Gear On A Budget

Ansmann Digicharger Vario

When you’re on the road, keep all of your rechargeable batteries powered up using the Ansmann Digicharger Vario. It works with Li-Ion and lithium-polymer battery packs, as well as AA/AAA, NiMH and NiCd batteries, making the charger compatible with most cameras, camcorders, MP3 players, PDAs, flashlights and other electronic devices. Estimated Street Price: $59. Contact: Ansmann (HP Marketing Corp.), (800) 735-4373,

Aqua Case

The Aqua Case offers a great way of protecting your compact camera in harsh environments. It’s waterproof down to 100 feet and also is handy in dusty or windy environments. The clear soft case allows you to access the camera buttons. The airtight seal makes the case and camera inside buoyant as well—if dropped in water, it will float to the surface. Estimated Street Price: $35. Contact: Summit Distribution, (516) 628-8486,

Billingham Simplies Lens Pouch

Billingham’s Simplies Lens Pouch simply is that. The waterproof exterior protects your lens from dust, dirt and sand, while also functioning as a pouch for extras like memory cards, batteries and other small items. The pouch is available in seven sizes. Estimated Street Price: $40. Contact: Billingham (R.T.S. Photo), (631) 242-6801,

Datacolor SpyderCube

Bringing the gray-card concept into the digital age, Datacolor’s SpyderCube acts as a reference point for images in Adobe Camera Raw, Lightroom or other RAW conversion software and ensures exact tonal and neutral values in your images. You can customize accurate white balance across an entire set of images shot in the same lighting conditions. Estimated Street Price: $59. Contact: Datacolor,

Domke U.S. Post Office Shoulder Pad

When you’re carrying around heavy photo gear in a single bag, comfort is something that you shouldn’t underestimate. The U.S. Post Office Shoulder Pad from Domke is constructed to be identical to the ergonomic design of the shoulder pad straps used by the U.S. Postal Service. Made of thick foam rubber, the shoulder pad is super-comfortable and the leather backing makes it tough for resistance to wear. Estimated Street Price: $19. Contact: Domke (Tiffen), (800) 645-2522,

Flashpoint 42-inch 5-in-1 Collapsible Disc Reflector

Modify light quickly and easily with the Flashpoint 42-inch 5-in-1 Collapsible Disc Reflector kit. It includes translucent, white, black, silver and soft gold reflectors for reducing contrast, eliminating harsh shadows or simply softening the light. The reflectors are easy to break down and transport. Estimated Street Price: $39. Contact: Flashpoint (Adorama), (800) 223-2500,

Gary Fong Flip Cage

The Flip Cage from Gary Fong is a multipurpose support solution for a compact camera. Acting as a lightweight and much more portable tabletop tripod, the Flip Cage can be “flipped” for horizontal or vertical compositions that are modifiable, thanks to available tilt adjustments. The camera screw firmly attaches to the camera, allowing the versatile Flip Cage to be used for shooting upside down. Estimated Street Price: $39. Contact: Gary Fong, (800) 906-6447,

Gepe Card Safe Extreme

Protect your memory cards against dust, humidity, shock and more using Gepe’s Card Safe Extreme. Four compartments hold a variety of card types, including CompactFlash, Memory Stick and SD cards. Antistatic material inside safeguards the cards from damage or accidental erasure. Estimated Street Price: $18. Contact: Gepe (HP Marketing Corp.), (800) 735-4373,

Honl Photo Speed System

The Honl Photo Speed System consists of a versatile collection of sturdy, lightweight light modifiers that are designed to fit all shoe-mount flashes via the non-slip Velcro® Speed Strap, which wraps around the flash head. The lineup includes a mix of grids, snoots, reflectors, gobos and gels. Estimated Street Price: $9 to $29. Contact: Honl Photo (ExpoImaging), (800) 446-5086,

Kaiser Duplex Spirit Level

Framing readjustment is always a time-consuming task, especially because it has to be done image by image. To avoid this process, it’s important to shoot correctly from the start, and the Kaiser Duplex Spirit Level provides pinpoint accuracy for even framing and taking level images right from the start. The unit mounts in the flash-shoe of your D-SLR and can be used with or without a tripod. Estimated Street Price: $31. Contact: Kaiser (HP Marketing Corp.), (800) 735-4373,

Hoodman HoodLoupe 3.0

The Hoodman HoodLoupe 3.0 offers a simple solution for eliminating glare and brightness when trying to review images on the LCD. It fits over 3-inch or smaller screens and has a +/-3 diopter to check the focus, composition and histogram. Estimated Street Price: $79. Contact: Hoodman, (800) 818-3946,

Lally Cap

In-camera white-balance presets sometimes are imprecise, so a tool like the Lally Cap comes in handy for getting the right colors in each shot. Simply stretch the cap over the lens and point your camera at the subject, taking a sample white-balance photo. This presents a calibrated test target for the image sensor to evaluate and set a custom white balance from. Estimated Street Price: $29. Contact: Lally Photography,

Lensbaby Optic Kit

For fans of Lensbaby’s special-effects lens, the Lensbaby Optic Kit gives you three more creative ways of expanding your photography. The Plastic, Pinhole/Zone plate and Single Glass optics add a dreamy, ethereal look to your images. Each one is compatible with the Composer, Muse and Control Freak lenses. Estimated Street Price: $94. Contact: Lensbaby,

Lexar Platinum ll 80x CompactFlash

With a high-speed memory card like Lexar’s Platinum II 80x CompactFlash, you can shoot higher-resolution images faster—and more of them—for as long as your camera can keep up. The Platinum II CF card features minimum sustained write speeds of 12 MBps, making the card a nice choice for capturing HD video as well. Estimated Street Price: $39 (4 GB); $59 (8 GB); $99 (16 GB). Contact: Lexar Media, (800) 789-9418,

Lowepro Toploader Pro AW

Get to your camera quickly using Lowepro’s Toploader Pro AW, which can be worn in three ways—holster-style with a shoulder strap, with a belt system or with the Topload Chest Harness for hands-free use (sold separately). The camera sits sideways, making it easy to grab,shoot and put back. The bag comes in three sizes with an All Weather Cover. Estimated Street Price: $69 to $89. Contact: Lowepro, (800) 800-LOWE,

Manfrotto M-Y Tripod

A little sturdiness goes a long way for taking sharp images. Manfrotto’s M-Y 7322YB Tripod is lightweight and comfortable to carry while still providing the stability that blur-free exposures require. The tripod features 4-section legs with durable ergonomic collars, reliable leg locks and rotating selectors that allow you to adjust the legs to two different angles for optimal framing. Estimated Street Price: $95. Contact: Manfrotto (Bogen Imaging), (201) 818-9500,

LumiQuest Quik Bounce

A flash unit is great as a powerful and portable light source, but the direct light also causes harsh shadows and high contrast. The LumiQuest Quik Bounce (LQ-122) refracts and softens light output to reduce red-eye and spread illumination more evenly on subjects. The unique design includes mini-barndoors that open to combine bounced light from the ceiling with bounced light from the rest of the room for a more ambient mix. Estimated Street Price: $44. Contact: LumiQuest, (830) 438-4646,

Mpix Gallery Wraps

Photos are meant to display, and the Gallery Wraps from Mpix are an attractive way to present them. Images submitted to the Mpix online lab are returned to photographers as beautiful prints on museum-like canvas that’s wrapped around a 1.5-inch or 2.5-inch wooden stretcher frame. The wraps begin at 8×10 inches, with dimensions of up to 16×20 inches available for less than $100. Estimated Street Price: Starts at $55. Contact: Mpix,


Be ready for wet weather by throwing the Rainsleeve-Flash into your camera bag. It’s big enough to fit over your camera with a flash and telephoto lens attached. The eyepiece opening adapts to most viewfinders so you can compose shots through the lens and not the plastic. Rainsleeve-Flash is sold in sets of two. Estimated Street Price: $9. Contact: Rainsleeve-Flash (OP/Tech USA), (800) 251-7815,

Sto-Fen Omni-Bounce

Diffusing the direct, sometimes harsh light created by a flash can be particularly useful when shooting portraits. The Sto-Fen Omni-Bounce is a plastic diffusion cap that creates a bare-bulb effect. Tilted to 45 degrees, the unit produces nice, soft wraparound light with a soft shadow behind the subject. Estimated Street Price: $19 to $24. Contact: Sto-Fen, (831) 427-0235,

Tamrac Velocity Series Sling Packs

For faster access, you can swing the Tamrac Velocity Series Sling Packs to the front of your body and pull out the camera quickly. A padded sling strap comfortably distributes the weight, but doesn’t need to be removed for retrieving gear. Bag sizes range from holding a D-SLR, lens and flash to a couple of camera bodies, up to four lenses and a flash. Estimated Street Price: $44 to $99. Contact: Tamrac, (800) 662-0717,

Tiffen Dfx Essentials

Experiment with giving your images a variety of different looks using Tiffen’s Dfx Essentials, a pared-down version of the Dfx Creative Digital Effects Suite that includes 37 of that program’s most popular enhancement filters and effects. You also can create and save customized versions of your favorite combinations. It’s compatible with both Mac and Windows operating systems. Estimated Street Price: $69. Contact: Tiffen, (800) 645-2522,

UPstrap SLR-Classic

The beaded, non-slip surface pad that UPstrap uses in its SLR-Classic shoulder strap allows you to wear the camera over your shoulder for easier access without worrying about it sliding off. The strap is designed to provide more traction and lateral stability. It’s ideal for heavier cameras that weigh 2.25 pounds or more. Estimated Street Price: $35. Contact: UPstrap, Inc., (877) 872-7639,

Wacom Bamboo Fun Tablet

Get more hands-on and creative with your images using Wacom’s Bamboo Fun tablet. You can edit photos, paint, draw and jot down notes on-screen using the digital pen, which has 512 levels of pressure sensitivity for greater precision. As a bonus, the tablet comes wi
th Adobe Photoshop Elements, Corel Painter Essentials and Nik Color Efex. Estimated Street Price: $99 (small). Contact: Wacom, (800) 922-9348,

Wolverine flashPac 7000

Downloading images to the 80 GB Wolverine flashPac 7000 allows you to clear your memory cards and keep shooting. Especially useful when traveling, the portable storage drive has a built-in, 7-in-1 card reader that’s compatible with most popular formats, weighs eight ounces and backs up files with a press of a button. Estimated Street Price: $89. Contact: Wolverine, (949) 653-6300,

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