Camera accessories make great gifts for photographers. But if you’re not a photographer yourself, it’s hard to know what to chose. Similarly, if you fancy picking up a bargain for yourself, it can be difficult to pick the wheat from the chaff. Thankfully here at Jabber HQ, we get hands-on with a huge range of kit so we can advise. With that in mind, here’s our buyers’ guide to the best camera accessories on the market right now.
Travel Tripod: 3 Legged Thing Punks Brian
A travel tripod is a great addition to your kit. It can transform your holiday photos so you get super-sharp night-shots, perfect self-portraits and awesome long exposures. And the 3 Legged Thing Punks Brian is an excellent choice. It packs down to 41cm yet has a maximum height of 1.87m and can support a load of up to 14Kg.
There’s also a reversible centre column that enables low-level shooting and a removable leg which transforms into a monopod.
If you want to check out some other options, take a look at our buyers’ guide to the best travel tripods
Wireless Remote: Hahnel Captur Timer Kit
A wireless remote helps you capture perfectly sharp, shake-free images. However, a wireless remote like the Hahnel Captur Timer Kit can do a bit more besides. There’s a built-in interval timer, for example, that enables you to shoot timelapses. It means you’ll be able to create stunning short videos of events that normally take place over a long period of time – sunsets can be compressed into seconds, for example.
It can also help with timing long exposures for streaked clouds or smooth water.
Hahnel offers the Captur Timer Kit for Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, Olympus and Sony cameras.
Variable ND Filter: B+W XS-Pro Digital ND Vario MRC Nano
If you’re getting into video you’ve probably discovered that it can be hard to maintain a constant shutter speed and aperture when you’re shooting outside. The variation in the light means the exposure keeps changing and that has an impact upon the look of your footage. A variable ND filter allows you to even out those changes so you can maintain the same shutter speed and aperture throughout.
Schneider Optics’ B+W XS-Pro Digital ND Vario MRC Nano is a great variable ND filter. Its Multi-Resistant Coating that repels rain and sea spray and reduce ghosting and reflections to ensure high-quality results.
It’s also available in thread sizes from 52-82mm and provides between 1 and 5EV of light reduction.
If the price of the B+W XS-Pro Digital ND Vario MRC Nano is too high for your budget, take a look at our buyers’ guide to the best variable ND filters.
Backpack: Vanguard Alta Sky 45D
Photographers are always in search of the perfect bag and often have a few to cover all eventualities. The Vanguard Alta Sky 45D, however, is a versatile bag that could be the answer you’ve been looking for.
It’s got plenty of well-padded space to carry your camera gear, plus lots of pockets to stash accessories and essentials like your passport. There’s also a convenient point to mount a tripod. Crucially, the straps are wide and extremely well-padded so they’re comfortable even when the bag is fully-laden.
Shoulder Bag: Billingham Hadley One messenger bag
Billingham’s Hadley One is aimed at photographers with a mirrorless camera or a small to medium size DSLR. It has an unrivalled finish with fabulous attention to detail, while the durable brass locks and leather straps mean this is a bag that will last you a long time. In fact, Ali has been using a Hadley for 20 years.
There’s more than enough room to carry a DSLR with a 24-70mm lens attached and a long lens like a 100-400mm. Plus there are two front pockets to hold a few accessories.
We love the Billingham Hadley One, but read our buyers’ guide to the best shoulder bags to see a few other options.
Portable LED: Rotolight NEO 2
The Rotolight Neo 2 is a LED light, as well as being a constant light, it can be used as a flash. And not just any old flash, it can be used in high-speed sync (HSS) mode to sync with shutter speeds of up to 1/8000 sec with no recycling time.
If you want the HSS functionality, you’ll need a wireless trigger like the Rotolight HSS Transmitter by Elinchrom. This is available for Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus/Panasonic and Fujifilm cameras. The transmitter links to the Skyport receiver that’s built-in the Neo 2. Some third-party transmitters are also compatible, but they don’t enable some of the remote control that the Rotolight unit does.
Helpfully, the Neo 2 also has a 3.5mm sync port. This means you can also use a cable connection to your camera, however, the shutter speed is limited to the camera’s standard sync speed. Typically, that’s up to a maximum of 1/250sec.
Of course, many people are more interested in the Rotolight Neo 2’s constant light capability. This is especially useful with mirrorless cameras because their live-view-enabled electronic viewfinder lets you see the image as it will be captured. Also, the Neo 2 is small and light enough to be mounted in the camera’s hotshoe, which is ideal for video.
Conveniently, the Neo 2 is a bicolour light so you can adjust the colour range between 3150K and 6300K to suit the conditions.
The Rotolight Neo 2 is convenient and easy to use. What’s more, its colour accuracy is good and you don’t find it drifting during a shoot. It’s the same with the brightness, it stays at the set value and there’s no flickering evident in video.
For more information on this versatile light, check out our Rotolight NEO 2 review.