10 Photography Accessories for Under $250
|Featuring a small form and a clever sling design, the Lowepro 100 AW allows you
to get fast access to a medium-sized DSLR kit without removing the bag from
Originally intended for photojournalists, but now fervently embraced by amateurs, Lowepro’s Slingshot range of camera backpacks is designed with accessibility in mind, allowing you to get fast access to your gear without needing to remove the bag from your shoulders.
The Slingshot 100 AW is large enough to contain an entry- to mid-level DSLR body and lens combination, as well as an additional lens or flashgun and other small accessories. The smaller compartment at the top of the bag can be used to fit a lens hood or even an additional optic, and as with many other Lowepro products an All-Weather (AW) cover is incorporated into its base to guard it against the elements.
The combination of its sling design and a side-opening flap means the bag can be pulled down and opened in seconds, and it can also be used with a secondary strap for greater security. Lowepro has even thoughtfully lined the inside of the flap with a memory card pouch, and integrated a microfibre cloth to quickly polish your camera’s LCD screen.
The Slingshot 100 AW is just one of many sling-type bags of its kind, and Lowerpro's Slingshot range encompasses many other sizes and designs which you may prefer, but for a basic DSLR and lens kits the 100 AW remains as one of the best options around.
|The Satechi TR-series of timer remote controls are affordable, yet well specified
alternatives to branded equivalents.
Time-lapse photography has grown in popularity with the rise of video-sharing websites, although the intervalometer functionality which allows images to be captured at consistent intervals is still absent from many cameras. Owners of such cameras will be pleased to learn, however, that they can still be used for time-lapse photography, either with a remote provided by the camera’s manufacturer, or, failing that, a more affordable third-party option such as the Satechi TR-series Timer Remote Controls.
Satachi produces a range of closely-related models to fit various brands and camera models (click the link above for a full product list) and all TR-series releases can be used for programming consecutive exposures in addition to more basic functions as a simple shutter release and for control over a camera’s bulb setting. Delayed exposures captured at a set time are also possible, and all of this is controlled via the LCD which occupies its upper portion of the device. Helpfully this is also backlit, which makes it usable for both night-time photography and in more general low-light situations.
Perhaps the most most appealing feature of the range is the price of the TR models; at a cent shy of $50 for all of the TR-series they cost significantly less than equivalent models from the camera manufacturers themselves. Between them, the various versions of the basic 'TR-X' design cover a large number of popular DSLR, interchangeable lens and compact cameras.
|Joby's Gorrilapod range stretches from inexpensive supports for compacts
through to sturdier alternatives for professional DSLRs.
As invaluable as they are for countering image blur and enabling steady exposures, there are occasions when carrying around a full-sized tripod simply isn’t practical. For this reason, an lightweight alternative which can be slipped into a small bag and used with similar confidence is going to have a lot of appeal - and the Gorillapod Focus is exactly that.
Based on the same principle as the more junior models which preceded it, the Focus has flexible legs which can be contorted into an endless variety of positions, and tailored to the surrounding environment. It can be wrapped around railings and lampposts, hung from rails and mounted on walls, or simply have its legs fully extended to act like a more conventional tripod.
It might sound a little risky, trusting your expensive gear to something that looks like a cross between pipecleaner and an alien craft, but Joby claims that despite its size and appearance, the Focus’s aluminium and thermoplastic construction enables it to support up to 5kg of equipment. For even greater flexibility, the Focus can be used with a ballhead specifially designed for the model - dubbed Ballhead X - which is available on its own or as a kit with the Focus (this kit is pictured here).
Those who don’t require the Focus’s 5kg support may be more interested in the SLR-Zoom model, which is capable of supporting DSLR/lens combinations of up to 3kg, but at around half the price of the Focus.