Buyer's Guide 2009: Must-Have Accessories

Optical Filters

While software filters offer some phenomenal effects, there’s still no digital substitute for many optical filters. Shooting with the right optical filter—rather than trying to fix it in Photoshop—usually delivers better results and always saves a lot of time. Filters also serve as cheap insurance by adding extra protection to the delicate optics of expensive lenses.

The fact is that some filters can never be replicated with software filters, since they only can adjust what was captured. This is especially true of polarizers used to control reflections and neutral-density filters for limiting light transmission.

Heliopan’s Circular Polarizer filter helps saturate skies as well as reduce haze and reflections for images with more contrast and vivid colors. Estimated Street Price: Starts at $61.

Singh-Ray’s Mor-Slo 5-stop ND filter adds five stops of density to light transmission for slowing down shutter speeds and opening up depth of field. Estimated Street Price: Starts at $250.

The new Hoya HD Circular Polarizers offer tough, hardened glass with 25-percent higher light transmission than standard polarizing film. An eight-layer multicoating reduces reflections off of the glass surface. Estimated Street Price: Starts at $55.

Tiffen’s line of digital high-transmission (HT) filters is coated with titanium for scratch-resistant durability and features solid anti-reflective and high-transmission properties. Several variations are available, including color-graduated ND filters for adding warmth to sunset and similar effects. Estimated Street Price: Starts at $49.

Digital cameras consume a lot more power than other electronic devices, so battery companies have created new products designed for the needs of photographers. Some batteries offer increased life and performance, allowing you more time to shoot, saving money in the long run. There’s no arguing the appeal of rechargeable batteries either. When the power runs out, you don’t have to buy new batteries, and they’re better for the environment.

Energizer’s AA and AAA Ultimate Lithium batteries weigh less than standard alkaline cells, last up to eight times longer in digital cameras than other Energizer types and perform in extreme temperatures from -40 degrees F to 140 degrees F. Estimated Street Price: Starts at $5.

Available in AA or AAA sizes, Duracell’s PowerPix batteries deliver twice as many pictures when compared to standard alkaline batteries. Powered by NiOx technology, they’re designed to release more power to meet the high drain demand of digital cameras. Estimated Street Price: Starts at $3.

The Ansmann Digicharger Vario is a universal charger for battery packs used in cameras, camcorders and mobile phones. The device is compatible with more than 100 battery types, including AA/AAA, NiMH or NiCd batteries, and lithium-ion and lithium-polymer battery packs. Estimated Street Price: $58.

Available in AA or AAA sizes, Maha’s Imedion batteries are rechargeable up to 1,000 times and keep up to 85 percent of their charge after a year of storage. Estimated Street Price: $13.

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