The Strangest Accessories for your Camera


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If there’s one message that we keep hearing again and again from successful photographers, it’s that cameras don’t take great pictures, great photographers do.

And if there’s one message that we hate hearing from buyers it’s that they want photos shot with cameras that cost more than a house and which can pick up enough detail to count the pores on the subject’s nose.

Both attitudes of course, are right. The better your equipment and the more detailed the picture, the more options you’ll have in the market. But it’s also perfectly possible to shoot a wonderful picture on the simplest of cameras — and even to sell that picture as long as the usage isn’t too demanding.

What that means is that if you don’t have more money than you know what to do with, don’t sweat it. If you’ve got the talent, you can make the sales.

And if you do have giant bags of cash in your basement, don’t sweat it either. You can either send it to us or treat yourself to some of these strange camera accessories.

They might not get you sales or bring you better pictures. But they should provide a neat talking point next time you meet your equally snap-happy pals.

Lensbabies
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They might appear bizarre — like something from an old-fashioned bellows camera but with extra knobs to add tilt-shift functionality — but Craig Strong’s series of Lensbabies create some pretty neat effects. They let photographers place a tightly-focused sweet spot somewhere on the image, losing the rest of the picture to graduated blur.

It’s certainly the sort of thing you can have a lot of fun with — at least until you get bored with it — but some commercial photographers have found it useful too. Place the sweet spot on the bouquet for example, and the bride’s white dress will disappear into a dreamy background. Some clients like it. Lots of photographers do too.

The Nikkor Fisheye 6mm f/2.8
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Not many photographers like this lens though. Described as the widest wide-angle lens in the world, the Nikkor Fisheye 6mm f/2.8 is capable of photographing in 220 degrees. Yes, that means you can actually shoot what’s behind you as well as in front of you.

Lenses like these were originally intended to be used in science and industry such as for surveillance work or photographing the insides of pipes and boilers, but they became popular too among commercial photographers for their dramatic effect.

This particular lens however didn’t take off. Weighing in at a clumsy 5.2kg and costing so much that if you have to ask, you probably don’t need it, it’s only available by special order from Nikon.

That does at least give it a certain unique appeal though…

ModoPocket Tripod
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Manfrotto produces all sorts of professional-grade camera accessories, but this tripod, which some claim to be the world’s smallest, is targeted at amateurs. It weighs just 50 grams, slips into a pocket and comes complete with… a screw.

Clearly, you’ll need to place it on something nice and high in order to use it, which does make you wonder why it would be needed. You could just put the camera directly on the table. Still, it looks very clever.

Bottle Cap Tripod
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The claim that Manfrotto’s tripod is the world’s smallest tripod might be a bit of an exaggeration. Semsons is selling this tripod head which screws onto the top of bottles. You might want to think twice before you use it to support your expensive DSLR (especially if it’s attached to a 5.2kg fisheye lens) but it’s a fun little toy for shooting group portraits at restaurant parties.

MonsterPod
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You might also want to think twice before attaching your most beloved camera to this stand. According to the funny people at Photojojo, it’s a tripod that sticks to anything. They say they’ve stuck it to trees, wire fences, windows, furniture, street lamps and even used it upside down.

The weight limit is 20 ounces, so you’d need to restrict yourself to small camera models, but here’s what got us worried: Photojojo say it will stick for 1-10 minutes. How many cameras did they see hit the deck testing that?

The Eye-Fi
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Also sold through Photojojo is a product that’s a bit more serious and a lot more useful. The Eye-Fi is a 2GB memory card with built-in wireless capability. Stick it in your camera, and you’ll be able to upload your images directly to your computer, your Flickr stream and just about anywhere else you want.

Unlike many of the camera accessories we’ve seen here, it doesn’t look like much. But when it comes to updating your online portfolios, it could save a lot of valuable time.

[tags] camera accessories [/tags]


6 comments for this post.

  1. Damien Franco Said:

    Great article, I've thought several times about getting a lens baby because they look fun, but I never do. The eye-fi has been something I've been keeping my eye on for a while. It would be great for photojournalists!

  2. jules Said:

    I managed to get a Lensbaby for Christmas, and I've been playing fairly regularly. I still haven't gotten the hang of it yet, and most everything is too blurry, or not blurry enough ;-)
    It's a slippery slope.

    :-)

  3. Jon Said:

    Major thing one has to keep in mind with the Eye-Fi, is that it constantly uses the camera's battery, even when the camera is off. Other than that, it's a pretty neat tool to have, if your in a city with wi-fi spots spread around, or if you have a wireless router.

  4. april Said:

    Hey! Just found your blog and it is really interesting. Like the product review. A little more in depth than the ones you see on web sites that sell product. Not just the I like it or I don't thing. Since I am a struggling photographer this is a good site for me to follow so I think I will!

  5. Jason Fredin Said:

    You asked why anyone would need the ModoPocket Tripod. How do you go about tilting the camera upwards if just placed your camera flat on a table? The simple answer is that this gadget makes inclination/declination possible when using available surfaces to act as "ad hoc" tripods. The hinges have enough stiffness to hold their position and you can adjust the back and front to point your camera up and down.

  6. David Hardwick Photography Said:

    Some strange stuff. I must get one of those eye-fi cards. However I need one which is compact flash.

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