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The 5 best camera accessories: Maximize your photography

What is the best camera accessory? The RL Handcrafts Clydesdale Pro dual leather camera harness is ZDNet's top choice. We researched and compared products based on their utility, safety, and cost.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer
RL Handcrafts Clydesdale Pro dual leather camera harness | Best camera accessory overall
RL Handcrafts Clydesdale Pro dual leather camera harness
RL Handcrafts Clydesdale Pro dual leather camera harness
Best camera accessory overall
View now View at B&H
The Green Pod camera platform | Best camera accessory for creating the perfect angle
The Green Pod camera platform
The Green Pod camera platform
Best camera accessory for creating the perfect angle
View now View at B&H
Anker 2-in-1 USB 3.0 SD card reader | Best camera accessory for image storage and transfers
Anker 2-in-1 USB 3.0 SD card reader
Anker 2-in-1 USB 3.0 SD card reader
Best camera accessory for image storage and transfers
View now View at Amazon
Ruggard Outrigger 65 DSLR backpack | Best camera accessory for protecting your gear
Ruggard Outrigger 65 DSLR backpack
Ruggard Outrigger 65 DSLR backpack
Best camera accessory for protecting your gear
View now View at B&H
Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 wireless color wide-format printer | Best camera accessory for professional printing at home
Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 wireless color wide-format printer
Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 wireless color wide-format printer
Best camera accessory for professional printing at home
View now View at Amazon

There has never been such a range of options for those interested in photography. We now have powerful cameras with multiple lenses embedded in our smartphones; mirrorless cameras; an extensive market of entry-to-premium DSLRs; action and rugged cameras; compact point-and-shoots, and we've even seen the reemergence of Polaroids with a modern twist. 

This massive market has also prompted another: camera accessories. Professionals often invest in bags, secure straps, lens modifiers, and tripods for their work, but hobbyists, too, can take advantage of them to improve their photography, whether they are using DSLRs or their handset's camera. 

Below, we've compiled our top picks for camera accessories in 2022. 

Must read:

Features:

  • Different size combinations 
  • Wide shoulder straps

Professional photographers can count a stable, secure harness as a crucial accessory. One worth considering is the RL Handcrafts Clydesdale Pro, made of leather and brass ring attachments in a cross pattern. This harness can handle two or three cameras and implements a six-point pivot system. The harness is available in different colors. 

Pros:

  • Secure and strong enough for DSLRs
  • Attractive design

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Some users may find it heavy to wear

Features:

  • DSLR support
  • Compatible with zoom lenses up to 200mm

The Green Pod camera platform is an adjustable, small bean bag made up of nylon that is malleable enough to allow users to adjust it before placing their camera down to take a shot -- keeping their valuable kit away from dirt and creating the perfect angle. The stuffing can also be changed out for materials other than plastic pellets. 

Pros:

  • Could be useful for long exposures
  • Wide range of camera compatibility

Cons:

  • You may need to add a counterbalance -- or even use two bags -- when larger lenses are in play

Features:

  • Compatible with various operating systems
  • Warranty (18 months)

With the variety of memory cards for both smartphones and cameras today, it's useful to have one compact reader able to tackle different types. The Anker 2-in-1 SD card reader, available on Amazon, is a USB 3.0 dongle able to read MicroSD, SD, SDXC, UHS-I cards, and more. 

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • High versatility

Cons:

  • Some users report technical issues over time

Features:

  • Roomy storage for cameras and accessories
  • Holds four additional lenses, two flashes
  • Padded compartments

A backpack or case able to protect cameras and lenses is a must for both professional and hobbyist photographers alike. One to consider, available at B&H, is the Ruggard Outrigger 65 DSLR backpack, a model containing a number of padded compartments and dividers for a DSLR, battery grip, and up to four lenses -- as well as a tablet.

Pros:

  • Protection for a camera and lenses

Cons:

  • Could be considered bulky
  • Overkill for smaller setups

Features:

  • Wide format printing
  • Mobile device printing compatible

If you would prefer a premium printer able to manage larger print sizes, the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 is worthy of consideration. Canon's wide-format inkjet printer can produce A3+ borderless prints and has been optimized for professional quality at a resolution of up to 4800 x 1200 dpi.

Pros:

  • High-quality prints
  • Easy setup

Cons:

  • Expensive for an inkjet
  • Ink can be difficult to obtain

What is the best camera accessory?

The RL Handcrafts Clydesdale Pro is ZDNet's top choice. It is made of leather, can handle two or three cameras, and is a crucial accessory for most professional photographers.

Camera accessory

Price

Key features

RL Handcrafts Clydesdale Pro dual leather camera harness

$189

  • Different size combinations 
  • Wide shoulder straps

The Green Pod camera platform

$28

  • DSLR support
  • Compatible with zoom lenses up to 200mm

Anker 2-in-1 USB 3.0 SD card reader

$17

  • Compatible with various operating systems
  • Warranty (18 months)

Ruggard Outrigger 65 DSLR backpack

$50

  • Roomy storage for cameras and accessories
  • Holds four additional lenses, two flashes
  • Padded compartments

Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 wireless color wide-format printer

$899

  • Wide format printing
  • Mobile device printing compatible

Which is the right camera accessory for you?

Since one size doesn't fit all, it's best to look at your lifestyle, use cases, and preferences when deciding which camera accessory is right for you. To help you, here's a quick decision tree: 

Choose this camera accessory…

If you need…

RL Handcrafts Clydesdale Pro dual leather camera harness

A stylish and unique way to easily hold and have your camera gear on person

The Green Pod camera platform

Help getting that perfect shot

Anker 2-in-1 USB 3.0 SD card reader

A reliable and secure way to store and share images

Ruggard Outrigger 65 DSLR backpack

Storage for all your cameras and new accessories

Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 wireless color wide-format printer

The ability to print your own professional photographs

How did we choose these products?

While deciding on the best camera accessories of 2022, ZDNet has focused on utility and safety first. 

There are many budget-friendly – and eye-wateringly expensive – cameras on the market today, but no matter the price point, it is crucial to protect your gear. 

Photography usually requires a kit to be taken outside, in crowded areas, and on transport – and any of these situations can result in accidental damage. A slip of the hand and your Canon DSLR falls to the ground (yes, it's happened to me) and so accessories including a padded backpack and strong harness are key. 

We have also considered what to do after you've taken your camera out, in which card readers and printers are useful tools.

What are the must-have accessories for new photographers?

Once you become hooked on photography, there will always be an accessory, lens, or camera body on your wishlist. If you're just starting out, however, you do not immediately need everything. To begin with, I would recommend a suitable carry case or backpack, a lens cleaner, a strap, and in the case of DSLRs, a replacement battery. Spare memory cards can be extremely useful, too. 

Oh, and don't forget insurance if you've purchased a high-end camera. Speaking from experience, it can be worth every penny if your camera needs repair due to accidents or you are the victim of theft. 

What accessories should you not leave home without?

If you're taking your camera out for a job or just for fun, I would recommend that you pack it away safely in a suitable bag and consider taking, at the least, a wrist strap or harness. Polarizing filters can be useful to mitigate problems with reflections when you take photos during strong daylight, and a remote shutter can be useful in settings ranging from wildlife photography to events. 

What are the current trends in photography?

Mirrorless cameras are all the rage and it does appear that these types of cameras -- able to accept different lenses but lacking a mirror to reflect an image into a viewfinder -- are becoming more popular with consumers and vendors alike. 

Other trends to watch for are mobile shoots, panoramic photography, vibrant scenes, and inclusive imagery.

Are there any alternative accessories worth considering?

You can never have enough gadgets and accessories when it comes to photography -- everything from a straight-edge mirror to a flexible tripod can be fun to use and change the outcome of shoots. However, here are a few other top picks.

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