Monday, May 21, 2012

Photo Gadgets, Gizmos, and Accessories

Digital photography, coupled with the ever-growing numbers of people pursuing photography either as a full or part-time career or an avocation, and regardless of whether they're doing so with high-end dSLRs or iPhones, has been a boon to the photo gadget/gizmo/accessory industry. Without a doubt, there's more photo-related accessory items available than ever before. And photographers are buying them in greater numbers than ever.

I used to play golf. Back then, I thought golf was very nearly the undisputed leader in gadgets, gizmos, thing-a-ma-bobs, and accessory items. If you're a golfer, you might know that novelty golf gadgets have a long history, certainly dating back into the 19th century. And you probably also know that golf accessories number in the thousands. These days, however, I think digital photography has trumped golf in sheer numbers of available accessories, novelties or otherwise.

One thing that hasn't changed in the world of accessories is how you never know how useful or practical all those gadgets, gizmos, and  accessories might be until you've bought them and begin using them. (Or not using them.) Since I'm talking about digital photography, I'm also going to count most apps and various sorts of software as accessory items. After all, there's some software you actually need as a digital photographer. But the vast majority of what's available isn't necessary or required to produce great photos. They're simply what some might call, "luxury items," rather than must-have items.

I'm certainly no photographer's version of Inspector Gadget but, generally, I like photo gadgets, gizmos, and various sorts of accessories. I liked many golf-related accessories when I was golfing and I've always liked many photo-accessories as a photographer. I especially like them when they make my job easier and more productive and efficient. Wireless triggers are a good example. Could I get by without them? For the most part, yes. I could always go back to hard-wiring a strobe to my camera and then counting on internal, optical slaves to fire other strobes not hard-wired. For me, wireless triggers are VERY useful and practical accessories. They make some aspects of my job so much easier and more efficient. They allow me to use flash lighting in environments which would otherwise be very difficult to employ without wireless triggers.

But then I think about other accessories I was sucked into buying by either creatively crafty marketing people or my own errors in judgment regarding their usefulness. I probably, as an example, have about a half-dozen camera bags of different sizes and shapes, but I only use one. I'm not talking one at a time. I'm talking one, preferred, practical camera bag that I always use in spite of the others collecting dust in a closet. When I purchased those other camera bags, whether I bought them new or used, I was sure I had good reasons for doing so. But time and actual need has proven my reasoning wrong.

Here's another random example: The Hoodman "HoodLoupe" LCD screen loupe. Yep. I bought one. It cost about $75. It even came with its own nifty little case. I think I've used it a grand total of twice in the two years since I purchased it. Why did I buy it? Because the LCD screen on my Canon 5D sucks when trying to view it in sunlight and I got sick of finding or making some shade to view the screen. So, I bought the HoodLoupe. Does it work? Yes. Quite well, in fact. Why don't I use it? Because when I'm setting up in exterior daylight, I rarely think to pull it out of my bag, then out of its case, and then hang it around my neck. After not doing those things, it's generally more expedient to simply find shade or somehow shade the LCD like I always did before -- before being a proud owner of a Hoodman HoodLoupe, that is -- rather than trekking back to wherever my camera bag might be, which is usually locked in the back of my SUV. Besides spending $75 on a gadget I rarely use, I can't even say the Hoodman earns its keep in my camera bag where real estate is at a premium. Still, I keep it crammed in my bag. Who knows? I might someday begin remembering to pull it out before I set up my gear and begin shooting in bright daylight.

I have other gadgets and such which I make good use of, as well as plenty of them which, regardless of their level of practicality, I seem to never use. But every gadget, gizmo, and accessory item I own, whether I make good use of them or not, I own because, at one time or another, I was thoroughly convinced I couldn't make do without them.

I can't recall the name of the pretty girl at the top. (Click to enlarge.) Maybe there's a gadget which will help me remember all these models names without going out of my way to track their monickers down in my records? Anyway, I used three lights for the shot: A 5' Octo for my main, a strip box camera left, and a small umbrella, boomed a few feet overhead and camera right. 


CSDewitt Photography said...

I must agree, there are so many gadgets, gizmos and yet so few we really need...

I also agree with your, "Remembering the Model's Name" gadget. I definitely need one of those... lol

Great post....


Rick said...

Like you I have several camera bags I use to collect dust. I also have a 8x8x8" box full of lighting accessories that when purchased were must have items and another box filled with sync cords and optic slaves.

I guess you could say I have back ups for my back ups but I can't seem to part with them after all these years.