10 Photography Accessories for Under $250
|SanDisk's Extreme Pro SDHC UHS-I cards offer an impressive maximum read/
write speed of up to 45MB/s with compatible cameras, and excellent reliability.
The best digital camera in the world is useless without memory to store its photographs. Although its unlikely to be one of the most exciting purchases you'll ever make, a good memory card could end up being one of the most important. In principle, the faster the memory card you install in your camera, the less time it will take for images to be recorded, and the more photographs you can take in a burst. Having a fast card isn't important solely for sports and action photographers though - shorter write times can mean shorter shot-to-shot times, making your camera more responsive.
Currently, dpreview uses a SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC UHS-I card as a 'standard' studio test memory card for cameras that accept SD media. UHS-I is a relatively new standard, which offers faster read and write times compared to conventional SDHC cards from compatible cameras. When dpreview tested the Sony Alpha SLT-A77 recently they saw a significant improvement in burst depth and buffer clear times with a SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-I card compared to a conventional high-speed SD card. If your camera is compatible with the UHS-I standard you might be surprised at the difference that it makes.
I've featured the 32GB capacity here, but 8GB and 16GB versions are also available.
- Street Price: $139.00 (US) / £79.99 (UK) / €105.39 (EU) Check Price / Buy Now (M43 version)
|The mid-range Di466 may appear as a simple flash unit which lacks the convenience of a rear LCD,
but it's a more powerful alternative to similarly priced flashguns from the likes of Nikon and Canon
One of the most common 'second purchases' for the new DSLR or mirrorless interchangeable lens camera owner is a flash gun.
Currently available for Canon, Nikon and Four Thirds systems, the inexpensive Nissin Di466 Speedlite boasts a guide number of 33m and supports the most recent TTL algorithms for each system (although at time of writing, support for a handful of new camera models is yet to be provided). It lacks the swivel facility common to more expensive flash guns, but its head can be tilted upwards over a 90 degree angle, and comes equipped with the customary reflector card and diffuser panel. The rear of the unit is devoted to simple controls and LEDs for flash compensation adjustment between 1.5EV to +1.5EV, as well as a bright pilot lamp and power control.
Illumination from this small (4.1 inches high) flash covers an impressively wide focal range with its power zoom function, from 28-105mm in 35mm terms, expandable to a 20mm with the built in diffuser panel. Thanks to a built-in stand it can also be conveniently set up as a wireless slave alongside a master flash unit. At this price it’s hard to beat, although the slightly more expensive Sigma EF-610 DG ST delivers greater power and swivel functionality, as well as compatibility with a wider rage of systems.
- Street Price: $169.99 (US) / £109.95 (UK) / €138.90 (EU) Check Price / Buy Now
|The My Book Studio boasts a fanless design for quiet operation, as well as support for both USB and FireWire 800 connectivity.|
One of many third-party accessories finished to match Apple’s iMac and Macbook lines, this aluminium-encased hard drive boasts two FireWire 800 ports, in addition to USB 2.0 connectivity. Formatted for Mac but also compatible with PCs, it comes supplied with Smartware automatic backup software to keep your files safe, although Mac users have the further option of using it in conjunction with Apple’s Time Machine for the same purpose.
As well as complementing Apple's latest lineup of desktop and laptop computers the My Book Studio's aluminium enclosure is also designed to dissipate heat. This means that there's no need for a noisy coolng fan. The My Book's default vertical form factor also gives it a usefully small footprint when space is limited, and it even knows to power down automatically if the computer to which it’s connected does the same.
The further option of password-protection and encryption provide additional layers of security, should it be stolen or accessed by unauthorised users. Users with moderately sized image collections are likely to find its 1TB capacity sufficient, although photographers with sizable libraries of raw and/or HD video files might gravitate towards its 2TB and 3TB stablemates.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by dpreview.com or any affiliated companies.