Choosing the right combination of accessories for your camera setup can be a fun job, but it can also be daunting, such is the range on offer and the amount of money you’re able to spend.
Therefore, it makes sense to own accessories that complement your set-up – that will add value, versatility and flexibility to enable your work to thrive in a number of different situations.
One thing to point out straight away is that not all accessories cost a fortune. Photography can be an expensive past-time, but not everything is super costly. Sometimes it can be surprising how much you can add to your set-up by spending a few pounds on filters, cleaning equipment, extra batteries, cards or storage solutions.
We’ve reviewed a few of our favourites below across the course of a few weeks – getting to know the value that they can add to your gear and how best to use them in a variety of different circumstances.
We’ve categorised them below, so there are a few options in a range of sectors that may help you decide what your next purchase will be.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Best cleaning accessories
Zeiss lens wipes: £10.29, Amazon.co.uk
Well respected and a bit of a must-have. These are great handy wipes, made better by the fact that they don’t rely on a spray/cloth combination that runs the risk of picking up dust and debris in the camera bag. They are pre-packed, fully sealed and very affordable when bought in bulk. They don’t take up too much space too, which is an added plus.
Lenspen NLP -1 elite cleaning pen: £7.99, Amazon.co.uk
Another affordable solution, which uses a carbon cleaning compound to clean and refresh the surface of the lens without risking scratching it. It’s easy to slip into a carry-case or bag, doesn’t take up much space and works very well on greasy or grimy glass that has been contaminated with oily substances. It might not be glamorous, but it’s a must buy for keeping your lenses in top condition.
Tile bluetooth tracker: £64.99, Uk.tile.com
This is a clever set of devices, designed to keep track via Bluetooth connectivity to your valuable camera gear. Their “essentials” package is what we tested and the set-up we’d recommend – where you get a selection of different sized tile “stickers” that you can attach to equipment. If you lose your gear, store it in different places or it gets buried under piles of other gear, you can easily “ring” the Tile devices to locate them and find them on your phone’s map. It also has a very clever community feature, which helps other users around the world anonymously locate your lost item if you think they’re truly gone for good.
TwelveSouth staygo USB-C hub for macs: £99.99, Amazon.co.uk
Although it may seem a little pricey for what is essentially a USB hub, we thought the staygo USB-C hub was worth an inclusion due to the way it does what it does. It works to hide your cables round the back of your desk – acting as a slimline hub with a HDMI connector, an SD card reader, and Ethernet port and three USB slots. It ships with a 1M desk cable so you can connect your devices before your hub gets hooked up, meaning everything stays tidy and in order on your desk. Great for photographers who need to upload images and charge batteries and devices either at once or on the go.
Best storage accessories
WD my passport, 1TB: £49.99, Westerndigital.com
You won’t find many photographers who don’t have a secure and trusted backup setup sorted. The Western Digital hard drive offerings have been the favourite of many photographers for years, such is their size, portability and flexibility in terms of life on the road. We like their slim approach – and the cost is reasonable too.
A 5TB solution only costs £120, which as a one-off cost starts to look appealing compared to cloud based solutions from the likes of Google, Dropbox and others who dominate the backup market. It’s important to make sure your images are well looked after, and we’d heartily recommend this as an option.
Manfrotto professional storage solutions: £50.96, Manfrotto.com
A good, hardy, reliable and fast CF or SD card is a must when out on shoots. These options we tested from Manfrotto are about as good as they get, and provide up to 280mb/s transfer rate for the larger cards to avoid slowdown and buffering when switching between shooting modes, and recording 4K or 5K video, for example. They are costlier than most other memory card and storage options but worth it if you’re shooting in demanding, fast-paced environments.
Aquapac waterproof compact camera case: £25, Aquapac.net
If you have a small compact camera, waterproof bags like this accessory from Aquapac diversify the shooting options and provide a safe environment for your camera on the beach, in a boat or in a pool. They’re rated down to 10m (30ft) and float if you accidentally let go. Excellent for peace of mind, and very simple to use. Perfect for gearing up for summer.
Best tripod and mounting accessories
Manfrotto professional 3-axis gimbal: £314.95, Manfrotto.com
Another option in Manfrotto’s Professional range, this gimbal is a great solution for photographers or camera-lovers hoping to record more video. In fact, we were hard-pressed to find a better gimbal on the market for the price. This one has independent axis control, a useful axis locking mechanism and an LCD screen where you can control your modes and camera if connected via the USB inputs.
It’s a serious piece of kit, and we’d recommend this as a perfect solution for filmmakers, vloggers and video creators who need to add an element of stability to their recordings. We found it was easy to set up for different cameras, and good for moving around and setting up smooth dynamic tracking shots too.
Vanguard alta pro 263AP aluminium tripod: £127, Wexphotovideo.com
In our recent tripod round-up, we featured Vanguard’s products as a good combination of price, flexibility and features – and we think this alta pro 263AP, currently on sale, is a great deal. It has a maximum load of 5kg, plus, Vanguard’s multi-angle central column which moves in virtually a 360 degree range and 3 easy-set leg angles of 25, 50 and 80 degrees.
Adonit photogrip: £37.99, Amazon.co.uk
This is a feature-packed smartphone holder and tripod in one, and we really liked the fact it comes with a bluetooth shutter remote so you can fire the shutter of your phone from a distance. It’s sturdy and well-built, and the tripod feature does a good job of keeping the camera still. If that’s not enough, the grip element features an attachable tripod socket so you can gain some extra height by attaching it to a regular tripod.
The verdict: Camera accessories
The nature of accessories such as this, and the different roles they perform, means it’s tricky to single one out. That said, if we could recommend one camera accessory for everyone it would be the Zeiss lens wipes. They’re incredibly affordable and you’d be surprised how much a difference cleaning your equipment thoroughly makes.
Can’t decide between DSLR, compact, instant or mirrorless? Read our camera buying guide to make the decision easier