Seven Essential Items For Your Camera Bag Under $20

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Your camera and accessories require protection—and that's why you have a camera bag. Sometimes, though, that isn't enough. For those particular times, there are items that you'll need for extra insurance. Luckily, you won't need to sacrifice your lunch money for the week to purchase them. Here's a quick round up of some of the items you should take a look at.



Giottos Rocket Air Blower

Keeping the sensor and other vital parts of your DSLR dust- and sediment-free is very important to its performance, and to ensuring that you don't spend extra money on preventable maintenance. The Giottos Air Blower will be able to tackle most problematic situations that heedful DSLR owners may encounter. Having this kit in your camera bag at all times will keep you prepared for unexpected problems, whether shooting casually or on the job.

Pearstone Microfiber Cleaning Cloth

Many photographers will tell you that after the 'twelve inches behind the camera' and lighting, your lenses are perhaps the most important component of your photography. Keeping them clean and smudge-free are important, and the Pearstone Microfiber Cleaning Cloth is an affordable solution.

The cloth is also useful for cleaning your camera's LCD screen which may become smudged with oils from your hands or face. DSLR and superzoom point-and-shoot users that use the viewfinder should get their hands on these in order to ensure that their cameras, filters and lenses always stay clean.

f.64 LW11 Lens Wrap

Perhaps the most unique item that you'll see in a camera bag is a lens wrap. Lens wraps are padded square cloths that help to protect not only your lenses but also your camera bodies and other accessories from bumps or hits. Think of the extra padding as thin miniature pillows for whatever is enclosed inside and sealed with the velcro on the edges. This is a great buy for those who purchase second hand equipment and those who don't want to have to have to smash the piggie bank open again.

Gary Fong GearGuard Bag Lock

Nowadays, everything needs protection, and your camera bag is no exception to this rule. The Gary Fong GearGuard Bag Lock is a nifty little tool meant to protect the gear you use to document the world, one still at a time. Ideal for working photographers who leave their bags in nearby locations (like sports or wedding photographers), the lock is designed to keep prying bag raiders’ hands off your gear. It could spare you the anguish of having to replace some of that expensive glass, or the despair of not finding your extra strobe to light the bride and groom dancing during the  reception.

Domke FA-031 U.S. Post Office Strap Buffer

A heavy camera bag can give your shoulders some wear and tear. To ease some of those problems, try this shoulder pad by Domke. Made of thin foam rubber and a tough leather backing, this buffer will prevent the textured camera-bag strap from grinding your skin when you're moving from location to location with lots of gear. If you're a photographer that likes to keep multiple lenses, strobes and a laptop in your bag, then this pad is for you.

Your back and shoulders will appreciate it.

OP/TECH Rainsleeve

Need to protect your entire camera and lens? You'll probably want to take a look at this rainsleeve for when you're out making that short film in the rain using your HDSLR. Think of it as a poncho, but totally see-through, and much more stylish. More than just for video, it can accommodate a flash if needed, and works well when your camera is on a tripod.

Gorillapod

Used by many photographers, the gorillapod is one of the most versatile tripods. It comes in different sizes, and can hold every camera you can think of. The Gorillapod's main strength is its flexible legs, which can bend and twist in more ways than an Olympic gymnast. With this portable tripod, you'll be able to shoot photos or videos with new and unique angles using your point-and-shoot camera.

Bonus Round: A Spare Memory Card

Many photographers and enthusiasts will confirm that they can't tell you how many times they've forgotten to bring a spare memory card. For those of you that use point-and-shoots and tend to keep the photos on your cameras, you'll eventually run out of space. Though some memory cards can be expensive, your backup card doesn't have to be. In most cases, an extra 2GB card will be all you'll need. Remember this when you go to your next party and shoot those casual snaps.,

What items do you have in your camera bag that are essential pieces, yet very affordable? Let us know in the comments below.

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I carry and frequently use a hot shoe bubble level.  It is small, light, and functional.

Prices start at just under $20.

I always carry a small, rugged flashlight like a Mag-Lite (2 AA or 1 AAA cell).  Always handy.  Also, a small pocketknife (Swiss Army executive) or mini-tool (Gerber clutch) can help you take care of field repairs.

A tiny notebook, a mechanical pencil and a few business cards. 

Some interesting solutions. You've missed the point of the Domke US Post Office shoulder pad, though. It doesn't just keep your shoulder from taking a beating because it's made of "thin foam rubber." The whole point of it is that it's wedge-shaped, so when you wear it with the thick side on the outside of your shoulder, it keeps the bag from sliding off. Simple ergonomics AND comfort.

Have you tried one on your camera bag?

a gorilla pod is not gonna hold my 8x10 arca swiss nor it it even hold a long SLR lens like a 300/2.8 or even 80-200/2.8 but they are great to have in the bag

I carry much of your list but not the camera *******, I'd rather use an extra coat or umbrella for that, if there's a chance of inclement weather always bring an extra coat for the cam or an umbrella

things you have to have in the bag are .. extra camera battery or a few, manual for your main body even though you might only use it once in a blue moon, a penlight for shooting at night or in the dark, a spirit level (I used a naked one just the bubble level itself from a restoration hardware key ring)

The Gorilla pod zoom is rated to 6.6lb. It is intended for DSLRs with a long zoom, and for what it is, it is amazing. Complaining that it doesn't support a 10+lb machine is a little unfair. 

Jenny wrote:

The Gorilla pod zoom is rated to 6.6lb. It is intended for DSLRs with a long zoom, and for what it is, it is amazing. Complaining that it doesn't support a 10+lb machine is a little unfair. 

It also costs $80 at B&H, so that's way too expensive for this list.

1. Sharpie marker. It's surprising how often this gets used.

2. Spare batteries.

3. Electrical tape.

4. Audio recorder.

Instead of dedicated rain sleeves, I have used green garbage bags and electrical tape as a make-shift rain cover. Folds very flat and easily fits in whatever kit I am carrying. I never have to think about the extra weight. The bag is just taped into position and thus fits whatever configuration I am shooting with. This solution has handled very heavy rain situations without trouble. I also carry a white cotton cloth (hand towel size) for quick gear wipedowns for anything that gets a few splash drops.

I love using my Sharpie and electrical tape. The cotton cloth is a great idea - much better than wiping things down with your shirt!

Jason Naparstek

B&H Photo-Video-Pro Audio

cjb wrote:

1. Sharpie marker. It's surprising how often this gets used.

2. Spare batteries.

3. Electrical tape.

4. Audio recorder.

Instead of dedicated rain sleeves, I have used green garbage bags and electrical tape as a make-shift rain cover. Folds very flat and easily fits in whatever kit I am carrying. I never have to think about the extra weight. The bag is just taped into position and thus fits whatever configuration I am shooting with. This solution has handled very heavy rain situations without trouble. I also carry a white cotton cloth (hand towel size) for quick gear wipedowns for anything that gets a few splash drops.

just out of curioisity..what kind of bag is that in the picture?

ariana wrote:

just out of curioisity..what kind of bag is that in the picture?

It's an M Classics Compact bag that I received as a gift.

How about including a micro printer like the Polaroid ZINC so you can hand out instant prints?