Accessories and E-ccessories: Lifestyle Digital Devices

Accessories and E-ccessories: Lifestyle Digital Devices


For photographers in the field, being efficient means having the right accessories to help get the best photos possible. Traditional ones—like lenses, tripods, bags and filters—are now being complemented by newer items. Portable storage for backing up digital photos, memory cards, battery chargers and smartphone photo accessories are becoming just as prominent. Here is a list of some of the accessories that caught our attention.

Tamron SP AF17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II VC
As a standard zoom lens, which Tamron lists as a 26-78mm equivalent, it provides a fast f/2.8 aperture over the full focal length, making it easier to capture different types of shots. Tamron has also outfitted this particular model with its Vibration Compensation (VC) image stabilization system for clearer handheld images. In addition, the minimum focus distance of 11.4-inches means the lens can work for good close-up macro shots as well. At a length of just 3.7-inches and weighing in at 570g, the lens is both lightweight and nimble. The quick autofocus will naturally come in handy in quick shooting situations, and since it is a faster lens, it works for burst shooting too. This lens is designed to fit Nikon and Canon DSLRs. MSRP: $649. 

RØde VideoMic Pro Microphone
Now that DSLRs are no longer just for shooting still images because of how well they’re starting to capture video, having a good microphone is necessary for those delving into videography. Ideal for a variety of uses, both indoors and out, the VideoMic Pro may be a good fit for a range of would-be moviemakers. Powered by a 9-volt battery, the VideoMic Pro mounts on a DSLR’s hot shoe and connects to the microphone input via a standard 3.5mm audio jack. The design is that of a “shotgun” mic that can record and duplicate audio on both stereo channels. Though it doesn’t come with a muffler, consumers who register the product with RØde after purchase can have one sent to them. $329.

LumiQuest SoftBox
For those photographers who like to use a diffuser with a flash for shooting certain subjects, the SoftBox is a frosted diffuser that enlarges the light source to about 10 times the size of the flash head. The contoured design at the bottom also opens up enough room to let exposure and autofocus-assist sensors beam through unimpeded. As a result, the SoftBox can be used on a flash mounted on a DSLR or in a multiflash setup for specific lighting needs. When extended, the SoftBox folds flat to 5×7 inches, and it is compatible with most flash models. $38.50.

Sigma 70mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro
Sigma considers this to be ideal for both DSLRs and film SLRs because of its ability to shoot consistently well as a large-aperture medium macro lens. Moreover, the best subjects for something like this are insects and small animals that would be far enough away from the lens to not scare them off. But it can be just as valuable for shooting flowers, embroidery or anything else requiring a lot of detail. There are three SLD (Special Low Dispersion) glass elements for optimal color correction and sharpness throughout the full zoom range, along with super multilayer coating that should reduce flare and ghosting. A minimum shooting distance of 7.4 inches is possible through the floating internal focus system, so sharp detail at close range is easily achieved. $669.

Think Tank Photo rotation360
This is a bag that acts like a hybrid pack in that it can be slung on one’s shoulders or wrapped around their waist like a belt. The bottom part, which is the belt pack, can unlock and rotate 360º for easy access to a camera and a few accessories, like a backup lens, flash or memory cards. There is also a “lens rail” attached that’s ideally suited to carrying a 70-200mm telephoto lens that doesn’t have to take up room in the main belt. The shoulder harness and strap take the weight of a DSLR off the photographer and onto the bag, but the sheer number of storage options is quite extensive. $279.

Joby GorillaPod Tripods
The lineup of tripods that come from Joby are not traditional, but they are more than functional in utilizing the environment around a photographer. They have moldable tentacles that can wrap around anything from a pole or tree branch, and prop up on just about any surface. What they can accommodate ranges from iPhones to compact point-and-shoot models to heavier DSLRs, depending on the type of GorillaPod. There is even a magnetic one that can be fixed onto metal surfaces. MSRPs range from $19.95 to $99.95. 

Quik Pod DSLR
This nifty item can prove to be a valuable accessory for any photographer or videographer in the field who has to deal with obstacles to a great shot. On the one hand, it’s a handheld extender that can help photographers shoot from many angles or as a monopod to prop up a larger camera or lens. On the other, it’s a great device for consumers who want to get themselves in the photo. Made of high-quality polycarbonate and aluminum, the Quik Pod DSLR is a sturdy and durable piece of gear. It can retract down to 18 inches or extend up to 53 inches and weighs in at 250g. Its sturdy frame is perfect for DSLRs or any point and shoot, and since it’s waterproof, it can be used with underwater cameras as well. $49.95.  

Schneider B+W 77mm Circular Polarizing Slim Glass Filter

Pro and serious amateur photographers know the effects different filters can have, but this particular one is a high-end model that isn’t just great for richer colors in landscape photos but can also be used with a number of subjects for better contrast. There is an antireflection coating on both surfaces of the glass, so ghosting is all but eliminated. This could prove more than valuable to photographers who would rather spend less time in postproduction removing flare and glare. $320.

SanDisk Memory Vault
At first glance, the Memory Vault just looks like a prettier external hard drive, but it’s been specially designed as a long-term storage solution for important digital photos and video. Aimed more at consumers, serious photographers might be interested in something like this to take care of the most prominent and coveted photos they’ve shot. SanDisk says the vault is unique because it contains a combination of a proprietary ASIC controller, non-volatile memory (solid state) and system firmware. The result is a digital vault capable of up to 100 years of data retention. $49.99 for 8GB; $89.99 for 16GB.

Joy Factory Tournez Tripod Mount for iPad 2
Some photographers have embraced the iPad as a useful lighting and display tool for their photography, particularly when it comes to portrait, macro and darkroom shots. The Tournez tripod is meant to work with the wide number of lighting apps currently available. It can mount on just about any tripod and can rotate a full 360º. The carbon fiber arm is lightweight and flexible enough to fold and swivel to any desired angle for optimal opportunities to be creative. The Tournez tripod can also be used for viewing photos from a shoot on-site quickly without having to move the iPad. $79.95.

Scosche clipSYNC
Photographers using laptops on any project need quick and easy access to plugging in cameras and smartphones. The clipSYNC is a small keychain-sized charge and sync cable that literally pulls out of a small frame. The spring-loaded carbineer clip also makes it easy to latch it onto anything from a backpack, bag, keychain or belt strap for easy access. Both iPod/iPhone/iPad and micro and mini-USB models are available, and both are made from polycarbonate and aluminum for tough durability. $19.99.

Duracell GoMobile Charger
The advantage in using the GoMobile charger is that it can recharge four AA or AAA rechargeable batteries in just one hour. In addition, the included car adapter offers photographers on the road the chance to get some much-needed juice into the batteries quickly without needing a wall outlet. It should be noted that the GoMobile is also capable of charging batteries from competitor brands, and that the adapter can handle a voltage range of 100-240V, so it can be used overseas. The Energy Star certification comes in because the GoMobile charger stops feeding power to the batteries once they’re full. $37.99.