Save Your Money, These Won't Help Your Photography
I go to camera stores a lot and I mean a lot. I am always surprised with the abundance of basically useless, for lack of a better term, "crap" being sold to the amateur photographer. The only things these items do well is alleviate cash from an unsuspecting buyer's purse or wallet. Don't get me wrong there is a lot of useful gear out there that you can get on the cheap, but this list doesn't contain any of those. So here we go:
10. Flash Tupperware.
Putting something that resembles a gigantic plastic bowl on the end of your speed light doesn't seem to make much sense to a reasonable person. Well they are right it doesn't. It is the direction of the light the makes the difference not the diffusion alone especially through some crazy looking bowl thing. Learning to bounce the flash properly will give you the best results and it won't cost you anything. For instance, you can use a white card attached to the end of your speed light. Then point your speed light up at the ceiling. The reflection of the card will provide you with enough fill and the flash bouncing off the ceiling give a nice natural illumination to the scene. As an example, I use one of my business cards to do this, one side of my cards is a high gloss white and heck who can argue with free advertising?
9. Camera Wrist Strap.
If you have a compact these make sense. If you have a dSLR they are just useless. Want a great way to put your arm to sleep? Use one of these.
8. Pen Cleaning Kits.
These things rarely work well and under no circumstances should you be using the kind of force these things allow you to use to clean your lens. All you need is a microfiber or cotton cloth and wipe in a circular motion. You can use an alcohol solution if need be, but that's it.
7. LED Camera Light.
These really do not create great light for photographs. They produce a direct light source on your camera. If you have read any of me previous posts you will know that on camera lighting is about the worst thing going in photography. What makes these worse is the fact they produce a very low output of light. They cost almost as much as a speed light and will produce only 9 watts of power which is really not anything at all.
6. Soft Focus Filter.
I've never really understood the point of these filters. If you want to take an out of focus photograph you can simply adjust the focusing ring on your lens to achieve the desired result. If you want a very shallow depth of field you can use a larger aperture. So what is the point of this filter?
5. White Balance Cap.
These things are basically a shopping bag with an elastic band that fits over the end of your lens. Because these caps rely on light passing through the semi transparent material they can't produce an accurate representation of the proper white balance for a scene. If you want a truly accurate measure you could always shell out a whopping 5 cents for a piece of white paper. Furthermore, your auto white balance will work better than these white balancing caps.
4. Lens "Cap Keeper".
These things are terrible. Your lens cap hangs via an attached lanyard from your lens. The thing flies all over the place, it gets in your shots, it will hook on things in your bag. It is all around terrible in my opinion anyway. If you want the best no cost solution put the cap in your pocket, it works the best.
3. Anything That Attaches Your Camera to Your Belt.
The best camera support device ever invented is the strap. Put it over your shoulder and you can protect your camera from almost anything. I can almost guarantee you will never drop your camera if you wrap the strap around your wrist when shooting. These new waist holsters especially the clip in ones are just an accident waiting to happen. You miss the holster and your camera's on the ground, someone bumps into you and again your cameras on the ground.
2. Camera Lock.
Cameras are not bikes, are you planning on seriously locking your camera to a tree or something? Don't leave your camera lying around and it won't get stolen.
1. UV filter.
Yep I said it. They don't make any difference and your lens can't get sunburn. Cheap ones can add all sorts of anomalies and degrade the quality of your images. Buy a clear glass filter to protect your lens and that is all you need. If you want a filter that will actually improve your images buy a polarizer.
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