11 Environmentally Friendly, Green Gear Choices


The “Green Movement” has influenced manufacturers in the photographic community for quite some time. Lead and arsenic, a pair of heavy metals that contribute to the “character” and performance of optical glass, have been collectively called industrial poisons for decades. Beginning in the late 1990s, lead and arsenic were slowly phased out of formulas for lens elements and replaced by environmentally friendlier formulas that maintain the “look and feel” of the formulas they replaced.

The Green Movement has also had an impact on many of the products we sell at B&H. In this guide, we take a look at a selection of products that are made of recycled materials and/or replenishable resources.

Eco-glass binoculars

If you’re into hiking or birding, there’s a good chance you appreciate a good pair of high-performance binoculars. Nikon’s ProStaff-series binoculars, available in a number of roof prism and BAK4 Porro configurations, contain lead and arsenic-free “Eco-Glass” optics. Nikon ProStaff-series binoculars are fog- and waterproof and are available in 8x258x30, 8x42, 10x30, 10x42, 10x50, 12x25, and 12x50 magnifications, depending on your particular needs.

Wooden cameras

Yup, we sell wooden cameras at B&H, specifically pinhole cameras. 4 x 5" Pinhole cameras from Lensless are available in Baltic Birch or premium hardwoods such as Mahogany, Red Oak, Teak, and Zebra Wood. They come in a choice of focal lengths  including a 50mm Superwide, a 75mm wide-angle, a 150mm Macro, and a 225mm telephoto.  Each of these cameras is designed to accept 4 x 5" cut film holders, which can be loaded with color negative, color transparency, B&W negative, Orthochromatic, and infrared films. With apertures in the f/64 range, a sturdy tripod is strongly recommended when shooting with pinhole cameras.

Wood clothespins… clothespins?

The first solar-powered clothes dryers consisted of a length of rope tied between a house and a tree and a bag of clothespins, which are whittled from trees. Clothes pins are also useful for hanging analog film and papers to dry, or securing wardrobe, scrims, gels, or other delicate elements in place during a commercial shoot, which is why you can find clothes pins on the B&H website.

We sell plain-Jane wood clothes pins, as well as BulletX Wood clothes pins, which are made of black-painted birch with heavy-duty black oxide torsion springs. For air-drying your finer suits, gowns, and formal wear in the more fashionable parts of town, we suggest the latter.

Rechargeable batteries

The batteries that power our camera accessories affect the environment when they start breaking down in landfills. To ease environmental concerns, many photographers use rechargeable batteries and chargers. At B&H, we sell several dozen types of rechargeable batteries and chargers from a variety of companies. If you can’t find them here, they’re probably no longer available.

Solar-powered generators, battery chargers, and flashlights

If batteries that need to be charged via AC connectivity aren’t “green” enough for you, check out some of the solar-powered charging kits with 110VAC Inverters and other solar-powered goodies from GOAL ZERO. Here you’ll also find solar-powered LED flashlights, lanterns, and a selection of seriously heavy-duty generator power packs. Solar-powered LED flashlights are also available from our friends at Wakawaka.

Canvas and cotton camera bags and backpacks

Some of the best bags on the market are made of cotton, canvas, and cotton-canvas blends, which are renewable resources. Domke, ikan, Isaac Mizrahi, Artisan & Artist, ONA, Billingham, ThinkTank, National Geographic, and Tenba manufacture shoulder bags and backpacks made of cotton and weather-resistant cotton and canvas. And just like your favorite pair of jeans, cotton and canvas gets better-looking with time.

Recycled vibes from Mountainsmith

Mountainsmith’s VibeTLS is a Cobalt-colored waist belt made of recycled materials. Featuring a dedicated iPhone sleeve, a lumbar control pad, reinforced stitching, and an airflow design to keep things comfy in warm weather, Mountainsmith’s VibeTLS is ideal for stowing your keys, wallet, ID, and other pocketable items when out hiking, taking pictures, or simply day-tripping.

Camera straps made from seatbelts?

Talk about recycling! A company called Souldier is making camera straps out of old seatbelts. Depending on the model, these cotton-polyester blend straps are either  1.5 or 2" wide and are available in sedate colors such Black, Burgundy, Charcoal, Olive, Teal, and Dark Red.

For the more adventurous among us, Souldier camera straps are also available in the following colorful patterned designs:

Environmentally friendly snooze stations

Hiking, birding, and picture-taking can make the best of us want to take a nap, so we now offer a line of colorful hammocks from Byer of Maine for our environmentally conscious readers.

Made from 100% recycled fiber, these UV and weather-resistant hammocks measure 83 x 47", can handle up to 330 lb of snoozers, and are available with or without a stand set in Cayenne RedJuniper Blue, or Vanilla Yellow. For the ultimate fashion statement, you might want to match these multi-colored hammocks with some of the multi-colored camera straps from Souldier.

Earth-friendly sound systems

It’s mid-afternoon, and you’re all set up and ready to capture the big sunset shot. What better time to plug your batteries into your solar charger, kick back in your 100% recycled fiber hammock, and turn up the tunes on an earth-friendly sound system?

Designed for both indoor and outdoor use, the enclosure of the House of Marley Roots Rock Bluetooth Portable Audio System is made of House of Marley REWIND Fabric, which consists of recycled plastic bottles (40%), organic cotton (30%), and hemp (30%). For extra strength and a dash of elegance, the enclosure features bamboo sides.

The House of Marley Roots Rock Bluetooth Portable Audio System features Bluetooth connectivity, a cover that serves as a stabilizing stand when opened, a built-in rechargeable battery, a 3.5mm auxiliary input, dual 2.5" speakers, dual passive radiator speakers, and a shoulder strap. 

If you like listening to music when shooting out in the middle of nowhere, and you plan on being out there for an extended time, take along a pair of GOAL ZERO Rock Out 2 Solar Rechargeable Portable Speakers.

Available in Black, Blue, Green, and Teal, this unit’s 800 mAh rechargeable lithium battery can be fully charged in about two hours from a USB source or about eight hours using the speaker’s built-in solar panel. The optional GOAL ZERO Nomad 7 Solar Panel can recharge the system in two to four hours. According to GOAL ZERO, you can expect about 10 hours of playtime per charge.

GOAL ZERO’s Rock Out 2 Solar Rechargeable Portable Speaker has a weatherproof outer shell and is chainable with other Rock Out speakers. Other features include one-touch Bluetooth pairing, a DarkBase chamber for deep bass sound, and a bungee cord for attaching the speaker to bungee-friendly entities.

Fine art paper

A large percentage of fine art papers and canvas media are manufactured from renewable resources, such as 100% cotton rag. Breathing Color Pura Bagasse Fine Art paper, which is available in 17, 24, 36, and 44" rolls, is unique in that it is a mould-made blend of sugar-cane fiber (75%) and cotton rag (25%). 

This lovely fine art paper, which is manufactured by Hahnemuhle, contains zero brighteners, is water-resistant, acid and lignin free, has a basis weight of 320 gsm with 96% opacity, and is available in a choice of Velvet, smooth, and textured matte surfaces.

And do keep in mind many of these products are worth investigating, even if you’re not into photography.



According to our website the closest you can get to a digital camera made out of wood is a Hasselblad Stellar with a wood grip. 

Whether these cross-branded gems are 'woody' enough for your needs is a purely personal decision...