When you buy a camera, it usually comes with all the necessary accessories right out of the box. But, to be blunt, the included accessories are usually pathetic.

The included SD card (if there even is one) is likely to be slow and unreliable. The shoulder strap is likely to be too small. The camera bag (or pouch) may not suit your taste. And what to do when you accidentally smudge your lens?

Photography is a delightful and rewarding activity. Here are our recommendations for the best camera accessories you can get. Though accessories are not nearly as critical as the camera you buy nor the time you make to get out there and take photos, we think having better gear can and does make a difference.

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SanDisk Extreme Plus SD Card »

What’s the most important aspect of the memory card you put in your camera? Speed. Which is why the SanDisk Extreme Plus is arguably the best SD card you can get. It has extremely fast and reliable read/write speeds of 80 MB/s. This means you won’t be waiting on the card to save the images you shoot or the HD video you record.

We’ve used more than a few different types of SD cards, and the SanDisk Extreme Plus never stalls out, drops captures, or slows down a full day of shooting.

The second most important feature of a memory card is the amount of memory it has. This choice is all up to you, and it depends on how many photos you take on a regular basis and how often you copy those images back to your Mac. We think the 32GB is a sweet spot — it’s quite affordable (just $36) and can hold about a thousand RAW+JPG files.

If you buy just one accessory for your camera, get a fast SD card.

Lightning to SD Card Adapter for iPad »

Many cameras — such the Olympus E-M10 — have the ability to import photos directly to an iOS device using wi-fi. While it’s nice for editing and sharing on the go, it can also be slow and clunky.

With Apple’s Lightning to SD Card adapter, photographers with iPads can somewhat streamline this process by importing many photos at once. We just wish it worked for iPhone, too.

VSCO Cam for iOS is free, with in-app purchases for preset packs.

VSCO Cam for iOS is free, with in-app purchases for preset packs.

VSCO Cam for iOS »

Once our photos have been imported to an iPhone or iPad, they are nearly always processed in VSCO Cam. On top of being the premier photo editor for iOS, VSCO Cam makes it easy to share your photos in a number of neat ways — including an Instagram-esque publishing platform called Grid and a photo-centric blogging service called Journal. It also syncs your photos (along with their non-destructive edits) between your iOS devices.

VSCO Film for Lightroom »

Okay, we’ll admit it — we can’t get enough of VSCO’s awesome presets, on iOS or Mac. They grace nearly all our photos, including those we publish within long-form articles here on Tools & Toys. What can we say, VSCO’s style complements our aesthetic nicely.

We’re particularly fond of the Kodak Gold 100 +++ film in VSCO Film 5, though we’ve modified it a bit for our purposes.

DSPTCH Shoulder and Wrist Straps »

We’ve been fans of DSPTCH’s fantastic shoulder slings and paracord wrist straps for quite a while. The build quality and materials used are just great, and are comfortable to wear.


In our years of shooting, we find that most of the time we want a shoulder strap, but not all the time. Which is why, in addition to the high-quality materials, what’s so fantastic about DSPTCH straps is their interchangeable connectors for attachment to a camera’s lug mounts. This makes it easy to connect and disconnect the shoulder strap and the wrist strap — swapping them out takes about 20 seconds, and the connection is quite strong.

Getting the two straps from DSPTCH runs about $80 altogether. Not a bad deal considering their usefulness, quality, and versatility. Definitely recommended.

The ONA Bowery Bag ($129-$239)

The ONA Bowery Bag ($129-$239)

ONA Bowery Bag »

Our favorite camera bag of all time. It’s small, incredibly handsome, versatile, and has a ton of personality. You can fit an iPad mini in the back sleeve pocket, and it’ll hold your mirrorless camera plus a few extra accessories. Heck, because of its versatility you can use it for things other than carrying a camera and lens.

The Glif adjustable tripod mount for smartphones ($30)

The Glif adjustable tripod mount for smartphones ($30)

The Adjustable Glif Tripod Mount for iPhone »

Not all photo accessories have to be for mirrorless rigs or DSLRs. If your favorite camera is the one on your smartphone, there’s simply no better tripod mount out there than the Glif.

Its adjustable nature allows it to fit most smartphones, including the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Not only does it help capture better photos and videos, it also functions as a kickstand to prop up your iPhone for reading the morning news or watching movies during a long flight.

Mobile Cloth Lens Wipes ($9) Designed specifically for cleaning fingerprints and smudges off your lens.

Mobile Cloth Lens Wipes ($9) Designed specifically for cleaning fingerprints and smudges off your lens.

Mobile Cloth Lens Wipes »

Try as you may, your camera lens will most certainly collect fingerprints and smudges from time to time. It’s critical to clean your lens with the right type of cloth — one that can work wet or dry and one that won’t damage or scratch your lens at all.

The Mobile Cloth brand Lens Wipes do exactly that. They’re a special type of microfiber that completely remove fingerprints and smudges.