Photography is a rather expensive hobby. This is partly due to the tons of accessories and equipments available to this hobby. Some of these items are essentials while others are frills or good-to-haves.
Below is a list of the common accessories that are fairly useful to have within one’s arsenal. This is not an exhaustive list of photographic equipment though:
Tripod comes useful when the camera needs to be held in a stationary position. It is call a Tripod for the obvious reason that it is three legged. Tripods comes in many sizes. The small ones are known as mini-pods. Some tripods also come with a quick release mechanism. This is rather useful as it allows the camera to be quicky detached from the tripod. An alternative to the tripod is the monopod.
Ideally, to keep the camera stationary the following equipments are preferred:
1. A tripod stand
2. A cable release
Basically a tripod is a three-legged metal device that stabilises a camera. A camera is mounted on the top of the tripod. Tripods have adjustable legs that allows for flexiblility on different terrains and height requirements. Most tripods also have a camera-securing platform that can be swiveled and rotated. Some tripods also have quick release mechanism that allows the camera to be easily dismounted. Manfrotto, Slik,Sunpak, Really Right Stuff and Giottos are some brands that make tripod stands.
It is always a good practice to setup up the tripod first before mounting the camera onto it. This is because a tripod with a camera on it is top heavy and is thus topple-prone.
What is a cable release? It is a cable that is screwed onto a camera (usually an SLR). The cable release allows the camera to snap a photo without the finger physically contacting the camera body. This prevents jerking the camera with the snapping movement.
Under what conditions do we need to use the tripod and cable release? Typically, night shots and long exposure shots will required the camera to be mounted on the tripod.
Flash is essential for taking pictures under certain types of dimly lighted conditions. Many digital compact cameras come with in-built flashes. However, most professional DSLRs and SLRs only have a flash socket. This allows for the fixing of a more powerful flash than the ones that comes with digital compact cameras.
What is a flash guide number? Basically, it is a figure used to indicate the power of a flashgun. The number corresponds to the power of the flash. That is, the more powerful the flash is, the higher the number.
We can use this number to determine how far a subject should be away from the flash, in order for it to be exposed correctly. For example, for a flashgun of guide number 32 and the aperture is set to F/16, the subject must stand about 2 metres away. Basically the formula is like this:
Subject Distance = guidenumber/F-number
This is however just a rough and approximate guideline. Furthermore, the calculation is only accurate when the flash gun is fully charged.
There are many types of lens filters, They all produce different effects. One of the most useful is the polarising filter as it can be used to overcome excessive reflections and flares on photos.
Hardware is not everything. Good photographic result will still require good digital image editing software.
Ok, this one is not a common accessory. An angle-finder is an addon accessories designed for low angle and waist-level photo taking. This equipment is not available for compact cameras. It is available for SLRs though. Manufacturers of angle-finders include Seagull, Canon.
Angle-finders often comes with magnification. They are useful for situations as photographing low-height animals such as birds and small animals. Angle-finders are not common. And because of their scarcity, they can be quite expensive to buy.