Enhance your camera experience with these travel-ready accessories
Carrying around heavy photography gear is no fun. Use these accessories to help lighten your load.
Using the strap that came with your camera is all well and good, until it starts to get in the way of taking photos quickly. That's where straps like the BlackRapid Metro come in. It has a locking carabiner that screws into the tripod thread of your camera, letting the dSLR hang comfortably next to your body. This means it's ready for action whenever you are.
Made of ballistic nylon, it is tough enough to withstand the elements but light enough so it won't weigh you down.
The strap is fully adjustable and has a padded shoulder rest for comfort. Find it for $39.95/AU$49.95/£37.
What if your smartphone could have the same image quality as your compact camera? That's the premise behind the Sony QX cameras, a curious combination of lens and processor that connects via Wi-Fi to your smartphone.
The QX cameras attach via special clips to hang off the back of a smartphone (or tablet) and use the screen as a giant live viewfinder. As well as the added benefit of optical zoom and a larger sensor than most smartphones, the QX10 weighs only 105 grams/3.7 oz.
Want better audio quality from your camera when shooting video, but don't know where to start? The Rode VideoMic Go is designed for ease of use. It's a shotgun-style microphone that offers directional audio in a compact package, weighing just 73 grams/2.6oz.
The Go is powered through your camera's external microphone input (3.5mm) and has no extra switches, so it's plug and play. It works with most dSLRs, compact cameras and even GoPro models, sitting neatly on top of the hotshoe (if applicable).
Made for the smartphone photographer, the iBlazr is a portable flash or constant video light that plugs directly into your device's headphone jack.
It runs on a rechargeable battery that's good for up to 1,000 shots, or 40 minutes of constant light for video at full intensity. Plus, there is a dedicated app on iOS and Android that helps sync the flash with the camera.
The iBlazr doesn't have to be for smartphones and tablets exclusively. You could use it as a portable light for compact cameras just by using the constant light feature and holding it to illuminate your subject. Weighing 10 grams/0.35 oz, it's available through BiteMyApple for $49.99.
Looking for a lens that won't break the bank? Lensbaby offers several models that produce quirky effects such as selective focus and circular fish-eye. The Spark, pictured above, lets you squeeze, bend and stretch the lens to focus.
Available in Canon and Nikon mounts, best results are obtained from using live view on your camera screen. You will also need to use manual mode, adjusting the shutter and ISO values only to achieve your exposure. There is no electronic communication between the lens and the camera.
The Spark weighs 85g/3 oz and can be found for $89/AU$99/£59.
Sometimes, the light that enters your camera lens isn't exactly right for the type of photo you want to produce. This is where filters, such as a neutral density (ND) filter come in. Pictured above is a 9-stop Hoya filter that acts like sunglasses for your camera.
It is darkened glass that reduces the amount of light entering your camera. This is ideal if you want to take a longer exposure in bright outdoor situations, which will achieve effects such as making water flows look smooth.
Filters come in a range of thread sizes to match your lens.
Designed to provide that extra bit of oomph to action videos, the Qudos light fits neatly alongside a GoPro, Sony Action Cam, or any other model with GoPro mounts. It is designed to give an extra burst of light for night shots and underwater videos. The device delivers 400 lumens of light and adds 150 grams/5.29 oz to the overall configuration.
Waterproof to 40 metres/131 feet, you can also adjust the intensity and angle of light to better suit the application. The action setting offers a wide throw of light at 400/225 lumens; target spot offers a narrow throw at 155/100 lumens; while the ambient mode is a soft, ultra-wide throw at 270/70 lumens.
Want to add Wi-Fi connectivity to your camera? The Eyefi looks like a traditional SD card, but has Wi-Fi built in. Take photos and videos as normal, then transfer to your smartphone or mobile device within a few seconds.
There are two types of Eyefi card on the market -- Mobil and Pro X2. The Pro X2 cards offer JPEG and raw transfer, plus it can be used in conjunction with an existing Wi-Fi network as well as an ad-hoc connection between device and camera. The Mobi card syncs automatically with the Eyefi Cloud and offers a simplified mobile setup.
When it comes to portable tripods, Joby's GorillaPod is probably the biggest name in the game. There are several varieties of flexible tripods available, with the model shown above suitable for dSLRs up to 3kg/6.6lbs.
Wrap the legs around an object to create a firm grip. Then, position the camera any which way you like to film in places an ordinary tripod can't.
The GorillaPod SLR Zoom weighs just 190 grams/6.7 oz, so it won't weigh down your camera bag. The quick release plate also has a level built-in, and comes with a standard 1/4-inch screw attachment. You can also get a separate ball head for even more flexibility.
With all these light accessories, you'll need a light bag to carry them all. The Lowepro Passport messenger has space for a small dSLR or interchangeable lens camera, accessories and a 13-inch laptop. A front pocket also helps keep small items like batteries and memory cards separate from the main compartment.
All up the bag weighs 500g/1.1lbs which makes it light enough for carrying around for an entire day.