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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.