Don't have cash to splash on a new lens or a camera body?
Here are our picks for the best cheap camera buys that you can get right now for the photographer who has (almost) everything — or as a special gift to yourself.
Everything on this list can be found for under AU$50 — and, in some cases, just AU$2. If you're feeling particularly DIY this Christmas, why not make a camera gadget for yourself with our Hack Attack videos.
This one was inspired by one of our talented Exposure photographers, Jason Smith. A spirit level that sits conveniently in the hotshoe of your camera is useful for a variety of purposes, particularly if you love landscape photography and creating panoramas.
You can pick these up for less than AU$10 on eBay, with some units even going for as little as AU$2. With free shipping. Crazy!
Time-lapse photography might be an area that you wish to explore in the future. Rather than sitting by your camera and pressing the shutter button every 30 seconds, why not try a remote cable release? Depending on your digital SLR model, you can pick up cheap remote shutter releases for under $10 on sites like Amazon and eBay.
If you haven't discovered Photojojo yet, it's time to bookmark it now. With a whole range of quirky accessories available, from iPhone SLR mounts to tiny digital cameras that can take double exposures, this shop has something for everyone.
A ring flash adapter diffuses the flash around the lens barrel, making it ideal for macro work, as well as portraiture. Other ring flashes retail upwards of AU$200, so this model at US$40 is an absolute bargain.
Are you one of those people who keeps losing their lens caps? Try this little gizmo, which attaches around your lens barrel and clasps onto the front of the lens cap. When the cap is removed from the lens, it just hangs neatly from the barrel. Nifty, and very cheap! Try this on for size at just US$1.59 on Amazon.
The name GorillaPod has become synonymous with keeping your equipment stable in places where tripods dare not speak their names. Each unit has flexible legs that bend and grip around objects while keeping the camera steady. The Hybrid, available for AU$49.99, stabilises any camera of up to 1kg, including interchangeable lens cameras.
If Photojojo takes your fancy, but the shipping costs are too high, then check out PhotoMoti, run locally from Sydney. The store sells the Pinwide, an adaptor that screws into the lens mount of any Micro Four Thirds camera, and turns it into a digital pinhole camera for just AU$40.
Or, you could just drill a tiny hole into your camera's body cap, if you're feeling particularly cheap.
The light emitted from a flash unit is often harsh and direct. Using a flash diffuser will soften the light and provide much more even coverage, particularly for portraits. There are plenty of flash diffusers available for cheap from eBay for separate flash units like speedlites, and also for pop-up flash units. Most of these pop-up diffusers are styled like the Gary Fong Puffer unit, which you can find for around AU$40 on various Australian sites, US$21.95 excluding shipping on the official site or cheaper knock-off versions on eBay.
Moving into video recording on an SLR can be a daunting step considering the multitude of expensive accessories that you can buy to improve the experience (Z-finders, anyone?)
A continuous video light works for both stills and videos, providing a constant source of light to illuminate the scene. This unit, which we found for US$26.86, runs on four AA batteries and has 64 LEDs. It attaches via the camera's hotshoe, and comes with a plastic rail mount so that it can be moved around easily.
Dedicated macro lenses can cost upwards of AU$500 — but a filter can achieve a similar effect for under AU$10. Get in closer for plant, insect and object photography by screwing this into the filter thread of your lens. The optical quality won't be anything to write home about, but for so little money, why complain?
Updated:Caption:Lexy SavvidesPhoto:Macro filter image by Connorhd, CC2.0
Moleskine photo book
Photo books can be pretty boring. Except when it's from the legendary Moleskine, which makes some of the most iconic notebooks out there. This sits at the top of the $50 budget for a small 20-page number, but can be filled with your own photos and comes with the trademark inner pocket for extra storage space.
Remember that sinking feeling when you're out trying to grab that last photo of the day, and your battery goes flat? We've all been there. This wrist strap acts as a portable charger, and comes with all the connectors you would expect, from standard iPhone through to mini and micro USB for a whole range of cameras. Snag one for US$29.99 at ThinkGeek.
No self-respecting photo geek should be without one of these lens mugs. They're available in almost as many lookalike configurations as there are real lenses. eBay and other online sites are chock full of Canon and Nikon versions for around AU$20, but for an actual storefront, you can try Digital Camera Warehouse, which has the "Caniam" (we have no idea) for AU$29.
Don't leave your favourite mobile-phone photographer out in the cold. This accessory from Holga Direct sits over your iPhone 4, 4S or 5 like a case, and gives you a rotating wheel of coloured filters for special effects. Depending on your handset, this one starts at US$23.99.
Want to fire your SLR from a smartphone? You'll want to check out Triggertrap. It's a way to fire your digital camera from your smartphone. The system consists of a mobile dongle, cable and an app, which you can buy from the Triggertrap website. Depending on your SLR, the dongle and cable cost anywhere from US$24.99 to US$29.99. Plus, if you buy the dongle over the Christmas period, the app is available for free.
Using the strap your camera came with is so passe. BlackRapid make some of the best equipment in the camera-carrying business, and its cheapest strap, the Metro, comes in at US$39.95. It's light, plus it tucks your camera away on your side so it's ready to go whenever you are.
You never realise just how important storing your memory cards is until you lose one. From ThinkTank, who also make some excellent roller bags, the SD Pixel Pocket Rocket stores 9 SD cards in a folding wallet, though for the SLR photographers out there, CF versions are also available. US$15.75 from the website.
Do you have any favourite cheap camera accessory buys that we've missed? Let us know in the comments below.