Source: magnitogorsk.bezformata.com

Buy­ing a cam­era is like lay­ing the foun­da­tion. If you want the cam­era to be suit­able for more sit­u­a­tions, you will inevitably wrap it with var­i­ous acces­sories over time. In this arti­cle, we will go over the things that are use­ful for cre­at­ing your own pho­to trans­former for both begin­ners and expe­ri­enced pho­tog­ra­phers.

Something useful for everyone

1. Fast por­trait lens

Even if you swore to shoot por­traits, you can’t do with­out a fast por­trait lens. Oth­er­wise, when shoot­ing spe­cif­ic objects and a wide view­ing angle, you will have to crop the image and lose res­o­lu­tion. In addi­tion, por­trait lens­es allow you to cap­ture objects with­out per­spec­tive dis­tor­tion. And if the lens is fast, then it will also beau­ti­ful­ly blur the back­ground in bokeh.

Por­trait cam­eras start at a focal length of 50mm. (remem­ber: the more mil­lime­ters, the clos­er the object, and the nar­row­er the angle). For begin­ners, we do not rec­om­mend tak­ing lens­es with a fixed focal length: you are tor­ment­ed by chang­ing them in dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions, and adjust­ing to what dis­tance you are com­fort­able work­ing with is bet­ter with a zoom.

Aper­ture is how much light is atten­u­at­ed when pass­ing through the lens, denot­ed as, for exam­ple, 1: 1.2. The small­er the sec­ond num­ber, the brighter the lens. The val­ues ​​we need are in the range from 1.2 to 2.8. With this lens, you will be com­fort­able shoot­ing even in the dark.

Do not for­get about the crop fac­tor, which means how many times the diag­o­nal of your cam­er­a’s matrix is ​​​​small­er than the full frame. The larg­er the crop fac­tor, the clos­er the object will be and the greater the focal length. To find out exact­ly what the focal length will be with a par­tic­u­lar lens, you need to mul­ti­ply the crop fac­tor by the focal length.

How crop fac­tor affects the image. Source: Kir­ill Mikhirev / photar.ru

2. Wide angle lens

If you are going to shoot land­scapes, take a wide-angle lens. It has a short focal length and a wide view­ing angle. The focal length ranges from 10mm to 40mm. (with­out tak­ing into account the crop fac­tor).

3. Hood

The hood will pro­tect the pic­tures from unwant­ed glare, and the lens — from mechan­i­cal influ­ences and touch­es. You need to select it accord­ing to the focal length of your lens. A short­er focal length requires a short­er lens hood and vice ver­sa. With a wide angle of view and a low focal length, a long lens hood will get into the frame, espe­cial­ly if you have a fish­eye lens.

How the lens hood affects the pic­ture: on the left — with­out it, on the right — with a lens hood. Source: blenda.by

4. Light fil­ters

You can process pho­tos in pro­grams designed for this, or you can achieve a sim­i­lar effect in the old fash­ioned way using a light fil­ter. Light fil­ters dark­en a cer­tain area in the pic­ture, cre­ate haze or rays around the light source.

For exam­ple, ND fil­ters (oth­er­wise known as ND fil­ters) are translu­cent pieces of glass that are designed to reduce the amount of light enter­ing the lens.

Dif­fer­ent mod­els of such fil­ters dif­fer in the degree of light block­ing, they can even be dis­tin­guished visu­al­ly: the stronger the fil­ter, the dark­er it is. The strength of the fil­ter is mea­sured in steps, one step is a halv­ing of the light inten­si­ty. Thus, a fil­ter that reduces aper­ture by four stops will only let 1/16 of the orig­i­nal light through (1/(2*2*2*2)). This is nec­es­sary in order to increase the expo­sure time. With­out a fil­ter, to increase the shut­ter speed, you need to close the aper­ture as much as pos­si­ble while set­ting a low ISO val­ue. With a fil­ter, you can increase the shut­ter speed and open the aper­ture a lit­tle more.

The effect of fil­ters of dif­fer­ent strengths on the final image, from left to right: with­out fil­ter — ND4 — ND8 — ND16 — ND32. Source: blog CopterTime/habr.com

Polar­iz­ing fil­ters enhance col­or sat­u­ra­tion and com­bat reflec­tions and glare. They fil­ter direct reflec­tions of light at cer­tain angles, you can change them by rotat­ing the fil­ter. After the direct reflect­ed light is fil­tered out, the dif­fuse light from the sub­ject increas­es, and after it, the col­or sat­u­ra­tion. Polar­iz­ing fil­ters also do a good job of remov­ing reflec­tions and high­light­ing objects that are under­wa­ter or behind glass.

The effect of a polar­iz­ing fil­ter on an image. Source: kenko-tokina.ru

There are also stol­ka, which per­form an exclu­sive­ly pro­tec­tive func­tion. They are trans­par­ent, do not affect the pho­to in any way and are used so that grease, dust and mois­ture do not get on the lens.

5. Adapter rings

Any fil­ter will not fit any lens due to the dif­fer­ence in diam­e­ters. In order not to buy sep­a­rate fil­ters for each lens, adapter rings are used. They are up and down.

Enhancers allow you to con­nect fil­ters that are larg­er than the diam­e­ter of the lens. Reduc­ing rings, on the con­trary, will allow you to con­nect a small fil­ter to a large lens (although this only works with lens­es whose focal length is above 50mm).

The rings can be stacked on top of each oth­er, so a fil­ter of any diam­e­ter can be con­nect­ed to any lens. Of course, if the lens is not wide-angle. In this case, in addi­tion, you will get vignetting at the cor­ners of the frame.

6. Flash

The built-in flash is an atavism, it seems that every­one scolds it, but they are in no hur­ry to remove it from the fac­to­ry con­struct of the cam­era. Its dis­ad­van­tages are low pow­er, it shines strict­ly straight and quick­ly dis­charges the cam­era bat­tery. The out­put is an exter­nal flash. They are dis­tin­guished accord­ing to sev­er­al para­me­ters.

How the pic­ture will change depend­ing on the direc­tion of the flash. Source: passporta.org

First, pay atten­tion to the lead­ing num­ber. This is the dis­tance to the pho­tographed object at which the flash illu­mi­nates it nor­mal­ly, pro­vid­ed that the sen­si­tiv­i­ty is 100 ISO and the aper­ture is one. Weak bud­getary out­breaks have a lead­ing num­ber that does not exceed 20, pow­er­ful ones — above 38, and strong mid­dle peas­ants gath­ered in between. The max­i­mum flash pow­er is used very rarely, it wins due to the high recy­cle speed.

The recy­cling rate is the time it takes for the flash to be used again. The aver­age val­ue is 3–4 sec­onds, but there are flash­es that recharge in 0.1 sec­onds. Such a speed will be need­ed for reportage or sports shoot­ing, when due to slug­gish­ness it is easy to miss a beau­ti­ful shot. The pow­er of the flash is revealed here, as it allows you to take longer bursts of pic­tures.

Basi­cal­ly, the price divide between dif­fer­ent flash mod­els lies in the pres­ence or absence of automa­tion. The most bud­getary flash­es work only in man­u­al mode. Using such a flash, before each frame, you will man­u­al­ly set the pow­er, zoom (some flash­es can zoom, illu­mi­nat­ing more dis­tant objects with a small­er area). More expen­sive flash­es have TTL sup­port — this is an auto­mat­ic mode that adjusts flash set­tings based on cam­era set­tings. More expen­sive flash­es can also work remote­ly, even in auto­mat­ic mode. A good exam­ple of a mid-range flash (while sup­port­ing TTL) is the Godox Thin­klite TT685F for Fuji cam­eras.

For adepts of macro pho­tog­ra­phy, there are ring flash­es. The light sources on them are arranged in such a way as to illu­mi­nate the sub­ject from all sides. Since the shoot­ing takes place close to the object, they also have a small guide num­ber.

7. Bat­tery pack

You can also get by with a cou­ple of spare bat­ter­ies so that your cam­era does not decide to take a rest at the most inop­por­tune moment. At the same time, the bat­tery pack is nice because it runs on AA bat­ter­ies, so you don’t have to look for an out­let or anoth­er bat­tery. It also acts as a com­fort­able grip when shoot­ing in por­trait ori­en­ta­tion. Here is what such a device looks like for Canon cam­eras.

If the issue of price is not acute, take a bat­tery pack from the man­u­fac­tur­er of your cam­era. Oth­er­wise, you can lim­it your­self to a block from ana­logue man­u­fac­tur­ers — there is no dif­fer­ence in func­tion­al­i­ty, the main thing is to make sure that the block will suit your cam­era.

8. Clean­ing prod­ucts

When you are going to clean the lens and matrix, fol­low this sequence. First, blow off the dust with a spe­cial pear. Then, arm your­self with a clean­ing pen­cil, and thor­ough­ly clean and wipe the lens. The main thing is not to use such a pen­cil when it is worn out, oth­er­wise you risk dam­ag­ing the lens.

At the same time, you always have an option — do not fool around and give the cam­era for clean­ing to an autho­rized ser­vice cen­ter.

For professionals

1. Remote con­trols

There are many sce­nar­ios in which remote shoot­ing is need­ed: from self-por­traits to shoot­ing in a stu­dio, when you need the shot to be dis­played on a mon­i­tor. To orga­nize such a shoot­ing, you need a spe­cial gad­get. Among them:

— Infrared remote. He, as a rule, has only one but­ton that allows you to remote­ly release the shut­ter. Thanks to him, the cam­era does not need to be held in hands, which elim­i­nates blur and is use­ful when shoot­ing self-por­traits or shoot­ing with slow shut­ter speeds.

- Remote con­trol cable per­forms the same func­tions as the infrared remote con­trol, but requires con­nec­tion to the cam­era via a cable, the length of which does not exceed one meter. It can also be used to lock the shut­ter but­ton in the pressed posi­tion to make it eas­i­er to shoot at bulb speeds in Bulb mode. This mode is used when shoot­ing with a long expo­sure, in which the cam­era shoots while the shut­ter but­ton is held down. If you hold the cam­era with your hands in such a sit­u­a­tion, you are guar­an­teed to blur the pic­ture, and the cable solves the prob­lem. They are inex­pen­sive, for exam­ple, Fuji­mi FJ SR-FF for Fuji­film cam­eras will cost 600 rubles.

- The pro­gram­ma­ble remote con­trol is dif­fer­ent in that it allows you to set addi­tion­al shoot­ing para­me­ters. On it, you can set the inter­val between shut­ter releas­es, so that lat­er, for exam­ple, you can glue time­lapse video from the received frames.

2. Syn­chro­niz­ers

The same remote con­trols, only for flash­es (although

there are syn­chro­niz­ers that also act as remote con­trols for cam­eras). They also allow you to syn­chro­nize the oper­a­tion of a group of flash­es.

There are dif­fer­ent types of syn­chro­niz­ers, the most reli­able of which are radio syn­chro­niz­ers. They, in turn, are divid­ed by the abil­i­ty to work with TTL-mode and shut­ter speed.

Typ­i­cal­ly, a radio syn­chro­niz­er has two devices: a trans­mit­ter (trans­mit­ter) and a receiv­er (receiv­er). The trans­mit­ter is mount­ed in the cam­er­a’s hot shoe, and the receiv­er is attached to the flash, although many mod­ern flash­es have a built-in receiv­er.

3. Reflec­tors

A reflec­tor is a frame with a reflec­tive mate­r­i­al stretched over it. Used to even out the light in the frame by high­light­ing details in the shad­ows with reflect­ed light.

The effect of dif­fer­ent reflec­tors on the image, from left to right: gold — sil­ver — white — no reflec­tor. Source: belikov50.wordpress.com

The most ver­sa­tile mod­el is a 5 in 1 reflec­tor with a diam­e­ter of 100–110 cm. It comes with sil­ver, gold, white and black reflec­tive mate­ri­als. Sil­ver and gold high­light shad­ed areas the most, chang­ing the tem­per­a­ture of the light to a cold and warm side, respec­tive­ly. Black absorbs light and can be use­ful when shoot­ing reflec­tive sur­faces. It is more prof­itable to take a set of sev­er­al reflec­tors at once.

4. Soft­box­es

The task of the soft­box is to dif­fuse the light flux from the light source. Soft­box­es of dif­fer­ent shapes give a dif­fer­ent shape of high­lights that will appear in the frame, reflect­ed in glossy sur­faces. The size of the soft­box deter­mines the soft­ness of the light: the larg­er the soft­box, the soft­er the light. You can read about what soft­box­es are and how they dif­fer from each oth­er here.

5. Macro rings

When you want to shoot beau­ti­ful things (from var­i­ous bugs to pores on the skin) up close, but the pur­chase of a macro lens is post­poned for some rea­son, macro rings will help out. These are hol­low cylin­ders that are placed between the lens and the sen­sor in order to increase the focal length and bring a con­ven­tion­al lens clos­er to the sub­ject.

Expen­sive rings dif­fer from cheap ones by sup­port­ing the cam­er­a’s aut­o­fo­cus. How nec­es­sary this is is a debat­able issue, because macro pho­tog­ra­phy is more about man­u­al focus­ing.

And every­thing in macro rings is good, if they did not low­er the amount of light enter­ing the matrix. So that the shots tak­en with the macro rings do not become too dark, you will have to increase the shut­ter speed and raise the ISO. And also the depth of field of the frame at a small focus­ing dis­tance is very small. You can fix this by reduc­ing the aper­ture, and this, in turn, will again reduce the amount of light on the matrix.

6. Macro lens­es

In order not to mess around with macro rings, you can sim­ply take a macro lens. Such a lens will allow shoot­ing at a scale of 1:1 (i.e., the dimen­sions of the object being shot will be equal to the dimen­sions of its image pro­ject­ed by the lens onto the matrix) or larg­er.

A good macro lens has a high focal length — start­ing at 100mm, such as the Laowa 100mm f/2.8 2X Ultra Macro APO. The fact is that the work­ing dis­tance depends on the focal length — the dis­tance from the lens to the object being shot. If the lens has a small focal length, in order to shoot an object in macro pho­tog­ra­phy, you will have to come close to it. This is fraught with the fact that you can obscure the light source, cap­ture unnec­es­sary objects in the frame, or, if you are shoot­ing an insect, scare it away.