Ten Essential Camera Gear Items for DSLR Camera Users

So you have your DSLR camera at last. What kind of gear is necessary to trek with the camera when you go on a trip? Here are some ideas.

  1. Get your clean on with a Lens Pen and/or Microfiber Cleaning Cloth (aff). Even if you think you’ll be super careful, you’ll need a cleaning system for your camera. You definitely should have a cleaning brush for dust and a microfiber cleaning cloth to wipe smudges off your lenses. I personally have both in multiples.
  2. A good bag. For a small excursion, I recommend the Adorama Slinger, which can usually fit one body and two lenses (or one lens and a flash unit). For larger trips, especially if you’re going to be lugging around your bag, try the Crumpler Keystone or the Kata R-103. These two bags are pricey and can fit a laptop (which is why I opted for these), but they’re highly recommended.
  3. More power to you. You never want to not have enough batteries. I suggest two spares. For a Nikon D50, D70, D80, or D200, you should get the Nikon EN-EL3e. The D40 takes the Nikon EN-EL9. The Canon XT/XTi and a variety of Powershots all use the same Canon NB-2LH battery.
  4. Get even cleaner. For when you’re on the road, a Lens Pen and Microfiber Cleaning Cloth are good buys. The Giottos Rocket Blower is a little bulky, but it can go with you on your travels as well and is especially helpful if you’re actually going to be switching lenses often. When you have a spot on your sensor (you never should touch it — ever!), the rocket blower is the ultimate tool and pushes air in heavy blasts of air to free the debris.
  5. Light up this party. An external flash is a necessity for portrait photographers. Nikon users should try the Nikon SB-600 or the more powerful SB-800, while Canon users should go for the Canon 430EX Speedlite or the 580EX Speedlite. To soften the flash, go for one of the optional flash accessories, such as a Stofen Omnibounce or Gary Fong Lightsphere (make sure the one you get fits your flash!)
  6. More space! We need some storage here! Stock up on memory cards, whether SD or CompactFlash. You might want to consider additional photo storage, such as the Epson P-4000 80GB multimedia storage device or its cheaper and older sister, the Epson P-3000 40GB.
  7. Tripods help you stand still. When you’re shooting low-light items, you need to keep the shutter open longer than you can handhold the camera, or you’ll have camera shake and the resulting image will be very blurred. Therefore, a decent tripod is necessary, and you need to consider both sturdy legs and a good tripod head. This beginner recommendation is affordable and I have a similar setup (other tripods go upwards of $300+): Bogen Manfrotto 725B Tripod. If you’re interested in learning about monopods, try the Bogen Manfrotto Monopod with 3232 Swivel Tilt Head.
  8. Protect your investment. Even if it’s a basic UV filter, get something on your lenses so that they don’t scratch. If you want special effects in-camera, try a variety of filters. Learn about the offerings by checking out this very good filter guide.
  9. Seeing the right color. Since cameras don’t see everything in black and white, they have difficulty seeing color. For the true beginner and even the somewhat intermediate user, I recommend that you read my first book on photography, Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson. He talks about getting a gray card, but you really don’t have to with an Expodisc. The benefit of this device is that it does it for you and lets you correctly set your white-balance preset. Very handy!
  10. Lens caps, body caps, and card storage devices. You don’t know how many times I’ve heard from friends that they’ve lost their rear or front lens caps or even their body caps. Always get an extra — or two or three. eBay has a bunch of these that you can buy in lots. For card storage, you would never want to lose your precious media, so keep it safe. You can get something like this, but there are also soft cases available.

Protect your investment and make it fun. Photography truly is enjoyable, and being a “gear geek” is definitely an aspiration, really!

[Photo of Rebel Gear on a Shoestring by Bakari on Flickr]

5 Responses to “Ten Essential Camera Gear Items for DSLR Camera Users”

  1. hmmmmm i have everything but the expo disc. any experiences w/ this good or bad ?

  2. I’d say go for it, especially if you want to achieve the proper white balance. I personally own one (and everything else on that list, just about) and find it very accurate when I’m taking my shots.  The result image has much better color than if you’d be using an auto-mode, though I can’t really compare it versus a standard grey card.  I do think that it’s a lot easier than carrying a gray card itself though.

  3. Cool Tamar, nice to see my photographs being republished. Nice also to see your webiste. I’ll subscribe to it. Thanks.

  4. Thanks Bakari. Thanks for the graphic — it was perfect. ;)

  5. Thanks for this information and link to the items that are recommended!

    Off to look at your site some more.


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