Photography News 79 WEB

Photo kit

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You have a camera and a lens or two and are on the way to building up a camera system, but what next? In part three of our Summer Festival, we look all the other great accessories that’ll enhance your photography

Strap matters

Buy a camera and a shoulder strap is supplied, so you may wonder why consider the expense of buying another strap. Because there are plenty of independent brands out there that make great- looking straps that offer greater comfort and are eminently more usable. Some straps have extra padding or feature foam or neoprene for comfort, such as the OpTech Classic strap. Some straps mix comfort, aesthetics and versatility, such as those from Peak Design and Think Tank Photo, while the across-the-body ‘pap’ strap design offers speed and functionality. One of the very best of this type comes from BlackRapid, which has recently added two new straps to its range.

Of course, you can take pictures without touching the camera with its self-timer but to time shots precisely, you need a remote cable release or a wireless release. Buying an independent brand will save you money and usually have all Hands-off control YOU’VE INVESTED IN a camera body and one or two lenses, so you can get on and enjoy your picture taking, but you can get even more from your hobby by investing in a few accessories. A visit to a camera store or its website will tell you the breadth of kit out there to tempt the keen image maker and it is easy to get drawn into spending money on gear you might not actually need, so it pays to have a think about your needs.

the features offered by a camera brand version. A basic remote does nothing more than facilitate shutter release and perhaps offer a B lock, while advanced models offer B timing, intervalometer for time-lapse shooting, an LCD readout and an audible signal. Wireless remotes often have a transmitter and receiver unit, which fits in the hotshoe and plugs into the camera. Operating range can be up to 100m. As always, a great deal depends on the sort of photography you wish to enjoy, so this is where the funnelling down process begins. If action or nature photography is what appeals, then a monopod to support your long lens is a must. For landscape shooters, filters, a tripod and camera backpack are key accessories. If you have an inclination for portraits and table-top photography, flash and lighting products will be top of your list.

Some are part of a system, so remote firing of several cameras or a camera and flash is possible. Hahnel Captur and PocketWizard are two well-known wireless trigger brands. One of the most advanced remote triggers comes from CamRanger. The £250 CamRanger Mini and app offer remote control and shooting from up to 120m using your smart device and you get wireless live image streaming, too. HDR and focus bracketing are other features. CamRanger – PocketWizard – Of course, many photographers are more general in their interests so will need a sling bag and a pap strap for shooting about town, a travel tripod when stability is needed, a remote release for night shooting and a flashgun for their family photography. Basically, once you get hooked and want to get more from your picture taking, there’s something out there that will help you fulfil your dreams.

OpTech – BlackRapid – Peak Design – Think Tank –

LEFT The CamRanger Mini is a sophisticated accessory and ideal for remote viewing and shooting

ABOVE BlackRapid is known for its across-the-body ‘pap’ straps, offering speed of use as well as comfort

Flash away

Go continuous with LED lights

There’s so much choice when it comes to adding a flash to your system with options including on-camera or off-camera, battery or mains power, auto or manual, or location or studio. If you are an occasional flash user, you may have a camera with a flash built in and you could stick with that, but if you want more power, control and flexibility, you need a speedlight, which is the generic name for on-camera, hotshoe-fitting flashguns. All camera brands have speedlights in their systems and plenty of independent brands are also available and, as with lenses, offer better value and may have even more features. Speedlights are very advanced pieces of kit with such niceties as through-the-lens flash (TTL) metering, high-speed sync flash (HSS), zoom head, tilt and bounce features, and are powered by AA batteries – some models like the Hahnel Modus 360RT (or the larger 600RT) have high capacity, rechargeable batteries. Speedlights can be used off- camera and a wide range of optional

accessories such as grids, softboxes, filters and brollies means you can modify their light output. Speedlights are great gadgets and very versatile, but if you’re serious about your people photography, the more powerful studio light option might be the better buy. Studio flashlights are bigger than speedlights – an exception is the Profoto A1X – so aren’t used camera-mounted but fixed on lighting stands and can be mains or battery powered (a few are both). These lights can be synchronised with a cable, although

the wireless solution is usually preferred for convenience (no trip hazard!) and working range. A while ago, studio lights were manual only and a flash meter was needed to determine correct exposures. But the latest studio lights have undergone a revolution and many, with a suitable trigger, offer the convenience of TTL flash control and HSS, too. Here are a few flash brands, speedlight and studio, to look out for. Pixapro – Kenko, Metz – LEFT A speedlight, such as the Kenko A1 shown here, can provide light where there isn’t any and enhance what’s there. For more power and flexibility, a studio type unit like the battery- powered Profoto B10 Plus is well worth the investment

If you prefer to see the effect of extra lights, are shooting video or simply like using continuous lights, there are plenty of LED lamps available. Such lights often offer colour temperature control so you can match output to the ambient light, have adjustable power, run cool and are reasonably powerful, too. As with flash, there’s the choice of mains or battery power and some offer both, making them ideal for location shooting, web conferencing and vlogging – and

the smaller units often fit the camera’s hotshoe. This lighting type not only comes in slim housings but ring lights, striplights, slimline pads and flexible panel lights are also available, offering many creative options. Pictured below are products from the Nanlite range from Kenro. Nanlite – Pixapro –

LEFT Nanlite gear, distributed in the UK by Kenro, offers solutions for various situations and at competitive prices, too

8 Photography News | Issue 79

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