I was chatting with a friend the other day about their new camera and they asked me what they should really buy next to improve their photos. They had just purchase a Nikon D90 and loved the camera but they were anxious to start improving their photography beyond just a camera and a kit lens. I’m sure that a lot of you quickly thought that a new lens is definitely a must to get better photos but I say, not so fast. This is not an easy question to answer until some more information is available. There are a couple of questions that will really define which piece of gear will be of benefit. Just saying that a new lens will help might be true, but what if the lens that they have covers the desired range that they want for now.
What if they want to take pictures at parties or maybe portraits? The 18-55mm lens that comes with most cameras has an effective focal length of about 70mm on a full frame camera. That’s a pretty decent lens length for portraits. But what about that pop-up flash? Maybe it should be replaced with a decent speed light. The built in flash on most DSLR cameras is, at best, only good for fill light. With no ability to point it anywhere but directly at the subject makes it incapable of providing any decent or flattering light. Start bouncing light off a ceiling or a wall and you now have the ability to add shape and dimension and take a decent photo of a person.
Maybe what they want is to take great landscape photos in which case a good tripod would be their best investment. VR lenses aren’t going to cut it when you want to take low ISO, high F-Stop photographs at sunrise or sunset. Having a great tripod is probably one of the most important accessories for providing tack-sharp images in these situations.
There are a lot of other options as well but that’s where today’s poll comes in. Let me know what you think is the most important, “gotta have” accessory for your digital camera.
By the way, my recommendation was a SB-900 Speedlight. I’ll let you know how it works out.