Recently I shared a list of photography accessories that you can buy for less than $25. It was so popular I’m back with another set of handy gadgets, this time they’re all under $50.
So you need to invest a little bit more for these, but you also get more.
As before, if you just want to head right to Amazon to start shopping I’ve put the entire list in one place for you.
10 Photography Accessories Under $50
In no particular order, here are the top ten handy photography gadgets you can buy for less than 50 bucks.
#1 – A Neutral Density or Polarizing Filter
Before you invest in some good Neutral Density or Polarizing Filters, go find out the filter size for your largest lens. By that, I don’t mean which one zooms the most, but the one with the biggest filter thread size.
If you aren’t sure, look inside the back of the lens cap for each of your lenses. It will say the size there.
When selecting an ND or polarizing filter don’t go for the cheapest ones. That’s why I didn’t put these on the under $25 list. You can actually spend well over $100-200 or more on really good high-end filters of this type.
But to get started go for one in this range to see if you will use it or not. It would suck to spend over $100 or more and realize you never take it out of your bag.
There are some decent ones under $50, look for ones by K&F Concept or Gobe. You can also get some filter sets which include ND, polarizers, close-up filters, and others. Again those are a good way to try them out without spending a lot.
If you aren’t sure if you need either of these filters, read:
- How to Create LONG exposures with a Neutral Density Filter
- Review – K&F Concept’s Graduated Neutral Density Filter and Holder
- 6 Tips for Photographing Waterfalls, Streams and Moving Water
- Quick Tip About Circular Polarizing Filters, Wide Angle Lenses and the Sun
#2 – Lensball or a Crystal Ball
This is a fun one!
I haven’t even had much time or opportunity to play with the one I got yet but basically, a Lensballs is just a crystal or glass ball you can shoot through for some neat effects.
Whatever shows up in the ball is inverted (upside down) so you can get some funky looks, or flip the final image to really mess with people’s minds.
NOTE: Just be really careful not to leave it sitting out anywhere or outside. It is a giant magnifying glass that can amplify the sun’s rays and cause a fire if you aren’t careful. So make sure you cover it up for storage (get one with a box or case) and don’t leave it out in the sun.
#3 – Light Modifiers
In the list of photo accessories under $25, I mentioned a white umbrella and reflectors. While those are both good, you can do a small upgrade if you spend a bit more.
Consider getting a 3-in-1 umbrella in 42″ or larger size. They allow you to use the white as a shoot-through, or the silver or white as a bounce umbrella. It just gives you more options and the larger size will help you create softer light which is great for people photography.
#4 – Light Stands
To go along with your light modifiers you need something to hold it all together, that would be a light stand.
Get stands that are sturdy enough to hold your speedlight or a studio flash without collapsing or tipping over. The kind with 3-legs and support bars are great because you can also drape a sandbag over the bottom to help hold them in place solidly.
If you want to attach your speedlight to the stand and add an umbrella to the setup you just need an additional bit called an umbrella bracket. Make sure you get one with a hot shoe mount if you want to use it with a speedlight (flash).
#5 – Promaster Go! Universal Battery Charger
This is another really handy thing to have in your kit. When you’re traveling, hiking or camping, or you just have a full day of shooting over many hours with no chance to get to an outlet – this device could save your butt. I know it’s saved mine!
This universal charger is made by Promaster. They make a lot of accessories like batteries, filters, tripods, reflectors, and so on at a fraction of the price of the main brand names. I have quite a few of their products in my own kit.
This one is a must wherever I go. It can accommodate and charge almost any battery. But the big added bonus is that it has an internal battery itself so you can do so without having to be connected to an electrical outlet. You can also charge any device with a USB connection like your phone or tablet!
I’ve charged batteries on a bus while traveling and in other places. More than once I helped one of our tour members by charging a battery while on-location shooting. Without it, they’d have had no power or gotten any shots.
Just get one!
#6 – Rechargeable AA batteries and a Fast Charger
This is one item that is especially important if you are shooting with a flash or speedlight. Many of them use AA batteries so using rechargeables makes the most sense.
However, many rechargeable batteries are known to not hold a full charge as you use them. That’s not ideal for a flash, you need all the power you can get.
But there is a good solution for the problem, Eneloop batteries by Panasonic. They charge quickly and hold a charge and many photographers use them in their speedlights. A pack with 8AA, 4AAA, and an advanced charger is under $50 so it makes this list nicely.
NOTE: If you own a flash that has a dedicated lithium one make sure it fits in the universal charger above.
#7 – A Speedlight (hot shoe flash)
At some point, you may find yourself wanting to add light to a scene and you’ll quickly realize that the pop-up flash that’s built in to your camera just isn’t going to cut it. Your next stop may be to look at the brand name flashes that match your camera. You’ll likely find the price tag on those makes your jaw drop to the floor.
But don’t despair, there are other options!
There are many third-party flashes on the market and many of them are quite good. Sometimes better than the brand name ones. Just make sure you get one that is configured for your camera type (the electronic contacts on the hot shoe vary from one camera brand to another).
Over the years I have used flashes made by Vivitar, Metz, and now I use Godox. But there are even others yet that I have not tried like Yongnuo (I have used their remotes though, see #8 below) and Neewer both of which get great reviews and are worth a shot.
So take a look at the ones I have added to the under $50 accessory list here, and just know that you can get started using flash without having to take out a bank loan. Some flashes (like the TT560 by Neewer) even come with a remote trigger or two which is a great deal.
#8 – Flash Remotes or Triggers
Okay now that you have a flash or have ordered one, it’s time to get some triggers. These little devices are what you need to fire the flash off-camera.
The two most popular third-party ones are made by Godox and Yongnuo. Just go to give you a price comparison, the top of the line ones by Pocket Wizard with TTL capabilities will run you about $169 and up for ONE! If you want to fire more than one flash you need one for each flash.
For Godox you only need one remote (even to fire multiple flashes) if you are using it with a Godox speedlight, and the triggers will cost you about $46. Big difference right?! Like speedlights just make sure you get one for your camera brand/model.
I’ve found them to be high-quality and haven’t misfired on me once yet. That’s a common issue with inexpensive ones and when you need the flash to fire and it doesn’t it can get really frustrating. So you want a reliable system.
Different models have different features such as different channels and groups. Those are advanced things that you may need if you’re working with several speedlights at a time and want to control them independently.
#9 – MOGICS Power Donut
If you do any traveling you NEED to have a Donut! Just trust me on this.
Ever been to a hotel room where there is only one electrical outlet and you have three or four electronic devices to plug in and charge? How about on a cruise ship? Add in a roommate and you got trouble with a capital T!
The Power Donut is like a power bar with 5 sockets, but it’s so much more than that. It also has two USB ports and comes with three travel plugin adapters. It can handle 120V or 240V and has a built-in fuse.
This thing has saved my butt more than once when I had a hotel room the size of a closet. I’ve had only one outlet but needed to plug in my laptop, two camera battery chargers, my phone, and my iPad or e-reader.
AND I also had a roommate who was very grateful that I had a donut! Do yourself a favor, just get one. I use it at home too!
#10 – Upgraded camera strap
If you’re still using the strap that came with your camera, it might be time for an upgrade. There are a few benefits of getting a better strap such as:
- Increased comfort
- Increased security
- Or you can just go for one that looks a lot nicer and doesn’t advertise the camera manufacturer!
There are so many kinds available, so I won’t tell you which to get. But I’ll give you a couple that I like and have used, and tell you about one that I avoid and why.
The ones I recommend are one by Pacsafe (it’s slash-proof which makes theft a lot harder) or Peak Design (they are just nice, well-made and comfortable).
The one I recommend you NOT use is Black Rapid. This is the kind of strap that attaches to the bottom of the camera and you slide it up the strap as you shoot, or rest it by your hip when not shooting.
I had a Black Rapid strap and to this day cannot figure out what happened. It was hanging by my hip and all of a sudden my camera literally fell off the strap and crashed to the sidewalk. My Canon 70-200 f/4 lens was toast as it hit the pavement with full impact.
Luckily I had insurance (sometimes Visa will cover things like this if the gear is newly purchased) but this is a risk I do not recommend you take with your camera. The people at the camera store, nor the rep for the company could figure out how it fell (it was fastened tightly and locked).
If you want one that goes on the side try the Peak Design Black Slide strap (see photo above). It’s not quite the same but it attaches firmly to the sides of your camera, also leaving the bottom available for a tripod insert (which you can’t do with some of the others and it’s a pain to have to keep removing the strap).
Well, there you have it – the list of handy photography accessories that cost less than $50.
I have a couple of other things for you to consider in the same price range. Education is always a good idea and you can pick up my 4 Weeks to Better Photography (for beginners) for as low as $29.
You can also pick up a copy of my Lightroom Presets (basic adjustments) for only $19 here.
I hope you find this list useful. What are you waiting for? Get shopping!
Head over to Amazon to find the entire list of items all in one handy place for you.