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.
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.