So, you have just bought a shiny new camera and are ready to go out and take lots of photos, but what else should you budget for when you buy a camera?
Well, here are ten items that I think are well worth taking into account when you buy your camera. You never know, you may get one or two of these thrown into the deal if you ask nicely.
1. At least one spare memory card is an essential. If you are lucky enough to get one with the camera, it’s not likely to be a very big one. Memory cards are now pretty cheap, and a decent Sandisk Extreme III 4GB Compact Flash Card can be had from around £18. So why not get two!
2. If you have a DSLR with detachable lenses then from time to time you are going to get some dust in your camera. Dust is evil and will create lovely spots on your images so you will need to clean the lens or sensor. An easy way is to get a Giottos Rocket Air Blower which will blast any dust out of the camera. Plus they look pretty funky too and are under £10.
3. So you are now collecting a few extra bits so you’ll need somewhere to keep them all. So a bag will be a handy thing to get. Now, the bag you get will largely depend on the type of camera you get. You aren’t going to get a big back pack for a small compact camera. There are hundreds of cases and bags available though, just bear in mind that it’s always better to get a bag than can hold more than you own right now. It won’t be long before you buy more equipment, and you don’t want to have to buy a new bag each time too.
4. A lens cloth is an important accessory. You really shouldn’t be using your fingers or shirt sleeves to clean your lens. Any small particle of dust on your sleeve or finger could scratch the lens, even a very fine scratch can effect the image as light will react differently as it passes through that area of the lens. So get a decent lens cloth and keep it in a clean pocket of your bag. Only use it for cleaning your lens and definitely don’t use it to clean anything else on your camera.
5. A very useful accessory for bridge or DSLR cameras is a UV filter for the front of your lens. This is actually more of a protection accessory than a functional accessory as this filter will protect the glass on the lens. Filters are a lot cheaper to replace than lenses. I would advise not to go cheap here. The filter will be another layer of glass and can effect your image, so paying for good quality filters is well worth it.
6. This next one isn’t one you are going to keep in your camera bag, but it’s a very useful accessory to have. A card reader for your computer will make transferring your images from your camera to your computer a lot simpler. Getting a multi card reader, one that accepts more than one type of memory card, will make it a lot more usable and means you will still be able to use it if you ever change your camera and it uses a different type of memory card.
7. A tripod is a very useful accessory to have, but they can be very expensive. If you are using a compact camera or a DSLR with a small lens, then a great accessory to have is a GorillaPod tripod. These have flexible legs which can be wrapped round fences, trees, chairs, anything really and hold your camera still for longer exposures or photos that you want to be in too.
8. Now you have taken lots of pictures, you should share them. Sharing your pictures online is a great way to get feedback on them and also show your friends and relatives how good you are. I use Flickr.com and pay for extra space and uploads. It’s a great site too, very easy to use.
9. Depending on the sort of pictures you are taking, having good reference material can help you a much better shot. For instance, if you are into wildlife then you need to learn about the wildlife you are taking pictures of. If landscapes are your thing, then learning about the location will help you find a better viewpoint or a better time of the year to go.
10. Pretty soon you are going to fill up your computer’s hard drive with all your shots so an external hard drive is a useful addition to have. If you are going to get serious then you’ll want to set up a proper backup routine which is where multiple hard drives are very useful.