Photography / Buying Guide

Best of 2015: 10 Innovative Photography Accessories

Whether you are looking for new accessories to make your life easier or are in need of an innovative gift for a friend who thinks they already own everything, here are a few accessories that are worth making room for, in any photographer’s bag.

1. Syrp Genie Motion Control Time Lapse Device

The Syrp Genie Motion Control Time Lapse Device makes time-lapse photography and real-time video panning convenient and easy. The 4" Genie works with DIY setups or attaches to your tripod via a 1/4"-20 or 3/8"-16 thread and has a 3/8"-16 top screw for mounting a head. The Genie supports up to 44 pounds and features an illuminated bubble level to help you plan and set up for a panorama. Utilize the factory presets to capture stars, people, or clouds, or program your own presets to tune the device for your specific scenes. The Genie comes with a 9.85' rope to pull across a rail or support of your own making; the movement of your time lapse is only limited by the length of your rope.

2. Syrp Genie Mini

The compact Syrp Genie Mini is a more portable version of the Genie, enabling 360˚ panning and support for cameras weighing up to 17.6 pounds. Control and setup is done wirelessly via Bluetooth and the Syrp Genie app for iOS and Android devices. Like the Genie, the app provides presets for novice time-lapse photographers.

3. Manfrotto Digital Director

Manfrotto Digital Director for iPad Air 2 and Nikon and Canon DSLR Cameras allows you to control your camera’s still and video functions from your iPad Air. The Digital Director is customized to securely fit your iPad with a lock to prevent accidental release and has its own processor to ensure speedy operation. Real-time live view monitoring can be helpful if a client is on set, or to provide fast download speeds when transferring full-size JPEGs from your camera’s memory card directly to your iPad.

4. Vello FreeWave Stryker Lightning & Motion Trigger

Vello FreeWave Stryker Lightning & Motion Trigger Kit (for Select Canon & Panasonic Cameras) allows photographers to capture lightning or wildlife easily with minimal planning and operation. The Stryker relies on a sensor that responds to bursts of light when set and adjusted to capture lightning. A passive infrared sensor is utilized to detect infrared heat sources from up to 16.4' away. While the unit comes with one Panasonic and one Canon-compatible cable, other cables for most other SLR cameras are available.

5. Spinlight 360 EXTREME Modular System

For the photographer who is constantly trying new light modifiers, the Spinlight 360 EXTREME Modular System was created for use with speed lights, allowing photographers to quickly adjust direction and modify light with a variety of included tools. The Spinlight 360 system includes a 360 ring system, snoot, half dome, white and clear full domes, as well as bounce cards and gels. The system is compatible with most Nikon, Canon, and similarly sized flashes.

6. Impact Quickbox On-Camera Softbox

If you find yourself shooting a portrait on location, without an assistant, the Impact Quikbox Micro On-Camera Softbox 9 x 9" is guaranteed to make your life easier. This portable softbox quickly mounts on your on-camera, shoe-mount flash, producing soft, diffused light for your portrait subjects. Much smaller than the typical softbox, the Quikbox assembles quickly to reduce the harsh light of your on-camera flash, transforming it into soft, evenly distributed light. The Impact Quikbox is compatible with most on-camera flashes, including the Nikon SB-910 and Canon 600EX-RT.

7. GoWing Lens Flipper

The GoWing Lens Flipper is a double-sided lens mount with a sturdy shoulder strap that allows you to carry a lens conveniently at your side while shooting. When you need to change lenses, you can quickly remove the lens from your camera and attach it to the free side of the flipper before removing the other lens to attach to your camera.

8. Mindshift Gear rotation180° Horizon Backpack

The MindShift Gear rotation180˚ Horizon 34L Backpack looks like a standard trekking backpack at first glance, until the beltpack slides around to the front of your body without leaving your belt, allowing you to quickly retrieve your camera or change lenses with the pack still securely attached to your body. This rotating section holds a DSLR with an attached lens, an additional lens between padded dividers, and a 10" tablet tucked behind another padded divider. It locks securely in place aligned with the rest of the backpack via a magnetic tab, or may be worn separately for shorter trekking or day trips. Larger travel gear and personal items can be stored in the spacious interior compartment and top accessory pocket. Hydration is covered with a pocket that holds a three-liter water pouch and an exterior side pocket for a 32-ounce water bottle. For more photo-centric storage, exterior attachment straps allow you to carry an optional tripod suspension kit. Staying comfortable, the backpack is equipped with a breathable padded airflow harness, padded waist straps, a sternum strap, and a curved back panel with an aluminum stay for additional stability. The quick-access design of the rotation 180˚ Horizon backpack easily keeps pace with the most active photographer.

9. FreedomPoP MiFi Mobile LTE Hotspot

FreedomPoP MiFi 500 Mobile LTE Hotspot is a necessary addition for anyone working remotely, as it allows you to connect your Wi-Fi-capable tablet or laptop to the Internet without using up your mobile phone’s data plan. The MiFi 500 broadcasts 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi signals and can connect up to 10 Wi-Fi-enabled devices, making it the perfect solution for you—or you and a small team—when you’re out in the field trying to transmit photos quickly to a client based elsewhere.

10. Cognisys StackShot Macro Rail Package

Create spectacular time lapses or easily capture focus-stacking series with the Cognisys StackShot Macro Rail Package, which combines the StackShot Controller with the StackShot Macro Rail, giving you more control over your camera’s movement. The StackShot Controller allows the photographer to program camera-triggering and rail movements when used for macro and close-up photography. Up to 10 presents can be saved and quickly taken advantage of when trying to capture the perfect image quickly.