Robust imaging accessories sales are one of the key indicators of a successful retail enterprise—and an integral part of a long-term strategy based on relationship marketing. The accessories we’ve selected for this article are a case in point. All 10 enable pros and photo enthusiasts to do more with their equipment, and to elevate their picture-taking experiences.
Lenses, tripods and filters broaden one’s shooting range in obvious ways. However, accessories like light modifiers, calibration devices and waterproof transport cases also enhance imaging performance and convenience. All ultimately lead to more satisfying results. This short list provides some concrete suggestions on items worthy of consideration, but there is an almost unlimited range of accessories to offer your customers.
Awesome Imaging Accessories
A perfect stabilization solution for avid outdoor and adventure shooters, this innovative tripod from Sirui is dustproof and also waterproof to IPX Level 7. In addition, the tripod uses a proprietary ring system that prevents water from seeping into the legs and causing damage. Its 10-layer carbon fiber legs have ergonomic, three-position leg-angle locks that lock into position automatically. A tripod leg converts it to a waterproof monopod. Moreover, its legs fold back 180º to achieve a compact folded length of only 19.3 inches.
Its detachable center column also can be inverted for low-angle shooting, and there’s a bottom hook for adding stabilizing weights. Slip-resistant rubber feet can be replaced with included steel spikes for rough terrain, and a bubble level allows fast horizontal adjustment. The Sirui W-1204 extends to a maximum height of 65 inches, weighs in at 3.7 pounds and has a hefty load capacity of 33.1 pounds. $359.99.
Tiffen Variable Neutral Density Filter
This popular neutral density filter is perfect for shooting white sand beaches, snow scenes and in any bright, highly reflective environment. The Tiffen VND filter adds another control to the camera—a continuously variable ring that lets photographers control and assess the amount of light coming through the lens. By turning the filter’s milled front ring, they can reduce the exposure from 2 stops (ND 0.6) to 8 (ND 2.4), or anything in between. Furthermore, a dotted reference scale makes it easy to return to any previous setting.
Although it uses polarization to achieve variable ND control, it is not a polarizing filter. However, it is beautifully made and finished, turning very smoothly and precisely. It is manufactured using proprietary ColorCore technology to seal in the filter material, ensuring absolute uniformity in production. 52mm, $103.99; 72mm, $135.99; $82mm, $166.99.
Joby GorillaPod 5K
This flexible mini tripod in the Joby’s GorillaPod line has an impressive load capacity of 11 pounds. Its signature, jointed legs provide unmatched versatility in setup options. In addition, a kit comes with a sturdy ball head with an Arca-type quick-release plate. It allows 360º panning and a 90º tilt for shooting stills or video. It has numbered scales for precise positioning, as well as rubberized joint rings and feet for added grip.
The GorillaPod 5K has a maximum usable height of 15.2 inches and can fit into almost any camera bag. Moreover, it is compatible with equipment that has ¼x20 and 3/8×16 screw threads. The mini tripod is easy to set up on difficult terrain. $179.95.
Manfrotto BeFree Carbon
This Manfrotto carbon fiber, high-style travel tripod does a lot more than just look cool. Its four-section flip-lock legs provide a maximum height of 48.4 inches with the center column down and 55.9 inches with the center column extended. It also provides a useful minimum height grounder setting of 13.4 inches and folds to an ultra-portable 15.75 inches for easy packing.
The BeFree provides a load capacity of 8.8 pounds despite weighing in at only 2.4 pounds. Moreover, it has independent leg spread positions at 25º and 51º. The included ball head is made of aluminum alloy and has a quick release plate and ¼x20 threaded stud. The rapid (sliding) center column is three-faceted to resist unwanted twisting, and it’s a hefty 22mm in diameter. $349.99.
ProMaster Mobile Lens Kit V2.0
Phoneographers can add perspective and variety to the pictures they shoot with their smartphones or tablets with ProMaster’s
cool set of optical attachments. They mount on a mobile device using either the included clip mounts or magnetic mounts. They even work with most phone cases in place. Moreover, if the phone has internal image stabilization that isn’t magnet friendly, users can simply attach the lenses via the clip mounts or use the small threaded rings on the adhesive magnetic phone mounts.
The kit includes a 180º fisheye lens, a 2x telephoto lens, a 0.65x wide-angle/macro lens, a circular polarizing filter, a standard clip lens mount, a long clip lens mount, four magnetic mounts, two adhesive/magnetic phone mounts and a case. $59.95.
X-Rite ColorChecker Passport Photo
This is a time-honored choice of fastidious pros for dialing in exposure, white balance and color rendition with great precision. The ColorChecker accessory combines three photographic targets into one freestanding pocket-size case. It enables photographers to determine the optimum values for any scene by shooting a picture and evaluating the results. The classic 24-patch color reference chart is an industry standard that works with the included Camera Calibration software to help create custom DNG profiles.
In addition, the White Balance Target lets shooters create a custom in-camera white balance for a consistent white point. And the Creative Enhancement Target achieves a neutral starting point, so photographers can then create a “look” with one click warming or cooling. It comes in a robust plastic case. $99.
Tamron SP 45mm f/1.8 Di VC USD
This impressive high-speed Tamron prime lens is for full-frame Nikon or Canon DSLRs. However, it provides 67.5mm-equivalent coverage on DX-format Nikons and 72mm-equivalent coverage on APS-C-format Canon cameras. It incorporates one LD element and two molded glass aspheric elements to attain a high degree of correction for all aberrations. The lens provides very even illumination and excellent sharpness across the field at all apertures. It also employs a floating element system to achieve a minimum focus distance of 11.4 inches (1:3.4 magnification). BBAR and eBand coatings maximize light transmission and minimize flare.
Moreover, a fluorine coating on the front element repels grime and facilitates cleaning. Other features include: an ultrasilent drive (USD) motor for fast, quiet AF; built-in VC image stabilization; a rounded 9-blade diaphragm to enhance its smooth natural bokeh; and moisture-resistant construction. It’s bundled with SILKYPIX Developer Studio software. Nikon F or Canon EF mount, $599.
Pelican 1510 Protector Carry-On
Lined with a high-quality foam insert and provided with wheels to facilitate convenient transport, Pelican’s robust case is a great solution for traveling photographers. They can pack a moderate to medium-size outfit—two camera bodies, two flash units, one large and two small lenses, as well as assorted accessories. Measuring 19.8x11x7.6 inches internally and weighing in at 13.6 pounds, it has a wide side handle, a front handle and a convenient 17-inch retracting extension handle.
Watertight and crushproof, it features a neoprene O-ring sealed tub and an automatic purge valve with a Gore-Tex membrane. Moreover, it has easy-open double-throw latches, stainless steel hardware and metal reinforced padlock protectors for added security. Made of copolymer polypropylene structural resin, it’s virtually indestructible and comes with a lifetime guarantee. A TrekPack divider kit is optional ($115). The carry-on comes in black, green or tan. $149.99.
Westcott Rapid Box Switch Octa M
The mainstay of many pros specializing in portraits and fashion, the 36-inch Octa-M softbox features Westcott’s ingenious Rapid Box Switch system. It allows the rear insert to be swapped out to accommodate a variety of different brand speedlights as well as strobes. There are 13 unit specific inserts available. Delivering pleasantly soft illumination, this unit features a removable inner baffle and front diffuser for modifying the lighting effect.
In addition, its durable metal framework and quick release thumb lock make it easy to open up and fold, and ensure a stable setup. Moreover, a silver interior maximizes light output, and its neutral diffusion fabric maintains true color. An optional 40º egg-crate grid is available to create more directional lighting effects. $244.90.
Sigma 18–35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art
This outstanding f/1.8 constant maximum aperture wide-to-normal high-speed zoom is designed for APS-C-format cameras. It covers a 27–52.5mm-equivalent range with 1.5 crop factor cameras and a 28.8–56mm-equivalent with 1.6 crop factor cameras. The Sigma lens is ideal for walk-around shooting, low-light applications and also creative control of depth of field. Moreover, it employs four aspheric and five special low dispersion (SLD) glass elements to minimize aberrations and capture images of extreme sharpness and clarity.
It also features internal focus and zoom to keep it as light and compact as possible. Other features include: a thermally stable TSC barrel; a hypersonic AF motor (HSM) for swift, quiet autofocus; and super multilayer coating throughout for maximum light transmission and flare control. Moreover, a rounded 9-blade diaphragm enhances its artistic bokeh effect. The lens is compatible with the Sigma USB dock for fine-tuning performance as well as updating software. In Canon EF, Nikon F, Pentax K, Sony Alpha or Sigma SA mount, $699.