Professional photographer Brett Turner shares his thoughts about the top ten accessories every digital single lens reflex camera user should own.
1) Ultra Violet filter
An Ultra Violet filter cuts out some haze and blue scattered light. More importantly, it helps keep the front optic from getting scratched or sprayed with mist. Think of an UV filter as cheap insurance. Even if you only have a kit lens, it may cost from $100.00 to $500.00 to replace. You can spend between $5.00 and $100.00 for a UV filter. Don’t go too cheap; buy one in the $30.00 to $70.00 range.
2) Micro fiber cloth
Don’t clean the lenses with liquid if you can at all avoid it. Liquid will seep into a lens and eventually cause internal fog. Wipe a lens gently with a dry, quality micro fiber cloth. If a smudge doesn’t easily come off, fog the lenses with your breath and try again.
Many photographers like the Giotto’s Rocket Air Blower, available most places where cameras are sold. A light puff should be enough to clear any lint from a camera and lens. Don’t use canned air sold for computers. Canned air will leave a light, often oily, residue of the propellant used in the can. Also sometimes canned air is strong enough to drive lint deep into the internal parts of a camera and lens.
4) 50mm 1.8 lens
What a 50mm 1.8 lens allows is an inexpensive way to get a really wide aperture and not sacrifice sharpness or lens quality. Remember that a wide aperture (low f numbers 1.2, 1.8, 2.8) will allow you to get good results in low light such as indoors without using flash. It also allows for truly narrow depth of field. If I could only have one lens, it would be a 50 1.8, possibly the lowest cost lens you will ever buy.
5) Dedicated external flash
If you don’t have light, you don’t have a photo. Some people don’t like to use a flash and you will hear them say, “I am a natural light shooter.” This is okay if you want to limit your options. Use whatever light you can to get the photo. An external flash has many benefits.
I love flash. I carry three external flashes in my bag all of the time and usually have more in my truck. I recommend a dedicated flash made by the manufacturer of your DSLR. There are cheaper flashes but think for a moment.
You probably spent a lot of money for a camera. Why consider buying an inexpensive flash with an unknown trigger voltage that may fry it?! Modern cameras are very sophisticated lighting calculators. When camera and flash communicate properly, you will get results unheard of just 10 years ago. The advantages of buying a top quality flash starts with ease of use. It will work well the first time and every time thereafter.
Look for a flash with a bounce and swivel head. With additional accessories, a flash can be used off camera wirelessly and give you options to expand later.