections off of non-metallic surfaces, like water. But their benefits don't stop there...
Polarizers also help boost the contrast in the sky. This gives your images a lot of impact with bright white clouds and a deep blue atmosphere.
And if you've noticed that the distant features in your landscape images look a little hazy, a polarizer can help mitigate that, too.
But cutting down on atmospheric haze, a polarizing filter will give your landscapes a newfound clarity and increase the visual appeal of the image.
Like camera bags and tripods, you get what you pay for when you buy a polarizer. Cheap polarizers just cannot match the quality you get with high-end filters, like those from Haida.
I've been using Haida filters for over a year now, and they have never disappointed me.
A great option for beginners is the Haida M10 filter holder kit.
This kit comes with a drop-in polarizing filter with an integrated seal while also giving you two 100mm filter slots for adding graduated neutral density or neutral density filters.
This particular kit also comes with a 77mm metal adapter ring and a padded storage case.
There are just too many benefits derived from using a polarizer to not have one in your bag. Pick up one today, and you'll immediately see a difference in your photos!