Buyer's Guide 2009: Must-Have Accessories
Essential gear to make your photography more efficient, fun and creative
Camera bags are especially important as they perform two vital functions, protecting your gear from damage and keeping it all organized. Available in a range of sizes, shapes and styles, there's no perfect bag for everyone, but there's a perfect bag for you, your equipment and the types of photography you do.
$189 Lowepro's Flipside Series offers serious security with access to the main compartment possible only from the back. When the backpack is strapped on, only you can get into it. Estimated Street Price: $79 (Flipside 200); $99 (Flipside 300); $189 (Flipside 400 AW).
$108 Tenba Messenger Bags hold a standard D-SLR body, three lenses, a laptop, flash and more. The removable photo insert also allows you to convert it into a general-purpose bag for the office commute. Estimated Street Price: $108 (Small); $114 (Large).
$219 The Tamrac Expedition Series backpacks have a padded front pocket for a laptop in addition to your photo gear, perfect when you're traveling and limited to one carry-on. A Double Hinge Divider System makes it possible to carry a second D-SLR and lens. Estimated Street Price: Starts at $57.
$140 The Kata SB-902 Reporter Shoulder Bag can carry a lot of hefty camera equipment. This bag can fit one to two D-SLRs and up to three lenses simultaneously, while providing protection to all of your equipment with padding and a reinforced bottom flooring. Estimated Street Price: $140.
$49 Wearable as a sling bag or backpack, the Slinger Bag from Adorama includes a foam-padded camera cradle that fits the most popular D-SLR sizes. There's room for lenses, a flash and other extras. Estimated Street Price: $49 (Slinger Bag); $54 (Pro Slinger Bag).
Although image-stabilization technology has become a standard feature in many cameras and lenses, nothing beats the sturdiness of shooting with a tripod. The benefits are especially clear in certain photographic situations, such as taking a slow exposure to get a motion blur of water, night photography that calls for much longer exposures and shutter speeds, or when you want to increase depth of field by shrinking the aperture to ƒ/16 or more to keep multiple subjects in focus.
Before buying a tripod, handle it! Test things like the ease with which you can quickly adjust height and make vertical or horizontal movements. Make sure it's light enough that you can carry it for extended periods without fatigue.
$358 The Gitzo Carbon 6x tripods feature an innovative twist locking system and advanced center-column design. Durable and strong, the tripods are constructed with six crossed, multilayer carbon-fiber tubes for greater rigidity. Estimated Street Price: Starts at $358.
$324 Manfrotto's four-section 190CXPRO4 carbon-fiber tripod features the unique Q90° quick center-column system, which lets you move from vertical to horizontal shooting in seconds without disassembling the column. Estimated Street Price: $324.
$299 An aluminum-magnesium-titanium (AMT) alloy gives the Slik Pro 780 DX its sturdy, lightweight frame. Adjustable leg angle locks allow the tripod to be lowered to 15 inches for low-angle or macro photography. Estimated Street Price: $299.
$270 With adjustable angle leg locks, interchangeable rubber feet and stainless-steel spikes, the Induro Carbon 8x C-Series tripods keep the camera grounded on uneven surfaces and rough terrain. The leg locks are dust- and moisture-resistant. Estimated Street Price: Starts at $270.
$211 Giottos Professional MT 93/83 Tripods are made from carbon fiber, aluminum or lava fiber for a rigid, lightweight body. A multifunction center column allows for quick 360-degree horizontal or 180-degree vertical movements. Estimated Street Price: Starts at $211.
$169 The Adorama Flashpoint F-1128 Carbon Fiber Tripod features rubber double-grip twist locks for fast adjustments and a center column that separates for shots low to the ground. Estimated Street Price: $169.