If you've recently bought a camera you're probably wondering how to go about getting the best from it. While the images you create with it should be your ultimate objective, there's an abundance of indispensable accessories out there that can not only improve the images you take but also help with the way you take them. To point you in the right direction we've collected the most useful and most frequently used accessories together so you know where your money is best spent when expanding your kit.
Get Some Support
With so many ways of supporting your camera to minimise the effects of camera shake and damage, you'll want to consider the options to make sure you choose the best that suits your needs. A tripod might seem like an obvious choice of support for your camera, but there's a range of great straps to consider too.
A tripod is a photographer's three-legged friend and if you want to take your photography seriously, your kit won't be complete until you own one. The type you choose depends a lot on the type and style of photos you take. If you frequently travel and use a relatively lightweight camera, you'll want a small travel tripod that stores neatly in a suitcase or travel bag. A good example is the Vanguard Nivelo 214BK (£60). If you demand a stronger set of sticks for venturing off limits and supporting a heavier camera, Manfrotto's new MK190XPRO 3 makes an excellent choice.
If you don't want the hassle of erecting a three-legged tripod, a monopod is an excellent alternative support. Popular with wildlife and sports photographers who regularly use heavy telephoto lenses, they can make all the difference in capturing pin-sharp shots by taking some of the shake out of supporting a heavy system handheld. Usually most monopods come with a dual 1/4in-3/8in fixing screw for attaching either a camera or lens directly, or supporting the attachment of a tripod head.
While most of us rely on the strap that's supplied with the camera to prevent it falling from our grasp, there are substitute straps out there that can offer better comfort and cushioning. One such example is the OpTech Pro Camera strap (£18), which is specially designed to eliminate neck and shoulder fatigue by dispersing the weight over a larger surface area and adding a non-slip grip.
4 Hand Straps
If you don't like the idea of having your camera slung over your shoulder or neck for long periods, a hand strap can provide the extra protection you need to prevent your camera crashing to the ground. Many hand straps are secured to the camera via an Arca-Swiss style base plate to enable attachment to a tripod mount while the strap is still attached. You'll need to budget around £30-£45 for a comfortable option such as the Joby UltraFit handgrip with UltraPlate.