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A guide to digital SLR accessories

If you’ve bought (or been bought) or are buying 3C digital accessories- SLR camera you may have already discovered that the camera itself is just one of the many things you need to make the most of it. Even if you’re a photographer of the point-and-click variety who only intends to take the odd picture on special occasions, there is no shortage of accessories you should consider in addition to the main product. While many are just nice to have in order to develop your photography, others are absolute essentials without which the camera is almost redundant. In this guide we will look at both kinds; those accessories that you should not consider buying a camera without and those which you may want to put on a “wish-list” for another day.

1. Essentials

Lenses
It’s an obvious statement to make, but your SLR camera is going to need a lens. If you’ve bought the “Body Only” version, then no lens is supplied and unless you’ve already got a lens sitting at home that will fit your new camera, it will be unusable until you’ve bought some glass to stick on the front of it. Even if you do already have some lenses, it’s worth checking that these will fit and work on the newer cameras. Not all lenses will, and even if they do you may want to consider one of the more up-to-date lenses in order to get the best performance from your new SLR camera.

Most digital SLRs are available in kits that will include a lens (twin lens bundles are also often available) and if this is your first SLR camera then one of these kits is a sensible option. However, these tend to be standard general purpose lenses that are OK for everyday shots, but may not be suitable for more subject specific photography. As such, sports, wildlife, close-up and landscape photographers may want to consider purchasing an additional telephoto, macro or wide-angle lens to compliment and be used in conjunction with the standard kit lens.

2. Memory cards

Although once upon a time compact digital cameras used to be supplied with a memory card, the same is not true of SLR cameras, and this has caught many a new purchaser out in the past. Imagine getting your shiny new digital SLR camera (and lens, of course) home and out of the box, only to find that you’re unable to take any pictures because you’ve not got a suitable memory card – a truly disappointing experience.

The exact memory card you need will depend on the type of camera and what you intend to do with it. Different models use different types of memory cards so you’ll need to check exactly which one you need, but most cameras will require either a Secure Digital (SD, or SDHC for cards with a capacity greater than 2GB) or a Compact Flash (CF) memory card. These two types of cards are physically very different and one can not be used in place of the other.

You may have memory cards at home from a previous camera and, if you’re lucky, they may even be of the same type as your new purchase. However, things move quickly in the world of digital technology and over the years the resolution of cameras has increased dramatically. The result of this is that the file sizes your new camera produces may be significantly higher than your old model, particularly if your previous camera was a compact. Bigger files take up more space on a memory card, meaning you get fewer pictures. As such it may be worth considering purchasing a newer, larger capacity memory card to ensure you don’t run out of space.
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