Five Photo Accessories I’m Glad I Bought (And Some I Regret)

Five Photo Accessories I’m Glad I Bought (And Some I Regret)

2000 1331 Jeb Inge

If I’ve said it once I’ve said it four or five times: Accessories aren’t sexy.

Chunky, fast glass is sexy. Focusing rings that glide like warm butter and aperture settings that click into place like the hammer of a Civil War revolver — now it’s getting warm in here. All-metal camera bodies, handcrafted by artisans who will never lose sleep over lifetime warranties — did someone put on a Bryan Ferry album?

You know what’s not sexy? Camera straps. Storage. Batteries. And by the way, how is it that I consider rechargeable batteries less sexy than single-use batteries? I know it’s crazy but I can’t shake the feeling. Anyway.

I’ve tried a lot of different accessories, and through trial and error have determined how much junk is out there. (A lot.) But it’s an underappreciated truth that finding the right accessories will take your photo game to a higher plane of consciousness.

The logic is simple: The less extraneous noise you have to think about during the process of taking photos, the more mental energy you can devote to the process of making photos. That’s a big win since everyone’s end game is (or should be) making photos.

Truth be told each of these items deserves its own article. But for as much as I preach the virtues of camera accessories, the thought of writing 2,000 words about a light meter makes my teeth itch. I commend my fellow writers who have survived the experience and I hope they remember me fondly for I won’t be joining them in Valhalla. The best I can do is a few paragraphs for each. I’ll also say the brand and model of each that I own and use, but the list itself is general and not necessarily a brand recommendation. The specific tools I use are perfect for me, but you likely have to figure out which works best for you.

So for your reading pleasure, I present five accessories that have had a hugely positive impact on my workflow. The supporting cast to my process that improve the entire production. Consider them the Shea Whighams, Thelma Schoonmakers and Waddy Wachtels of the camera gear world. Their names are never on the marquee, but they’re crucial components to my process and results.

A decent tripod (and L bracket)

I shoot a lot below the 1/125 of a second threshold for shooting handheld. That’s been the case even more this year working on a project where I’m generally shooting in cloudy weather with film rated at ISO 80. I also really enjoy shooting at dusk and night, long exposures and photographing waterfalls and rivers.

Rather than jack up the ISO to static levels and shooting wide open, I’m happy to take a little extra time to set up a tripod and click the shutter with a release cable. I’ve found that the final results look infinitely better by using the second method.

In the tripod marketplace, a photographer can have two of the following three things: affordability, capability and weight. Having all of those is a mirage we all chase and never possess. In some way we each have to find an acceptable balance of those three criteria.

Traveling internationally taught me that my tripod has to be as light as possible, but the heavy medium-format cameras that I use mean it can’t be flimsy. Logic then dictates that I would need to shell out the big bucks in order to get what I want. The trouble is, I’m also not rich. So I need to come down on another of the three criteria to make it affordable.

I ended up buying a tripod from the British company 3 Legged Thing. I chose their basic entry model, called Travis (I believe it’s the only tripod named after a member of Blink-182) because I was surprised that it seemingly met all three criteria: It’s only 180 euros, can support up to 40 pounds of weight and is relatively compact and light.

3 Legged Thing is an interesting company that seems to be taking a fresh approach to tripod manufacturing. I could likely write more about this tripod and the two years I’ve spent with it, but for the sake of brevity I can say that it’s portable enough to pack for international flights, easy to use and supports all the gear I put on it. I like it so much I even bought an accompanying L-bracket to make vertical compositions easier.

There’s no way I would be able to do the photography I do without a tripod. You may not need one for the types of photos you’re taking, but consider that it might open you up to the types of photos you’re currently not taking.

A reliable (and quite boring) backpack

If finding a perfect tripod is like climbing Mount McKinley, then finding long-term satisfaction with a camera bag is like building a spaceship out of spare washing-machine parts, blasting off to Saturn’s third-largest satellite, Lapetus, and climbing its twelve-mile high equatorial ridge. It’s hard to find a camera bag that meets all your wants and desires.

Take for instance the different categories of camera bags. From backpacks, hip bags, sling bags, rolling cases, hard cases, waist packs, totes and fashion bags, the trouble starts early for bag shoppers. That’s all before you answer even more important questions. How much does it need to carry? How protected will the gear be? Is it waterproof? Does it look chic? Can I attach my tripod and will it have space for a laptop?

I’m as guilty as the next person of jumping down the buyer’s rabbit hole of endless research and comparison. The amount of time I’ve spent staring at websites and watching paid “reviews” on YouTube can be measured in terms of hours. (God, I hope not in days.) And to this day, I continue to use the same bag I’ve had since receiving it as a gift in 2014 — the Streetwalker from Think Tank.

I place Think Tank in that class of camera bag manufacturers responsible for the modern iteration of the camera bag: Typically (but not always) a backpack, black and grey color schemes, designed with comfort and carrying capacity in mind, and, yes, boring.

I used to be someone that looked for a unique, attractive camera bag. Something that stood out in a crowd. But the more I found myself traveling to different countries and locations known for creative pickpockets (I’m thinking of the area around Barcelona’s La Sagrada Familia) the more I warmed to the concept of a boring bag being a safe bag. Something not easily noticeable by those with sticky fingers.

So I’m now a firm believer in carrying something that doesn’t catch the eye while it nonetheless protects and organizes a variety of gear.

A dedicated light meter

I’m speaking from experience when I say I don’t want to write 2,000 words about a light meter. I made the attempt a few years ago when I reviewed the Sekonic L-308S. That little meter taught me that simple things often require simple descriptions.

Are you considering buying a mechanical camera but hold off because you’re not an exposure master? Have you seen an unusually cheap camera for sale online only to be put off by the words “light meter broken”? Then an external light meter will be your new best friend. I learned early that shooting film costs too much time and money for me to waste any with the Sunny 16 method. For $100 I bought a light meter and opened up a world of new old cameras. It also sharpened my brain when it comes to calculating exposure. After a few months of taking readings I no longer had to perform mental gymnastics to know what two stops of over-exposure translated to in settings.

In the four years that I’ve used my Sekonic it’s paid for itself multiple times over. And if I had to pick one piece of gear I absolutely couldn’t live without, it’s a dedicated light meter. These days I’m on the lookout for a more sophisticated meter like the classic Minolta Spotmeter F or even Sekonic’s beastly Speedmaster, but the L-308S is a flawless workhorse that will always have a spot in my bag.

120 film holders

I adore the phrase “you don’t know what you don’t know.” Maybe it’s the folksy and obvious dumbness of the phrase; a half step above “it is what it is,” but still below anything considered wisdom. Then there’s the 21st century modification to the concept: that there are “known knowns and known unknowns.” And Cinderella taught us you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.

Hopefully by now you can feel a ringing in your frontal lobe. That’s close to how I felt after seeing that there are specially made cases in which to hold your film rolls. You know, beyond the ones that come from the manufacturer. I thought: “Is this actually necessary?” And for a long time I resolved in the negative. But I kept looking at them, and as I shot more and more of the comparatively fragile medium format film, I started to change my tune.

The deal was sealed when I saw that Bellamy at Japan Camera Hunter sold holders for both medium format and 35mm film. (More on the second later.)  I bought two of each, and was happy that the five-roll 120 holders came in British Petroleum green — adding a splash of color in my otherwise black and silver gear bag. At $15 each, these tough plastic cases have proven to be stellar companions on my travels. Not only do they keep the film safe, but they also help me ration my film for projects where I only have a finite amount of a particular film stock.

A grown up camera strap

First let me mention that I abhor gatekeepers in the photo community. There’s plenty of evidence that good photographers can take great pictures with crappy gear and an even greater evidential pool to prove that bad photographers can take boring photos with top-of-the-line equipment. Good gear doesn’t make you any better of a photographer if you don’t know how to make a good photo. Period.

But in some scenarios a higher-tier piece of kit makes life easier. Take camera straps for example. I think we all know that at some point you’ll need to graduate from whatever branded piece of nylon came in your camera’s box. And while you love that crusty strap that came attached to your Canon AE-1 — with its vague odor of Nag Chumba and Camels and fabric cut from the seat of a van in the parking lot of a Doobie Brothers concert — the scratches on your neck remind you how much it sucks.

I suffered in the muck of crappy camera straps for years — walking through a wilderness so miserable that I actually started to think I preferred not having a strap at all. That was until I bought my first Peak Design strap. It was their “Leash” model, designed for small cameras and basically just a narrow piece of seat belting, the true genius of the product is their proprietary anchor locking system. Attaching sets of the anchors to different cameras makes switching the strap between cameras almost effortless. No more annoying attachment systems that tear up your fingers or manufacturer straps that have to be woven to the camera like a traditional straw basket.

Soon the weight of my cameras was exceeding the comfort level and I upgraded to the big boy “Slide” model. This one is more substantial and supportive, but at a cost. I paid 60 euros for mine, an amount of money I never thought I would spend on something like a strap. But lugging around a Pentacon Six, or a Nikon F4 with a zoom lens quickly made it a worthy investment. The act of carrying the camera, which was always a hassle in some shape or form, now doesn’t even register in my mind. Which is exactly the type of benefit we should expect from our camera accessories.

And now for the regrets…

There’s a specific and personal thread running through the items on this list. I do a lot of landscape work with slow film. And in the rare instance that I shoot digital it’s almost always for long exposures. Items like tripods and shutter releases are crucial for that. I mostly use a mechanical Pentacon Six camera, so that’s why I need a good light meter and medium format film holders. The motivation for the selection of the items on my list are because they’ve been critical to my type of photography. But I also think they are universally necessary items for most photographers.

We don’t always give enough credit to our accessories, but it’s hard to imagine being a photographer without the five I’ve just mentioned. Unfortunately, there are more things I’ve bought and never used more than once that we could consider letdowns. Here are a few of the most regrettable:

35mm film holders

Unlike the 120 film holders, I’ve never found a lot of practicality for the 35mm holders. My version holds ten rolls of film, which is always either too much or not enough. (Almost always it’s too much, though smaller capacity holders are also available). But the biggest struggle is that every time I would actually find a use for the film I’m also going through an airport.

Going through an airport is always frustrating, but I would posit that it’s even more of a hassle for photographers, and then even more of a hassle for photographers using film. There’s probably enough for an entire article just on traveling with film. But the king of the hassles is the x-ray machine. I do a lot of praying in airport terminals hoping to encounter a security employee willing to hand check my film. I know from experience that if I show up with a huge ziplock bag filled with film out of packaging, they are much more likely to accommodate me.

So to use a 35mm film holder, I’d have to unpack all the film I ordered from its store packaging, put it in the film holder, then transfer it to the ziplock bag, replace it into the holder after my arrival and repeat the process coming home. The other option is to just use the ziplock bag and make sure I don’t throw the bag of film against a wall or run it over with a lawnmower. Between those two choices I think the choice is obvious, so if anyone wants a few ten-roll 35mm film holders, I have a few in mint condition.

Battery grips for manual film advance cameras

I know, this one is pretty specific. It’s not just battery grips, but battery grips for manual-advance film cameras. But my experience in this topic is extensive. I’m not sure if that’s because I’m a completist, or if I really thought this tool would be useful, but I have a drawer full of battery grips from the 1970s and ’80s full enough to make a Duracell executive gleeful.

The important component of that last sentiment is this: They all live in a drawer that is rarely flooded with sunlight. Don’t get me wrong, my neglect isn’t malicious. At various points I deemed it a critical expense to acquire a battery grip that would turn my inconspicuous Minolta XD or X-570 into a creaking AA-powered oaf.

There’s an undeniable advantage to battery grips. They increase power, shooting speed and (maybe most importantly) give additional balance and control for using telephoto lenses. And when it comes to more substantial cameras like the Nikon F4, a beefy grip comes standard out of necessity. But spending money on grips for svelte manual-focus bodies quickly emphasized how some of the best aspects of these cameras is their small size and the tactile experience of advancing the film with a lever and a thumb. Almost no one (except maybe Chris Cushing) shoots super fast objects with a film camera in a way that would make buying a grip a good investment. So the “advantages” you’re left with is a heavier camera that makes more noise.

Enjoy that.

Cokin filter system

Digital photography has made it both acceptable and relatively easy to take more photos with the goal of combining them later in post production. This is the hubris that begat the nemesis of HDR photography. Call me old fashioned, but I’m someone that believes in spending more time to take fewer pictures by getting it right “in camera.” If you’re shooting film I assume we generally align on that principle.

As someone that enjoys shooting landscapes, filters play a central role in getting the right image in as few exposures as possible. And there are all kinds of filters for all kinds of situations. To shoot through glass, to see through water, to make the scene darker, to change contrast and a whole host of options if you’re shooting black-and-white. There are a lot of lenses out there and the amount of lens filter sizes is big enough to make filter companies smile like a butcher’s dog.

Then comes along Cokin, the French company that designed a modular filter system that allows photographers to buy one set of filters and use them across all sizes of lenses just by adding the appropriate adapter ring. It’s easy to use, just twist on the correct filter ring, slide on the filter holder and attach whatever filter you want to use. Switching the filter between lenses with differently-sized filter rings is quick and easy.

I love the idea behind the Cokin system, and while I don’t specifically love the cost of the filters, I’ve had positive experiences while using it.

So why is it on this list and not the other? I just don’t use it enough to have justified the few hundred dollars I’ve invested in them. Chalk that up to equal parts laziness on my part, and the inconvenience that is the year 2020.

Flashes and the cords that come with them

Every photographer should aspire to be a master of light — all kinds of light. That includes the intimidating world of flash photography. And if you’re someone with a flash, you’d better be getting it off camera to punch your work into a higher quality bracket.

These things I know. These things I understand. And these things I recommend to everyone.

But these things I preach I don’t always practice.

Working in a photographic production hall means flash is an ever-present spectre in my workday. Literally, I’ll often be in a meeting with flash pinging my eyes through glass walls. We couldn’t do our jobs without flash — and we have the best, most beautiful flashes. Powered by strong power generators.

For a while I lived under the assumption that I needed to be prepared to shoot any type of photography in any situation. I’ve come to accept the wrongness of that assumption through the experience of buying stuff I never use. Flashes are at the top of that list, because 99 percent of what I shoot is done with natural lighting and rarely includes people.

It could be that these flashes become useful in future days, but for now they’re a reminder of the ills of impulsive gear shopping.

What are some of your most treasured camera accessories? What are some of the ones you’re ashamed to talk about? We would love to hear about it, so leave a comment below.

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Jeb Inge

Jeb Inge is a Berlin-based photographer and writer. He has previously worked in journalism, public history and public relations.

All stories by:Jeb Inge
  • Charlotte – 35mm November 13, 2020 at 5:17 am

    I, too, bought a 35mm film holder. Now it only holds film in the bottom drawer of my fridge!

  • Regrets . . .
    – When I first tried 4×5 with a Sinar F1 I way overshot on a tripod. I don’t remember the make or model, but you could hit it with a truck and it wouldn’t budge. It’s since been replaced with something a little more modest.
    – Speaking of large format, the bellows lens shade seemed like a good idea but I never used it. The Ansel Adams hat blocking the sun works just fine.
    – I never got the knack of using my Minolta Spotmeter F. When I pointed it at dark areas I got dark readings, when I pointed it at light areas I got light readings. I knew that! Now I just use a digital camera to meter.

    The best accessory? The t-shirt dark cloth (black sewn inside white) for the Sinar. And if we extend this discussion to the darkroom, a Beseler print tube and motor base from the 70’s for developing 4×5 film.

    Not sure if it’s still available, but M&M’s used to come in a plastic snap-shut tube that perfectly fit a roll of medium-format film.

    • Wow I totally forgot about those M&M containers, but yeah memory makes me remember a generally 120 roll shape. That’s a super cool hack!

  • Jeb,I try to be frugal in my purchases. When I got back into photography (from 30yr lapse) I found myself relying on ‘some of the old stuff’ and not the newest gadget. An old Minolta neck strap does herculean service on 4 cameras-cause it is soft on the back of my neck, and it works- I love it. I use Cotton Carrier for out in the woods. The hip holster works fantastic for one camera and another on the chest. At 66yrs old weight is getting to be an issue, so a back pack style works well for me, a few lenses and a lunch-good to go. I might recommend a compass for your backpack. In 15yrs walking the woods-needed it twice. I’m always on the prowl for Cokin Filters, they are relatively cheap in the used market thanks to PS. By any chance ….do you have an extra motor drive for the XD that you would part with? Ya I know that it is a cheap request-but so am I. Later Randy

    • Hi Randy, thanks for your comments. And I can imagine that a compass would be a great tool when you’re in the backcountry. There’s a chance I have a spare XD grip. I think that’s a purchase I made multiple times. Ill let you know if I find one.

  • Great article! Brought back a lot of memories from the past 60 years of taking pictures. I still have the Sekonic Auto-Leader 3 selenium light meter I bought in 1966 to use with my Pentax SV, Leica M and subsequent forays into medium format. The meter sat idle for decades until I used it a couple of years ago to shoot a test roll of 120 in a $100 garage sale Hasselblad 500C. The meter worked great but the heavily etched fungal 80mm Zeiss produced Diana quality images. Still, it was a great buy if only as a static display to be admired.

    • Wow, Jim! I’m shocked that a selenium meter still works after that many years. But I guess if it sat in a drawer then the selenium is less likely to wear out as they are want to do. Congrats on a good purchase there!

  • Lovely article. I have begun calling myself a ‘completionist’ with regards to accessorizing cameras. When I find one I like, I cannot help but look to find all accessories of the system just to have the options. Or I tell myself it will help with resale should I decide to part ways down the road. In all honesty however, most of those accessories (alternate finders, different style winder knobs, OEM caps for things that just don’t need caps) wind up sitting in your proverbial drawer of darkness. Perhaps they do ultimately contribute to the resale, but I should probably focus on making images with the camera.

    I agree with every item on your list though, save for the film holders, where I am currently one of the ‘don’t know’ folks. I’ll have to check them out! I would say Polarizing filters and ND filters (including variable) at least one filter I always have on hand. Really allows me to maintain full creative control over my image across a broad range of lighting scenarios. The colors this fall have come out brilliantly through the polarizer. And shooting wide open on those bright days has been bliss.

    • Well, David, I think beauty is in the eye of the film holder owner. Some worked for me some didn’t. If you’re out and need a bunch of film that you need quick access without the garbage of packaging, then I can say they’re great. I think a few of my grips were because of a short completionist phase I went through. And I guess those same grips are what pushed me out of that phase as well!

  • Totally agree with the list. I even have a cokin filter set I got for free and still rarely use it. I suppose that is also due to laziness. I tend to carry a grad neutral density, but will hold it to the lens when I want it rather than put on the screw mount. I would like a nice light meter 🙂

    • Laziness is a reason I’ll admit to as well! I have a few grads of different strength and a few black and white filters too.

  • Hi Jeb,

    I certainly have a few regrets in photo gear. Like you I have a couple of old battery motor winders(md-11 and md-12) that I had purchased for my Nikon Fm2. and then my second fm2n. At the time I purchased these I was a poor college student and really didn’t need them… the motor drives stopped functioning in the span of a year. Needless to say they still sit in the display case. I also recently purchased an orange filter for my Leica system turns out the Leica summicron is pretty contrasty already and the orange filter pushes it over the edge from strong contrast to way to strong of contrast. The Orange filter usually is left at home. I think my biggest photography regret this year is buying a Leica m6ttl. While I love the M6 and it is a fantastic camera with a great easy to use light meter, to me it feels a little bit underwhelming build quality compared to the unmetered leicas I have used. The rangefinder patch flairs often too. Compared to the m2, m3, and m4 the M6 is certainly a cheeper cost cutting camera. Don’t even get me started on the M4-2 that I owned. The m4-2 was the worst camera I have ever owned in the 18 years of photography I think. The camera never worked properly and always had light leaks, tore film up and even after multiple trips to the Leica doctor for repair. it was a money pit! I could talk forever about leicas and trying to find that one M camera I enjoy to use. I have been lately contemplating swapping it for a nikon sp or s3 and 35mm 1.8. I am going to give it some time to think about but who knows haha.

    Great article!

    • Someday I’ll write my review of the SP/35mm combo that you mentioned… maybe that will help the decision along. Interesting about the M4-2…

    • Hey Robert, maybe if the red is too much and the lens alone isn’t enough, a yellow would be your Goldilocks solution? I’ve had a few orange filters and even a red, which was WAY too much.

  • Jeb, best buys have been exposure meters, which I found indispensable for when I shot slide film a lot. But not just for reflective or incident readings, but for colour balance and flash with even the simplest subject but using multiple flash units and which without a flash meter would have been very difficult indeed. Best overall hand-held meter for me, I’d give the nod to my Gossen Luna Pro SBC null reading because I like pointer indicators and can adjust for +3 to – 3 stops easily, and simply by moving the meter over the scene I can readily see if it is within a 6 stop range.

    My two worst are a set of fully manual extension tubes in the days before TTL cameras, for obvious reasons, and a body brace contraption intended mainly for supporting telephoto lenses. This comprises a small two section monopod, but you need to be strapped into it. The monopod base is coupled to a strap that fits around the waist and supports the whole kaboodle in similar fashion to military flag bearers. But this isn’t all. Whilst the monopod isn’t designed to move sideways it does move forward and backwards to bring it from the rest position (forward) to the back (shooting) position. This is where a second restraint strap comes into play and is designed to limit the forwards movement. This fits around the neck and attaches to the top of the monopod. Then there is a third strap that couples the two sides of the neck straps to limit the amount of sideways movement. After all this, at least it does relieve the arms of the weight of carrying around a heavy camera /lens combo.

  • This is fun, especially the regrets! But no room for those ‘soft’ shutter button accessories beloved of every Instagrammer whose idea of photography is photographing his (gendered pronoun intentional) cameras? Presumably the manufacturer intentionally sent the camera to market with a substandard button. They remind me of those covers for car seats made of wooden beads, or people who break a tablet in half to swallow it because it was cleverly designed to be exactly twice the right size.

    But I’d also add the reviled ‘ever ready’ case to the plus column – at least the bottom half of it. Most 1970s cameras are just too thin, flat and hard to hold comfortably, and bolt-on finger grips still don’t offer enough purchase even where they’ve not been lost. A fitted case offers just the right combination of grip and give for comfort, protects the camera from scratches in transit, and also makes a useful first line of defence for 40-year-old light seals. It’s the first accessory I go looking for for any new-to-me camera. (Anyone got one for a Pentax MX?)

    • Funny, I always thought those ever ready cases were the least useful accessory. When I bought my first serious camera – a Minolta SRT-101 – as a teenager, my dad was insistent that I keep it in the case to “protect” it. Needless to say, when I was off to college I ditched the case, at least partially because girls didn’t think it was cool.

    • Ooh, I would probably put the soft buttons on there if I had ever bought one on purpose. One came on a camera once and it lasted all of ten minutes on the camera while using it before I realized how much I hated it. Great thought! I have a fitted case for the Pentacon Six, because yeah it’s a little protected but mostly because you need it to be able to use a strap. I love proprietary camera cases.

  • Ah, accessories etc. I have bins full of them collecting dust! My favorite ones: 1 + 2 = canvas film pouch and horween camera straps, both from Tap and Dye. The pouch holds 5 rolls of 120 or 5 35mm cannisters and is small unlike the gargantuan plastic ones. Without the pouch I end up in bag-dig mode since I am hopelessly disorganized. The straps soften with age and are beautiful and comfortable, and I am a sucker for beautiful leather. 3 = being a fan of my Leicas, I keep Artisan and Artist cases on them. They are supple, don’t add bulk to the camera and protect me against my fumbling and bumbling self. 4 = narrow rolls of gaffer tape from Amazon. I use this for: stopping my Leica strap lugs (bent from overuse) from coming undone; cinching up exposed rolls of 120 especially if they are loose; bandaging skin punctures from thorns; fixing failed boots; holding broken battery doors closed; and lots of other things; 5 = Sekonic Spot Meter model L something. If I take and average multiple readings from a scene, it never fails to put me in a position to get a good exposure. The problem is the external lenses mechanisms fall apart, but they still work fully. Purchased but never (or rarely) used category: 1 = extension tubes or multipliers for film cameras. I just can’t bring myself to do macro with a film camera. I did once put a 2x on a Hasselblad 250mm lens and shot it handheld. Believe it or not, I produced some nice images. 2. Flash guns of any kind. I have done lots of reading about flash photography, and as useful as it is, proper use of flash is too much work for me. 3 = Heavy camera backpacks. I rarely use backpacks and when I do I am carrying a heavy kit like a Pentax 67 or a D850 with multiple lenses. Adding another 4 or 5 pounds of backpack doesn’t work for me. I sold the author’s beloved Think Tank for this reason. I use a very light but good Think Tank Perception pack (discontinued) or a Kelty Redwing with wraps for lenses and am much happier. There is no camera backpack that comes close to the comfort or utility of the Redwing. 4 = Domke photo vest. From the bright idea I could use this and need no bag, I bought a used one. I cannot bring myself to wear it fearing I will look like a tourist on a photo safari. 5 = notepads. I have romantic notions of writing down weather conditions or exposure settings but never do it. The only time I use them (unless I lose them) is to get an email address for a person I take a photo of. Louis.

    • Lots of great stuff here, Louis! The crowd seems to be in agreement that extension tubes are a waste (though I’ve never used one.) And those exposure notebooks were definitely a waste of money for me. I think I used it with one roll before it felt like a laborious chore recording every exposure.

  • I’ve had incredible luck scouring thrift stores for castoff gear, so I can’t really say I have any regrets, even when some of it isn’t used that often.

    My list of favorites:

    Tenba Axis 20L backpack and ThinkTank Signature 13 messenger
    Manfrotto 290 carbon fiber tripod/w 494rc2 head (thrift store find for $13!)
    Peak Design Slide and Slide Lite straps
    Tiffen Bay 1 to Series VI adapter ring
    Gossen Sixtomat Light Meter
    Ikea LADDA AA and AAA batteries

  • Great 😉
    especially with all the reply
    For me like all gears and accessories now only from Europe, North America, Japan, Korea, Australia, Thailand, Vietnam, NZ, but never now from one place … … My last mobile is from Korea, it is safe and private 😉
    For photography mostly Japan, Germany, USA, Korea, France, I do not want for this thing I like to buy from one place, yeah it is cheap, but it is not good …
    The best accessory I will propose for light package this is the pocket tripod for Manfrotto.
    From last Sroyon review, with Sony review, certainly the most interesting review, …
    Photography helps us see the world, a peace world, all human beings have sufferings from so many years, … we clean our door before to try to say that the door of others is dirty, … this is one reason for all the things I buy I have made a final choice I want the final destination and use of my money is clean too, so, … for example the Sekonic from Japan in this great review sound well, I will not buy a cheapest copy from one place for quality and also more important reasons.
    Thank so much for this great review it is very interesting.

  • Sorry, I forget to say that of course I buy also from India 😉
    I forget Sorry !

  • Those film holders look nice, but for some great cheap (!) 120 containers: get two black Kodak or Ilford 35 mm containers, cut the bottom out of one and slide it into the top of the other container until you reach the height of a roll of 120. Done!

  • Worst purchases for me include battery grips for Minolta, Nikon, Pentax cameras, and ‘soft’ shutter buttons.

  • I have a couple of soft shutter buttons, they’re necessary on some cameras because I’ve got fat fingers. Though its easy to trip the camera when opening the ever ready case (of which I’m a big fan).

    Most of the accessories I have came with camera outfits and include 50’s filters and their push on holders. I’ve made filter adaptors from these for my Leitz lenses and TLRs so that I can use my Zeiss and Voigtlander 40.5mm filters and hoods. I usually sell the unwanted ones, which in a few cases has paid for the camera that they came with.

    My big thing though is viewfinders. I have about 30 of them for my interchangeable lens rangefinder collection but I do use them all.

    I make often accessories if I need them, like grips for my Canon 7 and my Leica M3. Made from wood and polished they look so much smarter than the 3d printed ones.

    If I get a camera with a manual, I keep the manual when the camera is sold. I love them.

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Jeb Inge

Jeb Inge is a Berlin-based photographer and writer. He has previously worked in journalism, public history and public relations.

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