DSLR accessories

10 Must Have DSLR Accessories

Mandy Camera gear reviews 20 Comments

After buying your DSLR there’s nothing more exciting (besides taking photos with it) than buying some ‘must have’ DSLR accessories. So here is my list that I think will let you be more creative, and help you with your photography:

1. Remote Shutter Release Cable

If you are wanting to shoot remotely, then there are a couple of different solutions. Either, a remote shutter release cable for shooting long exposures from behind the camera eg. night photography. Or an infared remote controller for shooting in front of the camera eg. self portraits. You could also use the self timer on the camera. Lastly if your camera has wifi then you could use your smartphone to control the camera and take the photo. I am going for the remote shutter release cable.

2. Sturdy Tripod with a Tripod Head

A sturdy tripod is essential for night photography, long exposures, panoramas and landscapes. They tend to fall into two sections the tripod legs and the head. Unless you buy an ‘all in one’ tripod. But they are cheaper, not as sturdy and not as well made generally.

Tripod legs come in a variety of sizes and sturdiness, as well as materials like carbon fibre or aluminium. And then there’s the amount of sections and fastenings that you can have. In other words you can pretty much pick (or create) a tripod that will meet all of your needs.

There’s different types of tripod heads to cover every budget. For example – three way, geared, ballhead or panorama. Good ones to start with would be a ballhead or a three way head. They literally just screw on top of the tripod legs.

3. Flashgun and Diffuser

A flashgun is a great accessory for your DSLR. It’s great for when the light gets too low, or for adding some more light when needed. Diffuser’s are basically what it says, a way of diffusing the light so it’s not as harsh. And are therefore a great accessory for your flash. Some even come with one built in.

I can only speak from what I know, but Canon has a nice selection of flashes that you can buy. I would suggest the Canon Speedlite 430EXIII – RT Flash as a great starter flash if you have a Canon DSLR.

4. Lenses

One of the main reasons you probably bought a DSLR was because you can change the lens… yes? I know I did. And there is a fantastic selection of lenses out there that you can buy.

But not only specific to your camera’s brand. There are loads of other manufacturers that make lenses that can fit on your camera, like Samyang, Sigma and Tamron. My next lens that I would like to get is a Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5/5.6 STM Lens.

5. Camera Bag

I’ll admit I am still on the hunt for a perfect camera bag. I keep trying. I have a few and I like them all for different reasons, and then I have issues with them all for different reasons…

My Lowepro Slingshot is a great bag for the outdoors, but I don’t like it as much when around town. I probably use my Hama bag the most, but it fills up quick, if it was just a little longer in length that would be fantastic. And my Tenba bag is great for around the city where security is a consideration, but to me it’s massive and that causes it’s own problems.

6. Light Reflectors/Tent

It’s one thing, and essential to learn how to use natural light effectively when taking photographs. And another to learn the same for artificial lighting. The best thing to do in both situations is to try it out and practice. Light reflectors are great for adding that extra bit of fill light without needing an extra light or light source.

7. Adobe Lightroom/Photoshop

I use Adobe Lightroom and on occasion Adobe Photoshop to post process my images. It’s easy to use and a very powerful tool to let you get creative with your photos. Also a great way to organise your photos and your workflow. Adobe has got it right here, they made Lightroom for photographers, and you can tell.

8. Filters

Filters are a fantastic accessory that gives you ultimate creativity. And there’s lots to choose from. Do you want a polariser to get rid of reflection. Or do you want to take some long exposures and need a set of neutral density filters? Just remember to check the filter size of your lenses when ordering and make sure the filter you order is the same size. Otherwise it wont fit. Also different lenses will have different diameters and therefore different filter sizes. Think about which filter you want to use on which lens. This is the same for filter holders.

9. Spare Batteries and Memory Cards

Ok I know, the most boring accessories that you can’t live without – literally! There’s nothing more depressing though than your camera battery running out, or your memory card being full… If I don’t have spare (charged) batteries and memory cards in my bag then I’m not a happy girl.

10. External Hard Drives

If you’re out taking tons of photos, then you’ll soon realise you need more space. In other words an external hard drive. As well as using a cloud service this is a great way to back up your photos. So that’s why I’ve put ‘drives’ as in plural, as no doubt you’ll need a few. Again not as exciting as filters but an absolute necessity.

11. Bonus – Gorillapod

I struggled with ten so here’s a bonus one. If I don’t want to lug around my big tripod, but I still want the ability to use one, then a Gorillapod is a great choice. It’s small and light and can get into places your tripod cannot reach!

Update: This is an old post that I have updated, because I felt it was out of date for what I feel are the best DSLR accessories. And because it should change. You’ll grow in your photography and then you’ll add the next thing to your list. It’s natural. Saying that, there are some accessories that have stayed on the list because I feel they are always ‘must have’s’. 

So what I’ve done in case you were interested to ‘see the journey’, I’ve left the ones that didn’t make this list below:

Aperture 2 software

I use Photoshop Elements at the moment for post processing and Canon Image Browser to organise my photo library. Which is fine but I really like the look of Aperture, it gives the ability to organise your photos extremely well and also has some powerful editing tools. And reasonably priced as far as photo editing/organising software goes.

Macbook Pro

Ok I’m thinking big! But I’d really love one…My poor old iMac 400 is ageing. And although it has done me proud I would really like to retire it soon and bring in some new big guns in the shape of an  Apple MacBook Pro. This would make a huge difference to my photography and workflow. And is a dream that could really do with coming true…

Canon Powershot G10

For when one is just not enough…No wishlist would be complete without having another camera on it. If I was going to buy a ‘point and shoot’ camera for those times when a DSLR is a bit bulky, then the Canon Powershot G10 would be it. It has an impressive list of features, including full manual controls and the ability to shoot in RAW to name just two. And a really nice retro design.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Eventually… Oh I’m dreaming now… The Canon EOS 5D mkII a full frame 21MP DSLR with a High-res 3.0” VGA LCD with Live View and ISO range expandable to 25600. And if that’s not enough it has Full HD (1080, 30fps) movie recording . By the time I could afford this I would have all the lenses I need, so I could just buy the body – what a bargain!!!

Conclusion

I could go on and on (but I wont). And I’m sure your list will change and evolve. It will, as you gain more experience and try new things with your photography.

But now it’s over to you. What’s on the top of your list of DSLR accessories? What would you like to get your hands on? Let me know by leaving a comment below…

Mandy

P.S. Yes, there are Amazon affiliate links in this article, so you can easily add any of them to your Amazon wish list! It also helps to support this blog.

Comments 20

  1. Great post.
    I Would ad that you should have more than one flash and use them of camera by triggering them with wireless or optical slave triggers to get better light – if you get more flashes you would need light modiefiers such as softboxes, gobos, grids and many other…

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      Thanks Tony, I had a feeling that lighting was going to make an appearance on my list sooner than later – most likely a large appearance on my list!

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  3. I’ve been looking into the Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM Lens and think I’ve decided that it’s the lens I need to complete my equipment. I’ve been thinking about getting another lens and think this is the one I need. Just need to start saving!

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    @ Amber – I’m using UV filters on my lenses at the moment, the main reason being protection for the lens in case of accidents! It’s cheaper to replace the filter than it is to replace the lens…

  5. Are you buying EF lenses instead of EF-S lenses, so you can switch to the FF 5D? I like your joy of photography, and am becoming addicted myself. I have been considering Pentax for a wider variety of affordable lenses (the old ones still work). Canon is great, but pricey! And the low end stuff is plastic.

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    @Scott – Thanks!

    @mj – Don’t forget Tamron and Sigma for instance make some good affordable lenses. Also I have a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens that is plastic but still a very good little lens…

  8. I want a good reasonably priced lens for bird/wildlife shots, I have a Nikon so cant go for one of those nice Canon lenses. However I cant get my head around the technical jargon as to what will give me the best telephoto without the nice pricetag!

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    Hi Valerie – as you know I shoot Canon and therefore don’t know a whole load about Nikkor Lens but here it goes!

    I’d go for something around the 55-250mm or 70-300mm range. These tend to be in the price range of the normal photographer, and it also means when they’re at 55/70 you can still take landscape shots while also being pretty good at 250/300 for wildlife. So a good all round lens.

    When zoomed right in eg. 250/300 any movement at all will be exaggerated so a lens with VR – vibration reduction is a good bet, although it can push the price up a little.

    If you see something like f4.5-5.6 this is denoting the largest aperture range the lens can give you. eg. f4.5 at 70mm and f5.6 at 300mm.

    But if you’re shooting hand held the most important one is VR! And I’m not sure with Nikon so check the lens will fit your Nikon model?

    Shout if you need more….

  10. What an interesting little list Mandy!
    I’m nowhere close leaving the ‘amateur’ mark quite yet, but I would just love to have BOTH the remote controls, so I can work it both from in front of and behind the camera (I have a 550d Canon), but I covet a Manfrotto with a Ballhead so so so so so BADLY!
    Thanks for making the list link back to Amazon, that’s a really useful feature. There were some things on here I wasn’t even aware I should think of before buying the gadget – aka the remote cable; I totally didn’t know that you could get two different types of remote controls based on how you’re going to use them, so thank you very much.
    I also follow your blog and receive your newsletters, and it’s just great, because you’re enthusiastic and passionate and your advice sound, and helpful – AKA I’m a big fan 🙂

    Regards,

    Shadi

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