Somewhere between true DIY photographers and equipment hounds is the sweet spot where you get the most “bang for the buck” out of your equipment. That is the goal of this section of Photomiser.
Some of the equipment reviewed in this section is free or home-made cheaply. Other pieces are purchased outright. Some of the purchased equipment on this page is professional quality. Other pieces are consumer-grade, or somewhere in between. Some of the equipment on this page is inexpensive. Other pieces cost some money. But all of the pieces share one characteristic: They serve their purpose in the best, but most economical way. Economy is not always about what is cheapest right now; it’s really what gives the most value for the least expense.
Some expensive equipment is very good at what it does. But, it’s not needed very often. That is not a good value. Some expensive equipment is very good at what it does, and it is quite useful. That is a good value. Some equipment is cheap and useful, which is the best of all worlds. Unfortunately it is not always possible, but we certainly will take it when we can. Some equipment is cheap, but not needed very often, and then the question becomes, is it worth having at all.
Considerations for inclusion in the list of “Best Cheap” photography accessories:
- The item should be routinely useful, that is, come in handy for common kinds of photographs.
- Item must high enough quality to serve it purpose without causing other problems. For example, an off-brand filter might be cheap, but if the optical quality is poor, then it is not valuable.
- Begin with the least expensive option, and work our way up when the benefits justify it.
- Convenient to use. DIY stuff looses its value if it breaks, or is awkward to use or takes excessive time to set up.
I shoot Nikon equipment, and so mention Nikon-specific examples, but the equipment here is useful or available in versions for any brand of film and digital SLR camera.
Best Cheap Nikon Flash: Nikon SB-600 Speedlight
Maximum dollar-for-dollar utility. Read our review.
Step-up Rings Save Money on Filters
Buy one expensive filter, use it on all your lenses with step-up rings.
Extension Tubes: Extreme Macro for $20
If you don’t mind working your camera in manual mode, a set of extension tubes will bring you up close on the cheap with no loss in image quality on any lens you have. Close-up rings will not interfere with metering, will not reduce light as much, but add a layer of cheap glass plus the chance of vignetting as you stack them.
More reviews to come!