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Accessories are used to provide protection, light, and physical support for your camera.  See the Camera Lighting page for a review of photographic lighting.  The following sections provide a brief discussion of camera protection and support products.

Camera Protection - Camera Bags

camera bag Protect your camera and equipment from dust, water, and shock with some type of camera bag.  You may select from shoulder, hip pack, day pack, backpack, or rolling suitcase-style bags.  These bags come in all sizes, from bags that carry one camera to bags outfitted for multiple cameras, lenses, and laptops.  There are even bags with interchangeable straps!  You have a choice of hard or soft cases, and many of them come with add-on pockets for other camera accessories.  Choose a fabric that is strong and weatherproof, and make sure the bag has padding that will structurally support the photo equipment and provide adequate shock protection.

Size is largely determined by how much equipment you have and how far you need to carry it.  Determine whether you will need to attach a tripod.  For long treks, it may be easier to have a backpack.  A suitcase-type bag may be easier to wheel through an airport, especially if you need a lot of equipment for a professional shoot.  Bags that contain space for a PC make it easier to put everything in one place.

Check the camera bag manufacturer list for bag specifications, sizes, and photos.  Camera bag manufacturers include Lowepro and Tamrac.

Camera Support - Camera Tripods

camera tripod Tripods are used to support your camera.  They are especially important when you need sharp photos with good composition.  Slow shutter speeds used in low light conditions such as night photography require tripod use to hold the camera steady.  Also, tripods can be used to take multiple pictures in the exact same location, to pan and zoom from the same point, or to keep the camera centered during panorama frame shoots.

Tripods are available in tabletop and mini tripod models, and as small compact tripods, lightweight tripods, and heavy tripod systems.  Small tripods are used for compact cameras on a stable surface.  Lightweight tripods work for cameras weighing less than 2.2 pounds.  Heavy tripods provide more stability and better results for heavier cameras and their attached lenses.

Cameras may be screwed directly onto a tripod or onto a removable tripod head.  A ball head on a tripod gives the most flexible adjustment and is easy to swivel.  Tripods with 3-D heads tend to be more bulky than the other types, but they enable you to position a camera precisely.

Check tripod manufacturer sites for tripod specs; visit the camera shop sites to purchase your tripod.  Leading tripod manufacturers include Manfrotto and Slik.

Photographic Equipment and Supplies Resource

This photographic equipment and supplies manufacturer directory includes a fairly comprehensive list of camera and photography accessory manufacturers throughout the USA.
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Camera Accessories - Bags - Tripods