Digital Photography Accessories: Lenses, Tripods, Flashguns, Hoods & Filters
Digital cameras & digital SLR cameras are capable of producing high quality images in good light without the use of accessories but there are times when a shot can only be taken with the use of an accessory i.e. night time shots require a tripod. A good tripod is also useful during the day or in the studio for minimising camera shake & maximising image quality. Accessories can also improve the creative process by allowing the photographer to be more versatile. For instance, a polarizing filter can reduce reflections in the water or a neutral density filter will allow the photographer to use a slow shutter speed in bright daylight by reducing
the amount of light entering the lens to create movement in the image. Digital SLR cameras have a wide range of accessories available & are more versatile than the fixed lens digital compact (some advanced models have a hotshoe & add on lenses).
Digital SLR users can choose from a variety of exotic wide angle to super telephoto lenses, screw on filters using the lenses filter thread, external flashguns which can be mounted on the hotshoe of an SLR, bellows equipment for macro photography and of course, studio lighting which can be attached using an SLR's PC sync socket or wireless setup.
Some of the more common accessories available in digital photography are listed below:
Digital SLR Lenses and add-on lenses
A digital SLR photographer can use a variety of different interchangeable lenses including macro, prime, zoom, wide angle, telephoto, mirror and fisheye lenses. For the digital compact camera user, some manufacturers produce add on lenses which can be attached to the front of the camera. Add on lenses are available in both wide angle and telephoto versions.
In addition, many older prime lenses from Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Pentax and other manufacturers are of very high quality and can be used on digital slr cameras. It is also possible to use the lens from one manufacturer on the digital slr body from another manufacturer via an adapter i.e. Nikon lenses on an Olympus four thirds DSLR. Some current adapters may have limitations such as no autofocus but this may change over time.
These come in a variety of sizes and weights and are essential tools for any photographer shooting subjects in low light or studio work such as still life compositions. Using a tripod can improve most photographs since they help to reduce or eliminate camera shake thereby producing a much sharper image which makes full use of the lens resolution.
A lens hood screwed or attached onto the front of the lens can help enormously by reducing flare, improving color saturation and from preventing stray light from hitting the lens. It is important to find the right lens hood for your SLR lens to prevent problems such as vignetting.
Attaching a flashgun to a digital SLR camera will boost the flash power available to the photographer allowing shots to be taken in dimly lit interiors or in low light situations. Many flashguns allow the head to be rotated up and down or sideways for bounced flash from a wall or ceiling which provides soft indirect light on the subject. Off camera flash which can be attached to the camera via a lead or used wirelessly, can be used to produce more professional results through the use of side lighting and the reduction in shadows behind the subject. A multiple flashgun set up provides options similar to a studio setup and portable lighting umbrellas, softboxes and reflectors add to this effect.
The exposure metering systems of most modern digital compacts and SLR cameras can cope with the vast majority of lighting situations. A flashmeter can be helpful in a variety of situations and can help measure the actual amount of light hitting the subject from multiple flashguns or multiple light sources.
There is a vast amount of different filters available for the digital photographer but with digital imaging now available to many people through packages such as Adobe Photoshop and cameras having auto white balance for different lighting, many filters are no longer required.
However there are still some filters which can make a dramatic difference to the final photograph including polarizing filters, neutral density filters and UV filters which can protect the front of the lens and also reduce ultra violet haze.
These allow the photographer to take photographs under water to a certain depth.