If you’re taking your first steps into the world of digital photography and are looking to buy your first DSLR camera, congratulations, you’re going to be having lots of fun! In my last blog I shared with you some tips on how to choose your first DSLR camera and asked you to budget for accessories. The spending doesn’t stop once you’ve bought your camera body and lens so in this blog I’m going to share with you the 4 accessories that you need to have in your life.
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- 3 essential things every beginner photographer needs to learn
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Four essential camera accessories you can’t live without
1. Memory cards
You might think when you buy your camera that you’ll have everything you need to go ahead and take photos? Think again! You’re going to need somewhere to save photos on your camera as most modern cameras either have very little in the way of in-built storage or zilch. A memory card is used to store your photos in the camera and then you can transfer them to your computer or external hard-drive or online for permanent storage later.
You’ll need to check which type of memory card your particular camera uses but the most common are Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) memory cards although some models use Compact Flash cards. You can buy them in various memory storage sizes eg 32GB, 64GB, 128GB etc. You may think bigger is better but for me I think using one big one is a bit like putting all your eggs in one basket. In the event of a memory card failure it may be better for your to have your photos spread out over a couple of smaller cards instead.
Most camera bodies have an option that prevents you pressing the shutter button if you don’t have a memory card in your camera. This is so handy so I’d recommend you find it and turn it on.
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2. UV filter
When I’m teaching my clients how to use their cameras more often than not they’re not using a UV filter so I highly recommend they invest in one.
You screw in a UV filter to the front of your lens and it serves two functions. First of all it protects the lens from the UV rays of the sun and secondly it serves to protect your lens from all manners of nasties. Scratches, fingerprints, dust, sand… you don’t want to risk permanent damage to the front element of your lens. While fingerprints and dust can easily be removed and are unlikely to cause any harm, if you drop your camera and the lens gets scratched, there’s no coming back from that.
UV filters come in various sizes eg 58mm, 77mm to fit your lens. The filter thread size you need may be marked inside the front of your lens or it may not be marked on the lens at all so if you don’t see it search online for your lens specifications. Be careful not to confuse this number with the focal length of the lens which is also indicated in millimetres.
Also remember to remove the UV filter if you’re going to be adding any other filters eg. polarising filter which is used to cut out reflections in water and again, remove all filters if you’re going to be photographing the sky at night or you’ll end up with an unwanted circle in the middle of your photo.
Buy the Hoya 58mm Pro-1 Digital UV Filter on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2jlHzcE
Buy the Hoya 77mm Pro-1 Digital UV Filter on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2i2yxO2
3. Cleaning kit
There’s no doubt about it, no matter how careful you are, your camera is going to get dirty and you want to do everything you can to keep it in tip top condition.
At the very least buy a microfibre cleaning cloth which you can use to gently clean your lens and camera body. You may also want to consider a blower which you can use to blow dust off the outside of your camera and lens. A lens cleaning pen is also worthwhile for getting into those hard to reach places such as the viewfinder.
As hard as you try you will inevitably end up at some point with dust on your sensor. You can buy special cleaning kits to take care of that or if you’re not feeling brave you can have it professionally cleaned.
Buy the Lenspen Microklear Microfibre Cleaning Cloth on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2jgegb7
Buy the Lenspen HB-1 Hurricane Blower on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2jkRbUH
Buy the Lenspen Elite Cleaning Kit on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2iOqcxc
4. Camera bag or backpack
When you’ve already invested at least a few hundred pounds on your new camera, believe me, you’ll want to look after it and while it’s great to have a strap around your neck, that’s not going to protect it properly while you’re on the move. Over time you’ll accumulate more than just a few accessories so you want to find a bag that’s big enough and offers enough protection for all your gear.
There are so many options from bags to slings to rucksacks to full on photography/hillwalking hybrids to keep your all your gear secure while you’re climbing the highest of mountains. Some are small enough just to hold your camera, lens and the minimal accessories you will need. Some have room for a tablet and a tripod. Some will have dedicated pockets for each of your accessories.
My advice to you is to do your research, try them out and find one that is right for you. Oh, and once you have it, get into the habit of keeping your gear in the same places so you’ll know exactly where to find it in a hurry.
Buy the Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2jgTKqZ
Buy the Peak Design Everyday Messenger on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2jlLc2g
Buy the Kelly Moore Bag on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2hsIRC3
Over to you
Once you’ve bought your new camera you might want to learn how to go from auto to manual in just half a day. Please read 7 reasons why you should book one-to-one Photography for Beginners tuition to see if it’s for you.
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