What's in my camera bag! Revealing My camera accessories

This post is bit personal- I would like to write about my camera and various accessories I am using. Purpose is two ways- first to tell you about these accessories so that you can consider buying them if it interests you or suits your purpose, second to solicit any idea or feedback as to what else I can add to my kit or what could have been done better, without having to rob a bank. You are welcome to share your comments.

1. Nikon D5100 – My primary camera- completes 6 years in service this June. I was using a Sony DSC H50 Bridge camera earlier, the upgrade was worth it. Bought with standard 18-55 kit lens. It has survived all my trips, numerous lens changes, bad weather and few falls. Compared to similar models of recent times, my 5100 feels a bit heavy, has fewer auto focus points and 9.1 mega pixel sensor. Did one service last year, replacing few parts like battery lid, eye cap, thumb gripper etc, (Experience with Nikon Service in Chennai was not a great experience- that warrants a separate post.). This particular model is no longer in sale now, its immediate next models like 5200 are. I have my eyes set on the latest D5600. Will probably upgrade to it later this year or whenever I spot a great deal.

2. Second battery- They say spending on DSLR will never be complete. That is 100% true. Within few weeks of buying the 5100 I figured out that one battery that came with the camera is not going to be adequate, so I had to order another battery. Both batteries are doing good so far (Close to 6 years) and I am able to manage from morning to evening with two batteries. This was my first accessory. (Comparatively Sony DSC H50 battery would become useless after 3 years)

3. 55-300mm telephoto lens: Back then, I was trying to learn some bird photography and really missed by earlier Sony H50 which had great zoom. Nikon 18-55mm was just not enough to click far away objects. Thus I had to spend on a telephoto lens. Nikon seem to have much less options in this department compared to Canon. I bought a telephoto lens from Sheetal Cameras, Chennai- their price was 21k, but after I showed that same is available in flipkart for 19k+, they agreed to match flipkart price.  This has been put to good use in various trips, though I feel I would had better flexibility if I had bought 18-140 or 18-110 and 70-300. Even today, the 55-300 lens is priced at about 20k, no drop in 5 years. Many of my friends are managing fairly well with 200mm lens. The extra 100mm isn't making huge difference, but it is more practical and convenient than the longer 500mm lens, which are both expensive and often mandate a tripod for a steady telephoto shot.

You can buy this popular telephoto lens on Amazon here

4. GoPro Hero 3 Black- Bought two and a half years ago- Back then GoPro didn’t have proper presence in India- I ordered direct on GoPro’s US website, got is shipped via FedEx and paid heavy customs. Read my purchase experience here. A lot has changed since then- like Apple GoPro is releasing new models every year, many other brands have also jumped into action camera market [Read my post of action camera comparisons after an Indiblogger-Flipkart meet here]. However over time my usage of GoPro has reduced, because of following reason
- Not finding time to edit videos
- Haven’t undertaken much adventure
- Got a wide angle add-on for the main camera

Latest is Hero 5. Before we know there could be Hero 6. Almost everyone is buying a GoPro now, but I don't see them using it effectively. Buying is easiest part. Even shooting video is easy. The challenge comes in post processing- You can't just upload hours of raw video just like that. Trying to edit your multi-GB videos to extract few interesting bits and make a compelling short video of your trip. Not everyone has the time, patience and skills to work on the videos. It also demands a high config laptop to process heavy video files. Read this post before buying your GoPro. If you chose to buy, check it out on Amazon here (Now GoPro itself has a store on Amazon, making it fully legal). Hero 3 Black cost me close to 40k (with few accessories included). Hero 5 black is available for almost same/slightly cheaper price now.

Either GoPro or mobile serves as secondary camera. Haven't thought about keeping a point n shoot as secondary. Too much hassle to carry another camera, its chargers, battery and so on.

5. GoPro accessories- this is a story on its own. I bought a 3 way mount which failed, a head mount, chest mount and few more accessories. A detailed post on which GoPro accessories to buy is available here.

6. Wide Angle extension- this sits on the edge of 18-55 and helps me capture wider area, with no real loss of quality. However due to some misalignment adds a dark corner in most images if used at widest angle. Instead of having to spend extra on a nice wide angle lens, this cheap alternative I felt is a good compromise. I paid around 1500 for this on Amazon. In 2014, at a shop just outside Mustafa Centre in Singapore- I was about to buy this- the shopkeeper, who was an Indian, had quoted Rs 12000-when I hesitated, he came down to Rs 5000 and tried to convince me to buy on the spot. For some reason I held back, as I suspected why and how he could drop from 12000 to 5000 and what might be real worth of this product. I am glad I didn’t make an impulsive purchase there. This extension is useful while shooting buildings, landscapes or group photos- it helps capture little more area than regular 18mm lens.

Above: my 18-55 with wide angle. The kit lens looks bad due to gripper that was cut during service and subsequently fell off. That is another story.

7. Manfrotto Mini Tripod: I had bought a gorilla tripod earlier, but the one I bought was not strong enough to support DSLRs- it could only hold small digicams. Because of this I stopped using it. I also bought a larger tripod for about 1000 Rs from Croma, but it was just not practical to take it on all my trips- It would add to luggage and slow me down. With good image stabilization in modern day cameras and most of my use being in day time, I didn’t see the value in carrying a bulky tripod. (the benefits of it were far less compared to the trouble of carrying it around). Thus I was managing without tripod for long time. During the Jaisalmer trip in 2016, I saw Supriya Himanshu’s husband carrying the mini tripod- I found it very useful so bought one. I lost one in Hyderabad during Hexa Experience, so had to buy a second one.

Manfrotto mini tripod strong enough to support even 300mm lens, but only in certain positions. Balance goes off if you try to keep the lens horizontal and zoom. Additional support will be needed.

You can buy this Manfrotto Mini Tripod on Amazon here

8. Nikon 50 mm prime lens- Recent addition to my kit. Still learning to make the most of it. Few clicks can be seen on Bhushavali’s blog. This was on my wishlist for long time, finally bit a bullet after seeing it with Sangeetha Khanna in Jaisalmer. Shande and Prasad helped a lot in the selection process, as I was debating between 35mm vs 50mm, after much thought settled for 50mm, F1.8. My detailed review of this 50mm prime lens and sample photos in this post. Some more latest food photos here.

There's also an expensive F1.4 version.

You can buy this 50 mm prime lens on Amazon here. Now it is 10% cheaper than what I paid 6 months ago.

9. Macro Extension tube- this is the latest add-on: About Rs 1600 but sort of happy from its results- check this and this post for the macro photographs I could take from this extension tube. It has its limitations-works only in manual mode, extreme stability is required for decent shot and so on but for its price, it is worth.

If this interests you, buy it from Amazon here

10. Rain Cover- this Digiflip Raincover was purchased for Rs 125 an year ago. The price of this product has been varying from Rs 125 to Rs 499 on flipkart site- currently retails at Rs 149. (its MRP was listed as Rs 199 when I had bought, now bumped up to 499). It is strong enough and does prevent water from entering your bags directly.But this doesn’t make the whole bag waterproof- as part of it will still be exposed to rain. Not able to locate this item currently on flipkart.

I had also purchased a waterproof cover for DSLR, but it was very practical, so have reduced using it.


11. The camera bag: Which you see in the first picture is a cheap Rs 1500 one bought on Amazon. My earlier bag, which costed Rs 2000 was way better. The current one has weak padding which can't hold its position for long and often crumbles. For now it is serving the purpose and fits my Bag in Bag strategy. May be next year I will upgrade to a better bag.

The one I have right now you can check out here.

12. Other regular stuff I carry include GoPro's additional battery charger, head mount, a lens cleaning pen, few extra memory cards and a selfie stick.

Your suggestions and comments welcome.

8 comments:

  1. Good one Srinidhi. I wanted to do a similar post too. Nice to see this which shows the complexity of travel.

    Regards

    Kartik Kannan
    www.katchutravels.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Congrats on being top featured posts at Indi blogger. Great post keep up the good work.
    @iamboylazy
    http://blog.boylazy.com
    http://boylazy.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. That's like opening up a museum for public view!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Haha... No ticket to visit this museum!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hey Srinidhi, this is like opening a Pandora's box, albeit with a positive outcome. Very nice and informative post. Whenever I am going to buy a GoPro (or a SJCAM), I will buy from this very page through Amazon :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. @Shaunak- Thanks. Best wishes for your new purchase

    ReplyDelete

Appreciate your efforts and interests to comment. Comments may be moderated due to increased spam. Will ideally respond to comments within few days- Shrinidhi

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