10 Must have items for your DSLR?

10 Must haves for your DSLR Every where I look I see articles that say you MUST have this or that or your can’t get the shot. The fact of the matter is that the equipment doesn’t let you do anything. It is you that gets the shot, whether with a $1000+ DSLR or your point and shoot. What I am listing here is stuff that will make it a little bit easier to get the shot, for very little expense.

Let me place a disclaimer here before we go any further. This is not a comprehensive must have list. It is simply some things I have picked up that make the hobby of photography easier….most of the time. Sometimes it is just easier to leave the excess at home and shoot simple. One Body, one lens and you.

Gear Addiction
The more I do this blog, the more I realize that I may indeed be a gear hound. I like gear, it is fun to buy new gear, and it’s fun to write and share about new gear. The difference between me and most photographers is that I get to use this blog as an excuse to acquire even more and more of ‘My prescious’….Ok back to reality now. But on a serious note, do be careful not to succumb to the idea that if you don’t have that one piece of gear that you can’t get the shot. Be creative, research and you will find a way to get it.

I have rated the items I am listing here on a scale from 1 to 10. With 1 being you don’t really need it but it is still cool to have, 10 being if you don’t have it on order by the time your done reading this article we may need to get you a sign from Bill Engvall.

Qstrap single camera sling

Q-strap single camera sling {Rating of 10}

This goes back to one of the first items I picked up for review. The Q-strap camera sling. In my opinion the best thing since sliced bread. I am still using the heck out of this very durable and affordable sling on a daily basis, and it’s still going strong.

Full review:Q-Strap Single Camera Sling review

Lens Pen

The Lens Pens Cleaning Tool{Rating of 8}
The lens pen is one of those tools that makes our job much easier, faster and is essential to preventing damage to your expensive lenses. I stumbled across a video the other day on Youtube of a guy giving instructions on lens cleaning and he is hosing down the front of his lens with Windex.

Come on people. Corrosion…Moisture…mold… all come from that. Get a lens pen and stop damaging that expensive glass.

Full Review: The Lens Pen Review.

Shoot MC-36b Intervalometer

Shoot MC-36-B Intervalometer {Rating of 6}
Most people think your only going to need a timer like this one if your shooting time lapse photography. Though it works amazing for that it has so many more uses. Intervalometers can be such a huge part of your workflow, that I almost don’t go anywhere without it anymore. I have used this in situations where I am photographing kids, I set this to snap every 3-5 seconds while I am up front working with the kids. Because usually you get the kid set, you walk back to the camera, and they move, frown,cry etc. With the Intervalometer you never miss a shot. You also get great shots your otherwise might have missed.

Full Review:Shoot MC-36b timer / Intervalometer.


Filters for your lenses.

Basic filters for your lenses. {Rating of 5}
There are dozens if not hundreds of different filters for your lens. Most don’t have a clue what they do, or in fact how to use them. That’s Ok. you can invest in an affordable 3 pack of filters like the Zeikos kit here to get you started. I always keep a UV filter on all my lenses. This is cheap protection for my glass, and if the lens gets dropped, chances are it will ding the filter not the lens. The CPL, or Circular polarizer is probably the least underused filter I know of. It removes Glare. Simple, aim, focus, rotate the polarizer until the glare is gone. Go out front now and shoot your car with it in the sun. You;ll love it. The FLD or Fluorescent filter is handy if your shooting under fluorescent lighting. It removes the pinkish hue. i tend to do this more with white balance adjustments wither in camera or post production. But it is nice if your not up to speed on such things.

Full Review:3 piece Zeikos Filter Kit

Giottos Rocket Air

Air Blower/ Cleaner for your DSLR  {Rating of 9}
If you have a DSLR then you have dust in your camera body, and hence on your sensor. Even though most modern cameras have a ‘cleaning’ mode, you still have to get the dirt out of the camera body. The Giottas Rocket Air is just the critter for the job. The self cleaning just gets the dirt into the bottom of the body, where it goes right back up when you flip the camera over. Take off your lens, hold the opening facing downwards, give a couple puffs with the Rocket Air, and your back in business. Don’t go cheap here. Get a good one. I tried the cheap ones, and they are not worth the time.



Full Review:Giottos Rocket Air Blaster

Sekonic L-358 lightmeter

Light meter {Rating of 6} 
Having a light meter can be an invaluable tool to have in your arsenal of accessories. IF…. you know how to use it and your camera. Many people make the mistake of buying a light meter with absolutely no idea what it does. Knowing how to shoot in manual, or at least the program modes,  is essential to making a light meter do its best work for you. You also get the people who insist the light meter in the camera is more than sufficient. I really don’t want to open that can of worms here, but they are not sufficient if you really want to have control of your images. Learn the camera first, then add a light meter. This will take you from amateur to semi-pro quality in no time. I rated this a 6 because of the fact that you really need to know your camera before buying one. I really believe it is a 10 once you have that knowledge.

Check it out here: Sekonic L-358 Flash Master Light Meter

Q-strap Double Camera Sling

Quick Strap Double Camera Sling. {Rating of 6}
You had to know if I rate the single camera sling at a 10 that the double camera sling was going to come up soon. I don’t believe the average person absolutely has to have this sling. But in many situations, it is very nice to have around. Plus it does break down into two individual single camera slings if you like. Having your backup camera at the ready is always a nice idea. Or having two different lenses, one zoom and one wide angle is priceless.

Full Review: Quick Strap Double Camera Sling

Cowboy Studio Round Reflector

Light Reflectors / Modifiers {Rating of 8}
There are going to be instances where using a flash is too powerful or you simply want to reject the way light is falling on a  subject. Using reflectors is one inexpensive way to do this. Most reflectors have a Silver side and a Bronze side. the silver side reflects a lot of light, but very hard light. The bronze side reflects less light but softens it up a bit and adds a warming color to an otherwise washes out subject. there are also white reflectors that give an even softer light.  getting a small compact unit that will fold up into your bag is another nice asset to have.

Full Review:24″ Circular Reflector

S45 Strobe

S45 Back-light / Strobe {Rating of 7}
Adding a strobe to your equipment is an obvious next step for most photographers. The built in flash isn’t enough, You don’t want to spend the money for an on camera flash just yet, but you can get this little Strobe with an inexpensive white shoot through umbrella and a stand for under $50. Later on as you progress into bigger and better lighting, this becomes handy as a back light, or indirect lighting. You will be amazed what 45 watts can actually do for you.

Full Review:Cowboy Studio S45 Strobe

Menik Sw-400 Strobe

Full Strobe Lighting {Rating of 10}
A few years ago, the idea of an amateur even owning one strobe was pretty slim. They cost anywhere from $500 and up. Things have changed now though. The 400 watt strobe here is only $150 shipped to your door. Add a stand and a soft-box, and for around $200 you have a professional grade studio light. Double it and add a background and your ready to make some money shooting portraits for friends and family. This Menik SW-400 is by far the most affordable feature rich strobe out there for the Amateur to semi-pro photographer. I have 3 in my setup, and absolutely love them.

Full Review:Menik Sw-400 watt Professional Digital Strobe

More to come.
That is my list for now of  the items I think should be added to your goody bag. If you have any items you think should be in there, add a comment so we can share it with others.

Till next time Keep Shooting Str8.
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Is an amateur photographer and writer who enjoys sharing information with others. "Technical information sharing is a critical part of helping everyone become a better photographer. If you don't know it, you can't do it!" From Film to Digital, photography has changed a lot, but the idea of learning hasn't.

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