Giotto’s rocket-air blowers
Although this bulb for blowing air looks
like a toy, it’s indispensable. Dust on your camera sensor will leave marks that show in the same place on each and every shot you take. If you sometimes change lenses, you’ll eventually get dust on the sensor. But unless you really know what you’re doing (really, really know), you shouldn’t use any cleaning product that touches the sensor.
That’s where a bulb can be handy. Squeeze it, and a little burst of air clears the dust. The bulb is better than canned air, which uses propellants that can cause more damage to a sensor than dust.
The fins aren’t just for a cutesy look: They keep the bulb from rolling away, as round ones have a tendency to do. $10.
Camera lenses and LCDs collect dust, and eventually the dreaded fingerprint or two, which leave hard-to-remove oils that dirt clings to. The lens pen is a two-step tool containing a soft goat-hair brush for removing loose debris, and a carbon-impregnated pad that soaks up oils. It’s simple, it’s clever and it works. $15.
Capture camera clip
When you want to carry your camera outside your back or shoulder case, you’re often left with a tangle of straps that can make it hard to jump on that sudden photo opportunity.
Capture is a creative answer to that tangle, adding a high-quality, quick-release camera mounting system to any strap. You can secure your camera to a strap you’re already wearing, such as a shoulder bag, a backpack or even a belt.
The Capture is made of powder-coated aluminum and claims to support up to 150 pounds. The screws used to attach it to a strap can be opened without tools, and it fits straps up to three inches wide and about a half-inch thick.
It has a locking mechanism to foil grabby thieves, and the part that screws into the camera doubles as a mount for most Arca-Swiss-style tripods. $80.
A reflector is an inexpensive way to remove harsh shadows from your shots. Collapsible reflectors, such as those from Lastolite, which range from 12 inches to 6 feet by 4 feet, consist of fabric on a wire frame and fold to about a third their open size.
They come in highly reflective silver; a less reflective white; gold, which casts a warm glow; and other variations.
To use one, place it facing your light source. Using a reflector makes it possible to shoot in harsh sunlight without having to use a remote flash, which is much costlier than a reflector. $15 to $100.
Rogue Flash Bender
A flash tends to spray harsh light somewhat indiscriminately, creating a flat image, especially if it’s mounted atop a camera’s hot shoe. Some pros bounce their flash off the ceiling or a cardboard reflector to reduce the harshness; the Flash Bender takes this concept a step further.