DSLR accessories

Top ten DSLR accessories

6) 2500 mah nmhi rechargeable batteries and 15-minute charger

NMHI rechargeable batteries are better for the environment than throwing away alkaline batteries. Today’s nmhi batteries have a lot going for them.

Get the ones that are rated at least 2500 or 2800 mah. They have more current than normal alkaline batteries, which allows a flash to recycle faster and last longer.

Get the package with a 15-minute charger. It works both at home and in the car. For me this means that if I am doing a wedding and one set of batteries goes dead, I can drop them in the charger and have that flash back in 15 minutes.  Carry an extra set and you can shoot forever and never run out of power.

7) Bounce card

If you have a flash that can tilt the head upward, you can bounce light off of the ceiling (or walls or some guy’s white shirt). Bouncing light off of the ceiling provides soft directional lighting but most can cause deep shadows in the subject’s eyes.

A bounce card is a piece of white material attached to the flash to redirect some of the light forward to fill the shadows. You can purchase a bounce card or create your own by using paper, a napkin, craft foam or similar material.

8 ) Camera bag

No one camera bag suits all needs. My best advice is to go to a good-sized camera store with the gear you want to carry and try some bags. I have a very large backpack, which carries every thing I want. But I rarely carry it because of its weight. I often use it as storage and leave it in my truck while carrying a small bag with just the equipment I need for the moment.

9) Tripod

Tripods are like camera bags. You will probably go through many before you find one you like.  I have one with a full-sized aluminum tripod with a pistol grip head.  Too heavy, it stays in the truck but sometimes it is exactly the right tool for the job. I also have a small, inexpensive aluminum tripod, which fits into a cargo pocket and extends to about 40 inches. It’s good for days when I have to walk all day and can’t get back to the truck.

10) Insurance

This should be at the top of your list. Many people spend thousands of dollars on a camera and then leave it lying around. A homeowner’s policy may cover the camera but typically only if it is stolen from your house.  If you make money using your camera, it will not be covered.  Talk to your carrier and get specific coverage that works for you.


  • William, I am returning to photography and the advent of digital SLR’s and was looking for a list to see what had changed and what was still necessary. Thank you for your input; I went to many other sites looking for a useful list and was about to give up when I found yours. It is practical and informative. Good job! I found it to be exactly what I was looking for.

  • William,

    You are absolutely correct that the UV filter is redundant and the lowest quality piece of glass in the system. However on each lens other than my fisheye I have a UV filter. A hood cannot always prevent the front optic from being scratched. Everyone’s needs are different, for me it is still worth that little bit of extra insurance. If you shoot directly into a light source it is more likely to cause a reflection. The better ones do mitigate this some, the best idea is to remove it for those photos. I did recommend to get the best the budget allows. I also have hoods for all of my lenses and not only are they good bumpers but they also reduce lens flare. I should have recommended them.(I do have more than 10 Items in my camera bag)

  • Brett, thanks for this great little list. I’ve recommended it to several friends beginning in photography.

    The only point I disagree on is the UV filter. Most dSLRs have built in UV (and IR) filters over the sensor – so the glass filter is not needed for that.

    I would suggest a lens hood over a UV filter. It reduces scattered light and lens flares much more effectively that a UV filter. It also is a great protective accessory. I’ve dropped a lens from 3ft onto hard cement and the rubber lens hood I had attached saved it. A UV filter wouldn’t have absorbed the blow like the hood.

    Finally, if you pay hundreds (or thousands) of dollars for a nice lens with perfectly tuned glass optics, why would you put another cheap $30 low-quality piece of glass in front of it? When shooting at really open apertures (like f/1.8) I’ve seen a UV filter cause upside ghost reflections from bright light sources. Buying more expensive multi-coated UV filters supposedly helps reduce those, but why not save the $$$ and just leave the darn thing off? That completely eliminates that negative side effect of a UV filter.

    I agree with your other 9 suggestions and thank you again for putting together this list.

  • The difference between 1.2 and 1.5 means nothing in this case. In fact many flashes have ports to attach accessory high voltage battery packs in the range of 200-350v. The mah ratings may be over stated however I can say from long experience that the batteries I wrote about give much faster recycle times and longer life. So far no damage to any of my flashes. Thanks for reading.

  • Rechargable AA’s are usually 1.2V, which is actually lower voltage than Alkalines, at 1.5V.

    Also, the mAh claims on rechargables are almost universally overstated.

  • In the article I said not to use a flash with an unknown trigger voltage.   Modern digital cameras do not support high voltage coming from the flash.  Most are only rated at 5 to 12 volts.  Many third party, and older flashes have trigger voltages between 250 and 300 volts.   This will ruin a digital camera almost instantly.   If you don’t know the voltage of a flash ask the manufacturer or test the voltage with a multi-meter.   As for the batteries; the ones I recommend have the same voltage as normal AA batteries, 1.5 volts.   The difference is the MAH rating. This refers to the number of mili amps per hour.  This simply allows the battery to deliver the power quicker and last longer.  These batteries are available anywhere batteries are sold and are not only safe but universally recommended for high drain devices.  As to using an unsafe higher voltage battery, none exist in the AA size that most flashes take.   However the camera manufactures do sell high voltage external battery packs.  These allow the fastest recycling time but will eventually shorten the life of the flash.

  • You suggest not using 3rd party flashes as it will “fry” your camera yet you say use batteries with double the output power than recommended? Please explain. It is not true that the only batteries you should be using that are double is the holding capacity, not the output?

  • Take a look at the Hoodman loop. The Hoodman Hoodloupe 3 is a small viewer for reviewing images on the back of the camera in bright light. It resembles an old keychain slide viewer (which might work just as well if you can find one and cut off the slide holder part). It covers the lcd (up to a 3 inch screen) to block light and reflections and has a small lens to allow you to focus on the screen at such a close distance. It is the best solution for confirming focus or exposure especially if you work out doors a great deal.

  • The article about the 10 accessories for the dslr was interesting, but there’s something lacking.  There is no “hood” for the what I will call the “ground glass image”. Film cameras from pre-WW2 Kine-Exactas or Rolleflexes, through early Pentaxes set their viewfinders up in such a way that the image was protected from the sun. Digital cameras with other than the straight optical finder just have an unprotected image on the camera back. Is there a solution?