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Thread: Basic Accessories - what's needed?

  1. #1
    Dizzy's Avatar
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    Basic Accessories - what's needed?

    Ordered the D90, extra lens, 16Gb Class 10 card and a wireless remote last night, but decided to wait on adding any further accessories until getting some input from those of you with far more experience.

    I have a lens pen for my scope, but after reading up a bit can see that the more involved cleaning kit is advised (air blower, etc.). Lens cleaning kits seems to be a rather standard add-on item with many of the combo's sold via Amazon, Adorama, etc., but is there anything special that needs to be included that is commonly not?

    With my background in astronomy I know that cleaning the lens or mirror of a telescope is something that is rarely done, and when it is done the task is generally undertaken with a level of care and caution equal only to the most sacred of rituals. It's always been amazing to me how dirty a lens (or mirror) can be, and still provide quality performance. Does the same apply to camera lenses, or is it suggested they be cleaned regularly?

    I am not an overly coordinated person, and as much as I might try I know that some things are going to get bumped. Lens hoods will be a must have, and the HB-32 and HB-36 seem to be the ones that fit my two lenses. Any suggested brands, or are they somewhat universal in design and performance?

    Case; this one has already given me a headache, as apparently there are more case designs than there are cameras to go in them.. I have no doubt that within a couple years I'll have more than one, but for now I need one that is functional and efficient, and in the $30-$50 price range. I like the backpack styles, as there will be many trips into the woods (not far, just a few miles in and out) so that I can shoot critter pics. A backpack style with a space for a tripod, extra lens, etc. would be best for this. I can pack other essentials like water and lunch, etc. in my old bowhunting fanny pack. Any suggested brands to look into, or avoid?

    Spent much of the evening on Nikon's "Digitutor" site; what an awesome resource that is, and combined with all the great tutorials here on CiC I almost feel confident enough to get the camera turned on, find the shutter button and maybe even take a pic or two...

    Thanks in advance for any and all recommendations on the gear.

    Mike

  2. #2
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Basic Accessories - what's needed?

    • Tripod - Strong; Sturdy; Able to carry the weight of your existing gear + a bit more for that heavier lens you'll end up buying in the future.
    • Cable release or, if you're wealthy, one those electronic thingies that can fire shutters.

  3. #3
    Dizzy's Avatar
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    Re: Basic Accessories - what's needed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    • Tripod - Strong; Sturdy; Able to carry the weight of your existing gear + a bit more for that heavier lens you'll end up buying in the future.
    • Cable release or, if you're wealthy, one those electronic thingies that can fire shutters.
    Hi Donald,

    I have what I'm hoping will be a suitable tripod for packing around, but it might be a bit on the lightweight side. For heading off into the woods, a mono-pod would be the best, and preferably one that can do double-duty and serve as a walking stick as well.

    On the opposing end of the scale, I also could use my astronomy mount:

    http://www.telescope.com/Mounts-Trip...34/p/24336.uts

    It has 1.75" stainless steel legs, and as shown weighs in at 43 lb. The equatorial mount is easily removable, and it should not be too difficult to cobble up a very functional adapter so I can mount a standard camera az/alt mount. It can handle whatever amount of weight I care to mount on it up to a 200mm Newtonian with guidescope. This one is not packable, as the tripod alone without the EQ mount is still quite heavy, and does not collapse small enough. Good for events where I'll be in one spot, but it'll stay home the rest of the time.

    Bought one of those wireless units, but may just add a cable release as a backup (wireless stuff and I don't always get along well.)

    Mike
    Last edited by Dizzy; 30th July 2011 at 07:51 AM.

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    Re: Basic Accessories - what's needed?

    Hi Mike, for starters you don't need an expensive tripod. My wife bought me a lightweight, but sturdy used one for five bucks. I take it with me in my suitcase when I'm flying. Does the job, doesn't weigh a ton, reasonably priced. When I shoot locally I still use the solid Manfrotto, but if I didn't have it the lightweight one would work.

  5. #5
    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: Basic Accessories - what's needed?

    Personally, my advice is wait and see. If you need something, it becomes evident. And everybody shoots different subjects and with different styles, so what's essential to me may be a never-used-it for you.

    To me, the only essential things you didn't list (probably because you already have them) are a card reader, extra battery, and some form of post-processing software.

    And yeah, we all go through different camera bags all the time. You're not alone on that one.

    If you are going to be doing astrophotography, then maybe a T-mount adapter and a cable release? I assume you've already got good sturdy tripods for your telescope gear, and possibly even a tracking head.

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    Re: Basic Accessories - what's needed?

    I have used a Lowepro Nova 5 shoulder bag for getting on for 20 years! It is well padded, holds just about everything - and usually stays in the car, I have a smaller Nova 3 into which I load what I think I will need 'right now'!

    The modern designs mostly seem to be back packs, Lowepro make some very good ones which are not overly expensive

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    Dizzy's Avatar
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    Re: Basic Accessories - what's needed?

    Frank: I have a low cost Vivitar VPT-3600 tripod that collapses down to 24.5", and I'm hoping it will be a stable enough platform for most of the shooting I'll be doing. Not sure how well it will backpack, but I've mounted small aperture refractors on it when in a pinch (for guests to observe through) and it's proven itself fairly stable.

    To me, the only essential things you didn't list (probably because you already have them) are a card reader, extra battery, and some form of post-processing software.
    Actually Kathy I am lacking all three, and hadn't even thought of a card reader until you mentioned it . I'll order it plus an extra battery along with the lens hoods and case. As for processing software, the only program I have now is Microsoft Image Composer, which really doesn't do much aside from basic cropping, etc. They offer a few "effects" which can be applied to images, but it's pretty limited, overall. I'm seriously hoping that the camera will have some form of software with it so I can learn to process RAW images, and believe it comes with Nikon NX or NX2. If so, it should be more than sufficient until I learn the basics, and after that perhaps I'll look into Lightroom or one of the other popular programs.

    Keith: The Lowepro bags do seem to be very well thought of, and from shopping Amazon and elsewhere I see they offer a number of all-weather models, or ones that include a rain cover. Weatherproof is a "must have" up here in the rainforest, as it's been known to drizzle a bit from time to time (like 300+ days a year), and it's a 100% certainty that I'll get caught out in it sooner rather than later.

    Mike
    Last edited by Dizzy; 31st July 2011 at 07:13 AM.

  8. #8
    tbob's Avatar
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    Re: Basic Accessories - what's needed?

    The lens hoods probably aren't as important to protect your lens as is the use of a glass or UV filter on the end then a lens cap to cover the filter. I remove both before shooting, the lens stays fairly pristine even when I am working in dusty,wet or brushy environments with a lot of pollen and plant debris about. It is part of my system to always remove the cap and filter as a unit so I NEVER forget to to remove the finger print and dust covered filter; which means that only 25% of the time do I forget and shoot with the filter still on ( my capacity for messing things up exceeds my organizational skill by some orders of magnitude). It is simply amazing how grungy the filter can be and still not affect the image to a significant degree.

    I use this system because of my ability to screw up is quite refined and well honed. On two occasions the cap and filter have been shattered by a poky thing that would have damaged the lens; it is cheaper to replace the filter and cap then the front element of an expensive lens. The first time I slammed the truck door and pushed the camera against a large rock sitting on the seat (in my defence it was a particularly nice example of iron pyrite crystal; the question is why was it sitting on the seat rather than the floor?) The second time I kicked the tripod over, camera lens and all, and another pointed rock shattered the cap and filter.

    Get a microfibre lens cleaning cloth to clean and dry the lens. I carry mine around in small plastic bag, to use as needed, that way I can sure it doesn't get grit embedded when it is stuffed in my nasty filthy camera bag full of leaf debris,dust,pollen and sticks from creeping about in the bush with the bag open. (see note on screw up ability).

    I agree about the good strong tripod.

    Lastly consider a fanny pack or belt modular system (Lowe http://products.lowepro.com/catalog/Beltpacks,7.htm or ThinkTank http://www.thinktankphoto.com/catego...t-systems.aspx I use the latter). That way you never have to place things on the ground (lenses,filters,cleaning cloth,cameras, flashes or what have you) when changing your set up. Unless you are in a manicured environment nature loves to devour camera gear when you set it down and move off several feet to take the shot.

  9. #9
    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: Basic Accessories - what's needed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dizzy View Post
    Actually Kathy I am lacking all three, and hadn't even thought of a card reader until you mentioned it .
    Glad I mentioned it then. The extra battery, obviously, doubles your shooting time in the field (and long exposure night shooting can chew through batteries faster than daylight shooting), and a card reader saves wear and tear on the camera and battery consumption while downloading files. If your D90 doesn't come with software, you can download ViewNX from the Nikon website, and CaptureNX has a downloadable free trial version, as do Lightroom and Photoshop.

    You may also want to consider open source software like the Gimp in combination with the UFRAW plugin, or packages like RawStudio or RawTherapee.

    And if you're going to be doing astrophotography, having good stacking software is also worth looking into. The freeware DeepSkyStacker seems to be mentioned a lot.

    I'm a pano stitcher, so I'll also point you to the open source package Hugin for that. There are a lot of great freeware packages out there, if you aren't quite ready to drop the cash on Adobe products. I will warn you, though, that I've personally nicknamed the Lightroom 30-day trial version as "Adobe's gateway drug." Once you play with it, it's kind of hard to break away to something else.

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    Re: Basic Accessories - what's needed?

    Hi Mike, one thing I didn't see mentioned is that most Post Processing software can either change your images globally, like Lightroom or give you the ability to make global changes AND change specific parts of an image like Photoshop. Usually, I make global changes in Lightroom, then change specific parts of the image in Photoshop. Adobe Elements can provide the bulk of the features you would use as a photographer in Photoshop, but at a fraction of the cost. There are a ton of photography software packages out there and you will likely be able to find somebody on this forum that can help, regardless of which software product you are using.

  11. #11
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    Re: Basic Accessories - what's needed?

    Hi Mike, for me it's better that you buy a very good lens filter (like Hoya Super HMC Pro1) than a lens hoods.
    I never carried a lens hoods, I've made my lens hoods from a good and thick art paper... Safe me a lot of space in my bag..

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    Dizzy's Avatar
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    Re: Basic Accessories - what's needed?

    Hello Trevor,

    Great idea about the lens cap + filter, and I will take that to heart and try and follow the advice. I am "balance challenged" due to Meniere's disease, and there are times I'm going to fall and there is nothing I can do about it, so having max. protection for the camera is a must-have.

    Pyrite crystal? Was it a nice specimen? I do a bit of prospecting myself, but unfortunately the Skagit River (literally in my backyard) is pretty much void of color. The S. Fork of the Nooksack R. is a far better bet, and although it's mostly thin flakes of flood gold it sure looks pretty in the sluice..

    Had been considering the fanny pack idea, as the only hunting I'll be doing now is with the camera. My old bowhunting fanny pack set has 3 roomy packs (one rests on fanny, others on hips) on a nice wide web belt with suspenders.

    For a backpack style case, this one from Cameta Camera seems to be well thought of. I plan to order it tomorrow:

    http://www.cameta.com/Aktiv-Pak-AP40...lack-38215.cfm

    Along with this to help with lens cleaning:

    http://www.cameta.com/Nikon-LensPen-...Case-31919.cfm

    Many thanks again for the great tips!

    Kathy: Camera came today (along with the extra lens, filter, etc.) and I see it came with a "Software Suite". I haven't even had a chance to put the [now charged] battery in the camera yet, so when I get a chance I'll check out the software CD.

    Not sure if I mentioned it, but I Admin an astronomy forum along with a chap from Australia (he's the smart one.... ). Although I'm just now gathering the gear to do some imaging of my own, several of our members are rather accomplished. The fellow at the link below is one of them, and I am hoping he might considering tutoring me once I get my gear together. Here is his site: http://www.imagingtheheavens.co.uk/

    Most of the imagers are using Registax, as I believe it has more flexibility than DeepSky Stacker. In any case, I still need to learn how to take basic pictures with the D90, so it will be awhile before I can even address that type of imaging.

    Frank: Been looking at the Lightroom software, and from what I can see in the screen shots, I believe I would like it. Unfortunately, I'm just a poor working man, and Photoshop is expensive; at over 3x the cost of Lightroom it isn't even a consideration. For now I'll have to use what came with the camera, and when the opportunity presents itself I'll get some better software.

    Hi Donny: Both of the lenses came with hoods, and they might come in handy for protecting the lens if I need to do any brush busting (and I undoubtedly will) while out looking for critters to shoot.

    I looked up the Hoya filter, and have added it to the "Wish List". Looks like a fine filter, and I would like to have one.

    You're a wonderful lot of people, and thank you all for the time you've taken to help me get started. It's going to be a long ride, so time to settle in and get busy.

    Getting late, and so far I have only gotten the camera body and the accessories (along with the 278 page novel of instructions) out of the box. Got a lot to accomplish yet tonight, and plan to enjoy every minute of it..Basic Accessories - what's needed?

    Mike

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    Re: Basic Accessories - what's needed?

    It all really depends what you want to do

    things you will need

    uv filters to keep on lenses all the time
    tripod

    things you might need depending on requirements

    remote shutter release
    wireless shutter release
    hot shoe spirit level
    flash
    nd filters
    cpl filters
    good quality backpack
    headlight for night work
    swiss army knife/leatherman - often need a small screwdriver
    bigger faster CF cards
    gnd filters

    more ..... and more lenses as the bug starts to bite
    another camera body when the disease really sets in!

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    Re: Basic Accessories - what's needed?

    Just a quick thought -- for short hikes or walking through museums and the like, I find a vest more comfortable and useful (they are ALLOWED in a museum, for example) than a backpack. Mine is a travel vest (ex officio gobi vest), but there are lots of choices. You will want to buy this from a store where you can try it on before you buy. I have a backpack (the LowePro CompuDaypack), which is very nice for going through airports and using as a carry-on for my camera, lenses, and computer. But camera backpacks are quite uncomfortable in my experience for extended wear -- I haven't found one with a decent frame, for example. FWIW

  15. #15
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: Basic Accessories - what's needed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dizzy View Post
    Getting late, and so far I have only gotten the camera body and the accessories (along with the 278 page novel of instructions) out of the box. Got a lot to accomplish yet tonight, and plan to enjoy every minute of it.
    Enjoy the journey and don't worry about what to buy next, you now have enough good ideas to send you to the poor house. Read the manual well enough to be able to go back and find what you need when you need it (I still keep my manual in the camera bag for easy reference). You'll discover soon enough what you REALLY need and with the info you have from this thread, you'll be able to do effective research on what makes the most sense before you purchase.

    Keep us posted on what you end up getting. Photographers are very nosey about what other people have in their camera bags and are facinated about why it is in there and how well it works!

  16. #16
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    Re: Basic Accessories - what's needed?

    I agree with the photo vest. When my wife gave me a vest as a present, I didn't think I would like it. However, after using it once or twice, I really began enjoying it. I basically wore one for my entire two week trip to China last year. It was not only great for walk-around shooting but, I enjoyed traveling while wearing it. It distributes the weight of my gear across my shoulders.

    I use a Domke PhoTOGS vest and think that it is great. However in researching this post, I was shocked to learn that this vest has almost doubled in price. When I received mine as a gift, I believe that the going street price was around $60 (USD) and it now sells for around $120 (USD).

    I don't carry a camera bag while shooting. I carry a pair of cameras and lenses on an OPTECH Dual harness and the rest of my gear in my vest. It is really quite convenient.

    However, for security purposes, I would not place any expensive gear in the rear pockets of the vest. That would invite a cut and run thief. I use the back pockets to store literature and maps. I have also learned to be quite methodical in storing the items in my vest. There are so many pockets that it is easy to lose a small item unless you have a system of storage.

    One thing that I would avoid is buying a fly fisherman's vest which has been retagged as a photographer's vest. These are too short and the pockets are set up for carrying fly boxes, not photo gear. Unfortunately, there are a lot of these going around...

    A vest is not something I would recommend as an initial purchase but, as something to think about later on (after you have accumulated a lot of gear).
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 3rd August 2011 at 03:43 PM.

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    Re: Basic Accessories - what's needed?

    Hi Mike: one of these diffuser/reflector kits might be helpful too. The link is just for an example, there are many brands and they come in a lot of different shapes and sizes. The small ones fold up into a manageable little case that is quite easy to carry around.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...MD89Y7EMHF1XFH

  18. #18
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Basic Accessories - what's needed?

    Hi Mike,

    You're buying Nikon, the lens hoods will almost certainly be supplied with the lenses you won't need to buy them as extras.

    I have, after using a shoulder holster bag, bigger shoulder bag, followed by a backpack, recently got a Lowepro Inverse 200AW.
    1) It's great to have a place to change lenses from without needing a flat surface to work on.
    2) It gets the weight off my shoulder(s), although there is a back up (loose) strap I use, but it doesn't support weight until I release the waist clip.
    3) It is far more useful than the back pack was; stop, take it off, put it down, open it up, etc. or try to get a walking companion to find the elusive spare battery in the depths

    A spare battery is a definite "must not be without" item.
    As are spare memory card(s).

    I download images via a card reader, mine is actually a slot built into my PC

    I use CS5 or Elements, both have the Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) for doing those "whole picture adjustments", or Nikon's ViewNX will (I use that to download and cull duff images before even starting on PP), but I did do some images with it once.

    I have a diffuser/reflector kit like Wendy suggests - if only I remember to take it out

    Cheers,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 3rd August 2011 at 10:23 PM.

  19. #19
    tbob's Avatar
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    Re: Basic Accessories - what's needed?

    Mike: the pyrite crystal in question is embedded in quartz intrusion into mica. It is two cubes about 2 cm (an inch) on each side. Before I broke the bearing rock into a manageable size when I got home it was probably ten kilos (twenty pounds) with multiple smaller crystals in the intrusion as well. The highway through the mountains was being widened and in the process of blasting the road contractor uncovered the site. Many of locals scrambled to get crystals but the contractor, citing safety concerns, buried the debris, after two days of exposure, in tonnes of other blasted rock. The concensus opinion was they could have dumped the bearing rock into a site about 1000 metres from the blast area rather than trucking it an additional kilometer to a rock dump where they had a crusher going to prepare gravel for the new road bed. Mica makes lousy gravel anyway so it was pretty much an act of spite. I got my piece from a friend who worked at the ski hill about three kilometres from the site; so in the spirit of giving I kept the two crystals and passed on the remainders to others.

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