Accessories Reviews

ian408ian408 More wag. Less Bark.Administrators Posts: 21,584 moderator
edited May 15, 2008 in Accessories
We hope you find the information in this thread useful. It's a collection of
things Dgrin photographers have asked about in the past and which come
up as questions frequently.

Each "post" is a different category. This thread is "closed". If you'd like to add
something or feel that an important piece of information has been left out,
please PM the moderator.

By no means are any of the recommendations here meant to be the end all.
It's up to you to evaluate what's written and make your own decision about
gear to purchase and where to get it.

And, this list is far from complete. Please don't assume that something not
listed here is somehow inferior or not recommended. Please let us know as
we may never have seen it before.
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Comments

  • ian408ian408 More wag. Less Bark. Administrators Posts: 21,584 moderator
    edited February 24, 2005
    Online Resources
    Reviews
    • Rob Galbraith Equipent reviews. Including Cameras, Memory Cards and Software
    • Steve's DigiCam Equipment reviews. Including Cameras, printers and other accessories.
    • Dpreview. Camera and other equipment Reviews.
    • FredMiranda. Equipment reviews. Including Cameras, lenses, printers and other kit.

    Vendors
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  • ian408ian408 More wag. Less Bark. Administrators Posts: 21,584 moderator
    edited February 24, 2005
    Camera Bags
    A good camera bag allows you to carry equipment to and from shoots
    comforatbly.

    There are two main styles. They are the backback and shoulder bag.

    Backpacks have an advantage in that a large amount of equipment is carried
    on your back in relative comfort. Backpacks may often allow you to get all
    equipment for a remote shoot stored and aboard your flight with a minimum
    of hassle.

    Regardless of your choice, consider whether the material is rugged enough
    and whether you need water resistant fabric. Also think about how the bag
    is divided. Are there enough pockets to organize additional equipment?

    When looking for a backpack, one important consideration is fit. How does
    the bag fit and will it be comfortable after a long hike? Other considerations
    include size (will all the stuff I want to take fit?), shoulder strap and
    waist band straps (also a part of comfort), external straps for tri or mono
    pods and internal or external pockets for accessories. Higher end packs
    have additional features like removable laptop bags.

    Shoulder bags allow you quick access to equipment. A shoulder bag can also
    be treated as carry on luggage. It also allows quick access to the camera
    and gear. A varient of the shoulder bag is the "slinger". This bag allows the
    use of a waist strap as well as the shoulder strap--something of a cross
    between shoulder and backpack.

    When looking for a shoulder bag, consider size and seriously think about
    a smaller bag in addition to a larger one. Unlike a backpack, a shoulder
    bag supports the entire weight of your gear on your shoulder.


    Resources
    • Crumpler Bags. Backpacks, computer bags and other non-photographic bags
    • Lowe Bags. Backpacks, shoulder bags, etc.
    • Tenba Backpacks, sholder bags and travel totes.
    • Tamrac Backpacks, shoulder bags and more.

    Bag Reviews

    This review comes via USAIR (Fred).

    Been using the Kata R-103 for about 4 months now and figured I give my impressions on this backpack.

    $160 at B&H
    Here's the web site for Kata R-103
    The bag is about 17" high 13" wide 6" thick and almost 4lbs
    The bag is very well made very strong and sturdy design.
    It actually takes sometime to break in the bag very stiff when you first get it.
    I holds almost everything I need to.
    I know the photos are bad color wrong but it's a old Sony and I haven't used it in a while :D

    First photo shows the tripod holder and the two small outside storage pockets.
    49667001-L.jpg

    Also has room for a laptop here's my small 12" Vaio.
    49642100-L.jpg

    Side view showing laptop pocket...I put my flash bracket in there when not carring the computer.
    49640444-L.jpg

    Back view
    I haven't taken this on a real long hike but around town it's nice.
    It didn't come with a waistbelt it's another part of system.
    49640460-L.jpg

    Here's a neat little feature separate access to the camera
    49640464-L.jpg
    Here's what inside
    Upper lid
    49646173-L.jpg

    Lower compartments
    49646180-L.jpg

    The backpack is just one part of the Kata system
    There's a Torso Pack and a Waist Pack

    Well hope this helped someone looking for a backpack.
    Will this be my last bag...no I can't seem to get enough bags and stuff to put in them.
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  • ian408ian408 More wag. Less Bark. Administrators Posts: 21,584 moderator
    edited February 25, 2005
    Tripods and other stabilization devices
    Tripods

    A good tripod needs to hold the camera securely during exposure. Some say
    it should be light. Others, less expensive. It should also be easy to use.

    "You can buy a bunch of cheap tripods for what one good one costs but one good one will last a long, long time"

    Features to loook for include:
    • Sturdy construction
    • Construction Material (Aluminum and carbon fiber are two common materials)
    • Mass (aids stability)
    • Size and weight
    • Ease of use
    • Cost
    Tripod Heads

    In addition to a good sturdy tripod, you'll need a head.


    Monopods

    The alternative to carrying a heavy tripod is the monopod. It aids in
    stabilization yet is easy to carry and small. Sports and wildlife shooters
    often use monopods with long focal length lenses.


    Whether you use a head or not depends on preference. Some long lenses
    (like the 500/600mm) allow you to attach the monopod directly to the
    lens.


    Alternative Mounts

    Whether you attach the camera to the car or your motorcycle, a suction
    mount system allows you to mount the camera to a slick surface with
    little damage to the surface.


    Resources
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  • ian408ian408 More wag. Less Bark. Administrators Posts: 21,584 moderator
    edited March 7, 2005
    Hard Sided Travel Cases
    Hard Sided Travel Cases

    A hard sided travel case protects gear during transit. The inside of the case
    is divided into separate compartments using "pluckable" foam for a custom
    fit or a standard divider kit (much like a camera bag).

    When you're choosing hardsided cases, look for
    • A case that is large enough to fit your equipment.
    • Adequate protection. A case containing light stands, etc. will need less padding than one with strobe heads or camera equipment. Remember, if you have to check the case, it will be thrown around and equipment that is no properly secured may be damaged.
    • If you plan to carry on, be sure the case meets airline requirements or you will have to check it.
    • Weather protection. A Pelican case is waterproof and will float with a significant amount of gear in it. A Zero will likely sink.
    • Case Construction. Plastic and Aluminum are two common construction materials.
    • Security features. Can you lock the case? Is there a place to keep an ID card?
    Resources
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  • ian408ian408 More wag. Less Bark. Administrators Posts: 21,584 moderator
    edited March 14, 2005
    Softboxes and Other Flash Accessories
    Softboxes

    A soft box diffuses light, reduces harsh shadows from direct flash
    giving your shots a softer look. Used outdoors, the softbox can
    make fill light less noticable. Macro photographers might use a
    softbox as a substitute for a ring light or as additional fill lighting.

    Flash Attachments

    The Better Beamer is a freznel lens attachment that allows use of a
    flash unit with long lenses. Often used as fill flash for bird photography.


    Resources

    • Lumiquest Flash head mounted softbox accessories. Folds up nicely for the camera bag.
    • Chimera Flash head mounted softbox. Much larger boxes. Requires softbox and speed ring for mounting.
    • Better Beamer. Flash attachement for long range fill flash.
    • LightsphereII Fill flash accessory.
    Do It Yourself Resources
    • J&H's (dgrin) solution. Nicely done. Easy project.
    • Reflective lighting setup for an Olympus E-10. But you could adapt to almost anything. Offers other hints. A master of Foam Core!
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  • Shay StephensShay Stephens Artist in Residence Registered Users Posts: 3,165 Major grins
    edited March 15, 2005
    Slave Triggers

    A slave trigger is a device that triggers an external flash unit when the camera takes a picture. The slave trigger can work via optical sensors, radio waves, even sound. The most commonly used are optical and radio triggers.

    Optical triggers have a light sensor that is sensitive to flash output. When it sees a flash, it will send a "fire" command to the device (flash) that is connected to it. Benefits are usually lower cost compared to radio triggers and ease of use. Weak points can be limited range, unwanted triggering from other camera flashes that are not your own, even light interference from other light sources.

    Radio triggers connect to the camera (the transmitter) and the external flash (receiver). When the camera sends the signal from the hotshoe or pc port the transmitter is connected to, the transmitter then sends a radio signal out to any receivers listening on the same channel the transmitter is operating on. Benefits include much greater range capability over optical triggers, no interference from other cameras flashes, and can send and receive signals through walls. Weak points are higher cost compared to optical triggers, and they are still somewhat prone to radio interference. Better units have multiple channels to work from making this problem very unlikely to prevent one from working.

    If you want to trigger optically with the cameras built in flash or any flash that uses a preflash, be aware that you will need a special "digital" version of an optical trigger that will ignore the first preflash the camera uses to set exposure.


    Resources Do It Yourself Resources
    Creator of Dgrin's "Last Photographer Standing" contest
    "Failure is feedback. And feedback is the breakfast of champions." - fortune cookie
  • ian408ian408 More wag. Less Bark. Administrators Posts: 21,584 moderator
    edited March 19, 2005
    Strobes & Studio Flash
    Studio Flash

    Studio Lighting is usually done with either constant source or strobe
    flash systems. As the name implies, constant source is a light source
    that's always on. Strobe Flash comes in two different configurations.
    A "monolight" or "pack and head". The monolight contains all of the
    electronics required to fire the flash in the flash head where the pack
    and head is two pieces. Both require a power source. A portable battery
    pack or AC power is all that's required.

    Studio flash represents a significant investment. As you consider which
    model will suit your needs, consider the following:
    • Power Output
    • Features
    • Portability -- Weight and power sources
    • Cost
    In addition to the lights, you will also need light stands, reflectors/umbrellas,
    a triggering mechanism (wired or wireless).

    Resources
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  • ian408ian408 More wag. Less Bark. Administrators Posts: 21,584 moderator
    edited April 21, 2005
    Polyethylene Storage Bags

    Need to store prints? Try polyethylene storage bags. These are the same bags
    used to store and protect old magazines, etc.

    Resealable Polyethylene bags for storing matted or unmatted prints.
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  • ian408ian408 More wag. Less Bark. Administrators Posts: 21,584 moderator
    edited September 2, 2005
    Offline Picture Storage

    Ever thought about how you'll store all those photos you take while on the road?

    Your choices are many. Including laptops, portable CD burners, devices like
    the Epson P2000 and Apple iPod or more memory cards are just a few of the
    choices.

    What should you look for in portable storage?
    • Sturdy construction. Something that will survive the trip in your camera bag.
    • Battery life. How long will it last and can you re-charge on the road?
    • Image Viewing. Many devices allow you to view your pictures. Some also support RAW modes as well.
    • Size. Is it small enough to conveniently carry?
    • Capacity. With many digital cameras at 8mp and above, does the device have enough storage?

    Well worth considering is how you get your images onto the device. Some,
    like the iPod, require you to plug the camera into them and transfer from the
    camera to device. If you want to keep shooting, this will be inconvenient.

    Other devices, like the CD or DVD burners require you to carry additional
    consumable supplies.

    Be sure to check whether the device accepts the type and size memory
    cards you use.

    I'll add a bit more to this thread later. But for now, here are some threads on the topic.
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  • ian408ian408 More wag. Less Bark. Administrators Posts: 21,584 moderator
    edited October 3, 2005
    Hand Straps
    Camera Hand Straps

    [From a previous post by Andy]

    i'm a big fan of innovation. jim garavuso over at camdapter is a creative guy. he came up with the handstrap that conveniently connects to a non-pro sized body (e.g. d70, 300d, 20d) and still allows access to the battery door.

    whilst participating in another discussion, jim showed me some really nice straps he's got for sale, straps that fit the pro-size bodies (canon 1-series... check with camdapter if they'll work on the pro-size nikons).

    you can see a picture of the straps here.

    anyhow, jim's a straightup guy, so i ordered one for the heck of it. i presently use canon's e-1 handstrap on my 1Ds Mark II, and i like it very much. but what the heck, new and different, eh?

    the quality is good - soft leather, feels nice. the stitching appears to be very secure. the supplied instruction pdf (with accompanying photos) is very simple to follow. installation takes about 90 seconds. fit is good. what more can you ask?

    there's contact info for jim garavuso on the camdapter website. so, is this an endorsement? nah - i'm really just reporting. i'm not paid nor compensated by camdapter in any way - in fact, i paid $25 + $5 shipping to get mine is it worth $2 more than canon's e-1? that's up to you to decide. but if you don't have a handstrap, or don't want the canon, here's a good alternative
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  • ian408ian408 More wag. Less Bark. Administrators Posts: 21,584 moderator
    edited October 19, 2005
    LCD Protectors
    LCD Protectors

    LCD Protectors provide an inexpensive measure of scratch protection for
    your camera's LCD screen.

    Two options include those manufactured for a specific brands of camera and
    those you purchase and cut yourself.

    Alternatively, you can purchase a pack of protectors meant to fit a PDA
    and cut it down to the size you need.

    Cost ranges from $10 to $20 depending on the quantity and type of protector
    you purchase.
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  • ian408ian408 More wag. Less Bark. Administrators Posts: 21,584 moderator
    edited May 15, 2008
    Photo Frames
    Read jfriend's comments on Photo Frames

    Thanks j!
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