Snap-happy: peripherals for photographers

Photography, for better or for worse, has become extremely accessible with the advent of digital technology. Anyone with a decent camera – even those with higher-end smartphones – can slap a watermark on a filtered picture and call themselves a photographer. But for every individual who thinks Instagram and Snapchat are the way of the future, there’s a purist who insists that film is still the only “true” medium, then scoffs and retreats to his darkroom.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably somewhere in between these two extremes. Nonetheless, you’re going to need the right gear to get that perfect shot, whether it’s a panoramic shot of a gorgeous landscape, or capturing a heartfelt moment between two lovers. Whether you’re a lover of the lomograph or a VSCO aficionado, here’s a list of the peripherals you’ll need.

Olympus TG-Tracker

Image: Engadget

How the mighty have fallen. While GoPro still makes some of the best action cameras on the market with their Hero4 Silver and Black Editions, the competition is fast catching up. Garmin’s VIRB series is a hot new contender on the scene, and Sony’s FDR-X1000V has unparalleled 4K recording quality. But it’s Olympus you should be looking to if you want the toughest action camera there is.

The TG-Tracker is the latest pint-sized addition to their line of Tough cameras. The Tracker is bursting with features, including an accelerometer, barometer, compass, temperature sensor, to name but a few. And like its bigger brothers, the Tracker is Tough (capitalization intended). Waterproof up to 30m, this little guy can withstand up to 100kg of crushing force and temperatures of -10 degrees Celsius. Plus, you won’t miss a single detail with its ultra-wide 204-degree field of view.

DJI Phantom 4

Image: DJI

Quadcopters, often colloquially known as “drones”, are by far the best way to take aerial shots, short of getting an entire helicopter. And when it comes to quadcopter videography, no-one does it better than DJI. Professional photographers and videographers swear by their Phantom series of ‘copters, and for good reason.

The Phantom 4 is DJI’s latest and greatest. A redesigned, streamlined chassis and improved motors allow it to fly at over 70 kilometres per hour in Sport Mode. When not in Sport Mode, the Phantom 4 has a pair of optical cameras on the front that help it intelligently sense and avoid obstacles in its path. But the bread and butter of the Phantom 4 is its camera, which takes 12-megapixel still shots, and shoots 4K video at a cinematic 24fps. Even when flying in high winds, the Phantom 4’s in-built gimbal stabilization ensures shake-free footage.

Lume Cube

Image: SLR Lounge

Beginning life two years ago as a humble Kickstarter project, Lume Cube has since exploded into a worldwide success. Pitched as the world’s first 1500-lumen external flash unit and video light, the Lume Cube measures just 1.5 inches (3.8cm) but boasts a 2-hour battery life, strobe capability, and waterproofing up to 30m.

But while the Lume Cube is powerful, its true strength lies in its connectivity. The Lume Cube app lets users make minute adjustments to brightness and light duration – all from an iPhone or Android smartphone. Up to five Lume Cubes can be synchronized to each other via Bluetooth, to provide lighting for an entire scene. But perhaps the most interesting feature is its “slave flash” option: the Cube can be configured to go off when its optical sensor detects other flashes going off around it.

Peak Design Everyday Messenger Bag

Image: Peak Design

Yet another Kickstarter success, the Peak Design team has since expanded their bag line into backpacks, sling bags, tote bags, and more. But the Everyday Messenger was the one that started it all. It covers a photographer’s every need; with a huge amount of space and flexible dividers, you can fit everything you need inside it for an all-day shoot.

A zip on the outside allows fast access to the interior for quick lens swaps, while a patented magnetic latch lets you open the bag with one hand. Outdoor shoots are a breeze with this bag – factory-sprayed with a water-repellent coat, you won’t have to worry about your gear getting wet. Stylish and functional in both charcoal grey and heritage tan, the Everyday Messenger will fast become your everyday camera bag of choice.

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