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Digital camera accessories

By Charles Hopkins Published 07/6/2006 | Arts and Culture

A digital camera is incomplete unless it includes basic accessories like memory card, rechargeable battery, soft camera bag, tripod, filters, lens cleaning kit and external flash. Make sure you buy the following for a complete experience:

Memory card: Your digital camera may come with a memory card that has a capacity of about 16 or 32 Mb (Megabyte). This may have just enough space for a few images at the highest resolution. You will have to get a memory card with a higher capacity, depending on the resolution of your camera in terms of megapixels and the number of photos you intend to shoot in each session. Get a memory card with the highest capacity that you can afford.

Batteries: Rechargeable batteries are needed because a digital camera uses up power rapidly and you don't want to be stuck with a dead battery in the middle of a shoot. Many photographers keep a spare rechargeable battery, or some ordinary alkaline batteries handy.

Camera bag: Your digital camera is a high-tech and expensive piece of equipment and needs to be protected from all types of damage. You therefore need to invest in a soft camera case or bag to protect your investment, since it may not be included in the kit provided by the manufacturer.

Tripod: You may end up with blurred photos due to camera shake, while using a slow shutter speed, or while using a zoom lens. A tripod can help you avoid camera shake, which is a distinct possibility when the shutter speed drops below 1/60 second. It is safer to use a shutter speed of at least 1/125 second, or to use a tripod, while using a zoom lens.

Filters: Filters can be fitted to a camera for special effects like star effects, colored effects, sepia tone, etc. Most compact cameras may not support filters. A few allow you to use an adapter to fit filters. A polarizer filter can help to reduce glare and reflections from water or other reflective surfaces. It is not as easy to use a polarizer on a compact camera as it is on an SLR. On a compact, it has to be done by trial and error.

Lens cleaner: A lens cleaning kit usually includes a bottle of lens cleaning fluid, a blower brush, soft cloth and lens tissue. You should blow the dust particles before cleaning the lens gently with the fluid. Never rub the lens with anything else.

External flash: The flash on many compact digital cameras is only meant for taking portraits. You may need to have an external flash to cover larger groups. You can use an external flash if your camera has a hot shoe on which it can be mounted. Look for an external flash that can be swiveled upwards to bounce light off the ceiling to provide a more natural look.

Battery charger: A battery charger can be used to charge a rechargeable battery that has been removed from the camera. You can use a spare battery while the first battery is being charged. An AC adapter can be used to charge the battery without removing it from the digital camera. An AC adapter allows you to transfer images from the camera to you computer, without running the risk of losing the photos if your battery runs out in the middle of the transfer. Having both can provide you with more flexibility.