How to Choose the Right Camera Gear for You

by Tycho Smith March 17, 2020 8 min read

How to Choose the Right Camera Gear for You

Whether you’re an experienced photographer or you’re just learning the basics, there are some essential pieces of camera gear that you’ll need to invest in. Of course, the camera itself is the most important piece of equipment, and most people start out with a standard DSLR camera, but there are also a few other types of professional grade cameras. Some photographers even use their iPhone along with their professional camera. Regardless of the device you’re using, there are important accessories that you’ll need to invest in if you want to create high-quality content.

Choosing the Ideal Camera Gear

The type of photography and videography that you do is vital to determining which pieces of equipment are essential to your creative process. For those who are beginner photographers, you will want to invest in a few fundamental accessories before venturing into more advanced territory. Professional photographers who have mastered the basics will want to dive deeper into the world of camera gear and purchase accessories that require a bit more skill and precision. Every photographer absolutely needs the right camera strap, holster and case to protect their equipment. We can help with a quick guide on which features to look for and recommend our personal preferences on a variety of camera gear options.

Essential Photography Equipment

photographer working with couple on beach

Camera Straps

Attaching a camera strap to your device is extremely important because it can prevent you from accidentally dropping the camera during shoots. These accessories add an extra level of security by attaching the device to your body. Neck straps can also be worn as a sling strap across your body, which can make you more comfortable during a full-day shoot. We tend to prefer camera straps made from nylon with anti-fatigue gel neck pads to protect you from muscle strains during longer shoots.

Some people are not totally comfortable with the idea of their camera dangling loosely around their neck. Your device could potentially graze against surfaces and other objects while resting on your hips. Instead, you can invest in camera holsters, grips or vests that can offer the same type of protection without the same risks. Hand grips allow you to have a firm grasp of your camera and feature comfortable padded hand cushions. If you opt for a vest holder system, you’ll have pockets designed to hold extra lenses and small camera parts, in addition to safety straps to keep the camera secured to your body.  

camera cases to protect gear graphic

Camera Cases

One of the most vital pieces of camera equipment, camera cases are the best way to protect your expensive device and safely transport it from place-to-place. When searching for the perfect camera case, you’ll discover dozens of different options–from anti-scratch silicone sleeves designed for the more compact GoPro devices to a professional cage with a mic mount for your DSLR device. Any camera bag that can protect your camera gear from damage and keep your accessories organized is worth the investment because it will help your camera last longer. For a camera case that exudes both style and function, invest in a stretchable, water-resistant neoprene case which fits comfortably and absorbs bumps.

Camera Holsters

Depending on your shooting mode and your own personal preferences, camera holsters are available in a variety of different styles and forms. Typically, a belt holster is intended to be worn around the waist which frees up your hands to work with other equipment at the same time. If you’re the kind of photographer or videographer who needs to be able to use your hands during your shoots, this holster design might be ideal for you.

man using tri-pod aimed at hills

For more hands-free capabilities, backpack holsters are perfect because they allow you to attach the device to your camera straps, making it easier to access your camera while carrying other gear. This accessory is often used with photographing hikes or other outdoor activities. A third holster option is available in vest form with an articulating aluminum arm which allows you to produce smooth, floating shots.

Tripods

Tripods are an absolutely essential piece of camera gear because it is necessary to create steady, even shots. It’s nearly impossible to hold your camera completely still without the help of some device like a tripod or stabilizer. Compact tripods are easy to carry from place-to-place and perfect for amateur videography or casual vlogs. For these types of tripods, we like to recommend multipurpose, tabletop tripods which are made from heavy-duty aluminum alloy that can support up to 11 pounds. The compact design of these accessories also allows you to shoot from very low angles.

Gimbal Heads

While tripods are a pretty basic piece of photography gear, tripod heads and gimbal heads are a bit more advanced because they attach to a tripod stand and allow you to move the camera in different ways. Gimbals are used for stabilizing the camera and preventing vibrations during shoots. If you need to follow fast-moving subjects or capture unexpected movements, gimbal heads can give you the ability to easily photograph or film these actions.

camera with gimbal head

When choosing a gimbal, you can select from mechanical or motorized stabilization systems. Mechanical gimbal heads can support heavy cameras (sometimes up to more than 30 pounds) with long lenses and are able to capture 360-degree as well as panoramic shots. If you’re purchasing special camera gear like these more intense motorized gimbal heads, you may need to invest in a special video tripod and enlist the help of a professional cameraman.

Lens and Flash Accessories

Lighting is a major factor when it comes to capturing that perfect shot, and we all know the weather doesn’t take our shooting schedule into consideration. While it’s certainly possible to use only natural lighting for your shots, there are times when you may need the assistance of artificial lights. If you are going to shoot with natural light, aim to shoot during the times known as golden hour and blue hour. Golden hour refers to the window right after sunrise or right before sunset when a gentle golden light is present. The blue hour refers to the time right before sunrise and immediately after sunset when the light is diffused more.

However, for the times when you’re unable to shoot outside or during these times, you’ll need to invest in the right flash and lens accessories to help you achieve your desired image. Here are some of the most important lighting and photography gear that your work may require.

Off-Camera Flash and Softbox

While it is necessary to use the flash on your camera sometimes to allow the image to be seen more clearly, the camera flash can often produce unflattering shadows and extreme highlights. However, with the right flash accessories, you can modify the flash and create a more favorable image. Portrait photographers often use flash accessories to exert a greater level of control over light bursts and use this to their advantage. Softboxes are one type of accessory that you can use to spread and diffuse strong light, effectively increasing its output size and soften shadows. Look for a lightweight, portable softbox to make it easier to transport and place this accessory.

interested in macro photography graphic

Extension Tubes and Lens Covers

As you learn more about photography and explore new techniques and styles, you’ll probably want to invest in some of the many camera lens accessories which are available–from single-lens mount caps to complete sensor cleaning kits. For anyone who is interested in macro-photography, or close-up photography, you could greatly benefit from using the macro lens extension tube, also known as the macro ring. Extensive tubes add more space between your subject and your camera lens, allowing more control over the focus. When taking close-up shots, the minimum focusing distance of your lens will often keep you from framing the perfect shot. You can adjust extension tubes to be as long or as short as you need until you’re able to achieve focus on your intended subject.

Different Lenses

Though not necessarily a required accessory, camera lenses can be fun to play with once you’ve mastered how to use your device because they can create unique effects. If you’re filming action-shots or grand, panoramic shots, a wide-angle lens will allow you to capture a unique, extended angle of your scene. For macro-photographers, a macro lens will help you to get that close-up shot, though you may still want to add some extension tubes. You can also purchase a telephoto lens which is designed to capture clear shots of subjects that are far away from the photographer. These lenses are great for wildlife and nature shots, as well as sports photography.

Tips for Maintaining Your Camera Gear

In order to keep your camera in excellent condition, you need to know how to properly care for and maintain your device, even if you have all the right photography equipment. Some of the camera gear that we’ve recommended is specifically designed to protect your device, like the camera bag, straps and holsters, while others are meant to enhance your photography potential. In order to keep your camera in pristine condition for years to come, be sure to invest in protective gear and remember these handy tips.

Protect Your Gear from Harmful Elements

Cameras are delicate devices and can easily be damaged if they are put in the wrong conditions. Typically, it’s recommended that you keep your camera away from dirt, dust, sand, water and extreme temperatures. Of course, if you are a nature photographer, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to avoid dirt and other outdoor elements for very long. It’s okay to expose your camera to some of these elements, but if you’re regularly doing these types of shoots, you also need to be routinely cleaning your gear to ensure that no dirt or dust is building up in the crevices, causing problems later down the line.

make time to clean your camera graphic

Clean Your Equipment Regularly

Even if you’re not photographing outdoor subjects, you should still make time to clean your camera and other gear on a regular basis. The best way to clean your device is with a soft brush that can sift away dirt, dust and other harmful particles that get stuck on your equipment. You can also use a hand air blower to rid the gear of dust, but don’t use keyboard air spray because the high pressure is not good for your camera and may even cause damage. Be sure that your device is off before cleaning or switched to “manual cleaning” mode on your DSLR if your device has that as an option. You should also carefully remove your lens and clean that part separately. For a safe and optimal clean, consider purchasing a camera cleaning kit. Our kits include all the necessary cleaning supplies you’ll need.

Protect Your Lens

Your lens is a very delicate part of your camera and needs to be treated carefully to avoid scratching or damaging the lens. Even the smallest scratch can greatly impact the clarity and quality of your shots. If you’re not using the camera, you should always place a lens cap over it to prevent anything from accidentally touching the lens. You can purchase lens caps, which attach directly to the camera even when they’re not in use, to ensure that you have the cap close at all times. When cleaning your lens, you should never use anything other than a microfiber towel or lens cloth–again to prevent scratching. For an in-depth cleaning of the lens, you should use 91 percent isopropyl alcohol. Put a small amount on a lens cloth and then wipe gently in a circular motion to get rid of any smudges.

photographer focusing lens

Movo Has the Best Camera Gear for Any Photographer

When it comes to finding the perfect photography equipment for your latest project, look no further than Movo’s line of camera gear. From holsters, straps and stabilizers to gimbal heads and video handles, we’ve got it all. Step your photography game up to the next level when you start experimenting with these accessories to improve your photo and video quality and learn new techniques.


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