It’s usually the camera that gets the credit for taking pictures, but actually it’s just the start. You also need storage for all these digital images, lighting, a tripod or some kind of camera support... There's a whole world of camera accessories out there to take your photography to the next level.
UPDATED: The Boxing Day sales are now on! Our constantly updated guide has the best prices on all the camera accessories you need for your kit bag.
For a start, the best cameras usually come with some kind of ‘kit’ lens for everyday photography, but if you want to experiment more with sports, portraiture, landscapes or close-ups, you’ll need to start collecting different kinds of lenses – that’s the beauty of interchangeable lens DSLRs and mirrorless cameras.
It’s not all about lenses, either, though. You’ll also need ways to store your photos, perhaps some lighting accessories, a tripod or some other camera support to keep your camera steady, straps or clips for carrying it around or camera bags for larger amounts of kit. We've even got a separate guide to the best dash cams to protect you and your car.
Our multi-page camera accessories guide covers all these essentials and more, including a whole bunch of smaller items that won’t cost the earth but could prove some of the most useful kit bag items for any photographer.
So we’ve enlisted the help of our friends on Digital Camera, N-Photo, PhotoPlus and Digital Photographer magazines to find the gear that’s impressed us them and us the most. Whatever your needs, or budget, we might just have the very thing you need right here…
Essential lenses for DSLR or mirrorless cameras
1. Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM | S
This super-telephoto lens comes in both Canon and Nikon versions
Mount: Canon EF, Nikon FX, Sigma | Elements/groups: 24/16 | Diaphragm blades: 9 | Autofocus: Ultrasonic (ring-type) | Stabiliser: 4-stops | Minimum focus distance: 2.6m | Maximum magnification: 0.2x | Filter thread: 105mm | Dimensions: 121x290mm | Weight: 2,860g
Sooner or later we all want to try our hand at long-range sports or wildlife photography and this is the perfect lens to do it. It’s not small, nor particularly cheap (super-telephotos never are) but we reckon this easily gives you the best combination of reach and image quality for the money. It comes in both Canon and Nikon DSLR versions and will work with both full frame and APS-C models.
2. Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Macro
Get the ultimate close-ups with this superb Tamron lens
Mount: Canon EF, Nikon FX | Elements/groups: 14/11 | Diaphragm blades: 9 | Autofocus: Ultrasonic (ring-type) | Stabiliser: 4 stops | Minimum focus distance: 0.3m | Maximum magnification: 1.0x | Filter thread: 62mm | Dimensions (WxL): 79x117mm | Weight: 610g
At the other end of the scale to super-telephoto shooting you’ve got the world of close-ups. Regular lenses don’t focus close enough for blowing up tiny objects, but this Tamron is a true ‘macro’ lens with 1:1 magnification. There are plenty of rivals, but this one gets our vote for its excellent optical quality and built-in image stabilisation.
3. Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM | A
Sometimes you need a much wider angle of view…
Mount: Canon EF, Nikon FX, Sigma | Elements/groups: 17/11 / | Diaphragm blades: 9 | Autofocus: Ultrasonic (ring-type) | Stabiliser: None | Minimum focus distance: 0.26m | Maximum magnification: 0.19x | Filter thread: None | Dimensions (WxL): 96x135mm | Weight: 1,150g
Regular standard zooms or kit lenses offer a wide-angle setting, but often it’s not enough, especially for sweeping landscapes, narrow city streets or spectacular interiors. That’s where you need an ultra-wideangle lens like the superb Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 for full-frame Nikon or Canon DSLRs. If you have a smaller format APS-C camera, then take a look at the Tamron 10-24mm lens below…
4. Tamron 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II VC HLD
The perfect ultra-wide lens for APS-C DSLRs
Mount: Canon EF-S, Nikon DX, Sigma | Elements/groups: 15/12 | Diaphragm blades: 7 | Autofocus: HLD (High/Low toque-modulated Drive) | Stabiliser: 4 stops | Minimum focus distance: 0.24m | Maximum magnification: 0.19x | Filter thread: 77mm | Dimensions (WxL): 84x85mm | Weight: 440g
If you shoot with an APS-C format Canon or Nikon DSLR, you need ultra-wide lenses designed specifically for APS-C sensor, and the Tamron 10-24mm is just about the pick of the bunch right now. The optical quality is great, but best of all it has an in-built image stabiliser.
5. Sony FE 12-24mm f/4 G
If you have a full-frame Sony A-series camera, take a look at this
Mount: Sony FE | Elements/groups: 17/13 | Diaphragm blades: 7 | Autofocus: Direct Drive SSM | Stabiliser: No | Minimum focus distance: 0.28m | Maximum magnification: 0.14x | Filter thread: No | Dimensions (WxL): 87x117.4mm | Weight: 565g
This isn’t one of Sony’s premium G Master lenses, but the 12-24mm makes up for it by being Sony’s widest ever zoom lens. The optical quality is very good, it’s a really nice lens to use and it’s about the same price a Sony’s fancy 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master, but goes a lot wider.
6. Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM
This Sony portrait lens is not cheap but it is spectacular
Mount: Sony FE | Elements/groups: 11/8 | Diaphragm blades: 11 | Autofocus: Ring Drive Super Sonic Wave motor | Stabiliser: No | Minimum focus distance: 0.8m | Maximum magnification: 0.12x | Filter thread: 77mm | Dimensions (WxL): 89.5x107.5mm | Weight: 820g
So there’s good news and bad news with Sony’s G Master lenses. The good news is that they are optically superb and right at the very forefront of optical quality right now. The bad news is that they are both big and expensive – including the 85mm f/1.4. But for portrait photographers who want the best for their Sony A7-series or A9 camera then, well, this is it.
7. Fujifilm XF50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR
The perfect premium telephoto for your X-mount camera
Mount: Fujifilm X | Elements/groups: 23/16 | Diaphragm blades: 7 | Autofocus: Triple linear motor | Stabiliser: 5 stops | Minimum focus distance: 1m | Maximum magnification: 0.12x | Filter thread: 72mm | Dimensions (WxL): 82.9x175.9mm | Weight: 995g
If you want a top-quality constant-aperture telephoto to go with your Fujifilm X-mount camera, this is it. These cameras have APS-C sensors, so this is equivalent to a 75-210mm f/2.8 on a full frame camera – on of the three key ‘pro’ lenses and professional photographer keeps in their bag. Better still, there’s an optional matched 1.4x converter that takes this lens up to a 70-196mm f/4 (equivalent to 107mm-299mm in full frame terms).
8. Fujifilm XF10-24mm f/4 R OIS
Super-wideangle photography for your Fujifilm
Mount: Fujifilm X | Elements/groups: 14/10 | Diaphragm blades: 7 | Autofocus: Stepping motor | Stabiliser: 3 stops | Minimum focus distance: 0.24m | Maximum magnification: 0.16x | Filter thread: 72mm | Dimensions (WxL): 78x87mm | Weight: 410g
Fujifilm has announced an even more tantalising 8-16mm f/2.8 ultra-wideangle zoom but this is not yet available and will cost twice as much as this one when it does arrive. For now, this is our favourite choice for Fujifilm X-mount ultra-wide lenses, combining great optical quality with smooth operation and in-built stabilisation.