My current selection other necessary accessories:
Nikon MD-D10 Battery Grip- This battery grip, which works on my Nikon D700 (and my older Nikon D300), but not my Nikon D7000. The purpose of the battery grip is to give you more shooting frames per second (8ps). With your camera set to high frame rate shooting and the battery grip attached, you are all set for shooting wildlife or sports photography. Another, not often mentioned, bonus of the battery grip, is the ability to easily to take the grip off, which significantly reduces the weight of the camera. This is a nice bonus for walk around photography, landscape photography or any photography where you will be carrying your camera for extended periods of time, but not needing the advantage of the extra frame rates.
Really Right Stuff L-Brackets ( Nikon D700/D7000)- The L-brackets help you easily switch between horizontal and vertical shots when your camera is mounted on a tripod. For my D700 camera I have the RRS L-bracket that also fits my MB-D10 battery grip. At $183.00 for the battery grip L bracket, I couldn’t justify another $140.00 for a bracket for just the camera body, especially when each new camera seems to require a new and different L bracket. Because of the cost, I only purchased and L bracket for the Nikon D7000 body and did not purchase a battery grip for this camera. My rationale being, that I will use the D700 setup for my main body and the D7000 will be my backup and travel camera. I want to keep the D7000 light and fast.
Wacom Intuos 4 Medium Digital Tablet- This tablet is a necessity for photo editing. There is no other way to get the nuisance and control that you can get with the Wacom pen. Another additional benefit is that for long term use at the computer, the pen relieves a lot of strain to the wrist. This is a great help for those that suffer from carpel tunnel syndrome. A lot of photographers, put the tablet in front of them with the keyboard in front of the tablet. This system helps them make use of the buttons and radial dials on the Wacom tablet. Though I have my tablet and dials setup, I tend not to use them. I find it easier and more intuitive for me to place the tablet to the side and then make use of keyboard shortcuts for my commands. I tried to train myself to use the radial dials and buttons, but in the end, I only use the tablet and pen for editing. For that alone, the tablet is a lifesaver.
I also have a smaller Wacom Intuos Graphire Tablet that I travel with. It is much older and not as pressure sensitive as the Intuos 4, but it works great for traveling.
Hoodman Loupe- The Loupe is an outrageously expensive piece of photographic equipment ($79.95/ B & H photo video), yet with digital cameras and LCD screens it really is a necessity. In the field, it is very hard to see the screen, much less check the sharpness of your image. If you are in a location where you think you may never return, you don’t want to get back to your computer and find the images just a little fuzzy. That is a photographers nightmare. So, though you may debate whether you can afford the Loupe, once you purchase one, you will not look back.
Visible Dust Sensor Cleaner- Visible Dust is the go-to system for cleaning your digital camera system. Though it might seems a little unnerving to clean your sensor the first time, it really is simple. Just follow a few simple precautions. One, set your camera to mirror lock-up and make sure not to touch the camera shutter release button during the cleaning. Two, make sure your battery is fully charged.
It is a good idea to clean your sensor regularly so as not to get ” baked on” dust particles that require a factory cleaning. Factory cleanings can run $150.00 or more. Also you will be without your camera for several weeks.
Eye One Spyder Display 2- Monitor Calibration- My Eye One Spyder is 5 or more years old and works great for calibrating my computer monitor. It is essential to calibrate your monitor so that the colors your are seeing on screen are as accurate as they can be. Before printing my images, I also soft proof my images to make sure that the colors I see on my LCD screen’s back lit monitor matches the colors on my prints. Some folks choose to not soft proof their images and just adjust their settings after viewing a print. But soft proofing only takes a couple of minutes and not only saves you time, but printer ink.
So my recommendation for the best possible prints is to calibrate your monitor, soft proof your images on screen, and use your paper’s printer profile in the print dialog box. Also, make sure to let Photoshop manage your print settings and turn off all color management in the print dialog box. It may seem like a lot to remember, but once you get a system, it will become rote. And your images will look amazing!
Nikon SB-600 Flash- This is the first flash I bought for a couple of hundred dollars and my main use for it is with the Visual Echoes Better Beamer for wildlife photography. This flash only zooms out to 85mm, which compared to the Nikon SB-910’s 200mm is not very powerful, yet with the Better Beamer I am able to get enough distance and power for wildlife shots. Maybe someday I will be able to afford one of the top of the line flashes, but for now this small flash is serviceable.
Elinchrom Skyport and 2 receivers- I am still new to flash photography and am not sure how much flash photography I will use in my overall work. The main two choices on the market are the Pocket Wizards and the Elinchrom Skyports. The Pocket Wizards cost $220.00 per transmitter/receiver and are much larger and bulker than the Skyports, but are used by a large majority of professionals. The Skyports are smaller and cost $177.00 for one transmitter and one receiver. Many professional photographers use these as well. Elinchrom has an excellent reputation in the industry and though Pocket Wizards may have a few more features, both setups allow you to set up your flashes out of line of sight of the camera and still fire your strobes. So the choice for some will be to decide how much flash photography will play in your overall work and then decide which setup is right for you.
Rogue 3-in-1 Honeycomb Flash Grids- This is a clever, inexpensive and portable way to use grids to control the light spill from your flashes. The setup is simple with 3 grid options (16,25, 45 degree stacking options). For $50,00, it is an inexpensive way to play with flash and flash grid options.
Cowboy Lighting Studio Lights- I do not have the space for a full on lighting studio, so these are a very poor persons substitute. These light boxes measure only 20″ by 28″. They come with a light stand and a control switch for each of the 6 individual lights,which are mounted in a ring setup. I did not find the original lights strong enough to light a simple still life, so I ordered 120v colored corrected compact fluorescent bulbs to replace the original bulbs. I also removed the inside baffle material in an effort to get more light. Even with these measures, I was not able to light images as I would have liked. My studio is in a walled off section of our complected cellar. In the studio, I changed the overhead fluorescent tubes with color corrected tubes. I leave these lights on while shooting with these small light boxes Though not optimum, this does give me enough light for shooting small still lifes. Thank goodness I do not shoot much in my studio, because this setup barely covers the bases.
Sealine 10L and 20L Drybags- These are clear drybags that help to keep my camera gear dry and safe when I am kayaking and around water. The 20L drybag easily handles my Nikon D700 with battery grip. The 10L bag is good for all those little camera accessories. I love the clear bags as it makes it very easy to see inside the bag. The bags are very well made and supple to use.
Think Tank Hydrophobia 70-200/ 300-600 Rain Cover- These two rain covers are the top of the line covers. They are well made with strong material and good construction. The each have their own carrying bag, which makes them easy to locate among your camera gear. Their are other quicker and cheaper solutions, but when you will be shooting for a sustained period of time in inclement weather these covers offer superb protection. They also remain supple in colder weather.