A Guide to New Accessories for SLR Cameras

There are hundreds of camera accessories on the market designed to make it easier to own and use a high-quality camera. From tripods to lens hoods to more complex recent innovations, camera accessories can be a valuable resource and a great source of inspiration for photographers.

There are a few common camera accessories that all photographers should own, regardless of how much their cameras are worth or what they’re used for. These include lens-cleaning kits, which should include a microfiber cloth to avoid simply spreading dust over a camera, and a safe liquid cleaner. Every camera owner should also have a case, especially when regularly working with an expensive SLR unit. Camera cases should ideally be designed for individual cameras; general carrying bags may not provide the proper amount of protection in certain areas.

Special SLR lenses are ideal accessories for serious amateur or professional photographers. As individual lenses vary according to focal length, camera, and a number of other factors, and as they vary in price from $200 to $1200, it’s difficult to give general recommendations. The same is true of dedicated flashes–different types of flash can be used for very different results on indoor shots. Lens hoods are also available, which shield cameras from unwanted sunlight.

Microphones are also available for SLR cameras with a camcorder function. Special camcorder microphones can capture a greater range of frequencies than the mics that are built into cameras as a standard feature. Newer camcorder mics may be available with a variety of directional patterns, which may be better suited for certain uses. For instance, a mic that records sounds directly in front of it would be better for interviews, while a mic with a wider pattern might be better for sports or other uses.

One of the most helpful accessories for modern cameras are external memory card readers and docks, which can be used to quickly access pictures stored on the camera’s memory card. Many modern laptops and netbooks have built-in memory card readers, but specialized units are available for camera owners who want to quickly check or store pictures to free up extra space. Docks usually cost around $50 but can cost more for newer cameras.

Another modern innovation is the remote, which can be used to trigger shots on many SLR cameras. Canon cameras have their own remote, while remotes for other brands may be more involved and may offer more complex features, such as the ability to change certain camera settings.

Some modern camera accessories don’t actually affect the quality of a shot, but add information. The Nikon GP-1, for instance, is an accessory that stores GPS data with every picture. At about $200, it’s primarily intended for professional photographers who need to keep a steady, accurate log of their whereabouts.

All camera accessories should be carefully researched to ensure compatibility with various camera and camcorder models. With the right accessories, a camera owner can greatly expand capabilities and improve both the quality of each shot and the ease of getting that shot.